Extraordinary. Authentic. Remarkable.
Those are a few of the words that first come to mind when I think about my time amongst the streets of Hungary’s exquisite capital.
Divided in half by the Danube River, Budapest is comprised of a mountainous "Buda" commune just parallel to the flatter east-side of “Pest.”
Both sides showcase architecture so unique in design and stature that the thriving city of Budapest should most certainly become an even greater Hungarian tourist attraction in the coming days.
While I have so many great and genuine things to say about my time here (and will most certainly be chatting about in a future post), I wanted to address my experiences had at the highly-acclaimed thermal baths Budapest is so widely known for.
Upon arriving, my longest best-friends / travel companions and I didn’t exactly have a plan for our Hungarian adventures other than two absolutes: try the Goulash and bathe in Budapest. (ugh the #mems @sammy and @kendall)
For those unfamiliar with the Budapest Bath craze, the thermal bath culture is massive and deep-rooted. Hungary is estimated to have approximately 1000 natural spring water sources around the country, giving Budapest its nickname City of Spas.
These thermal waters have a long history and are said to have medicinal powers due to the impressive mineral composition including elements such as calcium, magnesium, sulphate, hydro-carbonate and more. The Hungarian bathing culture is vivacious and health concentrated as Aqua therapy is very much a part of their regular medical practice.
With so much glowing enthusiasm from peers and research, we were ready to trade in the jet lag for some serious R&R at Budapest’s largest and most popular medicinal pool sites, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath’s which houses 15 different pools of various temperatures around the property. While that seems great in theory, and believe me when I say we SO badly wanted to love and feel the magic so many rave about, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to rate it overall any higher than an overrated community pool.
Ugh ouch, I know. But the crowds only seemed to get bigger exponentially and well.... the water was questionable more often than not.
With Budapest easily being some of our most cherished memories from the trip, this experience solely was a bit of let down. At no point did we feel relaxed, rejuvenated or restored and this adventure felt nothing more than a check mark on the to-do list.
(aren't my friends the cutest UGH *heart eyes*)
But of course with that said, I do not want to discourage anyone who has a strong yearning to go. The property grounds and architecture are most certainly stunning, the history is rich, and bathing in Budapest is more than a travel bucket-list item, it’s a Hungarian custom. It just wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be in my opinion.
In the coming days I will be addressing some of my favorite memories from this trip and sharing all my whole-hearted recommendations for your next budaBEST trip ever. If you have any specific comments or questions you'd like me to address in my follow post, make sure to leave me a comment in the comment section below!
And of course, if you’re still looking to get that classic, Hungarian spa treatment on during your next trip, try looking into one of the nine other thermal bath facilities as they may be less populated and cleaner!