The capital city of Hungary is also the world capital of spas, known as the City of Baths (Budapest). Most of the bath houses were started by the Turks 500 years ago, but it was the Romans to first take advantage of the hot springs in the area over 2000 years ago. The thermals springs have a rich history in Budapest. If you’re visiting Budapest, there are a number of well-known thermal spas, to visit, and they vary by the water’s minerals and their therapeutic benefits.
Over 120 years old, the Lukács Bath in Budapest was frequented as a meeting place for writers and artists in its history. It’s said to be less frequented by tourists as other bath houses in Budapest. The hot springs feeding the thermal pools are comprised of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium and sulfate. It’s used to treat those inflicted with arthritis, joint issues and injuries. The site is grand and expansive.
The bath house is near Margaret Bridge on the Buda side of Budapest. There are not signs clearly indicating where the bath house is from the main road. The parking area (a narrow road and wooded area next to the main road) can fill quickly on the weekends, so parking on a side street or taking public transit may be a favorable option. Also, the entrance is through a walkway and unmarked gated door, so you may need to ask a passerby if you can’t find it.
Entering the bath house
Upon entering the building, there are teller booths and a customer service desk. You can ask questions at the service desk, where the workers speak English. At the teller station, you’ll pay in forint bills (ATM in front of the building) for a wristband that tracks the number of hours you stay. Follow the maze up to the co-ed lockers to change. If you didn’t bring towels or flip-flops, they can be rented or purchased one level below the locker rooms. There are signs throughout the building to direct you to the saunas, pool and spa area. Shower before entering any of the baths.
What to do
Wander the buildings that comprise the bath house to swim and soak in the various indoor/outdoor pools of various temperatures. If you visit in winter, you can watch steam rise into the cold air as you swirl around the current and hover over the jets in the hot outdoor pool. Sip on the healing mineral water that runs out of the wall in one of the bath rooms. The smell? That’s sulfate.
The steam room will likely be packed with other guests and you may need to wait your turn to enter, but you’ll have plenty of room to yourself in the freezing cold tub next to it.
Spa and therapy services are also offered at Lukács Bath.
It is also one of the few Budapest baths open in the evening, if you’re seeking a unique night out.
After your soak, visit the Citadella for an amazing view of the river and both sides of the city, and walk the famous Gul Baba street before heading over to the bustling Pest side of the city. Enjoy your travels.