The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are the most popular attraction in Budapest, receiving millions of locals and tourists through the door every year. With several spa complexes across the city, it’s clear to see that bathing in these thermal waters is a big part of life in the Hungarian capital and something you should definitely consider doing. It’s a great way to soothe those aching feet and get an insight into everyday life here.
It’s not always easy to visit somewhere like this in a foreign city, so we’ve listed a few dos and don’ts that will help you get the most from your time in the baths during a Budapest city break.
Do Book Tickets In Advance
Because of their popularity, the thermal baths can be really busy, especially during peak periods. If you arrive without an advance ticket, you may find yourself having to wait in line for around half an hour. To avoid this, you can book your tickets from the official website and then skip the queues when you arrive. Unfortunately, you will need to know the date you plan you visit the baths, but if you can decide this you’ll end up saving time and money.
Don’t Overlook Discounted Options
The good news is that buying your ticket in advance will also mean you can consider some of the discounted options. If you are planning to visit for more than two hours on a weekend then you will need to pay full price, but there are some great options if you’re flexible with this. Weekdays are cheaper, as are morning and evening sessions. The morning session takes place between 6am and 8am, whilst an evening ticket will give you access after 7pm. We’re not talking about massive savings here but, sometimes, every little helps when planning a city break.
If, however, you want to go the other way and splash out a bit, you can also buy Spa and Palm House packages that include robes, slippers, toiletries, fresh fruit, herbal tea and more.
Do Consider A Cabin
When you buy your ticket, either online or when you arrive, you’ll have the option to include a locker or a cabin. The lockers are used to store all your items whilst you’re in the water, but if you don’t book a cabin then you will be changing in the communal areas. This is fine for many people, but if you would like a bit more privacy then a cabin may be a good investment (it’s only about £1.50 more expensive). The cabins are quite small so, if there’s two of you, you may find it easier to take it in turns to get changed.
Do Come Prepared
As well as ensuring you wear a suitable swimming costume (the website clearly states that proper clothing should be worn at all times), there are a few other things that you may want to bring with you. The first one is flip flops or some form of slip-on shoes. The various different pools and thermal areas are spread throughout an inside and outside space. This means that you will need to walk across concrete to move from one part to the other, something that’s very uncomfortable without suitable footwear.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to carry your towel with you at all times and not just leave it in the locker. Signs on the sauna doors encourage you to use the towel to sit on, for hygiene reasons, and some of the regulars even carry sauna mats with them.
Don’t Just Stay In One Pool
The Széchenyi Thermal Baths is a sprawling complex with lots of different thermal pools for visitors to explore. Not only is staying in one pool for too long discouraged by signs around the water’s edge, as this may have a detrimental effect on your health, it would also mean you miss out on the different benefits offered by other bathing spots. From steam chambers to Jacuzzis and baths infused with peppermint, there is so much to seek out as you walk through the labyrinthine building.
Don’t Forget Where You Are
It goes without saying that you should be respectful when visiting other cities, but this is even more the case with the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Bathing here is a way of life for the people of Budapest and is part of their daily routine. They won’t take kindly to anyone splashing around or disturbing their peace by constantly climbing in and out of the pools. Most people will be friendly and welcoming, but just remember where you are at all times.
Do Check For Party Nights
If you are looking for more of an entertaining experience than a relaxing one, keep an eye out for the regular party nights that are held in the water. These events have grown very popular in recent years and typically take place on long summer evenings or New Year’s Eve. Operated by a company called SPArty, these raucous occasions include laser shows, live DJs, firework displays, fire eaters and plenty of alcohol, as the baths take on a hedonistic atmosphere and people really let their hair down.
If you would like to visit the Széchenyi Thermal Baths on a Budapest city break, we can tailor-make a trip to your requirements. Call the Fred. Holidays team on 0800 988 3369 or sign up to our mailing list to keep on top of the latest news and deals.