Thermal Baths#12 in Best Things To Do in Budapest
A soak in a thermal bath is a quintessential Budapest experience. (It hasn't cultivated a reputation as the "City of Spas" for nothing.) These baths, or fürdok in Hungarian, are heated by natural thermal springs and usually include on-site massage services, as well as steam rooms.
With more than 100 thermal springs, the various baths around the city cater to different tastes – from relaxation to cures for illness – and some transform into pulsating dance clubs at night, so if you're bathing with your family, you might want to do so during the daylight hours.
According to previous visitors, one of Budapest's best thermal baths (and the largest of its kind in Europe) is Széchenyi Baths in City Park. Built in 1913, the facility features 18 pools to choose from. Another favorite is Gellért Spa, which is known for its grand Art Nouveau architecture and art deco details.
When choosing the bath that suits your needs, check whether its pools are segregated by gender and if 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. Many locals and frequent visitors to Budapest suggest checking out more than one thermal bath, as they each offer a different experience.
Passes to the baths range from 2,150 to 6,200 forints (about $8 to $24) depending on the bath, and additional services are available for an extra fee. Opening hours vary by bath, but most are open from early morning through early evening. Several baths are situated within walking distance of metro stations. For a complete list of thermal baths, visit the city's Budapest Spas website.
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#1 Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya)
Located in the historic district of Castle Hill, Fisherman's Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace that looks like a structure taken straight out of a fairy tale. Designed and built in 1905 by Frigyes Schulek – the same architect who built the adjacent Matthias Church – Fisherman's Bastion is named after the medieval guild of fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.
Visitors say Fisherman's Bastion's gleaming white structure provides panoramic views of the city: From here, you can snap some breathtaking pictures of the Danube River, Margaret Island and Pest. Also save time for exploring the sight's seven ornate turrets, which symbolize the tents of the seven Magyar leaders who settled the Carpathian Basin, ultimately leading to the existence of modern-day Hungary.
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