In my many trips over numerous decades (yes decades) of traveling to Budapest I have never been to the Széchenyi Baths. It is one of the most famous of many “gyogyfurdos” that is “medicinal baths” in Budapest and throughout Hungary. I finally visited it on this trip and I am glad I did.
Built in 1913 Széchenyi Baths is a complex made up of eighteen pools of which three are outdoors. The three outdoor pools are open all year, including winter. Indoors are many more pools as well as massages and other medical treatments. Thermal springs provide the heated mineral water used in the pools.
Outdoor pools: The three outdoor pools are by far my favorite because they are the largest in the complex and also because the architecture surrounding the pools is most dramatic. One of the pools is set up for lap swimming and the other for lounging in the heated mineral water. The third pool is a fun or leisure pool was undergoing renovations (Spring 2018) so we didn’t get a chance to use it.
Indoor pools: There are over ten indoor pools varying in size. Some are as small as a large hot tub or jacuzzi. One of three largest is used for aerobics classes which seemed to be offered throughout the day. Another has a circular current where you can run/jog in a circle.
Other amenties: There are multiple steam and sauna rooms where you can work up a really good sweat. Showers near the middle of the complex have special features such a a rain shower, aroma shower, and ice water shower. Massages and mud baths can be booked as an add on.
Details: There are many cabins for changing and storing your belongings that are a separate (reasonable) charge . I recommend getting a cabin. It can be easily be shared among 2-3 people (perhaps not all changing at the same time though!). Towels, bathrobes and bathing caps can be rented for a fee but bring your own to avoid the hassle of renting then returning the items. Only the outdoor lap pool requires a bathing cap.
Food and Drink: There is a larger cafeteria and a few smaller food stalls near the outdoor pools. You can take money down to the outdoor pools to buy food and drinks at the “Bufe” since there are free (small) lockers to store valuables while at the outdoor pool (the indoor pools do not have these). The selection of food is typically Hungarian – heavy on the meat and starch. Beer and other alcoholic drinks are available.
Don’t be afraid to go on a slightly cool day! That is an ideal time to go because the pools use thermal springs. The water in the lounging pool is quite warm. If you go, let me know how you like it! It is a unique experience!