While I was researching things to do, I spent a bunch of time reading about the bath and spa culture in Budapest. There are a number of baths in Budapest but my walking tour guide said the Gellert Spa was the most beautiful so I decided to take a walk down there on my second day in Budapest.
I’d been carrying my bathing suit stuffed in the bottom of my bag for two days and now it was finally getting used! I was going to the baths! I was going to force myself to stop, drop, and relax… something I’m not really good at when I’m traveling, but I was there and I was going to do it. However, my advice to you is to research what you want to pay for once you get there.
I walked down the Danube, passing by the Liberty Statue and the Citadel, and walked into the Gellert Hotel and asked to pay for entry to the baths. I was given a bracelet and was pointed in the direction of the changing rooms. I changed in an area partitioned off by a curtain and then put my purse and clothes in a wooden locker which was then locked by an attendant. (Note: I was pretty sure that was last time I was going to see my bag but carpe diem, right? Spoiler: It was fine. Nothing was stolen!)
I spent maybe half an hour soaking and trying not to feel awkward being at a thermal bath by myself. There were all ages and sizes of people there. No one seemed to be particularly concerned with how they looked. They were simply there to relax.
I also went into the steam room, which I did enjoy. Except when a guy would soak a towel and swing it around to create more steam (who am I kidding, it was fun after I got used to it!).
BUT once I was ready to leave, I went searching for the towels. I wasn’t handed one when I paid for my entry into the baths so I assumed they’d be in the locker rooms or in the actual pool areas. I walked around several times and spoke to several employees of the Gellert whose English wasn’t great (this was just a fact and I’d like to state here that I’m not one of those people who thinks the world should know how to speak English, k?) and was then informed that I hadn’t actually paid for a towel. I’d paid for entry into the baths but that was it – I think, that was the most I could gather with the language barrier. I also found a much fancier locker room with legit lockers.
Looking at the price list on their website now, I’m still confused. I can only imagine that the option for “entry plus cabin” comes with a towel.
I enjoyed my quick break at the Gellert Baths but I plan on doing way more research before I take advantage of the thermal baths in Reykjavik in September. If you’ve had a successful trip to the baths at Gellert, let me know how your experience was!
Both photos in this post were taken by a nice European woman who was heading into the baths after I’d already drip-dried. I’d forgotten to buy a waterproof camera case and didn’t want to bring my camera into the baths with me for obvious reasons, so I asked a woman who was going in if she wouldn’t mind taking a few photos for me. As it turns out, Hungarians are more than happy to oblige the photo needs of silly Americans.