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Located between Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge (Várbalang), Gellért Hill (235m) is one of the most characteristic features of the right bank of the Danube.

Name: Gellért Hill
Category: Nature and gardens
Location: 1118 Budapest, Kelenhegyi út

Description

Located between Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge (Várbalang), Gellért Hill (235m) is one of the most characteristic features of the right bank of the Danube. In the 19C, the hill's slopes were covered in vines, later wiped out by phylloxera. According to legend, Gellért Hill was popular with witches and wizards, who met here for their Sabbath nights. At the foot of the hill, the Gellért (Gellért fürdő) and Rudas (Rudas Gyógyfürdő) baths are fed by numerous thermal springs.



Not many cities have a hill rising from the city centre and protected as a national park. Gellért Hill has a fortress called the Citadel on top of it, which was built in 1851, and is now a tourist attraction with terraces offering the fullest panoramic view of the city.

St. Gellért statue
St. Gellért statue

 

The hot springs deep inside the hill supply three spas at the foot of the hill. The Gellért Thermal Baths, Hungary’s grandest spa (2-4 Kelenhegyi út), where facilities include thermal and swimming pools, bath tubs, whirlpool baths, wave pools and a water park.

Gellért Baths
Gellért Baths

 

The other two, Rudas Baths (9 Döbrentei tér) and Rác Baths (8-10 Hadnagy utca), date back to the era of Turkish rule in Hungary. Facilities at both include tubs and thermal pools and as well ‘Turkish’ or steam baths. A swimming pool can also be found at the Rudas Baths.

Other monuments from the Turkish period include the tomb of Gül Baba, a Muslim shrine on Rózsadomb (Hill of Roses, 4 Mecset utca), and the domed Király Thermal Baths (82-84 Fő utca), with facilities including thermal pools, tubs and steam baths.

Fertile hillside vineyards have made Budafok in the south of Budapest a city of wine and sparkling wine. Its highlights include a labyrinth of cellars and the Museum of the Törley Sparkling Wine Manufacturers (82-94 Kossuth Lajos. utca). The Szoborpark (Park of Sculptures) at the junction of Balatoni út-Szabadkai út displays an unparalleled collection of socialist-era public sculptures.

The Castle Museum in Nagytétény (9-11 Kastélypark utca, 22nd District of Budapest) has an interesting collection of furniture.

Offering a glimpse of sea life, the Tropicarium at the Campona shopping mall is worth including in a day’s programme.

Tropicarium
Tropicarium

 

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Gellért Hill on the map

 

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There is nothing special about these Turkish baths for men from the outside.

Name: Rudas baths
Category: Baths, Nature and gardens
Location: 1013 Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9.
Phone: + 36 1 356-1010
Internet: http://www.rudasfurdo.hu

Description

A bath for men

Or not really? Rudas Bath (Rudas Fürdő) is also a place of traditions with a history going back 500 years. Tuesdays are reserved exclusively for women in the original Turkish bath, on Saturdays and Sundays it’s open for everybody interested regardless of gender. The same is true for Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm to 4 in the morning. Steam, 42 °C water, coldwater pool and the octagonal pool of thermal water.

Rudas Baths
Rudas Baths

 

There is nothing special about these Turkish baths for men from the outside. Yet... After having put on a white loincloth, you set off towards the cenacle, where the uninitiated are in for a real surprise, you reach the strange atmosphere of the den built by the pasha Mustapha Sokoli, in 1566. A large octagonal pool built using red marble is in the centre and is surrounded by columns. In each corner, there is a pool where the temperature ranges from very cold to very hot!



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It’s definitely recommended to spend some time at one of the 11 spas of Budapest even if your schedule is tight, as this city is the only capital to boast with underground springs of such good quality water ranging from 21-76 °C.

Budapest is an ideal spa city both for those who like thermal water and for those who dread submerging in it. Apart from the world-famous pools of curative water of the capital, there’s the experience of bathing in real monuments. In addition, some of the spas in Budapest offer such extra services as various beauty treatments, steam room, sauna, massage and flat-surface pools. Cinetrip and the Night of Baths make these places of history exciting for young people, as well, since these parties offer carefree fun in the sultry night.

It’s definitely recommended to spend some time at one of the 11 spas of Budapest even if your schedule is tight, as this city is the only capital to boast with underground springs of such good quality water ranging from 21-76 °C. The baths making use of the famous springs below provide opportunities to chat with the locals or even challenge them to a game of chess. Traveling and sightseeing aren’t exactly passive methods of recreation but if you intend to get more active in Budapest, do choose an activity that not only suits your needs but has something to say about the city, as well, whether it’s a mere getaway to a fitness center or a rather special sporting enterprise. The following chapter below the map is dedicated to such exciting places and their tradition.

 

The baths of Budapest have a long history, stretching back to Roman times. The thermal baths were popularized by the Turks, who started building them in 1565, giving them a place to bathe in case of a siege on the city.

Budapest and other parts of Hungary are built over hot springs, making this a natural way of acquiring the mineral-rich waters for bathing. Hungarians and other Europeans are great believers in the medicinal powers of thermal bathing, with all of the thermals being medical clinics as well for the treatment of skin, muscular, and bone ailments.

Take a towel and slippers along! You can’t rent them at the baths in general.

Time spent in a thermal bath will lift your spirits and drench you in culture. Most baths in Budapest have recently instituted a complicated new pricing system (dubbed the “refund system”) that charges according to the time spent in the baths. You are required to pay for the longest possible duration (4 hr. or more) when you enter the bathhouse, but you are refunded money based on the actual time spent in the thermal area. You are given a chip card upon entry; keep careful track of the card because if you lose it, you are assumed to have stayed for the maximum time. The exception is the Király, which is still a set fee for entry and you are allowed 1,5 hours and then are expected to leave. On Saturdays, it is limited to 1 hour.

Gellért Baths

Once one of Budapest’s most spectacular bathhouses, the Gellért Baths are located in Buda’s Hotel Gellért, the oldest Hungarian spa hotel and a Secessionist-style hotel. Over the years, the baths have lost their luster and some of the tile work. Remodeling took place in 2007. We find the entry cost prohibitive, so we do not recommend this thermal. Foreigners, usually staying at the hotel, get free entry and are those most likely to frequent it. The staff is churlish. If you go, enter the baths through the side entrance. The exterior of the building is in need of restoration, but once inside the lobby, the details are lovely, but most of it stops here. In the summer months, the outdoor roof pool attracts a lot of attention for 10 minutes every hour on the hour, when the artificial wave machine turns on. In general, you need patience to navigate this place, and the staff is not helpful.

Gellért Baths
Gellért Baths

 

Budapest, XI. Kelenhegyi út 4. Phone: 00 36 1 466-6166. Admission 5.100 Ft for 4 hr. Lockers or cabins are included. Prices and the lengthy list of services, including the complicated refund system, are posted in English. May– Sept daily 6am–7pm; Oct–Apr Mon–Sat 6am–7pm, Sun 6am–5pm, with the last entrance an hr. before closing. Tram: 47 or 49 from Deák tér to Szent Gellért tér.

Király Baths

This is one of the oldest baths in Hungary, dating back to around 1563, when the Turkish built the baths so they could bathe and be ready for battle. Other legends say the Turks built them to get the Hungarians to bathe. Regardless of the reason, the Király Baths are still one of Budapest’s most important architectural tributes associated with Turkish rule. Bathing under the octagonal domed roof with sunlight filtering through small round windows in the ceiling gives the water a special glow.

Király Baths
Király Baths

 

This bath is time-limited; Monday through Friday, you are allowed to stay for only 1,5 hours and on Saturday, only 1 hour, before being expected to leave. Bathing suits are required for both sexes, and take a towel with you. Women use the baths on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7am to 5pm. Men are welcome on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9am to 7pm. Budapest, I. Fő u. 84. Phone: 00 36 1 202-3688. Admission 2.600 Ft. Metro: Batthyány tér (Red line).

Palatinus Strandfürdő

Located on Margaret Island, Palatinus Strandfürdő has a holiday camp atmosphere that you can check into every day in summer. There’s a wide range of pools of varying temperatures and a long one for proper swimming, plenty of grass to camp out on, and loads of food stalls and bars. There’s even fruit stands. Location: Margit Sziget. Phone: 00 36 1 340-4505.

Palatinus bath
Palatinus bath

 

Go early on very hot days, at weekends, or in school holidays. Daily 9am–7pm May 1–Aug 31. Ft 3.000 for all day on weekdays with locker. Cheaper tickets available for shorter times. Bus: 26 to Palatinus strand.

Rudas Baths

Rudas Baths (Rudas Fürdő) is close to the Erzsébet Bridge, on the Buda side, is the second oldest of Budapest’s classic Turkish baths, built in the 16th century. These baths are for men only every day, except Tuesdays during the day or Friday and Saturday nights at 11pm. This is a new phenomenon, which started after the bath reopened after a year’s remodeling in 2007.

Rudas Baths
Rudas Baths

 

The centerpiece is an octagonal pool under a 10m (33-ft.) domed roof, with some of the small window holes in the cupola filled with stained glass, while others are open to the sky, allowing diffused light to stream in. Along the sides, there are four corner pools of varying degrees of temperature. During early mornings, the crowd is predominantly composed of older Hungarian men. Budapest, I. Döbrentei tér 9. Phone: 00 36 1 356-1010. Admission 2.200 Ft with refunds available up to 3 hr., swimming pool with locker 1.200 Ft. Mon–Fri 6am–8pm; Sat–Sun pool only 6am–2pm. Bus: No. 7, but not No. 7 Express, stops right in front on the Buda side.

Széchenyi Baths

One of the largest spa complexes in Europe, Széchenyi was also the first thermal on the Pest side. Located in the City Park, the Széchenyi Baths are the most popular with locals and travelers alike. From the outside, you’d never believe its enormity, but once inside it is humungous, with a variety of water temperature pools, including a whirlpool that spins you around.

Széchenyi Baths
Széchenyi Baths

 

Crowds of bathers, including many families and tourists, visit the palatial unisex outdoor swimming pool, but due to its size, it never feels overcrowded. Turkish-style thermal baths are segregated and are located off to the sides of the pool.

In warm weather, there is segregated nude sunbathing on the roof. Budapest, XIV. Állatkerti út 11–14, in City Park. Phone: 00 36 1 363-3210. Admission to the thermal baths 4.700 Ft. Daily 6am–10pm; some pools close earlier on Sat–Sun. Metro: Széchenyi fürdő (Yellow line).

Central Hall Market

Not only a good place to pick up souvenirs, but also a fun place for people-watching. The balcony overlooking the whole market is an experience you should not miss.

Architecture
Architecture

Castle Hill

Ignore the tourist sights for an hour and just stroll along the side streets which wind around, allowing yourself to get lost while admiring the architecture of the area.

Castle District
Castle District

 

The Baths

The Király and Rudas baths are steeped in history and are the perfect way to relax while soaking in the history of the culture at the same time.

Széchenyi Baths
Széchenyi Baths

 

The best thermals in Budapest

A Traditional Coffeehouse

Coffeehouses are a cultural icon in the city, dating back more than 100 years. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and linger with a book or newspaper for as long as you like without feeling any pressure to leave.

Browse the Shelves in a Bookstore

With four English bookstores, there are many opportunities to find something that will catch your eye. Perhaps you will find that special book as a remembrance of your visit.

Art Factory Gallery and Studio

Open to the public and located in the ABB Building at Váci út 152-156, it is small enough to enjoy for an hour or longer if you have the time.