Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest

Best hot baths in cold cities

I first got addicted to enjoying steaming hot baths in the winter on a trip to Iceland. I live in a hot tropical climate so I’m used to only going into warm bodies of water when it’s almost 90 degrees out and I’m sweltering.

When I was in Iceland, we took a day tour of Akureyri that ended up in the Myvatn Nature Baths. It was 18 degrees and snowing when I ran out of the locker room in my bathing suit into the baths. To this day one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had is hanging out in that steaming bath, my body perfectly cozy in the warm blue waters while snow flurries froze to my hair and eyelashes. It’s an exhilarating sensation and from that moment I became hooked. Further south in Iceland, you can find the more famous Blue Lagoon, which is always more crowded and according to our kind (and probably biased) tour guide in Akureyri, is disgusting because of all the people rubbing the silica mud from the bottom of the baths all over their bodies. Whether you’re using the rub or not, your skin will feel considerably softer after emerging from your hot bath. For a truly Icelandic experience, grab a beer with your friends while you enjoy the nature baths.

Myvatn Nature Baths in Akureyri, Iceland
Myvatn Nature Baths in Akureyri, Iceland

But Iceland is far from the only place where you can go for a hot soak in the winter. Over in Budapest, they also appreciate a hot tub on a cold day. Though there are several different baths, the largest and most popular are the Szechenyi Baths, where you can find a variety of indoor and outdoor pools of varying temperatures. You can also enjoy the steam rooms. The baths are open late into the day so you can take a swim in the large steamy bath and whirlpools outside late into the chilly evening. You’ll find locals and visitors from all over that want to enjoy the natural baths of Budapest. If you’re interested in a more exciting bath experience, you can head over to one of Lukacs Bath Parties, where the natural baths are complemented with music and lights.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest, Hungary
Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest, Hungary

Over in Zurich, you can also enjoy a hot outdoor bath on a cold night with a view at Thermalbad & Spa. Entrance to the spa gives you access to the steam rooms and interior pools that are housed in an old brewery. It also gives you access to the hot infinity pool on the rooftop. You can enjoy the pool day or night and either look out over the edge onto the city around you or get massaged in the smaller whirlpools. These are a hit with amorous couples that can’t keep their hands off each other. For some reason, of all the hot baths on this list, this one gets the most action after dark. You’ll see spa security walking around with a flashlight breaking up steamy hot tub love all over the place.

Whether you’re getting down and dirty with your honey or relaxing by yourself or with friends, each of these hot bath experiences is unique and memorable. There’s truly nothing like it. Once you take your first dip, you’ll never want to get out… especially because you’ll be soaking wet and it’ll still be 18 degrees outside the water.


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