There is no denying that sometimes, we all need that spa weekend to just unwind, relax and forget the dins of the day. We usually go for a hike in the mountains, then enjoy a quiet evening tucked in front of the fireplace. This time, we wanted to do something totally different. Since we were in Hungary, we decided to try the Gellért Thermal Bath, located in Budapest.
A Historic Spa Weekend in the Gellért Thermal Bath
The Gellért Thermal Bath was founded in 1918, almost a century ago. Gellért is not just perfect for a spa weekend, but for history and art lovers too. The Gellért Thermal Bath is the most famous Art Nouveau thermal bath in Europe. The spring waters of Gellért were discovered in the 15th century. Or at least this is when they have been recorded in Hungary’s chronicles. These thermal waters became incredibly popular by the 19th century when more citizens and foreign travellers wanted to get the benefits of the thermal therapy.
In the 16th century, the Ottomans occupied the Hungarian Kingdom by taking over the Royal Palace known as Buda Castle. Turkish baths were built in the present place of Gellért Spa.
In the 17th century, Buda was taken from the Turks by the Austrian Army. The baths became the property of a home doctor called Leopold I, also known as the Holy Roman Emperor.
It was during this century that the mineral pools in the Gellért Hill were known as the Muddy Pools. By the 19th century, fine buildings were constructed so people can get access to the waters in a more sophisticated and civilised manner. The baths were named after the Italian bishop St Gerard Sagredo, who was also the first bishop of Hungary back in the 11th century. The reason for his importance is that St Gerard Sagredo was King’s St. Stephan of Hungary tutor. St Stephen played a major role in converting the Hungarians from pagans into Christians.
The history of the Gellért doesn’t stop here. The original baths buildings were destroyed to give way to the newly constructed Liberty Bridge. A new design was created for the Gellért Baths in the Art Nouveau style.
Wellness Budapest: Our Spa Weekend in the Gellért Thermal Bath
Fascinated by its history, we couldn’t wait to finally enjoy the Gellért Thermal Bath. We heard so many amazing things about it but didn’t quite know what to expect. We decided to arrive first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. The baths open at 6 AM and close at 8 PM. Totally up to you when you arrive but we actually wanted to start the day in style. And we definitely didn’t regret it.
There are 10 pools of various sizes in Gellért Bath. There are several geothermal pools open to both men and women. When it gets hot, there is a nice wave pool located outdoors.
Get You Discounted Danube Cruise & Gellért Bath Tickets
There are also a few things we want to tell you about. You can buy tickets in advance for the Gellért Spa. In fact, we recommend you do this. You can also book a massage therapy for your spa weekend. For couples, I recommend getting the private bath for two guests experience. What is better than enjoy the wellness treatment and have privacy?
If you are wondering about what to wear at the Gellért Spa, know that in 2013 the whole complex became mixed, which means no nudity is permitted. A swimwear of some sort must be worn when in a public pool.
You can take photos around the Gellért but make sure you don’t become intrusive and you respect everyone’s privacy.
Included in your ticket you can get either a locker or a changing cabin. A locker is a storage box whilst the changing room is essentially a small private cabin (similar to those in retail shops). All cabins also have storage facilities.
The Gellért Bath is not recommended for pregnant women. Most of the indoors and outdoors pools contain hot water.
Make sure you have a swimming costume and a towel with you. If you forget them, note that you can still rent them at the Gellért Spa. You can also rent a bathrobe for your convenience. Don’t forget to bring your printed confirmation for the ticket. You can also bring soap and shampoo and even sun lotion if you plan on being outdoors long.
You can use the showers and there are also hair dryers at your disposal.
Spa Weekend as a Couple
Did someone say wellness in Budapest? Although is perfect for solo travellers too, we can’t help to recommend Gellért for couples interested in having a relaxing time together. I strongly recommend the private baths where you can enjoy intimate time with your loved one. Included in the price you get a fruit bowl and a bottle of sparkling wine. This really is a spa weekend for couples and can be enjoyed for up to 3 hours. Included, you get access to the entry hall, the private bath hall, a heated cabin which can be used as a sauna and a private toilet. The doors get locked from the inside so you are guaranteed privacy.
Where to stay in Budapest - Luxury
Where to stay in Budapest - Budget
How to get to Gellért Spa
Szent Gellért Gyógyfürdő és Uszoda H-1118 Budapest, XI. kerület Kelenhegyi út 4.
The Gellért Baths are located on the Buda side, so make sure you are on the right side of the Danube. You can cross to the Buda side via Liberty Bridge which is located pretty much in front of the Spa.
Here is a map of the Gellért Baths interior for your ease.
Gellert Spa Budapest Prices
Gellert Bath Ticket with locker (prices may vary depending on the exchange rate)
€ 17 weekday
€ 18 weekend
Gellert Bath Ticket with cabin
€ 18 weekday
€ 19 weekend
Thank you, Hungaria Koncert for facilitating this for us and making the necessary arrangements to enjoy an amazing spa weekend in Budapest. We really loved our visit and can't wait to return to your incredible city!