Budapest is the only thermal capital city in continental Europe. That – along with a few other things – makes it quite special. The city’s underground is full of thermal sources, a good dozen of them are used in spa complexes of different categories.
The bath culture is an essential element of the Hungarian lifestyle. Budapest has sumptuous spas – where wellness, architectural grandeur and centuries-long history meet. Gellért, Széchenyi, Rudas (my favorite), Lukács and Király (Check the Király fürdő article) rank among the most visited.
But the spa tradition is not only an elite thing: there is a bath for everyone in Budapest. With an average salary of about € 400 a month, who can actually afford a weekend ticket to the Gellért (€18)? So let me introduce you to Dandár, one of the cheapest Budapest spas!
It’s a totally low-key place, used as a public bath for the poor workers of Ferencváros (the 9th district). It was renovated in the 70s and many of its current customers come here for medical treatments as the thermal water is said to be of top quality.
Dandár has only two inside small pools with thermal water (35° and 38° C degrees), another 20° pool, a Finnish sauna and that’s all! It’s not really possible to swim: the limited facilities (including massages however) allow you to concentrate on the essential: yourself and the water! It has a very very local taste, if you feel the soul of a spa explorer, go for Dandár but only in that case!