Recognised as a "Spa City" since the 1930s, Budapest is the only capital city in our network that is also a spa centre; for centuries, a fashionable place for the celebrities of the day. Even in Roman times, with 14 private and public bath houses, it was a centre rivalled only by Rome itself in terms of bathing facilities.
Today, baths, lidos, beaches and spa hotels use the plentiful thermal waters, which flow at a rate of 70 million litres per day from 123 natural hot springs and bore holes at temperatures ranging from 21ºC to 78 ºC, all with different properties and therapeutic benefits. Visitors shouldn't miss iconic facilities like the world famous Gellért baths, the Szèchenyi baths, the Rudas and Király baths (both authentic Turkish ones) or the Palatinus Baths.
The second significant period came with the Turkish occupation (1541-1686). Many municipal buildings were erected over the springs of medicinal waters; the bath of Aga, called the Muddy bath, at the place of present Gellert Bath, Kücsük ilidzsaszit at the place of present Rác Bath and the Direkli ilidzsaszit at the place of present Rudas Bath. Some of the baths and hamans from that time are still in use today.
The third period falls into the first half of the 1700’s, the age of Enlightenment, when the first studies were completed about the benefits of the hot springs of Buda. In 1762, under the reign of Maria Theresa, it was decreed that mineral waters should “be analyzed and registered at the expense of the Treasury”.
At the beginning of the 1930’s, the world recognized Budapest as the place with the greatest greatest number of healing thermal spring waters, granting the capital with the title of “Spa City”,
In 1937, at the instigation of the Budapest Spa City Society, the first International Congress of Balneology took place here.
The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. It's also the first thermal bath of Pest, built in 1913. It owes its existence to Vilmos Zsigmondy, a mining engineer. On his initiative, some successful deep borings were performed in the City Park, where later, in 1881 already an Artesian bath operated.
The baths are supplied by the Saint Stephen Well Nr.II, whose water are rich in calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonates, also containing sodium and sulphate and with a significant content in fluoride and metaboric acid. They are mainly used to treat arthritis and other locomotor disorders, as well and in rehabilitation thraumathology treatments.
The complex is also house to a famous buvette, flowing water rich in calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, chloride, sulphate, also containing alcalics and a substantial amount of fluoride. Drinking cures here are indicated for gastric and metabolism disorders as well as a remedy for certain gall-bladder ailments.
Perhaps the most famous in Budapest, with its iconic Art Nouveau hotel, the imposing Gellért Thermal Bath was built in 1918. Further facilites and expansion were built in the following years, including the wave pool and the efervescent bath. The first records for the "miraculous" springs can be traced back to the 15th century, and in the 18th it was known as Sárosfürdő ("Mud bath") because of the abundant fine silt depositted at the bottom of the pools harnessing the springs.
Gellért hot mineral waters contain calcium, magnesium and hydrogen-carbonate as well as sulphate-chloride, also containing sodium and with a significant content of fluoride ions. They are indicated for rheumatic diseases, including hernias and athritis as well as neuralgias, vasoconstriction, circulatory conditions, Inhalation are also used to treat respiratory problems.
As outstanding example of Turkish Baths dating back to the 16th centuy, when the town was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Is it recognised by the great dome, 10m diameter, sustained by 8 pillars cover the octogonal pool.In the late 19th century (1896) a therapeutic swimming facility and a sauna were added. In its drinking hall, the water of the springs Hungária, Attila and Juventus can be consumed for the purposes of a drinking cure.
The components of slightly radioactive thermal water includes sulfate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride ion. Medical indications of the water is degenerative joint illnesses, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, vertebral disk problems, neuralgia and lack of calcium in the bone system.
In the 12th century, knights of the order of Saint John engaging in curing the sick settled in the area of today's Lukács Bath, followed by the orders of Rhodos and Malta, who built their monastery baths as well. After the Turkish occupation, the bath became the property of the Treasury. In 1884, Fülöp Palotay purchased the bath from the Treasury, thus a series of transformations began. The spa hotel was built, an up-to-date hydrotherapy department was established and the swimming pool was transformed. People wishing to be healed came from all over the world. The drinking cure hall of the Bath was built in 1937. The first department to ensure complex thermal bath facilities (daytime hospital) was established in 1979 in Budapest, in the Lukács Thermal Bath.
Hot spring water with calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate and sulphate, chloride, also containing sodium and with a substantial content of fluoride ions. Therapeutic suggestions: degenerative joint diseases, chronic and sub-acute arthritis, spinal deformity, discus hernia, neuralgia, post-accident rehabilitation, Spa treatments, services
To guarante that the inhabitants of Buda would be able to keep attending the Turkish bath in the case of an eventual siege, Pasha Arslan ordered the construction of Kiraly Baths in 1565 within the wall of the fortress, far from the springs. The baths were, and remain the same today, supplied from the sames in Lukács, connected directly to them.
Király Bath is the oldest one in Budapest, along with Rudas bath. The dim light that filters through the tiny holes in the dome covering the octogonal pools gives the places a fascinating atmosphere.
Budapest thermal waters are perfectly suitable for the manufacturing of various cosmetics. A specific skincare line branded Omorovicza is available at Gellert Baths, maded with the water from these springs.
Another important product is the mud from Kolop, which is used by spas for physiotherapeutical treatments. This mud is recommended for arthritis, muscle pain, orthopedic trauma, and gynecological complaints.
Outdoor pools by night at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths
View of the Hungarian Parliament building upon the Danube river
Wine Festival at Budapest's Castle District
Overview of the Heroes' Square, one of the major landmarks in Budapest
The central indoor pool of Széchenyi Thermal Baths
The Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park of Budapest features different architectural styles
The central octogonal pool of Rudas Thermal Bath is covered by a 10 meter diameter dome
The thermal pool at the Gellért Bath is decorated with the original pyro-granite ornamentation
Fireworks over the Danube river
Private treatment room at Lukács Thermal Bath