Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: “Nature is the physician of our diseases”. Nature has been unusually bountiful towards Hungary: the country sits on one of the most precious geothermal and medicinal water resources. That’s why the local culture of bathing goes back two thousand years.
Of the 1300 thermal springs registered in the country, nearly 300 are used for bathing. About 130 of medicinal and mineral water springs are located in Budapest! Budapest is definitely a spa capital, with many different types of spas – you can choose from party spas to traditional roman or Turkish baths. Hungary is blessed with an abundance of natural thermal springs, which are full of minerals and salts, and emerge at a temperature of 30°C.
What is the difference between medicinal and mineral water? Well, medicinal water is a kind of mineral water with medically-proven healing and therapeutic effects. Usually, fully trained assistants or doctors oversee the treatment and overall wellness while staying in one of many Hungarian medicinal baths and spas.
Hungarians loved bathing since the Roman times, so whether you’re after refreshment, relaxation, recovery, or rejuvenation, Hungary will not disappoint you. Almost every town has thermal baths, where you can soak away aches and enjoy saunas, massages, and even more advanced treatments, like Kneipp or pearl baths. The thermal water can be used to ease medical complaints or to refresh the body. By the way, there are not only public baths. In recent decades over 50 hotels with exceptional spas have been built.
Gellert thermal bath. One of the most popular in Budapest is Gellert thermal bath. The spring was known since the 13th century. This particular spa is stunning – decorated with Art Nouveau stained glass windows, furnishings, sculptures, and artistic mosaics.
Szechenyi Medical thermal bath is one of the largest in Europe. Its thermal springs, discovered in 1879, are the hottest (74-75C) and deepest in Budapest. The neo-baroque baths were built in1913, the swimming pool in 1927. By the way, this bath has an open-air pool which is popular even in winter, thanks to its warm waters.
Rudas thermal bath. One of the oldest in the city is Rudas thermal bath, built in 1550. It’s four corner pools, central octagonal pool, and beautiful Turkish dome – all come from the Turkish era reconstructions. Additionally, this thermal bath has a “drinking hall”, where you can enjoy a liquid cure from the springs of Attila, Juventus, and Hungaria.
Lukacs thermal bath was built during Turkish times; however, it is known that there was a medical center even before that, in the 12th century. Nowadays it’s modern, but at the same time classical, spa with various swimming pools, sauna, salt wall, etc.
If you do not fancy thermals baths, you can always head to open-air strands. These strands are outdoor pool parks, operating from spring till the end of summer. The five most excellent are the Paskal, Romai, Csillaghegyi, Palatinus on Margaret Island, and Punkosdfurdoi.