Published: September 08 2023
Budapest, often referred to as the 'City of Baths', is renowned for its thermal springs, which have a long history dating back to Roman times. Among these, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Gellért Thermal Bath hold the most significant historical value.
Széchenyi Thermal Bath
The Széchenyi Thermal Bath, sprawling across an area of 6,500 square meters, is one of the largest bath complexes in Europe. Founded in 1913, this neo-baroque bath complex boasts an impressive structure complete with 18 pools, 10 saunas and steam chambers. Its thermal spring was discovered in 1878, and the bath was constructed in response to the growing public demand for 'health through water' at the time.
The Széchenyi Thermal Bath played a vital role during World War I, serving as a hospital and providing relief to injured soldiers. Despite suffering severe damage during the war, the bath complex was repaired and has since been a key spot for tourists and locals seeking a historic dip.
Gellért Thermal Bath
Gellért Thermal Bath, established in 1918, is another historic bath in Budapest renowned for its striking art nouveau architecture. Built on the site of earlier Ottoman-era thermal baths, Gellért Thermal Bath is particularly valued for being one of the few remaining testimonies of the Turkish presence in Hungary during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The bath complex, which has 13 pools and a multitude of sauna and steam rooms, continues to retain its historical value. Even though the structure suffered massive damage during World War II, it was rebuilt and has since been a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Indeed, both Széchenyi and Gellért Thermal Baths hold deep historical roots, each carrying a unique imprint of the turbulence and restoration Budapest has weathered over the centuries. Soaking in these baths provides more than just physical healing; it connects you to the historic pulse of the city, making your visit a truly memorable one.