- Type: Spas, Swimming/Pools
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Ahh, the baths! A relaxing soak in a thermal bath is a quintessential Budapest experience that you will not want to miss. One of the lasting remnants of Turkish influence in Hungary, Budapest's baths (fürdok, in Hungarian) are heated by natural thermal springs. As if a long, hot dip in a bath weren't enough to ease your muscles after a day of walking, most bath houses also offer massage services and steam rooms. Once the sun goes down, some venues host night bath parties that transform the once-tranquil pools into pulsating dance clubs—if you're bathing with your family, you might want to do so during daylight hours.
Budapest's various baths cater to different tastes. Széchenyi Baths in City Park stands as the largest thermal bath in Europe, and the perfect place to engage in a long game of water chess with some locals. Gellért Baths is one of the most photographed spas in Budapest, and with its grand Art Nouveau architecture and art deco details, it's not hard to see why. (However, some recent travelers report the old building to be lacking in the hygiene department.) Stare up at the traditional domed ceiling from the octagonal pool of Rudas Baths; Rudas is currently undergoing construction through the end of October, 2012, but it is still fully functioning and open to the public.
When choosing the bath that suits your needs, check whether its pools are segregated by gender, and whether swimwear is required. Whichever bath you choose, remember to bring flip-flops—those ceramic tiles can be slippery. You can rent bathing caps, towels, and lockers at most bath houses.
A day pass for one of Budapest's baths costs between 2,900 and 4,600 HUF (about $13 to $21 USD) depending on the bath and the day of the week (prices go up over the weekend). Additional treatments, such as massages, cost extra. Opening hours vary by bath, but most are open from early morning through early evening. For specific hours and special events, consult your chosen bath's website.