Budapest Day Two: Szechenyi Thermal Baths, Burgers & Ruin Bars


After a restless night of sweaty, sweaty sleep (our apartment didn’t have air-con and the noise of the three fans we had blasting us didn’t make for a peaceful slumber) we awoke to another day of blazing sunshine. In our minds this seemed like the perfect day to head to the Szechenyi Thermal Baths.

We got up and dressed, packed our swimmers and took another stroll through the park in search of somewhere to eat breakfast.

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Sadly everywhere was still closed so we headed straight into the baths which are on one side of the park – there’s actually a metro stop call Szechenyi Furdo if you’re coming on the train and it’s a 2min walk from there.

Once inside we opted for a full day package: Access to all pools in the spa, full body massage, access to the relaxation lounge and unlimited soft drinks and fruit. All for the bargain price of £90 pp. And I honestly do mean bargain. If you think about what spas in London would charge (likely three times as much) then it is a great price.

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We headed inside and were each given our own changing room that was ours for the day (the are a bit of a tight squeeze!). We were then given a guided tour of the pools, the relaxation lounge and information on where we would need to go for our massages.

Back outside in the sunshine we commandeered a sun lounger each and lay back to lap up the glorious warm rays.

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^^^ how awesome are our flamingo towels? Picked these babes up from Primark for a mere £3.50!!

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My Swimsuit (a total bargain) – My Sister’s Swimsuit

Before testing out the pools!

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It was fairly busy throughout the spa (a Wednesday if you’re curious) and we were lucky to nab three loungers. With it opening a 6am it’s probably best to arrive early to get a prime spot. Still the pools were large enough to cater for everyone.

Outside there are three main pools with the ones at either end differing in heat – one being a nice and tepid 30 degrees (which also had a whirl pool that boosted you round in a circle using jets of water) and the other being a toasty 38 degrees. I loved both pools but can imagine in winter the 38 degree-er is just dreamy. Like a big warm hug! The pool in the middle is purely for people doing laps and make sure you don’t forget your swimming cap else you’ll hear the blast of a lifeguards whistle!!!

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As it was such a beautiful day we didn’t spend much time indoors but they had a number of pools inside including a fitness one that had hourly aerobic classes. There were also steam and sauna rooms and an unbelievably cold pool for those daring enough to take a dip. Obviously Sam and I were and dunked ourselves under the water to a chorus of “holy shit sticks, it’s fuuuhhhuurrrezzzing” before legging it outside to the warmth.

Before long it was time to head upstairs for our massages. We made our way up to the treatment rooms which are in the relaxation lounge and headed in for 60mins of heaven – or rather 56mins of heaven for me and 4 inital minutes of hell. Y’see my masseuse was a bit heavy handed to start with and being the awkward Brit I am, I endured 240 seconds of pain before asking her to ease up a bit! After that it was perfect!

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In our post massage state of bliss we were so relaxed we were almost ready for bed but instead of catching some Zzz’s in the hammocks upstairs we headed back out into the sunshine to enjoy a late afternoon bottle of wine…or two! And at something like £4 a pop who can blame us!

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Wine drank, girly chats exhausted and with scarily pruney fingers we decided it was time to dry off and head home. We made a beeline back to our apartment with the intention of changing for dinner…

…only we got distracted on the way by the waft of delicious smells coming from Pantilika.

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Bellies already grumbling we sacked off any plans to get changed or put on makeup (which in hindsight may have been a mistake for these photos!!) and instead pulled up a chair, ordered another bottle of wine and inspected the menu.

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Pantilika seems to be big in the burger business and they had so many options to choose from. It’s a self service style place with you ordering at the counter and helping yourself to cutlery and condiments. You’d think based on this the staff would be lovely as they don’t exactly have to do much but we found them very rude and unhelpful. Such a pity as the food was very tasty.

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…and very instagrammable too!

I had this beast of a burger which was a pulled pork patty, bacon and cheese and I think it even had a dairylea slice in it. Game changer.

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Naturally I then proceeded to drop almost all the filling all over my white summer dress because that’s the kinda dumb shit I do!

My sister also opted for a burger…which had two patties and just as much cheese as well as an egg, I think? Either way it was monstrously good.

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My mum steered clear of burgers and had a lovely looking chicken with feta.

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And we all shared a side of Greek Salad, which is totes one of my fave type of salad.

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It really was a great little spread!

If the staff don’t rub you up the wrong way then I’d definitely give Pantilika a try – it’s such a cute place and pleasantly cheap too.

After dinner we waddled back to the apartment where my sister and I spruced ourselves out for a night on the town! I’d heard a lot about the Ruin Bars of Budapest so was keen to check one out – the most well known being Szimpla Kert.

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We hopped on the metro to Opera stop and then walked for roughly 10mins before we spotted the entrance.

Szimpla Kert has been described as Alice & Wonderland on Acid and it certainly lived up to expectation! The Ruin Bars are basically old worn our buildings, often missing roofs and with crumbling walls that have been taken over and filled with all manner of things.

Everything from half a car – used for seating to old hairdressing chairs, TVs hanging on the wall and welders masks the light up. Graffiti, disco balls, lights and mental-ness all around.

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And cocktails are less than a fiver. Yup, you heard me right. less. than. a. fiver.

Sadly, somewhere between the massage, the bottles of wine and the beastly burger my sister and I had lost our mojo. We could barely string a sentence together we were so tired. We stayed for one before sheepishly heading back to the apartment where we crashed out.

Old bastards or what.

Still it gives me an excuse to go back in the future and really get my party on Budapest style, who’s with me???

Thanks for reading,

Harry x

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