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Hungarian thermal baths in difficulty in the face of the energy crisis


In antiquity with its 14 baths, Budapest was a center equaled only by Rome itself in terms of facilities of its kind. But in 2023, expensive to maintain because very energy-intensive, the Hungarian baths expect to see their bills explode.

They are one of Hungary's most famous attractions.

The whole world is familiar with its pastel buildings with Belle Époque or Art Nouveau architecture surrounding pools where chess players compete with bathing caps on their heads in water vapour.

Postcard of the country, the thermal baths are very energy-intensive and are currently fighting to stay in the landscape, between explosion of bills and economic gloom.

Indeed, running these mythical establishments "

should cost 170% more in 2023 compared to last year

", warns Edit Reffy, spokesperson for Budapest Spas, the company which manages the capital's thermal baths.


Managing the energy crisis is a major challenge

," she told AFP.

To cope with this, several cost-saving measures have been put in place (reduced service, covered outdoor swimming pools, etc.) and the prices of entrance tickets have been raised.

Read alsoThe baths of Budapest: our best addresses for thermal baths in the Hungarian capital

Several thermal baths have already closed

Entrance ticket prices for the baths have increased by 30%.


Thus, "


", the historic baths, mostly frequented by foreign customers, increased their tickets by "

more than 30%


Like the sulfur-smelling Szechenyi, adored by night owls for its frenzied parties, or the Gellert, which has become a world icon with its waters rich in calcium and magnesium in a curvaceous setting of turquoise mosaics.

Despite this price increase, attendance has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels (42 million visitors in 2019), according to industry professionals.

Less known, provincial establishments have been more affected by the crisis.

Some have been forced to close their doors, while a quarter of them have reduced their hours, Zoltan Kantas, head of the Association of Hungarian Baths, recently warned.

Developed in the plain of central Europe two thousand years ago by the Romans, the spa culture was then perpetuated by the Hungarians.

In the 16th century, the Ottomans built baths that are still in use today.

With nearly 1,300 sources of medicinal and thermal water, Hungary remains a less expensive destination than the European average and often spectacular.

Here we find the destination of Miskolctapolca (northeast), where you can take water in labyrinthine caves unique in Europe, with a healing climate.

Or the largest biologically active natural thermal lake in the world, in Heviz (southwest).

Its 4.4 hectares benefit from water heated by geothermal energy which does not drop below 22°C in winter and can reach 38°C in summer.

Read alsoThe largest hotel in Hungary closes its doors due to the energy crisis

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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