Budapest: where a spa and cool sounds makes it ‘sparty’ time

The idea of a rave in a thermal bath excites and worries Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in equal measure, but there’s great food and ruin bars to enjoy if things go awry

That a city famous for its spas and its nightlife should decide to combine the two will come as no surprise to those who have visited Budapest. The Hungarian capital, comprised of the districts Buda and Pest, bisected by the river Danube, sits on a fault line. As a result, its numerous and architecturally varied thermal baths are fed by 120 hot springs, and are ideal destinations for both tourists and locals intent on relaxation. At the neo-Baroque Széchenyi baths, the city’s residents chat breezily, while octogenarians gather in groups around floating chessboards in an image as identifiably Budapest as the magnificent parliament building. But once the sky darkens and the spas close, the city’s hedonistic side comes to the forefront, with various basement bars, clubs, and – of course – Budapest’s famous ruin bars (kerts) all beckoning.

So it makes total sense that a Hungarian party producer should have the bright idea to combine the two and organise a massive rave in a spa. And that is why my boyfriend and I are here: to Sparty.

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