Budapest - Your first visit to a spa in Budapest might be a bit complicated if you don't speak Hungarian, with the exception of the Gellért Bath instructions and price lists in most baths are posted only in Hungarian.
To help you avoid an awkward faux pas while wearing nothing but a towel Contiki has created a guide to enjoying, and behaving appropriately in a traditional Hungarian bath.
1. Make sure to spend at least two hours in the bath to make the most of the healing water, saunas, steam rooms and massages!
2. Remember that the cashiers close an hour before closing time.
3. You will be given a plastic armband when you buy your ticket which will let you through the turnstile at the entrance as well as locking and opening the locker. Don't lose it!
4. Choose which services or treatments you'd like to try from the list at the entrance and pay for them at the cashier. You'll get a separate ticket for each treatment and won't be able to pay for more once inside.
5. If you have the time and money, definitely opt for a massage - they're known to be super relaxing and are perfect to ease tension in muscles that have been walking you around European cities for a few weeks.
6. The Turkish baths have separate days for men and women, or mixed days when both men and women can bathe. On single-sex days, the attendant will give you a tiny cloth to tie around your waist, or a small apron for women. On mixed days a bathing suit is obviously mandatory.
7. At the Gellért, Széchenyi and Lukács baths you can choose between a cabin (kabin) or locker (szekrény) to change. If you prefer privacy choose and pay for a ticket with cabin when you buy your ticket.
8. Taking a shower before getting into the baths is compulsory. Afterward your shower, start with the main pool and then move onto one of the hotter ones. When you start to feel like a lobster being cooked take a deep breath and plunge into the cold pool for a few seconds refresher!
9. When ready, head to the steam rooms (hamam) or the saunas that also offer a choice of different temperatures (from hot to very hot).
10. Finally, when you're finished bathing you can have a nap in the rest room to regain your strength and change back into your clothes. You may find the nap very helpful after a long soak and hot sauna!
Adapted from a press release for IOL
* For more information on Contiki's trips throughout Europe, USA, Canada, Asia and Latin America check out contiki.com or call (011) 280 8440.