Hungary is very rich in thermal waters, so as a consequence of this natural characteristics there are hundreds of thermal baths all over the country.
Budapest is the only capital city in the world, where you can find so many baths. All together there are nearly 50 spas, baths and public pools in the city. Officially there are 8 thermal baths with healing qualities (Dagaly, Dandar, Gellert, Kiraly, Lukacs, Rudas, Veli bej, and Szechenyi), most of them are historical monuments and tourist attractions as well, furthermore there are 5 popular beaches where hot springs are feeding the pools.
The baths have a long history:
The first settlers in the area, the Celtic tribes had already discovered and used the healing waters in the first century Before Christ. From the recorded history we know, that they named a place, in today’s Budapest, after the thermal water, that was „Ak-ink” what means abundant water.
Later on the Romans occupied the settlement and called their province Aquinacum, referring again to the abundance of water in the area. They had developed bathing culture and built the first baths here in Obuda (Old Buda) 1th-5th century.
After the Romans, the Hungarians used the baths for centuries. Spa and bath culture was developed significantly during the Turkish rule in the 16th-17th centuries. Besides the devastation, the 150-year reign left some beneficial heritage. Some of these Ottoman baths, are protected as historical monuments and they are still in use today, so you can enjoy their great architecture, coloured glass windows and domed pools. For example Rudas and Kiraly or Veli Bej Baths. After the Turkish occupation baths became less popular. Just the turn of the 19th-20th centuries brought flourishing changes in the bath culture.
The beneficial effects of the thermal water were put in use by the natives on the buda side already in the celtic times. Due to the optimal geological structure, it was able to find it’s way to the surface. Unlike this the Pest side is mainly covered with clay and the healing water remained hidden until the first deep borings.