Budapest, Hungary is famous all over the world for its incredible architecture, with awe inspiring buildings from Roman ruins to Gothic Churches, the Renaissance opera house to the Baroque Royal Palace, and beyond. Whilst styles and tastes have changed over the centuries, one aspect of Budapest that has remained constant throughout is its baths.
Budapest is known as ‘The City of Baths’ and on visiting it is easy to see why. Public baths of all shapes, sizes and styles are all over the capital, from Margit-sziget, St Margarets Island, to Városliget, the City Park, you are never far from rest and relaxation! We turn relaxation into inspiration with this guide to our favourite baths of Budapest.
Hotel Gellért is one of Hungary’s most beautiful and famous hotels, built in the Art Nouveau style in 1912 the 13 baths are housed within its stunning architecture. The intricate tiling and wall reliefs throughout capture the opulence of the period. Well placed, beautifully decorated windows offer lots of warm, natural light whilst retaining the privacy of the bathers.
Located in Városliget, the beautiful City Park of Budapest, Széchenyi Baths are some of Budapest’s most grand and luxurious. There are many Baroque-style buildings in Budapest and Hungary and this is one of the finest examples. The classical features of colonnades and domes enhance the space with qualities of richness and drama whilst the yellows and golds are bright and revitalising for the ultimate bathing experience.
During the Turkish occupation (1541-1686) many mosques and baths were built in the Buda area and this is one of them, dating from 1550. The Bath house is defined by it’s domed shape, which houses an octagonal pool. Small holes in the dome allow steam to escape and only a small amount of light in, so the baths remain low lit. The natural stone creates a more peaceful, less ostentatious environment in which to relax.
Budapest’s oldest Turkish bath is Veli Bej, which is again located in Buda. Unlike Rudas however, it has been very recently renovated with more modern features and decor. The dome that houses the traditional octagonal pool has been plastered and painted for a more contemporary feel to the environment and the fillers are sleek chrome in place of the traditional stone that had been worn away. The combination of the traditional with the contemporary creates a relaxingly rustic environment, but with the luxury offered by modern amenities.
The style of each of these exquisite luxury baths is different, but each one is uniquely Budapestian!
(Image Source: Booking.com, szechenyispabaths.com, en.rudasfurdo.hu, termalfurdo.hu)