The Hungarian capital is called one of the major spa capitals of the world rightly so, since numerous thermal springs and spas can be enjoyed here. Besides the water culture characterizing Hungarians, the peoples invading Hungary during the centuries have also played a role in forming this special value.
Romans deserve first mention. The II Roman Legion built private and public baths based on the local springs in the region we know as western part of the capital today. There are written records from medieval times proving that two of the spas of our days, Lukács and Császár were known and called Felhévíz during the time of settlements of the Magyars in Hungary. That means that the thermal waters were already known and utilized in the 10th century.
During the Renaissance King Mathias liked to visit spas. A kind of record of this is the name of Budapest Királyfürdő, which is the translation from the Hungarian expression: bath of the king. During the Turkish conquest the development of public spa culture of Budapest and of Hungary gathered another momentum, since baths played an important religious role, in Islamic culture as well.
In the times following the Turkish invasion, the 18th century brought a similarly rapid development. The first medical studies dealing with the healing effects of thermal springs and medicinal waters were published.
Nowadays, the baths of Budapest are being renovated authentically. As a result they have become very attractive for those fond of modern spa culture based on traditional values. Budapest today is a real spa city with a water wealth unique in Europe. Thanks to this richness and exciting colourfulness the baths of Budapest attract millions of visitors each year.
The Eger Spa, with a history of over 500 years, offers radon-bearing medicinal water and leisure pools, while the Mezőkövesd outdoor spa has thermal water high in sulphur and a slide park for those seeking therapy or leisure.
Covering almost two thousand square kilometres, the Hortobágy steppe is a special place. It is also Hungary’s first and largest national park. It is the largest alkaline steppe in Europe, and a World Heritage sight full of wonders.
Mayflies, also known in Hungary as ‘Tisza flowers’ swarm for a brief period of their lives out of the water, offering a unique natural spectacle along Hungary’s second largest river, the Tisza, and a few sunny sections of its tributaries.
Three years, 150 days of shooting, four seasons: the end result is an enchanting 65-minute nature documentary about the largest shallow lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton. Entitled Wild Balaton, it presents the fauna and flora living in and around the lake with spectacular cinematography.
Hungary is the country of spas and medicinal waters. Hévíz, one of the world’s largest biologically active thermal lakes, which offers healing and recreation on a surface area of almost 50 hectares is living proof of that.
Gellért Spa and Bath is one of the leading natural hot spring spa baths in Budapest, Hungary. Gellért Hotel and Spa opened up shop in 1918. It was later expanded with an artificial wave pool and a bubble bath. The original artificial wave machine, first put to use in 1927, is still operational and is a special treat of the spa.
Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, has been an inspiration for many artists, and recently it has provided an award-winning theme for a new genre, drone photography. The professional jury at the 2018 Hungarian Drone Photo Awards, where more than 1000 submissions were received, gave the Grand Price to the extraordinary image that Bulcsú Böröczky has captured from the air.
The Lukács Thermal Bath whose operation dates back to the Turkish era, was the favourite bath of Mustafa pasha. It is said to have one of the most effective medicinal waters of Budapest.
Lively crowds have always characterised Lake Balaton and its region. The spa life and tourism started to develop in the 18th century but first it was not based on the water of the lake but on the sparkling springs of the shore. First the turn of the 19th – 20th century, and later the years following World War II have brought a significant growth in tourism.
Due to its charming beauty, Margaret Island – the green heart of Budapest – had from the very start been a favourite residence of royals. Its landscaping was initiated in 1790 by the Palatine of Hungary, Archduke Alexander Leopold of Austria and after his death the works were continued by his hugely popular younger brother, Archduke Joseph of Austria, Palatine of Hungary.