“Budapest is famous for its’ thermal baths. Let’s go to one!” R gave suggestion when I asked him what kind of places he wanted to visit. It was our first day in Budapest, and as me feeling sorry for dragging him out of Ozora, I asked him first what he wanted to do.
I instantly agreed with his suggestion. Both of us are big fans of sauna and pools, and I’ve heard before that Budapest is the city with the most thermal baths (furdo) on earth, simply because it has the biggest thermal water reserve. It has been super famous even during the prehistoric times, when the first settlers set foot and created Aquincum, an ancient Roman city, now in Óbuda area. As more influence came to the city, they began making more thermal baths, especially the Turkish. Communal thermal baths are popular in Budapest society because it can relieve joint pain, after surgery, and it’s a nice place to chit chat for hours with your friends.
I did a quick Google search on which thermal baths to visit. There are plenty of thermal baths in Budapest with different prices. We were looking for a cheaper price, with local ambience, therefore we crossed off Szechenyi Baths and Gellért Baths. We were interested to visit Rudas Baths, only to find out it was men’s day on Friday (they open for both sexes on the weekend). Finally we decided to go to Dandár Thermal Baths, a lesser-known thermal baths near Boráros square.
Going to Dandár furdo wasn’t that hard. It was close to a transit station, from there we walked for around 10 minutes to find the furdo. As what I expected, it did not boast a grand architecture like Szechenyi or Gellért. The building was quite small but you could feel the nostalgic feeling. It was said that Dandár furdo was built in 1930 as a sanitary bath, and changed its purpose to thermal bath on 1978.
The price was not expensive at all. We chose the all-day package (which we used for only about… 2 hours), costing us around 5000 HUF (1 euro = around 300-320 HUF). Sweet deal, right?
Unlike Dutch sauna, furdos are meant to be communal and relaxed. You have to wear bathing suit, though. Not birthday suit :p Therefore, you can bring your belongings inside the furdo. I saw so many people relaxing with a book on their hand and bringing towels to sleep by the outdoor pool. I also saw kids bringing pool noodle and women chilling with their phone. (furdo is forbidden for children below 14 years old) In Dutch sauna, you can’t do them all.
After changing our clothes to bathing suits, we went downstairs to the indoor pools. They had 3 smaller indoor pools, each with different water temperature, from 20 degrees to 38 degrees. We just went to the hottest one and it was AMAZING! I love hot showers and relaxing on a thermal pool felt so good.
After relaxing in the indoor pool, I suggested to go to the outdoor pool. They had 2 outdoor pools, each with the same water temperature, around 36 degrees Celsius. It was quite crowded because it was a warm day so more people wanted to relax in the pool. We even spent around 2 hours on the outdoor pool because it was so good.
Finally we got bored and decided to end our thermal bath session. 2 hours were enough for us, and it was a nice experience. I had a shoulder pain when we got there (due to tiredness and bringing a large backpack), so I often “massaged” my shoulder on the large shower on the pool. The result? The shoulder pain was no more there when we left the furdo.
I heard that Szechenyi Baths and Gellért Baths are two among the most popular and beautiful thermal baths in Budapest. But the prices were so expensive (5000 HUF for ONE person!) and we were sure it would be so touristy. But if you like those things, why not pay a visit when you go to Budapest? It’s the experience after all!