The best spas in Eastern Europe to visit in 2024

The best spas in Eastern Europe to visit in 2024

Indulgence, rest and relaxation – there’s a lot to love about a spa experience, whether you’re treating yourself to some much-needed self-care or celebrating with friends or family members.

But spa trips in the UK can easily spill into three figures, with the price of treatments notching the cost up even higher. So with a whole host of incredible (and affordable) spas to discover in Eastern European cities, it’s worth considering how you can incorporate a spa experience into your next holiday.

Prices tend to be significantly lower across Eastern Europe, with many hotels offering packages, and budget airlines running flights daily. The Hungarian capital of Budapest has proven to be particularly popular for low-cost luxe spa breaks, but there are plenty of other cities to explore across the region, whether you’re watching your spending or have a little more cash to splash.

From “beer spa” sessions to Finnish saunas, mineral soaks to luxury mud wraps, we’ve selected some of the best spas across the continent for all tastes. 

Nové Lázně Health Spa

Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic

The interior of the Nové Lázně Health Spa (Nové Lázně Health Spa)

Named as one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe, Mariánské Lázně is renowned for its 100 mineral springs that boast high levels of carbon dioxide and iron. Famous philosophers and royalty are reported to have stayed in the historic five-star Nové Lázně, which dates from 1896. It’s arguably one of the prettiest spa hotels in the region, with its distinctive dandelion-yellow exterior and neo-Renaissance aesthetic. The spa remains fit for royalty, with beautiful tiling and marble columns in the Roman bath, which is a spa-lover’s dream. There’s also a sauna complex consisting of a Finnish sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, foot rock pools and a whirlpool. And with an eye-popping range of medical and wellness treatments on offer, from oxygen therapy to mud wraps, you’re guaranteed to float out. A three-hour pass to the Roman baths costs 800 Czech Koruna (£27) without treatments.

Széchenyi Baths from the famous images of men playing chess in its mineral rich waters over the years, an activity that is an integral part of Hungarian culture. Thankfully, there’s plenty of room for everyone, whether you’re partial to the checkerboard or not. Built in 1913, Széchenyi has been an integral part of the city for over a hundred years and is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. With 18 baths, including three grand outdoor pools, saunas and steam rooms, a visit to Széchenyi is a highly social affair. The baths also offer a daily 45-minute Beer Spa session, in which visitors relax in wooden tubs of warm thermal water while natural beer ingredients (hops, malt and yeast) are poured in containing a whole host of positive qualities to boost the skin and circulation. Fancy something a bit livelier? The weekly Saturday evening “Sparty” combines banging tunes, top-class lasers and visuals for a party vibe with a twist. A day-entry ticket to the spa costs 10,500 Hungarian forint (£23.50) per person from Monday to Thursday, rising to 12,000 Hungarian forint (£26) on Fridays and weekends. Elsewhere, tickets to the Sparty start from €59 (£50.50) for basic entry.

Therme Bucharest

Bucharest, Romania

Therme Bucharest even features an indoor botanical garden (Therme Bucharest )

As the largest spa in Europe, Therme Bucharest is the daddy when it comes to wellness experiences. Opened in 2016, this spa goes big, with around 40,000 square metres of wellness, leisure and spa space set over two floors. Packed with plants, 10 pools, 10 saunas and the largest urban beach in Europe, this is a top-notch spa experience that you can enjoy with a cocktail in your hand. It’s also home to 16 water slides if you fancy an adrenalin hit before your mineral soak. A one-day, access-all-areas pass costs £29 Monday to Thursday, rising to £32 for entry Friday to Sunday, including school holidays. Read our full guide to Therme here.

Gellért dates back to 1918 and is pretty as a picture, with mosaic-covered terraces, turquoise tiling, ornate statues and marble columns and balconies. There are 10 pools in total, including an outdoor wave pool and cold plunge pool, plus several geothermal pools containing water from the mineral hot springs. Three saunas and a steam room round up the main wellness offerings. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the main hall with its marble gallery and glass roof (you’ll need a cap to swim here, but these are available to purchase for £4), but if you’re not convinced, maybe the prices will do the job. Expect to pay 10,500 Hungarian forint (£23.50) per person for a daily ticket with locker usage (Monday to Thursday), rising to 12,000 (£26) on Fridays and weekends. A 45-minute “classic” massage costs 18,000 (£39), and there are towels, bathrobes, slippers and safes to hire. You can also hire a “cabin”, which is a small, private, lockable changing room to change and store your belongings, if you need more room.

Hotel Royal Spa

Velingrad, Bulgaria

Velingrad is a popular Bulgarian spa town (Getty Images)

Like to sweat? You’ve come to the right place. At Velingrad’s Hotel Royal Spa, you’ll find (deep breath) a Finnish sauna, a Himalayan salt sauna, an infrared sauna, a panoramic sauna, an aroma steam bath, a panoramic steam bath and a hamam. As Bulgaria’s biggest balneo-therapeutic (bathing in thermal and mineral waters) resort, the Hotel Royal Spa is also home to eight indoor and outdoor mineral pools, including Roman and Russian baths and a jacuzzi, all filled with healing waters. And, incredibly, a day pass to this wellness fun palace costs just 40 Bulgarian lev, a bargainous £17.50. Their long list of treatments is an absolute steal as well, with a 45-minute full-body massage clocking in at 65 Bulgarian lev (£28.50), while a full-body seaweed mask costs 80 Bulgarian lev (£35). Known as the spa capital of the Balkans, Velingrad is located in the mountains with plentiful hiking opportunities available and national parks to explore, making it an ideal alternative destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lukács, which is a favourite amongst locals. It’s also an excellent choice for those on a budget, with weekday entrance tickets costing just 4,800 Hungarian forint (£10.50), rising to 5,200 Hungarian forint (£11) on weekends and public holidays. For that, you can bathe in two indoor thermal pools, two large outdoor pools, enjoy a “sauna world” consisting of a Finnish sauna, infrared sauna, ice hut, Himalayan salt wall, a Turkish hammam, and a sun terrace for topping up your tan. Treatments include classic and premium massage, with the former costing just 10,000 Hungarian forint (£22) for 45 minutes, while hop-heads can also indulge in the Beer Spa session featured at Széchenyi Baths. Thermal baths have been enjoyed at this location as far back as the 12th-century by the Knights Hospitallers, making it a unique part of this historic city. Make sure you take your own towels, swimming cap and slippers, or you’ll have to hire them – and you’ll pay more to loan a single towel (6,000 Hungarian forint/£13) than you’ll spend on the entrance fee.Poland’s picturesque second city of Krakow would do well to take a visit to the five-star Hotel Copernicus Spa by L’Occitane situated on one of the city’s oldest streets. Hidden in the subterranean depths of this beautiful 14th-century building, the gothic-style swimming pool and spa is small but mighty, with atmospheric vaulted ceilings and exposed brick and stone walls. In addition to the pool and sauna, guests can indulge in a series of massage treatments or facials, all using L’Occitane products. A 60-minute massage costs 350 Polish złoty (£69) and includes access to the pool and sauna, while a day pass is 550 Polish złoty (£109), which includes a 60-minute body or face treatment, a three-course lunch with a glass of champagne and unlimited access to the swimming pool and spa. Named after the astronomer, who was a regular visitor, the property also has beautifully restored frescoes and a rooftop terrace with city views, perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif.High Tatras, the highest range in the Carpathian Mountains. With 26 peaks over 2,500m, plus 100 alpine lakes, this is a wilderness-lover’s dream. Rest weary bones at the five-star Grand Hotel Kempinski. Situated on the shore of the glacial mountain lake Štrbské Pleso, the views over the surrounding mountains are nothing short of spectacular. And its spa, Zion, scooped the best hotel spa award in Slovakia in the 2023 World Spa Awards. Take a dip in the pool and float under crystal chandeliers before sweating it out in one of three saunas, a caldarium and a Kneipp pool. There’s also a fitness centre if you want to clock up some miles, while treatments include massage, facials and more. Access to the spa costs €90 (£77) per person.cultural city breaks in Europe