The largest spa city in the world
Whether you are an experienced spa enthusiast or a first timer you will be impressed by Budapest, as there are over 120 hot springs in the city. Budapest earned the title 'City of Baths' in 1934, but its rich spa heritage dates back to prehistoric times. The first people to ever take advantage of the hot springs were the Romans, who introduced the basis of the bathing customs in Hungary between the first century BC and fifth century AD, when Hungary was part of the Roman Empire. Today, you can see the remains of the Roman bath complexes in Aquincum, Óbuda.
We can thank the Turks for being the first to turn Budapest's thermal springs into bathhouses. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Turks used the city's baths as a significant part of their Muslim culture, for social gatherings and ritual cleansing. While most of the baths you'll see in Budapest today have been modified and modernized, it's still possible to see the original Turkish domes and pools in the famous Rudas and Király Baths.
The 19th century brought advancements in deep drilling and medical science, which paved the way for an even further rise in bathing culture. Grand spas such as Gellért, Lukács and Széchenyi remain as evidence of this rebirth in popularity.
These days, bath operators are always looking for ways to improve, constantly modernizing their facilities and expanding their services to suit the times. Hungary is now home to 160 public baths, 50 of which are qualified as thermal spas. Budapest's waters are warm and rich in minerals, with healing powers that are considered to work as cures for rheumatic pains, arthritis and muscle pains. In addition, baths offer every type of balneal and physical therapy.
As of 2010, October 9 has been declared the 'Day of Hungarian Bath Culture' by the Hungarian Baths Association. On this day most baths offer a 50% discount on admission. Another popular event in Budapest is the 'Night of Baths', organized twice a year, when the city's historic baths, Széchenyi, Gellért, Lukács, Rudas and Király stay open until dawn.
No visit to the 'City of Baths' is complete without a dip in one of its famous baths. For detailed info on the most popular baths and spas in Budapest check out or Budapest Baths page.
You may also be interested in Spa Hotels in Budapest.