This is the third part of a 48-Hour itinerary for Budapest. This is a half-day itinerary, covering the Gellart Baths and Great Market Hall. To turn this itinerary into a full-day, include the activities included in Part One of this series. You can follow along on the Google Map we created, and can use it as a basis for your own Budapest itinerary if you feel so inclined. If you do, let us know how it goes in the comments!
Feeling sad we’d missed out on the Szechenyi Baths on Day 2, we set out on the morning of Day 3 to find the Gellert Baths. Naturally, we started at the Coffee Heaven between the Circus and the Baths, before walking to the Great Market Hall. It was only about 7 am at this point (thanks jet lag!), and there wasn’t much action, so we decided to go to the baths and then return to the market a little later. The market is conveniently located on one side of the Liberty Bridge, while the baths are located on the other side.
Once you arrive at the baths, it’s a bit confusing. And to be completely honest, the staff aren’t really very helpful — at all — so you’ll be on your own in terms of figuring out where to buy a ticket and what to do next. Let’s see if I can be of some help, shall we? Admission to the baths starts at 3000 HUF, although it varies greatly depending on the date and time you decide to visit. We just wanted to soak in the baths (although you can get a whole range of spa services, should you be richer than I), and so we bought our tickets at — if memory serves me correctly — the second ticket window upon entering the building. Not the first window, which was staffed with ladies who were rather gruff. Once you have your ticket, you will enter a lockable change room where you can put on your swimsuit (yes – that’s important to note — Hungarian baths are not of the naked variety). You can also leave your things in the change room, as it locks when you leave and only opens when you use the super spy-like bracelet they give you with your ticket.
The baths themselves are broken up into a few different rooms. The main hall is mixed-gender, and consists of a swimming pool and thermal bath. Once you’ve had enough, you can enter either the men’s or lady’s area, which consists of more thermal baths. The baths themselves are reason enough to go — it is a great way to work out the shoulder, leg, and back pain of a trans-Atlantic flight. However, the experience is also a great insight into Hungarian culture. The baths are a meeting place, a social club, and a health spa, all rolled into one. It’s awesome to see the sense of community that exists around soaking your tired body for a few hours. That, and the building itself is absolutely beautiful. We didn’t take our camera in, but this guy’s Flickr album has some pretty great shots of the baths, and Budapest in general. Better than my feeble hamfists could ever hope to take!