Good to know
Indeed there is a (thermal) bathing culture in Hungary, as you can read in any guide book about Budapest. Ever since the Romans brought in bathing customs to the city, which was further boosted by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th century, locals like to indulge themselves in the mineral rich hot springs gushing from the earth beneath. You can’t go wrong with any of the baths operating in the city. Tourists tend to be found in greater numbers at either of Széchenyi, Gellért, or Rudas baths, because of their impressive buildings but they're also more expensive. You can find more locals and lower prices in Lukács, Király, or Veli Bej baths, and for a real local experience, visit Dandár bath. Rudas and Király are unique in that one can still bathe under the original Ottoman dome, built centuries ago.
The nationalization of residential buildings in Hungary began during communism in 1952. After the fall of the system in 1989, people had the option to buy (back) their homes from the state at highly favorable prices. As a result, most people today own their apartments in Hungary, in fact, the proportion of privately owned apartments is above 90%.
The inside of Budapest's large pre-war buildings isn't usually quite as impressive as you might imagine. During communism they were haphazardly parceled up by the state in order to accommodate people who were moved in to Budapest from the countryside. Dysfunctional layouts bedevil residents to this day.
During summer months Budapest can feel deserted on the weekends. This is because the local population moves out en masse to Lake Balaton, a popular summer destination 1-2 hours’ drive from Budapest.
Public water fountains in Budapest are few and far between. However, thanks to a creative idea by a group of locals of turning ordinary hydrants into drinking fountains without compromising their original function, you'll have plenty of opportunities in the summer months to quench your thirst as you roam the city.
In the name of the local population in Budapest I kindly invite visitors to please be respectful of our city. The increasing prevalence of stag-party tourism has begun to affect us. It isn't pleasant to have to listen to “beer-bikes” blasting music as they cross through residential streets, nor to experience loud and rowdy visitors who leave behind empty bottles and trash. We love having visitors and a good time but please remember this is our home and treat it with the care you show your own.