If you go to Budapest and only do one thing this would be the one I recommend. Visiting Széchenyi Baths was the absolute highlight of our trip and I could easily have visited more than once during our weekend stay.
I’d thought that visiting the biggest and most popular baths would be a mistake but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Being the biggest baths meant there were multiple pools to choose from both inside and out. Of course it was busy but I felt the people added to the experience and atmosphere, especially as it was New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve at Széchenyi Baths
We arrived around 2pm and after queuing for about 30 minutes we were finally told the baths were full and that those at the back of the line wouldn’t get in before their early closing time. Luckily we were at the front and were inside the baths a mere 10 minutes later. We only had the option of buying a locker ticket, however, they also have cabin tickets which would be much easier and were only a difference of £1.
After changing and carefully storing our things in a locker we headed through the indoor pools to the freezing outside. Of course before we actually got in the water I wanted to make the most of the beautiful view and take a thousand pictures. Stepping onto the concrete ground was like putting your feet into pools of ice. Thankfully JP humoured me for a while and let me take photos, before finally making my put the camera away and get warmed up.
As we jumped into the baths the steam was fizzing from the pool, my toes tingled having been so cold while I took photos. The water was as hot as a bath and you certainly forgot all about the chilly air temperature. Although the pools were busy we had a great time wading about finding out way around the pools. After getting ourselves acquainted we realised everyone had bottles of Hungarian sparkling wine and were getting in to the swing of New Year’s Eve, realising we couldn’t beat them, we joined them. At around £10 a bottle we couldn’t really complain either.
We spent the rest of our time at the baths hoping between the two outside pools and the bar. Watching the sunset on the final day of 2017 from a steaming hot pool was a lovely experience. I’d certainly recommend visiting in day light and twilight as the baths looked magical during this time. We did briefly dip into one of the saunas but the indoor baths remained unexplored as we were ushered to the lockers just as we made our way inside.
Everything you need to know
->Entry will cost you 5700ft for a locker or 6200ft for a cabin over the weekend and slightly less in the week. This allows you entry for as long as you want and you can pay in cash or with card. A locker ticket is exactly what it says, access to a locker to store your belongings. A cabin is a lockable changing room meaning you can leave your things where you get changed.
->There are three different entrances, two are cabin only entrances and one is a locker only entrance so depending on your ticket type will depend on which entrance you need.
->There are towels, robes, swimming caps etc. available to rent once inside the baths, however, the rental desk is tricky to find. In fact the whole complex is a little tricky to find your way around so be prepared to get lost at least once.
->The dress code in the baths recommends that you wear adequate swimwear. I saw many women in bikinis and men in speedos and board shorts so as long as you are covered up they are pretty relaxed about what you wear.
->If you want to swim in the swimming pool you will have to wear a swimming cap.
->There are lockers inside and out so if you want to take your phone, money or camera poolside there is somewhere safe to keep it while your in the water.
->There is a bar outside by the baths and they sell a wide range of alcohol at relatively cheap prices.
->If you take a towel I’d suggest not taking a white one as basically every other towel is white and it could be impossible to find again!
->If visiting in the winter I’d still pack flip flops as the floor was freezing cold.
Want to see what the baths are like then check out part of this video
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