Szechenyi and Gellert Thermal Baths for R&R and Poolside Chess

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Before I had a chance to get acquainted to Hungary’s Budapest – its culture, food or anything related, I was whisked away to one of the numerous thermal baths in the city center from the airport.

Because my luggage was delayed and either in Paris or some random U.S. city, I didn’t have a thing on me except my camera and purse, so I had to rent a bathing suit in order to be let in (and swim of course). Let’s just say the “suit” looked like it was 30 years old and I felt like an female Eastern European volleyball player wearing it. There was absolutely nothing sexy about the thing.

That said, being wrapped “in it” meant I could swim in the warm and hot thermal baths and take advantage of the healing waters of Szechenyi, which is the largest in Budapest. (apparently also the largest in Europe). It was built in 1913 in neo-baroque style.

At that time, it had private baths, separate men and women steam-bath sections and different men/women “public baths.”  The complex was expanded in 1927, and it still has 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools. (I only used the outdoor pools btw).

After its expansion, the thermal artesian couldn’t fulfill its purpose, so a new well was drilled, which resulted in a second thermal spring in roughly 1938.

Above is a shot I took of a group of men — young and old — who were playing chess in the main hot thermal pool, which is where I spent the bulk of my time.

Another well known “baths” is the Gellert Baths. Since its building in 1918, the Gellert Spa was one of the most prestigious thermal baths on the Buda side of the city. Gellert Spa is famous for its main hall with gallery and glass roof, build in the Art-Nouveau style, sparkling bath and open-air pool with artificial waves.

The current bath complex and hotel was opened in 1918, but expanded in 1927 and again in 1934, with its artificial wave pool and a bubble bath. Main swimming pool includes one warm water swimming pool. Details below.

Gellert Bath: Telephone: +36.30.840.9514.

Szechenyi Bath: Telephone: +36.30.462.8236


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