There are several companies offering Danube cruised, but after doing some research I decided to book with Legenda, and I was not disappointed! This tour features a documentary available in several languages that tells you the history of Budapest through captivating legends. As interesting as they were, however, I must admit that I spent most of the cruise paying more attention to the incredible view of the city at night and taking countless pictures. The cruise took us beyond Liberty Bridge and then down to Margaret Bridge so we got to see the Gellert Hotel, Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge and Parliament all lit up :o) We decided to sit on the upper deck so we could have a clean view - there were plastic screens around the lower deck. We were offered glass of wine at the beginning of the cruise, which was a much appreciated touch. The one-hour long tour costs 5300 forints and we bought out ticket during the day - they sell them on the Danube Promenade, just look the Legenda booth. It was money well spent!
Purchase a ticket that includes the bus tours and the boat tour. This is a good way of getting an overview of Budapest. If you plan it well you can get a good insight into the place in just a day.
Unlike the blue color of the Danuba on the Austrian side, In Budapest the running water looks more like green. But the view from all sides is impressive, that the water's color became meaningless after a while.
The Danube river bisects the city into two different parts: the hilly and more peaceful Buda on the right side, and the buzzing Pest on the left.
Both river banks offer many sights: right at the start of your Danube cruise the graceful tower of the Matthias Church and the Fishermen's Bastion draw your eyes to historic Castle District.
Further up the building of Budapest Parliament dominates the Pest shore.
At the north end of Margaret Island the ship turned and went down the river as far as the National Theatre at the Pest end of the Lágymányosi Bridge.
The fine building of the Gresham Place - today an exclusive luxury hotel - stands at the Pest end of the Chain Bridge.
The doloimit rock of the Gellért Hill towered above the water between Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd) and Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd).
The modern-style National Theatre marked the final attraction of our excursion on the Danube.
I just spent a 3-night shortbreak in Budapest, and sure it was a good decision! I love this city and wanted to try out special things. I paid for a package with a great (but short) bus city tour - it is simple: you can see a lot from the many sightseeings, but you do not have to walk hours, of course there are some photstops, but the whole thing is not boring or tiring. In the evening I cruised on the Danube, where I had a nice dinner, and the illuminated city was very charming. Cause I love folklore I enjoyed the show on the ship (but there were several options: live music - not folklore - or there is the other one: the Operetta ship. It kind of worthes it, beacuse you can get a dinner, a show and a night cruise for reasonable prices. Next day I was on a half day tour in Szentendre (old artist village with narrow streets, by the river Danube - it is a must, if you are in Budapest!). Again I cruised on the Danube the way back, then went for shopping to the WestEnd Plaza (it is huge with many-many shops!!). I think prices are quite acceptable - as I am a fanatic shopper... At night I went with my friends for a party-night organized by a great company. They guided us to every place and took care of our safety! They even asked whether we want some nice-looking men to escort us! (But no thanks...) Last morning I went to Széchenyi Baths. This is a beautiful building, and has very good pools (fun and thermal water), not to mention the nice surroundings. It is in the city park, in the neighbourhood of Vajdahunyad Castle and the Heroes Square, which are highlighted parts of all city tours and recommendations. This was my package (it was really well organized, and I think I saw quite a lot and had a good fun in such little time!)
If anyone is interested in this theme, exact places, recommendations, prices, just please write to me.I am always open to discuss shortbreaks, long weekends...
While I love a good double-decker bus city tour, I also have a soft spot for a tour by boat. Especially if it's cheap. Especially if it's free! City Tour Budapest offers hop-on, hop-off boat tours of the Danube, free for people purchasing their bus tours and discounted for anyone with a Budapest Card.
Departing from Vigado ter, the tour passes by Parliament, visits Margaret Island and cruises past Castle Hill before ducking under further famous bridges to explore the newer south end of the city. It will return you to Vigado ter, or you can hop off and back off at your leisure (though free tickets are valid only for one complete loop). Unlike the giant cruise ships seen in some of my photos, you'll be cruising on a small boat with basic amenities. Departures very depending on the season so check the website. These cruises fill up fast, so get to the front of the line and head to the best seats as soon as you board- the few benches at the open-air section at the front of the boat.
A must for those days when you are just so tired you cannot anymore, but know and feel you have to do some more sightseeing. I find this one of the best ways to see European cities as you see a part of the city you would otherwise miss. I just did not like to cocktail you were given on the cruise to welcome you abroad. The cruise takes one hour and you go around the Margaret island. Ticket was 9 euro in 2008.
I thought I would show a typical day on board a Viking ship--we just went from Passau to Budapest on the Viking Sky in June 2010 with a total of 146 passengers and never felt crowded except at the one seating dinner on board. If you wanted your favorite table and server, as we did, you kind of have to be close to the doors when they open for dinner, from 7PM to 7:30.
The Budapest day included---
6-7AM early bird breakfast--coffee, juice and pastries in the lounge
7AM Stephanie leads morning Qi Gong with interested guests
7-9AM breakfast buffet and more in the restaurant
8:30-12:30 Included Shore excursion tour of Budapest
1PM Lunch on board
2-6PM Included excursion to Caprice Diamond Center, Szentendre
3:30-4:15 Tea time in the lounge
5:30-7PM Cocktail hour in the lounge
7PM Hungarian/Slovakian Dinner in the restaurant
9PM evening entertainment---Hungarian folklore group
followed by music and dancing by "Sasha"
In case you would like to leave the city for a day, then it's worth going on a day trip on the Danube by boat. It is a really relaxing way to travel, and you can get to Hungary's nicest areas this way.
The two nearer destinations available by boat are Szentendre (1.5 hrs) and Visegrád (2.5 hrs).
Szentendre is a small town near Budapest with a nice, but usually crowded centre. It's a great destination if you like strolling in cobblestone streets, visiting old churches, shopping souvenirs and eating cakes and ice-cream.
Others attractions here include a bunch of art museums and galleries, a public transportation museum (next to the station of the suburban railway - HEV) and the Skanzen, which is an open air museum displaying typical Hungarian houses (out of town, take local bus to get there).
Visegrád is a good option if you like trekking, as visiting the Upper Castle (Fellegvar) requires a steep climb uphill. However, there are amazing views from the castle over the Danube, so it's worth the effort.
Other attractions here include a bob track (open all year round) and a lookout tower close to castle on top of the hill, and ruins of an old royal palace downhill near the river.
Esztergom (4 hrs) is further away along the Danube, so you will only have about 3 hrs to spend there before the boat is leaving back to Budapest. However, this time is still enough to visit its Basilica and the surrounding area. Why it might also be worth taking the longer trip to Esztergom is that the section between Visegrád and Esztergom is one of the nicest areas in Hungary, the "Danube Bend".
If you would like to spend less time travelling and extend your stay in Esztergom with a few extra hours, you have two further options:
1. Take a hydrofoil instead of a standard riverboat. It is much faster, but you will only be able to enjoy the views from indoors (while riverboats also have outdoor seating).
2. Go there by train and then come back by boat (or vice versa), as trains are faster and leave at least once every hour. Furthermore, the route of the train is quite scenic as well...
Boats to Esztergom leave from the piers near Vigadó tér, while the trains depart from Nyugati station.
This was a siper way to relax and see the sites.
There are several cruise lines to choose from . Make sure you pick one with an open top area , for better viewing. It was a wonderful one hour cruise , with multi lang headphones to explain what you ar seeing. Great sites and information. It cost 2990 FT ( about $20.00)
We chose the Mahart PassNave
We have chosen the Duna Legenda boat cruise : it was our favorite attraction during our stay. Though we really felt like tourists, you have a good sight at Buda and Pest's monuments, and there is 2 drinks and a walk on Margaret's Island included in the price of the tour.
Cruise on the Danube is a must for every tourist in Budapest.
The view is beautiful during day and night - You will see the bridges , luxurious hotels , churches , Buda castle and buda hill , the parliament.
There are a lot of cruise offers - only around Budapest or to the Danube bend - from the hotels you will get a very expensive offer (can be 16000 Forint) while you will find local cruises in very cheap prices (2000 forint to the Danube bend).
The cruise to the Danube bend and Visegrad on Maharat Passnave cost me 2000 Forint while the hotel and the tourist company wanted 16000.
At dusk, many of the buildings along the Danube are illuminated, the Chain Bridge included. It brings romance to an otherwise ordinary boat ride. The Budavar, the Parliament, etc. looked more mysteriously appealing as they glow in the dark.
I always thought that boat trips are mostly tourist traps. But in Budapest, it is not. This city has the most beautiful illumination in Europe. The most important and beautiful buildings are situated near Danube, so a boat trip at night is the best way to see most of them.
It is a pleasure to slip over this old river in a darkened, covered and heated boat, listening to a nice voice which tells the stories about Budapest. Seeing the bridges from the boat was amazing, too.
These boats have audio guides in several languages and oddly Turkish is one of them. It was recorded by two Turkish who was living in Hungary. I’m not sure whether all the guides were the same but in Turkish audio guide, Danube’s story was told by Danube itself. The context was very catchy and listening to Danube was exciting.
It is not very common to see Turkish as an option in a foreign country, but Hungary has an exceptional connection to Turkey. Our languages has many words in common, we have a history lived together binding us and we came from the same place (Central Asia) to where we are settled now. We even have folk songs about Danube in our language, but we name it “Tuna”.
We were hypnotized by the smooth voice of the audio guide, warm place, beauty of Danube… Then the waitress started to serve beverages. I drank champagne to the beauty of Budapest that night.
For those who don't want to get too touristy by taking a sightseeing tour, I can recommend taking a boat trip with the Duna Legenda boat company. Their price includes a Margaret Island tour (on certain departures), 2 drinks where one is their Duna cocktail and the other one you can choose from wine, soft drinks and juice and audio guides in 30 languages. Besides the sights, what I liked the most was how the story of the sights is narrated - in the form of a lovers' story between a man, Buda, and a woman, Pest. Different and entertaining.
You can book your cruise online.
Enjoyed every minute of the dance and the veiws as we floated along the danube.
It was reasonably price for the cruise and entertainment and the food was fantastic local cuisine.
Everyone was friendly and it can be done by lone travellers, i had no problems. You are allocated a table, although with people you don't know but know each other - i had no problems enjoying the evening.
Only one thing though, watch out for how long meat & dairy products are left unchilled on the table. On my trip they were standing too long for my comfort, so i advoided them but i had no problem with the variety of local dishes - very tasty.