One of the most frequently asked questions about Szechenyi Spa Baths is whether children (teens, kids, toddlers, babies) can go to Szechenyi Baths, and if they are entitled to a child discount.
Children Under 14 Years
The short answer is that children over 14 years old can go to the baths, under 14, however, the pools in Szechenyi Bath are not recommended for kids, but if the parents decide to bring their children anyway at their own responsibility, they can. Under 14 children are only allowed to use the 3 outdoor pools (under parental control).
Babies / Toddlers
Children & babies who are not dry and clean yet (have not been potty trained yet) are not allowed in the pools, not even wearing a swimming nappy. This usually applies to children under 3 years of age. Babies and toddlers can come with you to the bath, and stay outside the pool area. Toddlers under 2 can enter the bath area free of charge (but will not be able to enjoy the waters unfortunately).
As many of the 18 outdoor and indoor pools and baths at Szechenyi Thermal Baths are more than 33 degrees Celsius, the mere temperature of the pools means a potential increase in the stress for the cardiovascular system of kids, whose body is not fully developed yet to be able to cope with the heat of the bath waters. In addition, many pools are deeper, there are no specific child pools or aqua fun facilities (no slides, no splash areas, no colourful water park toys).
Baths for Families
In 1913, when Szechenyi Bath was opened, the whole bath complex was, and is still aimed at adult bathers, so we recommend families with children visiting one of the several family friendly thermal baths / lidos and aqua parks in the city of Budapest, which is very welcoming and a great experience for most families with younger and more mature children.
Palatinus Bath & Lido is a great alternative: although it is mostly known as an open air lido in central Budapest, Palatinus on Margaret Island has been extended with indoor pools (adult thermal and kid pool), which makes the bath a great option all year round, even during the colder winter months (Nov – Dec – Jan – Feb). Palatinus is the best perhaps in the summer, but is still enjoyable with younger kids in the colder season. The thermal waters of the pools are cooled down in several pools, which were specifically designed for younger kids and more mature teens. Slides, shallow play pools, hip deep kid pools, and lots of other fun (including a playground) show that Palatinus is ideal for families.
Similarly, other thermal baths – lido complexes offer great fun for families with children and teens: Dagaly Lido close to Arpad Bridge (north of Margaret Island), Paskal Baths and Lido, Csillaghegy Baths and Lido are very popular alternatives.
Aqua World is a water theme park in Budapest – north of the city, approx. 1 hour ride from the city centre. Ideal for younger and older teenagers (there is even a surf class for beginners), great with toddlers and babies, superb for grown ups.
Many of the family centred Budapest pool parks (lidos) are within easy reach of the city center, and have lots of fun pools designed specifically for children, plus there are various baths with thermal water for parents too.
So you can enjoy the famous natural spring waters of Budapest without a compromise. Palatinus, Dagaly, Paskal, Csillaghegyi, Aqua World are also much loved by locals as the pools are surrounded by grassy, bushy green areas where you can play volleyball, throw frisbee, the children can run around, etc.
As a contrast, at Szechenyi Baths there are no slides, or very shallow toddler pools , nor is it allowed to throw balls in the pools, or jump around. Most guests in Szechenyi Baths are envisioning a quiet relaxation, and the toned down design of the pools suggest less noise, less kiddy fun. Also, the area of the pool sides in Szechenyi Baths is not covered with grass but with stone panels. While we think of Szechenyi Spa Baths as a truly fun place from an adult point of view, the baths, saunas, and pools have been primarily designed for mature men and women, and of course, for patients who have been prescribed aqua therapy, balneotherapy, etc. for some kind of medical condition (hospital patients are treated in the special pools, which can only be used by hospital patients – in our Szechenyi Spa Baths map indicated with green colour, saying ‘Hospital Pool’).
As a rule of thumb, kids under 14 are prohibited to use the thermal baths (except for the 3 open air pools with constant parental supervision), while children over 14 can use the thermal baths for a limited time to avoid medical complications. Most teens and adults at Szechenyi Baths enjoy the outdoor whirlpool with its fun whirls, sweeping you off your feet in a circular motion. So the fun is there. Saturday night parties cater for many students (over 18) and young (in the heart) adults. The fun is there, just not geared for kids.
Please be aware that as a parent it is your sole responsibility what you do with your children at the baths. We strongly encourage you to enjoy the best bath facilities Budapest can offer for children and families at one of our lidos (Palatinus, Dagaly, Csillaghegyi, Romai, Paskal, etc.)
You can also visit Szechenyi Baths for a short bath tour (without soaking in the baths, just to take a look around) for a modest price. Please check the price list for Szechenyi Spa Baths.