Rudas Baths

The Rudas is one of Budapest's famous Turkish baths

Rudas Baths
The octagonal Turkish pool
Budapest

Why visit: thermal baths, drinking fountain, Turkish bath, architecture, history

A Brief History of Rudas Baths

Rudas (Rudas fürdő) is a Turkish-style bathhouse that was built in the 1560s by the Pasha of Buda, Sokullu Mustafa. During the time of the Ottoman occupation, Turkish-style bathing culture flourished in Hungary and many steam baths were built. Rudas is one of the oldest and most beautiful baths in Budapest and to date it retains many of the key elements of a Turkish bath, exemplified by its dome and octagonal pool. Throughout the years several extensions were added to the core building. The swimming pool was built in 1896. In the past, following Turkish traditions, Rudas was exclusively for men only. Today, it is open to both sexes on the weekends and there is also a women-only day during the week.

Rudas was used as a location in the 1988 action movie Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi.

Visiting Rudas Baths

Rudas Baths

The Turkish pool

I visited the Rudas Thermal Baths on ladies' day, which is every Tuesday. Weekends are coed and all areas are open to everyone while the rest of the weekdays are men-only. Upon purchasing my thermal bath ticket I got a watch-like plastic armband (that grants access to a locker and the pool area), a sheet and an apron like cloth (which offers a vestige of cover). The sheet comes in handy when going from pool to pool and in the sauna. In the dressing room the armband opens and closes the locker assigned to you by simply touching the lock with it. You can disrobe here and leave your things in the locker. You can wear your bathing suit, the apron like cloth or nothing more than your birthday suit. On single sex days clothing is optional and many people, especially the locals, will go nude. Bring a towel, flip-flops and a bottle of water and be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

The thermal bath area consists of 6 thermal pools varying in size and temperature. The thermal baths are beautiful, with the octagonal Turkish pool, sparkling in the dim light beneath the dome, being the prettiest. The pools range in temperature from 42°C/114°F down to 16°C/62°F. I opted to go from the very hot to the very cold, which was especially refreshing. There are dry and steam saunas located near the pools to further enhance the experience and there's a resting area with deck-chairs to relax.

Rudas Baths

The Classicist-style swimming pool

Should you fancy a swim, there's a large swimming pool underneath a beautiful, two-story, Classicist-style building, an addition dating back to the 19th century. The water temperature here is 29°C/88°F.

The bath's thermal water is known for its healing powers, but you don't have to have any ailments to enjoy it. The hot spring feeding the Rudas Baths is rich in calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulfate and sodium. This is why a light smell of minerals permeates the rooms. The thermal waters are recommended to cure degenerative illnesses of joints, chronic and semi-acute arthritis, and calcium deficiency of the bone system. Physiotherapy and a series of balneal therapies are offered and various massages are also available.

Visiting Rudas Baths is unlike any other experience. In operation since the 16th century, the Turkish-style bathing traditions were kept here throughout the years. The Turkish bathing traditions and architecture add character and a sense of history. On Fridays and Saturdays the thermal pools and the swimming pool are open late for nighttime bathing. It's a fun way to take a dip in one of the oldest thermal baths in Budapest. Rudas has always been one of my favorite Turkish baths and I am sure you won't be disappointed either.

Admission fees in 2014:
A day pass with a cabin costs HUF 3,000 during the week and HUF 3,300 on the weekends. Friday & Saturday night bathing tickets are HUF 3,700.
A 30-minute aroma massage is HUF 4,100.

Opening hours:
Swimming pool and wellness section (coed)
Monday - Sunday: 6 am to 8 pm
Friday & Saturday: night bathing from 10 pm to 4 am

Thermal pools
Monday - Sunday: 6 am to 8 pm
Friday & Saturday: night bathing from 10 pm to 4 am

Men only days: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Women only days: Tuesdays
Saturdays and Sundays: coed

Rudas Baths

The rooftop pool

Getting to Rudas Baths:
Take streetcars 18 or 19 to Döbrentei tér.

New: The Rudas Restaurant & Bar, featuring a Turkish-Hungarian fusion kitchen, is now open. Rudas Restaurant & Bar is located in a new wing of the historic thermal bath, which opened its doors in September 2014. In addition, Rudas has a brand new wellness area with four new pools (including a 42°C/114°F thermal pool and a 11°C/52°F plunge pool), and a rooftop terrace with a rooftop pool.

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Posted in: Budapest Tours & Activities » Budapest Baths

tags: buda side activities budapest baths turkish architecture