A visit to Budapest isn’t complete without a trip to at least one of the city’s thermal baths. The art deco Gellert Spa and Baths are one of the most well known and are absolutely stunning, making them well worth a visit. Here’s a guide to what you need to know if you’re planning to go.
Gellert Baths are located on the Buda side of the city, just next to the Danube river. They’re close to the Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) and the Szent Gellért tér Metro stop is located just outside.
The building is also a hotel and has the name emblazoned in large letters on the front. The Gellert Baths are located to the side of the main building (to the right if you’re approaching from the bridge).
Cost of visiting Gellert thermal baths
The price of visiting Gellert Baths depends on if you’re visiting on a weekday or weekend and whether you want to hire a locker or a cabin. I paid for an adult ticket on a Sunday with a cabin, the most expensive ticket you can purchase, for 5900 Hungarian Forint (about £16). You’re given a wristband that resembles a Swatch to wear during your time in the pool, and this also unlocks your cabin and locker. You’re allocated a cabin by the staff when you enter the changing area.
A cabin provides you with a small changing area and a larger space to keep your belongings and it is recommended that you get one between a couple (with the other person paying the locker only price of 5500 HUF (about £15) for their admission costs). It’s worth noting that there won’t be enough space for both of you to get changed at once in the cabin!
Although you can bring your own towels, you can also hire them at Gellert Baths. You’ll find the desk just before you leave the changing area to go into the pools, and this can get busy so you may have to queue for a few minutes.
Hiring a towel costs 1000 HUF (about £2.75) and you also need to leave a 2000 HUF deposit (£5.50) which is given back when you return the towels. You can also hire bathrobes and swimming costumes (for both men and women) at this desk too. You need to scan your entry wristband to hire any items. You can also purchase slippers to wear and swimming caps (swimming caps are mandatory for the main indoor pool).
The Gellert Baths complex has a number of pools, both indoor and outdoor. The first pool you will reach is the large main pool, which is mainly for swimming. This is about 27 degrees C and a swimming cap is required to enter it. Walk along the side of the main pool to a door and follow it through the treatment room to find two stunning thermal pools. One is a pleasant 36 degrees C and the other is slightly warmer at 40 degrees C.
There are also the outdoor pools to visit – even in winter! The large wave pool isn’t open during the winter months, but walk past it and up the stairs and you find a 36 degrees C outdoor pool. It’s particularly lovely in the winter months to climb into the warm water after being so cold outside – and getting out isn’t that bad either once you’re warmed up! There’s also a sauna with a cold plunge pool located next to the pool.
On a weekend, the baths get busier as the day goes on, so if you want to experience it during a quieter period you should go earlier rather than later. It’s also worth noting that it does seem to cater more for adults than families – although some children were present during our Sunday afternoon visit, they were firmly in a minority as most of the clientele seemed to be couples or small groups of friends.
A visit to Gellert Baths is a wonderful way to spend a few hours relaxing in Budapest. Enjoying the warm water surrounded by stunning architecture is simply a must for any visitor to the Hungarian capital.
Gellert Baths and Spa, H-1118 Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4 – gellertbath.com.