Please sign in to post.

Seeking advice for family trip to baths in Budapest

My husband and I will be in Budapest for two days at the end of July with our 13- and 15-year-old daughters. We're planning a trip to the baths. Based on what I've read so far, I'm wondering about attire: 1. what sort of bathing suit is appropriate for females? 2. are bathing caps required for all bathers? If bathing caps are required, should we purchase them at home (in the US) and bring them along, or are they available for purchase there (at a reasonable price)?
Likewise, any advice for getting teenaged daughters to agree to go to the baths? We've visited Korean baths (bade pools) in the US where women and men are required to be naked (in separate pool areas) or wear provided uniforms in "spa rooms". My daughters liked to join us when they were younger, but once they approached puberty it got too "weird" for them. I'm hoping that by wearing bathing suits they'll be less likely to balk.
Thanks in advance for advice and guidance.

Posted by
10654 posts

Dress varies a little by bathhouse. The most popular among tourists, but still very "Hungarian" is Szechenyi baths conveniently located on the M1 metro line. There you will need a bathing cap in all but the, and I don't know the real name; the play pool. As for dress, yes, wear something. Doesn't matter much what as long as the privates are pretty well covered. Again, this varies by bath house and I am talking about Szechenyi baths. We have our own bath caps but I have seen them being sold outside the bath house. Most that I noticed looked like something out of an old Esther Williams movie. Like most things these days you can google the name and look at the photos to get an idea of what you are getting into. Personally, I love it.

Posted by
10654 posts

Oh, teen age daughters? I would confiscate their passports and lock them in their room. Actually its fun. I don't know how else to encourage it. Everyone is together and it is enjoyable at every level. The only comment I have is two days isn't really enough for 1/10 of what there is for a family to do in Budapest. Save the baths for a few hours on the evening......

Posted by
501 posts

I was able to experience the baths in Budapest last September on a RS tour. I went with several tour mates on a free afternoon. None of us had bathing caps and nothing was ever said to us. There are changing rooms, men and woman were separated, in which you will each get a locker. Leave valuables in hotel safe and only take the money you will need for entry to the baths. We "borrowed" towels from our hotel and that worked out well also. We spent several hours there and loved it all. We enjoyed the outside pools first and then went inside and visited the various thermal and cool pools as well as sauna and steam rooms. It was all very relaxing, so glad I made the effort to do it.

Posted by
501 posts

I was able to experience the baths in Budapest last September on a RS tour. I went with several tour mates on a free afternoon. None of us had bathing caps and nothing was ever said to us. There are changing rooms, men and woman were separated, in which you will each get a locker. Leave valuables in hotel safe and only take the money you will need for entry to the baths. We "borrowed" towels from our hotel and that worked out well also. We spent several hours there and loved it all. We enjoyed the outside pools first and then went inside and visited the various thermal and cool pools as well as sauna and steam rooms. It was all very relaxing, so glad I made the effort to do it.

Posted by
1878 posts

My wife and I have been to the Gellert baths twice, in 2011 and 2014. The topic of bathing caps never came up. We had a much more enjoyable visit in 2014 because we went during the late morning/early afternoon. The first time we went in the evening and it was crowded and somewhat grungy in the locker rooms. Based upon our second visit especially, I think Gellert is very underrated and unjustly labeled as just for tourists. The people there were predominantly locals as far as I could tell. Also, my wife and don't have any kids but I suggest to pitch it to them as a spa-like experience. I am not sure what spa services they actually have at the baths but I think there are some, and probably a lot cheaper than back home.

Posted by
287 posts

This info is based on my visits to Szechnyi and Gellert baths last summer.

There were pools in both places requiring bathing caps, as well as pools that didn't. At the Szechnyi baths, there was one outdoor pool that was more or less a lap pool and that did require a bathing cap. It was in the center between two other outdoor pools, neither of which required bathing caps, and those were the more popular pools anyway. I didn't visit any indoor pools in Szechnyi so I can't comment on those, but you could have a lot of fun just in the two no-bathing-cap outdoor pools. Szechnyi felt very family-oriented to me.

At the Gellert baths, the outdoor wave pool didn't require a bathing cap, but at least one of the indoor ones did. And by the way, that requirement applies to men too. I watched an attendant at Gellert kick two men out of the indoor pool for not having bathing caps. Their bald friend got to stay in, and he had fun laughing at them.

A hint on bathing caps (I got this from a RS book): if you stay in any hotels that give the flimsy little transparent shower caps, that satisfies the requirement. I looked stupid, I'm sure, but I only needed it in a couple of pools and I didn't care. I believe the baths also rent bathing caps. By the way, they rent towels too, if bringing one from your hotel isn't convenient; I visited Gellert after a hot day up on the hill in Buda, before returning to Pest and my hotel, and it was nice not to have to carry a towel in my day pack.

As for the girls worrying about people being naked, that shouldn't be an issue. Everywhere I went at both Szechnyi and Gellert, everyone was wearing swimsuits. If your daughters are squeamish about changing in a female-only locker room, you can rent a "cabin" (which is a tiny, locked changing room). It costs a little more but it might be worth it for their peace of mind. You get a wristband that unlocks the cabin; it's a pretty slick system.