An experience that feels quite unique to a busy European city is a visit to one or two of the many grand baths in Budapest. It is for the most part, a very relaxing experience and supposedly healing. Budapest is built on a plethora of thermal springs which are well utilised in it’s beautiful bathing houses, giving it the well earned title of the ‘City of Baths’.
The most iconic bathing house is the Szechenyi Spa. With its bright yellow, cheery exterior, gigantic pools and surrounding sun loungers, there is the pleasant feeling of being at the seaside. There are so many pools to choose from. Indoors, there are about 15, all of varying temperature, the hottest being 38 degrees Celsius. The coldest is allegedly 16 degrees although it felt like an arctic ice hole. No thankyou!
Outside ,the three main pools varied between hot fiery hell, tepid and ambient. The ambient pool had all the fun of wave machines and jet massagers but the swirling soup of over-excited children soon wore thin. A more tranquil bathing experience was required.
The Gellert baths over in Pest were just as pleasant, yet felt more grown-up and most importantly; calm. This could have been to do with the majesty of the Art Nouveau building, built in 1918. The experience has been likened by many to bathing in a cathedral. As with the Szechenyi baths, there are indoor and outdoor pools but indoors really is the place to be. This is the ultimate in aqueous relaxation.