Budapest, Hungary

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Aug 2017

Thermal Baths on Sunny Days

It was my birthday that day, an unbearably hot day because of the heat wave. I had just feasted on an inexpensive, unpretentious and hearty meat fare – exactly my kind of treat. Then my partner and I had planned to visit the infamous bathhouses to see what the rave was about.

I first learned from my Airbnb host that these bathhouses were thermal baths. Hot bath? On a summer day like this? These bathhouses were a tradition from the Roman times and flourished after the Turkish occupation, for its healing powers and meditation effects derived from the natural spring waters.

We visited the Gellert Spa and Baths, one of the biggest ones with an assortment of beauty treatments, salt chambers, massages, private baths and a modern wave pool. The architecture was one of Art Nouveau, which is characterized with floral and plant facades, and mosaic tiles. We began our experience at the Atrium, which is the central part of the complex.

On the left and right of the Atrium were a collection of sauna rooms and pools of various sizes and temperatures. Outside the Atrium, there was a large wave pool surrounded by a few sauna dipping buckets at 20 Celsius and a wooden sauna house.

It was like navigating a maze, dipping in the steaming 30 Celsius pools, 40 Celsius sauna rooms and back to the steaming pools, all the while marveling at the architecture and taking shameless selfies.

By the time we finished, we had already been there for a good few hours. Budapest was such a fun city to explore and this thermal bath experience just made my birthday even better.