Thermal baths are big in Europe. It is believed that soaking in these waters with minerals can ease muscle aches, pains, minor degenerative ailments and help the body get rid of general fatigue and stress.
In Budapest you can choose to soak, swim, sit in the sauna or hammam or shower (or do all of them) in beautiful and historic baths fed by natural hot springs. There are 125 of them 'underneath' in the city! There are a few modern ones that may not feed your soul but you will get the preening you need.
If you're into spa-ing in opulent Art Nouveau surrounds indoors and outdoors with a Hotel Budapest vibe, The Gellért Thermal Bath and Hotel is for you.
The The Gellért Thermal Bath and Hotel's 98 year-old facade and main building.
It's popular among locals and visitors alike. And it's not your grandma's spa. Instagrammers of all ages bathed and loved the place.
One of the many outdoor pools fed by natural hot springs in this grand and expansive property.
Beautifully carved stone pillars support the relaxation and viewing deck above the pool in one of the vast indoor areas of the main building.
Two of the several indoor pools with natural light and grandiose art nouveau architectural features and design elements. The pattern and vivid colors of the pool floor tiles reflect the era's Style Moderne aesthetic of the early 20th century.
Amazing tile work in one of the shower rooms at Gellért! Why can't have showers like these in my gym?
A historic medieval bath without the opulence nor grand decor yet with the same curative waters is The Király Thermal Bath within the the Buda Castle (Királyi Vár in Hungarian) walls. Buda Castle is the palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, first completed in 1265. It looks rough on the edges since it's really old but it's clean and the water is constantly changed.
Cool and interesting backstory: Originally constructed as a Turkish hammam by Arslan, the Pasha of Buda in 1565 and completed by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, his successor, the Király Thermal Bath drew its waters from the Lukács Bath then and still does to this day. Following the reoccupation of Buda, ownership was passed in 1796 to the König family who restored the older sections and rebuilt it, combining the old with the newer architectural style popular at the time while preserving its Ottoman character. In World War II, the Bath was heavily damaged and was completely renovated in the 1950s as it stands today.
The main bath or hammam as is was originally built by the ruling Turks within the castle walls for their use in case of a siege. Several were built along the banks of the Danube but only two exist today.
Very spartan looking surroundings, interesting herringbone-patterned tile floor and modern-ish tiled upper walls. This is clearly a redesign. I don't think Arslan Pasha would have approved.
Number three happens to be another Turkish hammam-turned modern Hungarian thermal spa that is still operating after more than 500 years - Rudas Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool. Recent additions such as a rooftop pool is popular among the younger bathing set.
Rudas was built in the 16th century during the Turkish occupation. An octagonal swimming pool built in 1896 lies below the original 10 meter-diameter dome, supported by 8 pillars. The pool is the main draw as a therapeutic swimming facility. It also features a sauna. Different bath and wellness experiences are offered including a traditional hammam (Turkish steam bath) as well as an ilidza (Turkish “Ilica” for warm thermal spring).
Allegedly the waters in the Rudas Thermal Bath fed by the springs Hungária, Attila and Juventus have curative properties when drank straight. Could the it be the source of the fountain of youth?
Night bathing until 4 am!
There are 6 thermal baths in Rudas Bath as well as a larger swimming pool shown here:
Harrison Ford was bathing at Rudas Bath as seen by dpmac26!
Women have to wear a special 'apron' instead of swimwear at coed bath times and men are given their version which are are actually drawstring loincloths. An InstaGrammer Paolo Nava thought it was a napkin!