Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Hajós Alfréd Pool – Where the Olympians train
Despite being land-locked, Hungary is a land of water lover's, and champion swimmers and water polo players. This large swimming complex on Margaret Island is where they come to train, and often compete. It is also open to mere mortals who want to come swim laps. If you're around during a water polo tournament, don't miss the chance to come see a match.
There's plenty of green space for lounging around or sunbathing between laps, and there's a small children's pool in the shade. There are more pools inside, as well as a sauna (which usually closes about an hour before the pools close).
Be aware that opening hours can be erratic, and pools will occasionally close early if there is a sporting event or practice scheduled. In that case, wander a bit further down the island and try the Palatinus pools instead.
Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Hajós Alfréd Pool – Transport
Tram: 4, 6 (to Margit híd)
Bus: 26 (to Hajós Alfréd Uszoda)
Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Palatinus Strand / Thermal Bath – Fun in the Sun
Palatinus, Budapest’s largest swimming complex, is more like a water park than a swimming pool. Located on the western side of Margaret Island, this is where Budapest comes to cool off during the summer. Its 11 different pools include water slides, an adventure pool, a wave pool, several swimming pools, and two open-air thermal pools. All pools are open-air, and the many shallow pools make it especially popular with families (as well as the young-at-heart).
There are playgrounds, plenty of grassy areas for sunbathing, and vendors selling beer and junk food. Water in the pools comes from the thermal springs on Margaret Island (though in all but the two warm thermal pools it is filtered, so it loses most of its mineral content). Expect long lines during the summer weekends, but come after 4pm on weekdays for the cheapest entry prices. For more serious swimming on the island, the nearby Hajós Alfréd pool, which has two lap pools, would be the best choice.
Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Palatinus Strand / Thermal Bath – Transport
Bus: 26, 134 (to Palatinus Strand)