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Digital Subscriptions > National Geographic Traveller (UK) > Jan/Feb 2019 > GRAND DESIGNS & GREAT PLAINS

GRAND DESIGNS & GREAT PLAINS

BUDAPEST MIGHT BE HUNGARY’S STAR ATTRACTION, BUT VENTURE BEYOND THE CAPITAL’S BORDERS AND YOU’LL DISCOVER ACOUNTRY THAT REMAINS RURAL AND REMARKABLY UNTOUCHED. AND THERE’S OFTEN A SIMPLICITY TO THE PLEASURES ON OFFER — WHETHER IT’S THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY, LOCAL HISTORY OR A GENEROUS DINING CULTURE. FROM BOBBING IN THE HEALTH - GIVING WATERS OF ONE OF THE MANY BATH HOUSES TO CLIMBING UP TO FAIRY TALE CASTLES, THERE’S PLENTY TO EXPLOREIN THI S BREATH -TAKING COUNTRY
The grand interior of Eger’s neo-classical cathedral. THIS SPREAD, FROM
PHOTOGRAPHS NICK WARN

TAKE TO THE WATERS

Hungarian bathhouses are liberating places, and not just thanks to the relaxing thermal waters. There’s no concept of being ‘beachbody ready’; whatever your shape or size, you won’t be the fattest, thinnest, oldest, youngest or hairiest in the water.

There are 1,300 registered thermal water wells across the country, of which some 300 are used for medical treatments, while around 100 are used for spas. With their high mineral content — calcium, sulphates and luoride, among others — the waters at Miskolctapolca, in northeastern Hungary, are said to be hugely beneicial to those who take a dip. Some visitors even go with a doctor’s note, seeking relief from circulatory, respiratory or joint problems.

But there are plenty of others, like me, who are just there to splash about in the network of indoor and outdoor pools, baths, caves and tunnels — a tradition that dates back to the 13th century. Although the majority of the facility dates to the mid-20th century, glimpses of Miskolctapolca’s past are still visible, including the remains of a 14thcentury monastery just outside the modern bath complex.

While a Sunday morning at Miskolctapolca is more reminiscent of school swimming lessons than a spa day (nothing demonstrates the acoustics of a cave network quite like squealing children), the high spirits are contagious. And, with the waters heated to a balmy 30C, you’ll be happy to stay and soak all day.

TAKE TWO: BATHHOUSES

GELLÉRT

People have taken to the thermal waters at Budapest’s beautiful Gellért Baths for centuries. The current building is more than 100 years old and was previously the site of hospitals and water cures. The bathing experience here ofers a relaxing break from the bustle of the city.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

We reveal the destinations that made our Cool List 2019 — from booming gastronomic hotspots to up-and-coming cities, this is the last word in where you should visit in the year to come. Elsewhere, we explore the wild side of Quebec’s national parks; leave our shoes behind on Colombia’s barefoot Pacific coast; and spend a long weekend in Bornholm. Other highlights this issue include Kuala Lumpur, Richmond, Prague, Marrakech and Taipei while our photo story joins the wild horse herders in Iceland’s rural east.