There have been many favourable comments here on the bridges of Budapest and indeed the view from these bridges on the Buda castle or the Pest part of the town are beautiful especially at night when all monuments are under light.
But there would be no monumental bridges if there was not the wide river Danube, Duna in Hungarian. At the "Chain Bridge" the width of the Danube is about 350 m. Upstream the river is even wider when passing the Parliament and reaches more than 450 m at the point of the Margit Island.
The average discharge of the river, flowing through Budapest, is 2.350 m3/sec.
The Danube has its origin in the Black Forrest (Germany) and ends up after 2.888 km in the Black Sea, flowing through—or forming a part of the borders of—ten countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The Danube is an important transport route in the European Union. Since the opening of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, the river connects the Black Sea with the industrial centres of Western Europe and with the Port of Rotterdam.
But, surprisingly enough, during my 5 days stay in Budapest, I saw nearly no commercial traffic on the Duna (even if I had a room with river view). Certainly, I saw cruise ships, even large ones moored at the Belgrad rakpart, but nearly no cargo barges as one uses to see, in large numbers, on other European rivers.
Where were the "large scale inland vessels on an important transport route" I read about?
The Danube River at Budapest – As the Danube flows through Budapest, it is at its most majestic. This magnificent and famous river is half a mile wide as it flows right through the centre of Budapest. Because of the width of the Danube (Dona) at this point, it really did split the west bank from the east bank – resulting in the independent formation of the two cities Pest and Buda
The river Danube - Duna peaked at 891 cm in the capital on 9/06/2013, a record level. Fortunately the flood reached Hungary and Budapest later than neighbor countries so that the authorities had the time to raise and strengthen the dikes at the critical points in Budapest.
The traffic arteries along the river (the "rakpart") had to be closed. Tram 2 well known from tourists could not run anymore and was replaced by a bus.
Budapestinfo and the public transport company BKK were giving good info also in English for tourists.
When we arrived the water level was receding, the roads along the river were being cleaned of the mud, after what the traffic of the trams could start again as well as the traffic of ships on the Danube. Public transport, and cruise ships could again pass under the bridges but had to use all the power of their motors to navigate against the strong stream. Here and there trees were still standing in the water.
After that the weather became very sunny and hot with 35°C.
Tourist boats leave from the Danube Embankment near the Chain Bridge and offer a relaxing hour on the water as well as an introduction to the city highlights. Our trip was reasonably priced and included a language-specific recording (available in many languages). Being on the river allows a different perspective, especially of the massive Parliament building.
A travelogue below features the highlight images including the Parliament and many of the Danube bridges
Strolling along the banks of the Danube on the embankments in Pest or Buda is
a great way to see the city. I took this piccy a few days ago when the River
had flooded the both sides of the embankments and the roads were underwater.
Spend an hour or two and just walking from Margaret Sziget (Margaret Island) down to the
Liberty Bridge and crossing over and walking back down the other side.
The tram #2 runs along the river on Pest side.Great view of the Castle District,
Mattius Church, Citadella and Gellert Hill..
Want to enjoy a pleasant cruise on the Danube? This cruise lasts about an hour and a half, and offers splendid views of the city. Mine was shortly after dusk, so we enjoyed night views of the Royal Castle, the churches, the Bridge of Chains, the Gellert Hill baths, and more.
Note: It's very difficult to get really good photos from a moving boat at night. If your camera has a high-speed setting, I recommend making it VERY high. You'll probably get better results shooting things that are in front of or behind the boat, since there's a lot less lateral motion.
Budapest is central to the Danube, and the river is central to the city. Almost everything in the city is divided by, categorised upon, navigated through and focused on the Danube. The river cuts straight through the city, dividing Buda from Pest, and creating some of the most stunning real estate you will find anywhere in the world. If you remember anything from your visit to Budapest, it will probably be your first view of the river. Try to make it a walk or taxi across Elizabeth Bridge, looking north.
As a tourist you'll probably spend a lot of time on or by the river. You can walk along its promenades, criss-cross its many bridges, or take a trip out in any of the popular boat rides. You can even travel to and from the city to other Danubian capitals, such as on one of the boats upstream to Vienna or Bratislava.
I have a soft spot for bridges - and Budapest has two excellent ones (Liberty or Szabadság híd, connecting Gellert on the Buda side of the river with the Great Market Hall in Pest and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
Liberty was built between 1894 and 1896 and opened in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph (in fact he inserted the last silver rivet in the bridge on the Pest side). Trams, cars as well as pedestrians use the bridge - although there are plans to pedestrianise it in time.
Opened in 1849, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge was considered as one of the wonders of the world (its centre span of 202metres was, at the time, the longest in the world). It was the first permanent bridge in Budapest across the Danube and linked what is now Roosevelt Square and the Academy of Sciences with the lower accesses of Buda Castle. It became the symbol of advancement and national awakening.
It was badly damaged during WWII and was rebuilt, opening in 1949.
The Danube, one of Europe's most important rivers, traverses 2,800 miles from Germany to the Black Sea. It flows through Vienna, Bratislava, Komarno/Komarom, Budapest and several other key Eastern European cities along the route shown on this map.
In Budapest, the Danube splits the two historic cities Buda and Pest and provides a wonderful reflecting surface for the parliament building. It is also home to Margaret Island, a large, beautiful city park. There are six major bridges over the Danube within the city including the Chain Bridge (1849), Liberty Bridge (1896), Margaret Bridge (1876), and Elizabeth Bridge (1964).
What to say about Danube in Budapest? Not only is must-to-see reader you cannot avoid even if you wont.
It is experience it self, regardless you cruising by one of numerous boats or walking on their banks or just watching from around.
Híd or in plural hídak means Bridge in Hungarian. There are quite a number of bridges in Budapest seeing as the Danube divides the Buda and Pest sides of the city. I have mostly crossed on Eszébet híd and Márgit híd, but there are a few more beautiful ones.
Erzsébet híd is in the southern part of the city.
Margit híd is the name of the bridge that leads to the little Margaret island where you can have a stroll and a bath.
Lánchíd or the chain bridge was destroyd by Hitler troops during WWII. but has been restaured.
Other bridges: Szabadság híd, Árpád híd and Petöfi híd.
Stunning view over the Danube and Buda side of the city promenade with a unique ambiance. Walk along the Danube from Elisabeth Bridge to Chain Bridge enjoy the marvelous view of Buda Castle and the bridges
If you continue along the river bank beyond the promenade you can get to the Parliament. Take tram line 2 to travel along the Danube on Pest side for a beautiful view of the Danube, the Parliament, the Royal Castle and Palace and other great attractions
If you fancy a boat trip on the mighty Danube the river cruises depart from Vigado square
Walking along the Danube is very enjoyable. If you want to take a break, go to the Espresso Bar in the Hotel Gellert (next to the Gellert Spa) and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a lovely slice of cake while you are listening to Mr Jozsef Badi, probably the friendliest, very creative piano player you'll ever meet. He plays from 6 pm to 8 pm. The songs he played are popular and you'll surely recognize three or more. The staff at the bar will make you feel comfortable too. After a great time in the bar, you may continue doing your hike.
There are several bridges spanning the Danube in the city of Budapest all of which look different and are a sight in their own right. The most famous is the chain bridge. My favourite is the Erzsebet bridge (see photo) as it looks attractive whilst still looking architecturally and artisitilly minimalistic.
While on the Chain Bridge, both sides give you a great view of the banks of the Danube and the heart of Budapest. The view in the picture is looking south. You can see Gellert Hill to the right and the Erzsebet Bridge.