Not the most well-known spots for tourists in Budapest are the Gellert and Rudas Baths, situated right on the Danube’s riverbank in the heart of the city. Most tourists visiting Hungary’s capital for 1-2 days head solely to the Szechenyi Baths, unaware of other equally great or perhaps even better thermal baths.

Baths in Budapest: General Info

Here are a few surprising facts for those starting to explore information about thermal baths in Budapest and Hungary in general:

  • Hungary boasts 65,000 thermal springs.
  • Out of these, 1300 are set up for visitation. Some are large complexes with several springs, while others are smaller and simpler.
  • Thermal baths exist in many Hungarian cities, some with more than one. All of them are accessible, with a few rivaling Budapest’s baths. A comprehensive overview of Hungary’s best baths with numerous photos and advice is available.
  • Moreover, Budapest alone houses 20 baths, out of which 12 or 13 are sizable complexes ideal for tourists. Some may even outshine the Szechenyi Baths. This article focuses on two of these thermal baths: the Royal Gellert Baths and the Rudas Baths overlooking the Danube.
gellert baths of sechenyi
Szechenyi Baths – most popular among tourists, but not necessarily the best.

A review and honest assessment of visiting the Szechenyi Baths, outlining the pros and cons.

With the main discussion covered, let’s dive into the specifics of these two awesome thermal baths in Budapest.

Gellert Baths: Prices, Directions, Features

The Gellert Baths were built in 1918 but suffered severe damage during World War II. The first large-scale reconstruction occurred only in 2008, restoring its initial luxurious appearance.

  • Coordinates: 47.483733976409574, 19.05161385305176 (entrance from Gellert Hill)
  • Easily reachable on foot if you stay in the city center or by metro. Green line M4 station – Szent Gellért tér-Műegyetem
  • Official Baths website:
  • Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm
  • Ticket prices: There are no discounts, evening tickets, or age-based rates; only full-day tickets. Even if you arrive an hour before closing, you pay the full price.
    • Weekdays: 10900 forints (27.5 euros)
    • Weekends: 12000 forints (31.5 euros)
    • Holidays, New Year’s holidays, Independence Day: 13500 (around 35 euros)
    • Tickets can be purchased online to skip the queue here or here. Free cancellation possible up to 24 hours in advance
Gellert baths in Budapest
The Gellert Baths building stands right on the Danube’s riverbank. Until recently, it housed a hotel where guests could directly access the baths from their rooms. The hotel closed in 2022. Perhaps, in about five years, a five-star Hilton or Ritz-Carlton might open here.

What to bring to Gellert Baths:

The ticket only includes a bracelet for entry. Bring everything else: flip-flops, towel, soap-shampoo – they don’t provide these. I also recommend bringing your robe, especially if visiting in autumn or winter. It’s much more pleasant to move between pools wearing a robe.

There’s no rental available in the baths; you can only buy, but the prices aren’t low: disposable flip-flops – 10 euros, towel – 15 euros, robe – 30 euros.

Main hall in Gellert Baths
The main hall with ticket counters in the Gellert Baths is lavish and luxurious.

Gellert Baths: Water, Temperature, Pools

Upon purchasing a ticket, you gain access to all corners of the baths.

gellert bath map
Map of Gellert Baths for reference, highlighting key areas with numbers: #1 outdoor thermal pool, #2 and #3 indoor hot pools and saunas, #4 outdoor wave pool (summer only), #5 25-meter swimming royal pool. All photos are below.

What’s available in Gellert Baths:

  • 4 large indoor thermal pools (zones #2 and #3 on the map above). Water temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees Celsius.
  • 1 outdoor thermal pool: #1. Temperature 36-37 degrees Celsius. Open year-round.
  • 1 outdoor wave pool: #4. Water temperature 26 degrees Celsius. Opeт from May to October.
  • 25-meter royal swimming pool. Water temperature 26 degrees Celsius. Note: Swim caps are mandatory here; attendants ask those without caps to leave. Swim caps aren’t necessary in other baths and pools in the complex.
Gellert Thermal Pools
This is a swimming pool, but you need a cap.

Additionally, the baths offer:

  • Cafes and dining areas for refreshments and meals.
  • A spacious terrace with loungers outdoors.
  • 5 or 6 saunas: a mix of Finnish, steam rooms, an infrared sauna, and an aroma room.
  • Several cold plunge pools for post-sauna dips.
Gellert thermal baths and saunas
These are two large baths (not captured in the frame) marked as #2 on the map. The #3 baths are similar but on the opposite side and with slightly different mosaics.

Tips for Visiting Gellert Baths

Here are some tips to put everything in perspective and answer remaining questions:

  • Children of any age can visit, but those under 14 aren’t allowed to stay long in the thermal pools. Truth be told, this place isn’t for kids; there’s nothing for them to do here, and they’ll likely get bored. The baths are meant for relaxation and rest—no noise, running, or playful activities allowed; there are no designated children’s areas.
  • You can bring your own drinks and food and enjoy them comfortably on a lounger or at the cafe tables.
  • The changing rooms are shared; choose any available locker and secure/unlock it with your bracelet. There are also dressing cabins available (for an additional fee).
  • In the cafe, you can’t use your bracelet to make purchases; only cards or cash are accepted. You’ll need to go back to your locker, which is quite inconvenient.
  • Navigation within the complex is quite complicated. It’s a maze with twists, turns, and many corners. After a few hours of relaxation, when it’s time to retrieve your belongings from the locker, you might realize you’ve forgotten where it is.
  • In the mornings, up until 11 AM, there are significantly fewer people compared to afternoons.
gellert baths outdoor pool
The only outdoor thermal pool at Gellert Baths open in November. It’s fantastic to sit here during winter.

Which is Better: Szechenyi or Gellert Baths?

They’re different. If possible, visit both. I’ll try to give an unbiased view of the reality:

  • Szechenyi Baths are much more popular and attract significantly more people. In reality, at Szechenyi, only two outdoor hot thermal pools are interesting. There are beautiful views and architecture outside, but inside, the pools are quite small and resemble a 1970s sanatorium.
  • However, at Gellert Baths, it’s the opposite. There are far fewer people. There’s an outdoor hot thermal pool, but it’s small, and the views around it are ordinary. The real beauty of Gellert is inside, especially the large swimming pool. Inside, Gellert has more and larger hot thermal pools. There are more and better saunas too.
  • There’s no price difference; the entrance fee is the same.

Author’s personal opinion:

If you’ve never been to such places, you’ll enjoy either. If you dislike crowds, Gellert is better; Szechenyi is very crowded. If it’s winter and you want to sit in a thermal pool outdoors, then Szechenyi—its open pools are much more spacious. But if you want steam, a wide choice of hot pools, and beautiful architecture, then go to Gellert.
wave pool gellert
This is the summer wave pool at Gellert Baths, perfect for hot days. There’s a large area with loungers around it.

All About Rudas Baths: Prices, Map, Opening Hours

Rudas Baths rightfully rank in the top three of all Budapest’s baths, alongside Szechenyi and Gellert. Let’s start with general details:

Gellert Baths in Budapest
Rudas Baths are very close to Gellert Baths and also on the Danube’s bank.

Important to know:

The entire complex consists of two zones: the Turkish Bath area, an old wing with beautifully styled ancient Roman architecture. And the Wellness zone, a new wing with new thermal pools and a sauna complex. In the middle is a 25-meter swimming pool, shown in the photo below. You can buy a ticket separately for the Turkish Baths, the Wellness zone, or a combined full ticket. It’s crucial to buy the full ticket, but there are nuances.
Main pool at Rudas Baths
The main swimming pool at Rudas Baths. It resembles Gellert’s architecture. The swim cap is mandatory only for this pool, not required elsewhere in the complex.

Rudas Baths Opening Hours: Both zones operate seven days a week from 6 am to 8 pm. However, the Turkish baths are open:

  • Only for men: Monday (all day), Wednesday (all day), Thursday (6 am to 12:45 pm), Friday (6 am to 10:45 am)
  • Only for women: Tuesday (all day)
  • For men and women: Thursday and Friday afternoon and all day Saturday-Sunday
Rudas Baths opening hours
To better understand the above, here’s a summary of Rudas Baths’ operating hours in one picture. If you’re traveling as a couple, you’ll need a time when the Turkish baths are open to both men and women. In the Wellness zone, there’s no gender division by days.

In Rudas Baths, there are no time-limited tickets at all. Any ticket implies a full-day visit according to the operating hours. Even if you arrive an hour before closing, you’ll buy a full ticket:

  • Ticket to all zones:
    • On weekdays: 9400 forints (around 24.5 euros)
    • On weekends: 12200 forints (around 32 euros)
    • On national holidays: 13200 forints (around 35 euros)
  • There are also separate tickets for the Turkish baths and the Wellness zone for 5900 forints (around 15 euros). However, this package is more for locals; I strongly advise against it for tourists as you’ll miss out on all the interesting features. I’ll explain why shortly.


The ticket price includes only access to the baths and the use of a locker for your belongings. You’ll need to bring everything: flip-flops, towel, swim cap for the 25-meter pool. There’s no rental available; you can only buy items onsite, but the prices are high: towel + flip-flops cost 25 euros.
Rudas Turkish baths
These are the Turkish baths at Rudas Baths. In this room, there’s one main thermal pool in the center and four smaller ones in the corners. The hottest water is in the center, around 40-42 degrees Celsius.

Water Temperature, Pools, and Saunas at Rudas Baths

Let me tell you about the number of pools, saunas waiting for you, and their temperatures.

Let’s start with the Turkish Bath:

  • In essence, it’s one hall with the main thermal pool in the center (as shown above). In each corner of the same room, there’s another small thermal pool. So, there are a total of 5 pools. The water temperature in each: 28, 30, 33, 36, 42 degrees Celsius. The hottest is in the central pool.
  • There’s also an ice-cold pool for those coming out of the sauna. The water temperature is around 14 degrees.
  • 2 steam saunas, 50 degrees Celsius.
  • 3 Finnish and aroma saunas. The hottest one has air temperatures at 72 degrees Celsius

Useful to know:

In reality, the Turkish bath is quite modest in size. One room with 5 thermal pools and several small saunas around the perimeter. It doesn’t make sense to buy a separate ticket here because there’s nothing to do for more than an hour. It’s beautiful and unusual, but the key is to time it when there’s no one around. Spoiler alert: at 6 or 7 in the morning.
turkish batn in rudas budapest
If you come here in the morning, say at 7 am, it’ll be like in the photo. But if you come at 6 pm, there will be 20 times more people.

Wearing a swim cap is mandatory in the swimming pool. The water temperature here is +26-27 degrees Celsius. Also, in this part of the complex, there’s a Finnish sauna with an air temperature of about 95 degrees Celsius.

And of course, the new complex at Rudas Baths—Wellness. Here, everything is new and modern, including the thermal pools. In this part of the baths, you’ll find:

  • 3 thermal pools at 42, 36, 32 degrees Celsius.
  • 1 ice-cold pool.
  • 5 saunas, including Finnish, steam, an infrared room, and an aroma sauna. When there are many people, you won’t be able to sit much in the saunas; it’s more of a passageway. Every 5 seconds, someone enters or exits.
  • And the main attraction of the entire bath is the open-air thermal pool on the roof with a view of the Danube and the center of Budapest. It’s called the Panorama Rooftop Pool, and the water temperature there is 36-37 degrees Celsius. It’s fantastic to sit there in autumn or winter when it’s raining.
rooftop pool Budapest Rudas Baths
This photo was taken at 6-7 in the morning when it’s just getting light, and there are no people yet. From 9 am onwards, this pool won’t be empty until closing time.

Useful to know:

The views of Budapest are genuinely amazing. But its size is quite modest—about 20 people will fit, and it’ll be a bit crowded.

Tips and Review of Rudas Baths

Several tips that will definitely help you, and not all of them are obvious:

  • You don’t need to search for an available locker when you come at the changing room. It’s already reserved for you and linked to your bracelet. To find out your locker number, touch your bracelet to the tablet on the wall in the changing room.
  • There’s a cafe here; you can have a drink or a snack. But you’ll need cash or a card, and you’ll have to go to the changing room to use them.
  • Generally, the baths aren’t very large. The two main attractions and the reasons tourists come here: the Turkish bath, the main room with the main thermal pool in an ancient style, and, of course, the rooftop pool in the Wellness zone with a super cool view of Budapest.
  • I strongly recommend coming here in the morning. The earlier, the better. On Friday and Saturday evenings, those who are averse to crowds should avoid this place. But anyway, Szechenyi Baths always have more people.
Baths in Budapest with a rooftop pool
Here’s how the rooftop thermal bath looks

In summary: which bath is the best?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. It’s all very subjective and heavily depends on the specific moment you visit these baths. But trying to be unbiased: Szechenyi Baths, considered the most popular among tourists, fall behind both Gellert and Rudas. Why?

  • Szechenyi Baths are overcrowded by 10 am, while the others are generally less crowded in the morning. And not everyone is ready to come to the baths at 6-7-8 in the morning 🙂 Most tourists don’t even know about the existence of Rudas Baths.
  • In Gellert, there are very beautiful indoor baths and halls, including the main royal pool.
  • Rudas Baths have fantastic Turkish baths and a unique hot pool on the rooftop with a city view.
  • But beyond Budapest, there are some really cool thermal baths not everyone knows about. For example, the thermal cave baths in Miskolc.
Baths of Hungary and Budapest
A thermal complex underground in caves in Miskolc. The size of the baths is 5 times larger than Gellert or Rudas, but the number of people is 10 times fewer. There are a lot of blurry photos from the baths; it’s dark everywhere, high humidity, and often steam from the thermal baths.

In the article linked, you’ll find more information about vacation in Hungary and travel trends. You’ll discover what else to do in Hungary besides visiting baths.

I recommend visiting all, or at least any two of your choice if possible. The only thing that can spoil your impression of any bath is the number of people; sometimes it’s really crowded. And that happens in any Budapest bath from this guide. The best advice is the earlier you come, the more enjoyment you’ll get. But the author (me) loves Gellert Baths the most.

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel