How exciting that you are thinking about going to the Gellert Thermal Baths! I’m going to start by saying that if you are looking for the history of the baths or information about pricing and services, please visit the Gellert Baths website.
If you are looking for the details on what to expect, what to wear, what to take, and if you are expected to be naked at the Gellert thermal baths, you are in the right place!
I went to the Gellert Baths in November 2023; below, you will find all of the details that I wish I had before I went.
Let’s start with what you should bring to the Gellert Thermal Baths.
- Swimsuit: Swimsuits are mandatory at Gellert — no nudity.
- A towel: Your towel is going to get very wet, so one that will dry quickly afterward would be a good choice.
- Slide-style shoe: I took flip-flops with a strap between the toes. Mine were not easy to slip on and off. You must wear them whenever you are not in a pool, sauna or steam room. A slide-style shoe would have been much easier to slip on and off.
- Water bottle: I took my reusable water bottle. There are fountains to refill your bottle. It can be quite dehydrating if you spend a lot of time in the hot pools, saunas and steam.
- Bag: I took a bag to carry my things in since I was also carrying my phone and wallet. You can leave your wallet and phone in a locker or private changing room.
- Swim cap: ONLY if you plan on swimming in the large pool. You do not need one for the thermal baths.
What to bring for after the baths.
- A second towel to dry off with before you get dressed.
- A brush and a small set of cosmetics if you want to go directly to something else.
- A hat if you want to stop at your hotel afterward without doing your hair.
- Cash if you want to buy anything from the cafe upstairs (as of this writing, it was cash only).
Now that you know the basics, let’s get into the details.
Gellert Thermal Baths sit on Budapest’s Buda side, on the river’s east side. If you aren’t good with the whole east/west thing as directional navigation, the Buda side has the hills, and the Pest side is flat. I used City Mapper to navigate from my hotel on the Pest side. I took the trolly, which drops you off almost right in front of the baths. The baths are in the Gellert Hotel. To get to the baths, as you are facing the hotel, walk to the right side of the hotel for the bath entrance.
I purchased my ticket on the website and was emailed a ticket with a QR code. I was able to add the ticket to my digital wallet on my iPhone. Open your email on your phone, and hit “add to wallet.” You can also purchase a ticket at the baths. If you are going during a busy time of year, or busy time of day, I’d recommend buying online to save time. I went on a Tuesday afternoon, and it was not very busy, but there were still plenty of people.
I bought a “cabin” ticket. A cabin is a small, private, lockable changing room where you can keep your things. There are also “locker” tickets where you get a small locker to keep your items, and you change in one of the changing areas. It was an extra $3 for the cabin, which brought my total to around $30.
The baths also have a spa where you can purchase massages and other services. I did not partake of any of the services.
Once you go to the ticket desk and either purchase a ticket or have your ticket scanned, you will receive an electronic bracelet to wear throughout your visit. You will use this to open and lock your private cabin or your locker.
They will then direct you toward the hallway leading to the baths.
I found my numbered cabin and proceeded to change into my suit. I took a bag to carry my phone, wallet, towel and water bottle. If I were to go again, I’d leave my phone and wallet in my cabin and just take my water and towel. You cannot keep your eyes on your items at all times when in the baths, and I did not want to take my phone in the sauna or steam room. While I generally trust people, and I didn’t have any issues, it can get very busy, so there is a reason to be cautious.
Amenities at Gellert Thermal Baths
There is a large lap pool surrounded by chaise lounges, chairs, tables and plants both on the main and second floors. This is a great space for relaxing, reading or quietly chatting with friends. I chose not to swim, but it looked very refreshing and relaxing. If you swim in the pool, you will need a swim cap.
On one end of the pool is the first bath I came across. The temperature was very tepid, so I didn’t stay there for long. The baths all have seating around the edges, and most people were sitting when I was there, but there were also people floating and standing. There are pool capacity limits, but I didn’t see signage for that. Some of the pools are marked with the temperature. Soft voices are appreciated. Children under age 14 are not permitted in the thermal pools. When I was there, I saw no children at all.
The area I spent the most time in had two thermal baths that were both really warm, with the steam room and cold plunge nearby.
There were three saunas working when I was there. The three saunas are connected. You enter the first sauna, which is not very warm, and that is how you get to the other two saunas, both of which are much warmer. They are fairly small, allowing for a handful of people at a time.
One steam room was in operation, and I loved it. The steam is infused with chamomile, and it’s so steamy you can barely see your hand in front of your face. I found it very relaxing, other than when you walk in — finding a seat can be a little awkward!
Cold Plunge Pool
Right outside the steam room is a cold plunge pool. I would soak in the hot thermal bath, cold plunge, steam, cold plunge and go back to the hot thermal bath. I loved it!
There were several rooms and pools that were not working at Gellert when I was there, including the outdoor spaces.
Leaving Gellert Thermal Baths
After you are changed and ready to re-enter the world, you will encounter a turnstile when you leave. At the top of the turnstile is a slot where you can drop your wristband, which activates the turnstile so you can leave. This process confounded a whole group of us! Take some time to walk through the lobby of Hotel Gellert on your way out; you won’t be disappointed.
There are so many baths to choose from; why Gellert Thermal Baths?
All of the thermal baths look amazing, but I only had time for one. Szechenyi gets the most Instagram love and is known for its parties and stunning architecture. Rudas has a rooftop pool offering views of the Danube, which was intriguing. There was just something about Gellert that pulled me in. Maybe it is the fact that it’s a little less glitzy. It is known to have more residents and a little less of a touristy vibe.
The Gellert Baths are for you if you are looking for a more authentic experience without the glitz and glam in what is still a positively stunning setting.
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