Budapest has many fascinating sites, from neo-baroque pools where bathers can play chess to lavish art nouveau gems from the Ottoman era and oriental hammams.
But running the energy-intensive baths “costs 170% more than last year,” according to Edit Refi of Budapest Spas, which manages the city’s thermal baths.
While most of the water comes from natural hot springs, large historic buildings can be expensive to maintain and keep warm.
“It’s a tough challenge,” he sighs, adding that they’ll have to raise ticket prices, cut opening hours and close outdoor pools.
Prices at Budapest’s historic bathhouses, such as the Gellert, have been hiked “by more than 30 percent,” Refi says, including Chechen Spa, famous for its “party” events.
Problems with the famous Hungarian thermal baths
Cheaper and lesser-known bathhouses in the provinces have also been hit hard by the energy crisis, and many have closed down.
“Spas carry a heavy load…a quarter of all bathhouses across the country limit their opening hours,” says Zoltan Kandas, president of the Hungarian Bath Association.
Hungary has more than 1,300 thermal springs, including a unique complex of complex caves in Miskolctapolka in the northeast.
The largest biologically active thermal lake in the world is located in Hewis in the southwest.
Its geothermally heated water keeps temperatures above 22°C in winter and reaches 38°C in summer.
Hungarian thermal bath culture dates back 2,000 years. years ago by the Romans and continued under Ottoman rule in the 16th century.
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