Things to do in Budapest

6 of the Best Budapest Thermal Baths

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Dubbed the ‘City of Baths’ or the “Spa City”, Budapest is a city rich with thermal springs, many of them dating way back to the 16th century. A haven for spa and wellness lovers, ‘taking the waters’ is as routine as buying groceries. No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to the historical baths, but the important question is “Which Bath?”. While there are many baths in Budapest, if you're in the city for a short period of time, you will be able to hit only a few of the Budapest baths. Hence, knowing the Top Baths in Budapest will help you hit the best baths in Budapest and make the most of your time. Here’s our take on each of the best thermal baths in Budapest and we hope that after going through your options, you can make an informed choice.

History of the Baths in Budapest


With more than 100 thermal springs in Budapest, the city it boasts of the largest of the largest water cave systems. It's natural then, that it's earned the title of 'City of Spas'. The ancient Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans had the same idea as each of the empires that Budapest was under, established various baths and spas across the city.

The culture of baths is actually centuries old in the city, and while it did see some ups and downs over the years, it was revived in the 1500s with the arrival of Ottomans and retained till the present day. In fact, The Romans colonized the western banks of the Danube and established the then capital city of Aquincum, which literally means 'healing waters'. They used the presence of these geothermal springs to their full advantage and built sprawling bath complexes across the city as they expanded. The ruins of these Roman baths can still be seen in Budapest today, an example of which is the Thermae Maiores.

The city also saw the presence of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 150 years. Their arrival revived the bathculture in Budapest, as they began to establish bathhouses again. While back then, it was only open to men, and was often used for political meetings, debates and for the military, today, anyone can use them. The Turkish legacy can be seen in the presence of the still-standing and functioning spas such as the Király, the oldest of them all, and Rudas Baths.

Even after the Ottomans were defeated in 1699 and Hungary was ceded to the Habsburgs, the city continued to maintain these spas and build new ones. In 1934, the title of "City of Spas" was officially bestowed upon Budapest and these baths continue to draw thousands of tourists over the year.

Best Baths in Budapest


The thermal baths are water from the geothermal springs in the city. They have a chemical composition, largely of fluoride, calcium and sulfates along with other minerals, and are historically known for healing certain muscle degenerative conditions. If nothing, they are simply an excellent place to unwind and relax, far from the daily hustle and bustle. Amongst the 120 thermal baths, we have narrowed down the Best 6 Baths in Budapest, based on the facilities offered and different kinds of experiences each of them can bring to your visit.

1Széchenyi Baths

Spa Parties Largest Medicinal Baths in EuropeHeated Outdoor Pools All Year Round

Széchenyi Bath is the largest medicinal bath in Europe with 15 lavish thermal baths and 3 swimming pools supplied by two thermal springs. Built in the Neo-Baroque style, these baths costs approximately 3.9 million Austro-Hungarian Krona. Covering an area of 6220 square meters, the bath lies in the City Park, the biggest green park of of Budapest and is supplied by two thermal springs. A whirlpool of activity, locals are seen playing chess on floating boards even while it is snowing and their Sparties ( spa- parties) every Saturday are amongst the most popular parties in town. Sparties go on till 3 AM and feature film screenings along with dance parties and laser shows.

Best Time to Visit
In the morning, before 10
Timings
Daily, 7 AM to 7 PM

Sparties!

These happen on most Saturday evenings in the summer, and last almost until 2 or 3 a.m. into the night. Tickets can be purchased in advanced, and the Duo Tickets are some of the most popular.

Thelasso Therapy

A one of a kind therapy that uses seawater in treatments, the Széchenyi Baths offer a variety of packages for you to make use of.

Mineral Rich Water

The water in these baths is sourced naturally from thermal springs, drawn from almost 1256 metres below the ground's surface. And so, of course, these waters are rich in minerals like sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate and fluoride, among the many others.

Heated pools throughout the year

No matter the season, the water in the pools are always warm because their natural temperature is a staggering 77 degree celsius. They are of course cooled to sustain the human body, but these pools are warm even when it's snowing!

Number of Pools and Baths

11 indoor thermal pools, 1 indoor swimming pool, 1 outdoor adventure pool, 4 additional indoor pools

Facilities available

Saunas, massages, swimming lessons, fitness center.

Nature of Bath

Co-ed.

Get Directions
View Map
Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146, Budapest, Hungary

Vajdahunyad Castle

The City Park, spread over 302 acres in the centre of Budapest, not only houses the baths itself but also the Vajdahunyad Castle, which is only a 5 minute walk from the baths. The beauty of the castle is that the architect, Ignác Alpár, designed so that it features several of Budapest's iconic landmarks, including that of the Hunyad Castle, then part of the empire, now in Romania.

Budapest Zoo

Also a 5 minute walk from the baths, is the Budapest Zoo, famed for it's Elephant House. It's one of the oldest in the world and is home to over 10000 animals from across 1072 species.

Museum of Fine Arts

7 minutes away from the baths, the Museum of Fine Arts houses over 100,000 artworks. Among some of the must-see pieces in the museum are studies by da Vinci for his painting, Battle of Anghiari, and 15 drawings by Rembrandt. The second largest collection of Egyptian art in central Europe is also on display here.

2Gellért Baths

Most Popular in Budapest Plunge Pools

The Gellért Bath is more than a century old, and is one of the most grandiose of all the baths in Budapest. It is a part of the famous Hotel Gellért on the Buda side of Danube and is constructed in the Art Nouveau architectural style. The construction style makes it a relaxing and visually appealing retreat. Healing properties about the water in this region have been referred to since as early as the 13th century. Despite the high ticket prices, tourists flock to this bath hence be prepared to stand in queues unless you grab the skip the line tickets.

Best Time to Visit
In the morning, between 9 AM and 11 AM
Timings
Daily, 9 AM to 7 PM

Effervescent Pools

Over 200 square metres in size, the effervescent pools are quite comfortably warm. Can be a very relaxing experiencing given that it'll be bubbling while you swim!

Plunge Pools

Segregated by gender, these plunge pools are perfect to lounge in on a summer day.

Grandest of them all!

Part of a hotel, the Gellért Bath is the grandest of them all, with a spectacular façade in the Art Nouveau style.

Number of Pools and Baths

8 thermal baths, 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, wave pool ( only open on sunny days from May and September )

Facilities available

Steam-bath, Finnish sauna, underwater water jet massage, aroma and foot massage, hot stone massage, classic thai massage, herbal bath, red wine bath, private bathing for couples with a separate sauna.

Nature of Bath

Co-ed.

Get Directions
View Map
Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118, Budapest, Hungary

Liberty Bridge

The shortest bridge in the city, connecting Buda and Pest over the Danube. Built in 1896, it was originally built based off of plans created for a design competition in 1893 in the Art Nouveau style. Originally called the Francis Joseph Bridge after the ruling king, it was renamed to Liberty Bridge after reconstruction post World War II to mark the liberation of Hungary. You can walk over this bridge in a maximum of fifteen minutes and get to the Pest side of the city!

Gellért Hill Cave

Only a 3-minute walk from the bath, these are a network of caves within the Gellért Hill, with a chapel on the inside! With a history connected to that of the thermal waters itself, the chapel inside the cave has seen the rule of the Soviet while Hungary was a vassal state, as well as the Nazi occupation before it.

Central Market Hall

Located on the other side of the Liberty Bridge at Fövám Square, this 19th century market is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. Spanning over 10,000 square meters, it is a three-storeyed market, with its ground floor selling items that tourists often buy, paprika, salami and Tokaji wine being amongst the most popular.

The Liberty Statue

Ten minutes away from the baths, the Liberty Statue is a war memorial initially erected in thanks to the Soviet Army's liberation of Hungary from the Nazis at the end of Second World War. But after the Soviet occupation, the inscription thanking the Red Army was modified to pay tribute to everyone who lost their lives to gain Hungary its independence. A minimalist structure on top the Gellért Hill, your uphill hike will also be treat in the form of amazing scenery of the city and the Danube.

3Rudas Baths

Budapest Bath Guide - Rudas
Rooftop Thermal Baths Warmest Thermal Bath in Budapest

The Rudas Baths is a Turkish style bath built in 1550 during the Turkish Era. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful baths in the city and retains many of the key elements of a Turkish bath, exemplified by its dome and octagonal pool. The bath's thermal water is known for its healing powers making it a popular choice amongst tourists. In the past, Rudas Bath was exclusively for men, but today, it is open to both sexes on the weekend and there is a women-only day during the week as well.

Best Time to Visit
Between 6 AM and 9 AM
Timings
Daily, 6 AM to 8 PM; Night bathing on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm to 3 am

Rooftop Thermal Baths

The main attraction of this bath, the rooftop thermal pools are located on the southern side of the roof. Patrons can view the Danube as they soak in the waters.

Octagonal Pool

After the rooftop thermal baths, it's ocatgonal pool with a Turkish dome overhead is it's primary claim-to-fame.

Warmest Thermal Bath in Budapest

At 29 degree celsius, Rudas is one of the warmest baths in the city, and a medicinal pool at 42 degree celsius, hottest in the city. It draws it's waters from nearly 21 thermal springs located around it.

Rich History

Almost 300 years old, this is one of the oldest functioning institutions not just in the city, but in the country! With mentions dating back to as early as 1292, these baths were known for their healing properties. The bath has seen Budapest exchange hands from the Archbishop, to the Ottomans, as well as the Nazis and Soviet rule. Some of the oldest elements of the baths still remain, like the arches, basins and green upholding the octagonal dome.

Location for Arnold Schwarzenegger's Red Heat

The opening scene of the 1988 movie Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi was filmed here!

Number of Pools and Baths

6 thermal pools, 5 wellness pools, 1 swimming pool and 1 rooftop pool.

Facilities available

Sauna World and Wellness area, massage, including skin firming, medical, deep nourishing massage, underwater jet massage, pedicure

Nature of Bath

Attached Swimming Pool: Co-Ed
Turkish Bath (Men Only) Monday, Wednesday, Thursday all day and Friday until 12.45 PM
Turkish Bath (Women Only): Tuesday
Turkish Bath (Co-Ed): Friday from 1 PM, all of Saturday and Sunday.

Get Directions
View Map
9 Döbrentei Square, 1013 Budapest

The Várnegyed

A fifteen minute walk from the baths, the Várnegyed is known for still retaining its medieval, Baroque and neoclassical structures. Here, you will also be able to see the Baroque-style historical complex that housed the Hungarian kings - the Buda Castle. The castle now houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Apart from this, points of interest in the Várnegyed are the Viennese Gate, the Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion.

Gerard of Csanád Monument

Statue erected in honour of a 11th century monk on top of a hill with excellent views of the Danube. Gerard was the first Bishop of Csanád in the kingdom of Hungary, he is considered one of the patron saints of Hungary for his role in introducing Christianity to the Greek-speaking diocese of Csanád. It's only two minutes away from the baths.

Semmelweiss Museum

Eight minutes away from the baths, this is the birth place of the famous Hungarian physician, Ignaz Semmelweiss, a gynecologist who is known for pioneering antiseptic procedures. The museum itself houses innumerable medicinal artefacts, some even dating back to prehistoric times.

4Veli Bej

Budapest Bath Guide - Rudas
QuietOldest Turkish Bath in Budapest

Formerly known as Császár Bath, Veli Bej is one of the oldest Turkish Baths in the city. Oozing with an old world charm yet equipped with 21st century spa facilities, this spa is the less touristy than other Baths in Budapest making it a popular choice for those who want to stay away from tourist hordes and enjoy some quiet time bathing away the cares of the world. Veli bej was recently renovated, hence it is in excellent shape. Moreover, they do not allow over 80 people inside at a time, hence if the bath is full, you are put on a waiting list.

Best Time to Visit
Between 6 AM and 11 AM, or between 7 PM and 9 PM
Timings
6 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 9 PM

Oldest Turkish Bath in Budapest

Commissioned by Pasha Szokullu Musztafa, this used to be one of the most beautiful baths of its time. The octagonal pool with skylights are one of its most lauded features.

Less touristy

Popular among the locals, it's one of the more quieter baths in Hungary. It has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.

Number of Pools and Baths

1 big central pool, 4 small pools, 1 indoor swimming pool

Facilities available

Finnish, infra and steam saunas, kneipp bath, jacuzzi, massage

Nature of Bath

Co-Ed.

Get Directions
View Map
7 Árpád Fejedelm Way, 1023 Budapest

Gül Baba Türbe and Rosegarden

About 15-minutes away from the baths, is the mausoleum of Gül Baba, a member of the Bektás Dervish Order, who died in Ottoman Buda in 1541. He was posthumously awarded the title of the wali, the patron saint, of the city when he died during the conquest of of Budapest by Suleiman the Magnificent. It is the northernmost Islamic pilgrimage site. In 1914, the mausoleum was declared a national museum.

Margaret Island

An island on the Danube, it can be accessed by the Margaret Bridge, about five minutes away from the baths. The island itself has a lot of points of interest, like the Palatinus Baths, the Japanese Garden, the Margaret Island Water Tower that offers a spectacular view of the river and the cities of Buda and Pest, and the ruins of a Franciscan monastery.

Roman Amphitheatre Ruins

Located at a twenty-minute walk from the baths, these ancient roman ruins of an amphitheatre offer a vast expanse of open green fields. The entry is free, and the site is quite popular with dog-owners. They're the perfect location for a relaxed picnic with history!

Lukács Baths

These baths are neighbours to the Veli Bej, and the water from the wells of these baths are what the Veli Bej draws from!

5Dandár Bath

Budapest Bath Guide - Rudas
Hidden GemBare Minimum CrowdsOutdoor Thermal Pools

Refurbished only in recent years, the Dandár Bath is among the least known baths in the city. It is located on the Pest side of the Danube, and has all the facilities that the best-known spas of Budapest are known for. The entry fee is also relatively cheaper, and it is one of the more recently constructed spas in the city. Not so popular with the tourists simply because of the existence of the other grander and busier spas, this is truly a hidden gem in the city.

Best Time to Visit
Any time of the day!
Timings
6 AM to 9 PM from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 9 PM on weekends

Much less crowded

Even on weekends, this quiet bath draws quite a few people. It has all the facilities of the most popular of the spas and none of that crowd! Likely because it's not particularly got as rich a history as the others. So if all you're looking for is a quiet, relaxing day, then this is the place to be!

Outdoor thermal pools

One of it's best features, the outdoor thermal pools make the bath suited for all times of the year. Fitted with waist and back massagers, and neck showers, complete relaxation in these pools is a guarantee.

Number of Pools and Baths

2 indoor pools, 2 outdoor thermal pools

Facilities available

Sauna, aroma massage, medical pedicures, steam room, plunge pool and a relaxation area

Nature of Bath

Co-Ed.

Get Directions
View Map
Dandár u. 3, 1095, Budapest

Zwack Museum and the Unicum Factory

Merely a minute's walk away, the Zwack Museum showcases the history of the Zwack family, famous for their manufacture of the Zwack Liquer. You can also take a guided tour of the factory!

Hungarian Natural History Museum

Dating back to 1802, this museum houses a mindblowing number of natural history artefacts. Though most of its botanical collections and paleontological collections suffered heavily during the Second World War and Soviet occupation, it's Department of Anthropology, is one of the ten largest collections in Europe. It's about 18 minutes walk away from the baths.

The Ludwig Museum

One of the twelve Ludwig Museums in the world, it is a museum of contemporary art, 10 minutes away from the baths. It is Hungary's only museum dedicated to collection and display of modern art.

6Lukács Baths

Budapest Bath Guide - Rudas
Best Spot to Mingle with the Locals

The Lukács Thermal Bath is the most popular bath amongst the locals, so if you’re looking to mingle with locals, this is where you ought to head. If you have a Budapest Card, you gain free entry here. It is a popular choice amongst the literary circle as you see many writers and artists lounging here. The Sauna World here is said to be the best sauna in town too. You also have the party goers as they host fabulous DJ nights and laser shows on Saturday nights from October - December.

Best Time to Visit
Between 7 AM and 10 AM
Timings
Daily 7 AM to 7 PM

Kneipp Pool

A form of hydrotherapy involving hot and cold water that strengthens blood vessels and helps blood circulation.

Mingle with the locals

A popular bath amongs the locals, if you want an insider's opinion and advice about the city of Budapest, this is the place to be!

Rich history!

The use of these baths can be traced back to as early as the 12th century. The Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order, frequented these baths. It has also been found that one of the interior walls was once shared by an Ottoman powder mill, which used the hot spring water as a source of power.

The Himalayan Salt Chamber

This is said to cure respiratory illnesses. A device releases microscopic particles of the salt, which when inhaled, is said to help the respiratory system and even help with lung-related conditions like bronchitis and asthma. Also called Salt Therapy, thi is because these fine particles are said to absorb allergens, irritants and toxins from the lungs.

Number of Pools and Baths

4 thermal pools, 2 outdoor swimming pools, 1 outdoor adventure pool, 1 wave pool.

Facilities available

Sauna World with Finnish, infra, steam, naturist and salt saunas, Himalaya salt wall, igloo, tepidarium, heated roman seats, mud treatment, massage, including aroma, refreshing, medical and under water jet massage, private bathing for couples.

Nature of Bath

Co-Ed.

Get Directions
View Map
25–29 Frankel Leó Way, 1023 Budapest

Gül Baba Türbe and Rosegarden

About 15-minutes away from the baths, is the mausoleum of Gül Baba, a member of the Bektás Dervish Order, who died in Ottoman Buda in 1541. He was posthumously awarded the title of the wali, the patron saint, of the city when he died during the conquest of of Budapest by Suleiman the Magnificent. It is the northernmost Islamic pilgrimage site. In 1914, the mausoleum was declared a national museum.

Margaret Island

An island on the Danube, it can be accessed by the Margaret Bridge, about five minutes away from the baths. The island itself has a lot of points of interest, like the Palatinus Baths, the Japanese Garden, the Margaret Island Water Tower that offers a spectacular view of the river and the cities of Buda and Pest, and the ruins of a Franciscan monastery.

Roman Amphitheatre Ruins

Located at a twenty-minute walk from the baths, these ancient roman ruins of an amphitheatre offer a vast expanse of open green fields. The entry is free, and the site is quite popular with dog-owners. They're the perfect location for a relaxed picnic with history!

Flippermúzeum

If you're up for walking for 25 minutes, across the Margaret Bridge is the Flipper Museum. Believe it or not, the museum houses a collection of more than 140 pinball machines and vintage arcade games dating from 1947. And the best part? You they're all playable! You can also take the bus (#9) or trams (#4, #6) to the museum, if you would like to cut down your walking period significantly.

Save €6 on your first booking with Headout when you use promo code 'GOBUDA'!


Budapest Bath Prices & Tickets


Best Safety
Full-Day Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa with Locker/Private Cabin
Wellness
Full-Day Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa...
from
€24
Best Safety
Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa with Private Cabin & Massage
Wellness
Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa with Pri...
from
€52
Best Safety
Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa & Dinner Cruise with Live Music
Wellness
Skip the Line Ticket to Széchenyi Spa & Dinner...
from
€71

Best Thermal Baths in Budapest - Széchenyi Baths & Gellért Baths


budapest bath house budapest bath house
Széchenyi Baths
from €94
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Gellért Baths
from €104
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Ticket Inclusions A skip the line access to the Gellért Baths with a full day access to the spa, optional massages and private cabin + Private Locker
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A skip the line access to the Széchenyi Baths with a full day access to the spa, optional massages and private cabin + Private Locker
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The Good
  • Outdoor pools are open throughout the year
  • There are many indoor pools , hence bathing during the winter months is taken care of
  • Entry fee is cheaper than Gellert
  • All pools are co-ed. This allows you to be with your partner, family.
  • It is much bigger in size hence how many ever people turn in, it never gets overly crowded
  • Open hours are longer than Gellert
  • Towel rentals are available
  • Pools have currents and jacuzzi as well

  • Good location in the centre of Budapest
  • Bathe in style inside the Art-Nouveau styled hotel
  • 13 pools in total and indoor warm pools
  • Towel rentals are available
  • Small thermal baths are available for private bookings
  • The modern outdoor pool features a wave machine which gives the feel of a wave pool
  • Access to large terrace above the baths to soak in the summer rays
  • One separate men/women pool
The Bad
  • It is located far from the city centre
  • Lines for locker lines tend to be really long during holiday season
  • If you’re not comfortable being in the pool with the opposite sex, you don’t have the option for a gender-segregated pool.
  • Outdoor pools remain closed during winter
  • Swim caps are mandatory for the central pool which takes away from the experience
  • The baths are on multiple levels and complex to navigate.
  • Lines for lockers tend to be long during peak holiday season
  • More commercialised and touristy making the ticket prices higher

Verdict - Which Budapest Bath should I go for?


This decision depends 2 things:

The kind of experience you are looking for

If you’re looking to experience a Turkish bath, then you have the Rudas and Veli Bej . If you’re looking for a good outdoor bath, then Gellért, Széchenyi or Lukács are your best options. If you’re interested in sauna, we would suggest Lukács as it has the a great complex called the Sauna World. If you’re looking to mingle with the locals and experience the baths like they do, then Lukács is your calling. If you’re want to bathe in a pictursque location, Gellért Baths are hands down the most beautiful of them all. For a traditional and more authentic experience, you can head to the ancient and untouched Király or Veli Bej.

The season of your visit

If you’re in Budapest during summer, you should choose places with the outdoor pools as it is a popular choice. Gellért, Széchenyi or Lukács have big outdoor pools. Rudas too has an outdoor pool but it is smaller in size.

If you’re in Budapest during winter, indoor pools are a better choice and since most of the baths have indoor pools, you can pick any from the lot. Veli Bej has the maximum indoor pools, so if you’re looking to spend time in alternating temperatures, Veli Bej would be a good choice. The outdoor pool at Széchenyi is open year round, so if you want to experience an outdoor pool during your visit in winter, you can head here.

FAQs


Which bath is best in Budapest?

Making this decision would really depend on the season you're visiting, and the kind of experience you're looking for. But given all the baths in Budapest, Schézenyi and Gellért are the most popular among the tourists. 

Are thermal baths safe in Budapest?

Thermal baths can be an extremely relaxing experience, and a must-have if you're in Budapest. An important thing to keep in mind is that due to the chemical composition of the water, it could even be healing experience for people with certain conditions. However, if in doubt, do consult a doctor to make sure.  

Are the Budapest thermal baths open all year?

The baths are open all year round, including on most public holidays. It is recommended to check on their official sites though, just in case, because some baths are closed some days of the week and timings may vary based on holidays.

Can you use the thermal baths in the winter?

Budapest is known for its network of thermal springs under the ground. So all the thermal baths in the city are naturally heated, so even in winter, you'll find that the temperatures are comfortably warm. 

What are Budapest Bath Parties?

Famously known as 'Sparties', Budapest Bath parties draw quite a lot of tourists. All the major bathhouses host these quite frequently, and as a guest, you can dance to quality electronic dance music. Mind-blowing visuals and laser shows are part of these pool parties. It is a pool party, so it is recommended you wear a swimsuit, beach clothes and slippers.

Know Before You Go To The Budapest Baths - Practical Tips


  • As of now, online tickets are available only for Széchenyi and Gellért Baths. For the rest of the baths, you are required to purchase a ticket at the venue.
  • A general admission ticket on HeadOut covers entrance to the bath along with a locker + private cabin and massage option. Cabins are a great option if you have a lot of belongings and if you need privacy while changing. Not all baths have cabins though. Tickets bought at the counter are inclusive of admission only.
  • The baths attract a mix of locals and tourists. Most locals are here to relax or to make benefit of the healing powers of the thermal water. Do respect others space and maintain decorum while using the baths. Splashing water and diving into the pools are not usually appreciated.
  • If you’re pregnant, do check with your doctor before visiting the baths.
  • Children below 14 years of age are not allowed into thermal baths.
  • Water is available in water fountains all around the baths. You can refill your bottles here.
  • Consumption of alcohol or cigarettes is strictly prohibited in all the baths and pools.
  • Some useful items to carry with you: toileteries, bath towels ( cannot be rented in most baths ), bathing cap ( some of the pools require them ), flip flops to walk around comfortably.

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