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Budapest has earned its title as City of Baths. The Romans already realised that the spring water was full of beneficial minerals, and the Ottomans, who conquered the region in the 16th century, skilfully built a number of thermal baths. The Széchenyi bathhouse, completed in the early 1900s, is the largest and one of the most beautiful in Budapest. It is further enhanced by a stunning location in the City Park.
At first glance the Széchenyi bathhouse looks a lot like a palace, located amidst the green of the City Park. The arcades and ochre-coloured façade give access to the reception hall, where a colourful fresco adorns the ceiling. The attractive Baroque ambiance is a favourite meeting place for people of all ages. A ticket provides a full day’s access to 2 large heated outdoor baths, 15 medicinal baths, hot tubs and a wide range of saunas.
The healthy spring water of the Széchenyi baths is popular among rheumatics, but weary tourists will appreciate their benefits too. Children are also welcome: they’ll love the rapids in the baths, although the current is strong so keep a close eye on your brood. The 2 outdoor baths each come from a different spring and vary in temperature (34 and 38 degrees respectively). Large hot tubs are located on either side, and a big pool between the two baths is ideal for swimming lengths. Be warned, though, the pool water is quite cold.
While the ambiance at the Széchenyi bathhouse changes with the seasons, a visit is always a great experience. In the summer, guests relax on the sunny terrace enjoying a fresh juice or sandwich before taking a refreshing dip in the elegant blue baths. In the winter the warm outdoor baths are super comfortable. In the evenings, as the vapours rise up from the water and vision is limited to those closest to you, the experience is very romantic.
The bathhouse features a labyrinth of thermal baths, saunas and massage rooms. You can smell the mild aroma of sulphite from the water, which contains substances such as fluoride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and sodium. The saunas vary in style and temperatures and include very hot Finnish saunas as well as Turkish steam baths, infrared cabins and aromatic saunas. It’s important to cool down after all this heat. Daredevils can venture into one of the ice baths – a short dive into ice cubes will do the trick! All facilities are freely accessible, but massages and other treatments should be requested in advance at the entrance. How about a fish pedicure or a relaxing Swedish massage?
“Cooling down is important; daredevils can venture into one of the ice baths.”