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Thermal Baths: A Luxury for Most Hungarian Families

by CiCi
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Thermal baths are a cherished aspect of Hungarian culture, offering relaxation and health benefits through their mineral-rich waters. However, due to the increasing cost of admission tickets, a visit to these baths has become a luxury for many Hungarian families.

Rising Costs of Thermal Baths

The price of admission tickets for thermal baths in Hungary has seen a significant rise. A family of four now spends approximately HUF 13,000 (EUR 33) per day on average for tickets, even after taking advantage of available discounts. Over a week-long holiday, this can amount to up to HUF 70,000 (EUR 177) for tickets alone. This is only a portion of the overall cost, which also includes accommodation and meals.

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In the past year, ticket prices for thermal baths increased by 18-20 percent, followed by a smaller increase this year. For example, at the Szentes spa, ticket prices have surged by 38 percent over two years. Andor Albel, president of the Dél-Alföld Termálklaszter, explained that the sharp rise in energy prices and high annual inflation made these increases unavoidable. Despite this, the increased costs have not fully covered the operational expenses of the thermal baths, leading many rural spas to operate at a loss, with municipalities providing subsidies to cover these deficits.

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Prices in Budapest vs. the Countryside

Budapest boasts the most expensive thermal baths in Hungary. For instance, a full-day ticket at the Széchenyi Bath costs HUF 10,500 (EUR 26.5), while at Gellért, it costs HUF 16,200 (EUR 40.9). There are no cheaper ticket options available at these baths, and pensioner or student tickets are not an option.

In the countryside, prices are slightly more varied but still considerable. For example, a full-day adult ticket at the RQ spa in Győr costs HUF 8,900 (EUR 22.5), while Napfényfürdő in Szeged has slightly higher prices. Egerszalók is similarly priced, with daily tickets costing HUF 9,000 (EUR 22.7). Other notable spas like Sárvár and Zalakaros have comparable pricing, while Miskolctapolca’s Barlangfürdő and Ellipsum, as well as the baths in Harkány and Bükfürdő, are priced around HUF 7,000 (EUR 17.7).

Discounts and Ticket Options

Many thermal baths offer a variety of discounts and ticket options to make visits more affordable. These include adult, student/child, and pensioner tickets, as well as group and family tickets that vary based on the number of adults and children. Additionally, some baths offer 2-3 hour swimming tickets, afternoon tickets for entry after 4 PM-5 PM, and night swimming tickets. Passes for 5 or 10 visits, as well as monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly passes, are also available.

Some baths provide discounts for locals, which require proof of residence. However, these discounts often necessitate prior registration.

Conclusion

The rising cost of thermal bath tickets in Hungary has turned what was once a common recreational activity into a luxury for many families. While discounts and various ticket options are available, the financial burden remains significant, especially for extended holidays. Despite the challenges, the allure of Hungary’s thermal baths continues to draw visitors seeking relaxation and therapeutic benefits.

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