We’ve all see the pictures of the Szechenyi Baths. You know, the ones of the glorious, bright yellow buildings surrounding the crystal blue outdoor baths. No lie, when I found out that these baths were located in Budapest I was beyond excited since they just look so amazing. Throughout the 36 hour travel to get to Budapest I continually fantasized about visiting these baths, submerging myself in the lukewarm waters and relaxing the day away. What wasn’t included in my fantasy was the murky water of the indoor baths, the hundreds of people who had the same idea as me and the hair. The goddamned hair.
Let’s start with the basics. The Szechenyi Baths are located in the City Park, which is very close to Monument Square. The bath house itself contains 15 indoor baths, 3 outdoor pools, a number of saunas and steam rooms, and beauty salons that provide massages and facials among other treatments. The water is naturally heated by two thermal springs and the temperatures of the plethora of baths range from 18 to 38 °C.
Entrance prices vary depending on what package you purchase and what time of the day you go (mornings are cheaper), but generally range from 15-22 Euros. You will need to purchase a pass (morning, day or evening) attached to either a cabin or a locker, you cannot just purchase a ticket or ‘plain-old pass’. If you forget to bring your towel or flip-flops, or just can’t be bothered carrying them around with you on your adventures, you can rent them there for about 6 Euros.
When you purchase your pass, you will be given an electronic arm band that you use to access your prescribed cabin or locker, and you can use these to access short-term lockers for the outdoor pools. As a group of four (2 girls and 2 guys) we decided to purchase two cabins and two lockers, and just chose to get changed in the cabins and store all of our things there since they could be locked.
Another thing I should probably mention is that while I am giving you the prices in Euros, the Czech Republic actually use the Hungarian Forint which at the time of writing, had an exchange rate of 1 HUF = 0.0031 EURO.
The great thing about Budapest is that you can literally just walk everywhere, so don’t discount that as an option, just make sure that you download offline Google Maps. If walking isn’t your jam, there is a metro station right outside of the baths and it is very easy and very cheap to use.
You should also know that there are four entrances to the baths, with the main one being off Kos Karoly Street.
Right, so you’ve purchased your cabin and, or locker and have entered the baths. Staff will point you towards the direction of your assigned locker or cabin. We got strangely lucky and were given a cabin right inside the entrance of the baths so we didn’t have to search too hard. If you are renting a towel or robe, the rental office is right in the entrance to the baths to the right, just after where you have to scan your wrist bands to get in.
Once you have changed into your swimming togs, you will enter the indoor pool area. I highly recommend that you spend some time exploring inside since it looks really beautiful, and if you’re game, you can try a number of the different pools including the various plunge pools (which are freezing!). I enjoyed looking around inside but I honestly wasn’t too keen on the indoor pools since some of them looked pretty murky which I thought was gross.
But let’s be completely honest, you’re not here for the indoor pools, you’re here for the gorgeous Instagram worthy outdoor pools. To get to them, you just have to make your way to either of the octagonal pools (the indoors in basically symmetrical so you can either go left or right), walk through the foot cleaning pool and you’ll emerge onto a small balcony and get your first view of the outdoor pools.
The rectangular pool in the centre is a lap pool and you MUST wear a hat, hair net or swimming cap when you are in it. The life guards are very strict about this. The semicircle pool on the left has a series of high-pressure fountains and the semicircle pool on the right has a whirlpool and is slightly cooler that the one on the right.
We alternated between the left and right semicircle pools, and even got lucky enough for a water aerobics instructor host a short session that we were able to join in with free of charge.
What I didn’t realise about the Szechenyi Baths from all of the amazing photos that I have seen (but I totally should have) is that these baths are crazy popular and thus crazy busy. I went in the afternoon which is probably around its peak time, but based on what the staff told me, it is always busy at the Szechenyi Baths, so if you want to get a photo with very few people in it, arrive at opening time and be patient.
One of the other things about the baths that surprised me was the amount of hair floating around in the pools. It was a strange sensation when you were paddling along and suddenly ended up with a handful of hair. I been in quite a few public pools and baths and haven’t ever come across this issue to the extent that I did here. There isn’t really a solution to this problem except maybe brush your hair before you get in the water or tie it back in a tail or bun.
We spent a couple of hours wandering around the baths and saunas just relaxing after two long days of walking and exploring the city. If I’d had more time to spend at the baths, I would have considered booking a spa treatment just to try them out, but that will have to wait until next time.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Did you find this post useful? Comment and let me know below.