Budapest is famous for their baths. Széchenyi Baths is the most well-known for it’s size, beauty and the fact that it’s kind of a tourist trap. Seriously, that place was 90% drunk British men on a stag do. Then there’s Gellért Spa and Baths, an even more beautiful but expensive spa. If you’re looking for a real Hungarian bath experience, I would recommend the lesser known but equally enjoyable Rudas Baths.
Rudas was built in 1550, during the Ottoman rule and is predominantly a therapeutic, medicinal spa with saunas, therapy pools ranging in temperature from 40°c to 16°c, and my personal favourite, a rooftop spa with excellent views of Buda, Pest and the Danube river.One interesting but backwards thing you must keep in mind if you’re planning on visiting Rudas is that the weekend is the only time the spa accepts both men and woman. On Tuesdays, the spa is strictly women and the rest of the week days is strictly men, but even on the weekend, women do not have access to the steam rooms.
I visited on a Saturday. A lot of the spa was made up of couples but I did find enjoyment in the fact that after I dived into the ice pool (with literal ice cubes floating around), several Hungarian men jumped in too to impress each other. Silly boys. You can’t get that kind of entertainment in an all-women’s all-men spa, Budapest. Step up your game.
Overall, Rudas is a much cheaper option than Széchenyi and Gellért (an adult ticket is 1,900 HUF) and offers an entirely different, more authentic experience of Budapest.