We will be in Budapest in a few weeks and the Baths look interesting. However, people on Trip Advisor either love it or hate it. Hygiene (or lack thereof) is a topic. Would love to hear from the RS crowd on your experiences.
My experience is a bit dated since I went back in 2009. We took the train out there and made this our afternoon of sightseeing. I recall following exact RS instructions though...specific things like, lockers this way, make sure you get a private room etc. We took my in-laws on trip across Europe and this was one of our stops. It was such a great fun experience for all and we still talk about until this day. We brought our own flip flops to walk around and although some locals did not, we did not let it bother us. We ensured we tried all the different baths in the building and then did the pool outside with the wave pool (or whatever you call it).
My husband's only regret that trip was that he wished he wore a speedo instead of american swim shorts. He was so embarrassed when he would get in the baths in the building and they would get a big bubble in them. The older ladies were giggling at him.
Overall...if I were to go to Budapest again, I would probably do this again. Happy to provide additional details but I am sure someone else will pipe up with likely more current information.
Ed, its a different culture with different norms. That's have the fun or "adventure" depending on how you define it. The dressing rooms in the Szechenyi Baths can be a bit flesh on flesh at times. I don't think its unclean, but it is a product of the period in which it was built so it is to that standard. Shower shoes are a wise idea, but we did that in the gang showers in the dorms in college as well. So nothing new there.
If you want a little "buffer from reality" get the cabana option. Its a glorified private closet in which you and your family can change. My wife demands this and it does make a difference.
Personally, if you are going to be in town for 4 nights I think its a must.
We did this in March -- after 3 hours I still wanted to stay in the warm, relaxing water. May have to add a trip to Budapest to our Christmas markets plans so we can try soaking in a snowstorm.
Rented a cabin for the two of us, found everything clean enough. Will bring shoes/sandals the next time -- cobblestones hurt my tender feet.
Thanks everyone. (wife Denise here) This helps tremendously. The private cabana sounds like the thing to do and of course flip flops. It sounds like something we don't want to miss.
Laura B, we did it at Christmas the year before last. Yes, it was something to remember. Had the kids (all over 20) and they enjoyed it too. Stuff the bare essentials including a towel, flip flops, bathing cap, Ed's tasteful eastern European Speedos; into a plastic bag and get on the Yellow (M1) metro line to the next to last stop. If you need a towel or anything similar there are vendors outside the bath house.
You can, if you want, purchase tickets in advance. Never done it, so let me know how it works out: http://szechenyispabaths.com/szechenyi-bath-kit-towel-entry-booking/ (the towels that I have seen look a little more like small pieces of a cheap sheet - but what the hey). You only need one cabana so that will save on the second ticket.
We've done this on each of our trips to Budapest (twice the first time) and would not miss it, and we are now in our low 60s. You can't do better in the middle of a trip to than to take a walk though City Park followed by a couple hours playing and relaxing in the pools, enjoying the waters and the people watching. Talk about applying Rick's "travel like a local" policy. Adding the private locker (which makes also for secure storage) for one tickets adds, I forget the rates, maybe about $3 to the total.
Larry, do you really want to look like a local? https://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic395610.jpg
Well, James, I DON'T wear a Speedo, (and wife wears a one-piece), I am in much better physical shape, and most importantly - I am a seriously better chess player than the crowd at the pool (and I am certain that I have seen one of those guys on all our trips). Perhaps "experience a place as a local does" would be better wording for the RS mantra?