Hungry for hotness in Hungary.

I’d heard plenty of good stuff about Hungarian spas and hot springs. And I’d been to the country many times since first visiting it in 1998. But somehow there was just never the time to immerse myself in its thermal waters. But last weekend I made amends. And what can I say? It’s mega-cool hot! Alas, I didn’t have much room for my camera when in my trunks, so almost all the photos here are from the official site of the particular Hungarian thermal paradise we visited…

Soooo, the Gellért Baths in Budapest…

The world's best hot springs

The world's best hot springs

The world's best hot springs

Here there are 10 pools with water of different temperatures – from chilly 15°C and 18°C by the Turkish hamams (which are also of different temperatures), to 36°C–40°C in the hot baths (alas, my favorite 42°C temperature wasn’t to be found). All the baths are of different sizes, the cooling off ones are very small, while the hot ones are a good seven or 10 meters in diameter. Outside there’s a big 50m pool – but with ordinary water, not thermal water. All this is contained in a hotel complex with a decidedly olde-worlde, grandiose and imperial look about it. Charming. A palace with thermal baths. Perfect! Highly recommended.

The world's best hot springs

The world's best hot springs

The world's best hot springs

The baths’ prices are very democratic – 20 euros. That’s for a day ticket to go inside – so if you want the most bath for your buck – and/or achieve the fullest spiritual and corporal reboot possible – it’s best to get there as early in the day as you can.

What else needs telling about Hungarian hotness?…

Somewhere in Hungary outside the capital there’s a miraculous must-see for all fans of thermal fun and games. It’s the thermal Lake Hévíz .

The world's best hot springsSource

The Internet reports that the water in Hévíz is +32°C in summer, and in winter a little cooler – around +26°C. As to the size of Hévíz and the how quickly its water flows, different sources give different figures. Some sources say this is the biggest thermal lake in the world – based on water flow, and the second biggest – based on the area of its surface (second after New Zealand’s Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu valley). Other sources come up with a different ranking and figures in general. Just how, exactly, can the Internet be trusted after this?!

The world's best hot springs

One thing I know for sure, based not on the Internet but on personal experience, is that the water in Waimangu is just too hot for bathing comfortably in (55°C), plus it’s very much a toxic affair, so you’d only want to try bathing there once in a lifetime – just so you can say you’ve done it ). Accordingly, a much better alternative is to warm your bones in the much more humane and heavenly hot waters of Hungary!… That is, if fate doesn’t see you getting to Japan, Iceland, Kamchatka (Khodutka) or the Kurils (Iturup) :).

That’s about it for today… oh no! One other thing…

What’s the biggest and hottest thermal lake in the world? Anyone know? Meantime, as usual we head over to the Internet, then add our own first-hand experiences, and here’s what we get:


Lake Area, square meters Water production, liters per second Summer water temperature
Hévíz 47 500 450 +33°C
Frying Pan Lake 38 000 110 +55°C
Khodutka 18 000 115 +42-45°C


But here’s a ‘well, well!’ I found on the net: The spa town of Saturnia, Tuscany, which I’d never heard of, happens to produce 800 liters a second! Jeez. That looks like a record. And waterfalls too! I need to get there.

‘Well, well’ II: Another unpronounceable of Iceland, after EyjafjallajökullDeildartunguhver. 180 liters per second and… +97°C (sweet crispy jeez! Boiling!).

Well, well III: Boiling Lake. Like with many other must-see thermalities not studied first-hand by me in this world – I just gotta get here too…

This brief bit of research made me realize that the ‘best thermalness’ ranking needs to be split up: Now there needs to be other, more specific rankings, like ‘the biggest thermal spring in the world based on volume of water emitted’, ‘the biggest thermal spring in the world in which it’s comfortable to bathe’ (that is, with a temperature from 30°C to 45°C, and without the water being too toxic).

Sooo, citizens of the planet, where and which is the most most-est luxuriously sumptuous thermalness? Let me know and I’m on a plane to you already – right now!…

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