According to research, despite the fact that different technologies develop at an unprecedented pace, we spend more and more time working. In the modern world, most of these jobs involve relatively little movement.
With different words, most of the time we are just sitting on our bottoms. In more and more occasions this leads to degenerative diseases of civilization, posture defects, joint problems, chronic issues.
Of course, these days we just quickly swallow a pill and as the symptoms disappear we return to our habits, that cause our misery in the first place. On long term we are making things worse, but who does actually have the time to think about long term.
Heal yourself at the Gellért bath
It would do no harm to spend time on this, as well as on taking better care of ourselves. One of the rare times when we do so is while we are on a holiday. Well, people spending their holidays in Hungary are among the lucky, as they don’t have to pick between enjoying their holidays and doing some self-healing.
Hungary is a thermal water empire and although every man kindles the fire below his own pot, this is proven by the stubborn numbers. Over 80% (!) of the country’s area has thermal water, making us the fifth in the world.
From the excavated 1372 thermal wells 197 are medicinal waters, and this ratio is only so small, because many places haven’t completed the certification procedures yet. There are 385 (!) cities with baths of thermal or medicinal waters.
There are many locations in Budapest too, where the medicinal spring poses as a solution for various joint problems, but it can also be successfully used for skin issues.
Besides the high quality baths and the various services, the unique atmosphere itself adds to the experience. Thanks to these, even if we have no complaints we can still have fun soaking ourselves for a few hours.
Every beginning is hard
We can do so at one of the capital’s oldest looking baths, at the Gellért Thermal Bath, next to the Gellért Hill, on the Buda side.
Both the mountain and the bath got its name after Saint Gellért bishop, who, according to the legends, rolled down pagan Hungarians who had little sense of Christianity, locked in barrels on the side of the mountain in 1046. They believe that the medicinal water here is thanks to the bishop who is buried beside the mountain, as during his funeral, anybody who touched his body was healed from all of their previous illnesses.
Even the Romans built spas in the area, which were still utilized in the Middle Ages. The Turkish, who also really enjoy their baths, proudly formed the bath’s predecessor to their liking.
After taking back Buda, the building became the property of the city and they called it Sárosfürdő (Mud Bath), due to the mud that springs up along with the water. By the way, legends say that a hermit living in one of the caves of the mountain used the muddy, warm water at the bottom of the mountain to heal people. This is where the name came from.
The bath and today’s hotel was built in 1912-1918 in Art Nouveau style, as part of Budapest’s spa town conception. The finished Gellért Bath became Budapest’s first luxury class facility, Europe’s most modern bath at the time, which also included a modern equipped hospital with thirty beds.
During the siege of the capital in 1945, the building suffered severe damage. They only restored the part of the building that views Duna in 1961, and had to wait until 1980 for a full renovation, as well as the modernization of the hotel and the bath. Between 2007-2008 the building went through a new renovation with a special focus on its age.
At Gellért Baths both the body and the soul gets pampered, if during our visit we don’t solely focus on the steps taking us to the baths. The beautiful building is as extraordinary from the outside, as on the inside.
Entering through the main entrance, arriving in the reception hall, the beautiful window glasses from the workshop of the most renowned glass painter of the era, Miksa Róth welcome you, where the sunlight that enters through the glass fills the hall with a colourful play.
If we are observant enough, we can find the phone number of the mosaic-flooring master, who using guerilla marketing to the max, left his contact details hidden away somewhere during the renovations. 🙂
At the back of the reception hall is the statue of Venus Adolf Huszár. Perpendicular to the hall we can find the swimming pool, which has a movable glass top. The gallery on the magnificent columns opens up to the buffet and the outdoor pools.
At the left and right wing of the bath, the former women’s and men’s thermal bath’s halls covered in Zsolnay porcelain can be found. These are coed today, only the plaques reminds us of the former segregation.
Outside a wave-making pool, a hot water pool with whirlpools, as well as an outdoor sauna awaits visitors. There are numerous statues and fountains both inside and outside of the building.
We are not out of the water
The main attraction of Gellért is of course its medicinal water, on which many services are based on. Besides the pools, we can pick from various massage types, such as aroma or thermal massage.
Specialties, such as Matra’s herbal treatment, or a bit of medicinal mud massage just to mention a few, are also available.
For couples a good opportunity for some romance is the couple bathing in the Zsolnay tiled, Tardosi marble bathtubs, which includes a separate sauna as well. Besides these, smaller things, such as a spa pedicure or a steam room are not even worth mentioning.
We can’t forget one of the bath’s most important services either, which is none other than healing. The therapies recommended by the bath’s medical practices can be done straight away. Besides underwater jet massage, weight bath or electrotherapy, the Gellért repertoire includes physiotherapy, salt chamber, shock wave therapy and therapeutic massage.
Gellért isn’t only known among Hungarian bathers. The magical water in the wonderful building attracts many foreigners every year, and this isn’t anything new.
Richard Nixon and Yuhedi Menuhin both bathed here, but for example Queen Juliana from Netherlands also spent her honeymoon here. GQ magazine had a photoshoot with Ryan Gosling in the bath, and this is where they shot the Gucci advertisement.
Bathing can be a relaxing activity, therapy and fun at the same time, when you visit one of the country’s thermal baths. Gellért stands out among them not just because of its various services, but because of their quality as well.
The iconic building with a breath-taking interior really makes the visit a unique experience, whether you are here to relax or treat illnesses. It’s no accident that it’s always featured prominently in travel brochures. In the case of Gellért you can listen to them!
Opening hours of Gellért Thermal Bath:
Every day: 06:00-20:00
Services at the Gellért Thermal Bath:
- thermal bath for men
- thermal bath for women
- steam bath
- mud treatment
- underwater water jet massage
- spa physician consultation
- curative gymnastics
…and much more.
Prices of the Gellért bath in 2020:
(Last update: January 10, 2020)
Thermal water is not recommended under the age of 14. Under the age of 2 the bath is free of charge.
|Adult ticket with cabin usage||6700Ft||7100Ft|
|Adult ticket with locker usage||6300Ft||6600Ft|
Good to know: Euro is not accepted in Gellért Bath!
How much forint does your currency worth?
The address of Gellért bath:
H-1118 Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4.