In Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital, you can sample spicy paprika at the Great Market Hall (designed by Gustave Eiffel), sip coffee in a genteel turn-of-the-20th-century café, and enjoy an affordable performance at the luxurious Opera House. Budapest has its fair share of museums and monuments, too: You can ogle the opulent interior of the Hungarian Parliament, get a taste of the gloomy Hungarian psyche at the National Gallery, and wander through a field of quirky old communist statues at Memento Park. But for me, splashing and relaxing in Budapest’s thermal baths is the city’s top attraction. Though it might sound daunting, bathing in Budapest is far more accessible than you’d.
On a recent trip to Germany, I spent an afternoon relaxing at the German spa resort of Baden-Baden. In two hours, I saw more naked people than I’ve seen in the last two years. Since the Roman emperor bathed in the mineral waters of Baden-Baden, this town has welcomed those in need of a good soak. And it’s always been naked. In the 19th century, it was Germany’s ultimate spa resort, and even today the name Baden-Baden is synonymous with relaxation in a land where the government still pays its overworked citizens to take a little spa time. I happened to be here when one of my company’s tour groups.