Carla Miller recently travelled to Central Europe with Contiki Holidays and shares her experience at the famous Thermal baths in Budapest:
I recently travelled to Central Europe with Contiki where we ended our trip in beautiful Budapest, Hungary. At the end of a very fun and busy week of sightseeing through Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a relaxing day was definitely in order. I decided to try out one of the famous Thermal baths in Budapest and opted for the Gellért Baths.
I had heard they were decorated in the art nouveau style which is a personal favourite of mine. Most of our group also visited Baths on this day, but decided to visit the other major Bath in town, the grand Széchenyi Baths. As I wanted to fully enjoy the baths, I decided it was best to do this one on my own, being able to enjoy the quiet and peace a nice warm bath with strangers can bring. An additional bonus to picking the Gellért baths, was that I could walk back to my hotel afterwards in about half an hour, and to do so, I got to walk across a beautiful bridge which connects you from Buda (where the spa is located) to Pest (where my hotel is located) over the Danube river.
The Gellért baths are an absolute must for any visitor to Budapest. The exterior of the building is absolutely beautiful, and the baths are incredibly relaxing. For 4400 forint (about $22 CAD) you have a private change cabana and access to the spa’s thermal baths, including a co-ed area as well as individual areas for men and women. Don’t be alarmed when you purchase your pass, if you opt not to pay the extra 400 forint, you will need to change into your swimsuit in an open area by your locker. However, I chose the private cabana for the extra 400 forint and found it was well worth the extra $2!
I decided to first try out the co-ed swimming pool it should be noted you will need a swimming cap for the pool which you can purchase there for 100 forint- 50 cents CAD). After a few laps around the cool pool, I made my way over to the co-ed hot tub where I met some friendly Americans. I decided to explore the large women-only facilities where you will find two thermal hot baths, (one at 36 degrees, the other at 38 degrees), drinking fountains spouting cool thermal water continuously, a sauna also at 2 temperatures, HOT and much HOTTER, a steam room, many showers and also a cold dipping bath. You will also find many older rubenesque nude Hungarian Women in the women’s only section.
I spent two glorious hours at the baths, taking in all the healing properties of the waters and watching the local women trying to figure out which order I should follow when it came to the baths, steam room, sauna and cold dipping bath. At the end of the day, I felt like a million bucks, and was wishing I could visit the baths on a weekly basis as the Hungarians do.
Looking for more information on travelling to Central Europe or with Contiki Holidays? Carla Miller is an Assistant Manager at our Promenade Mall location in Ontario and can be reached by e-mail or calling 1-888-709-3330