Cruising the Danube from Budapest

October 11, 2012 by

Shore Excursions, Things To Do, Tours & Activities

The Chain Bridge and Royal Palace on the Danube River.

The Chain Bridge and Royal Palace on the Danube River.

One of the best ways to experience the best that Budapest has to offer is via one of the profusion of river cruises that ply the waters of the Danube River when the weather permits. The river bisects the city into two distinct parts: the hilly and peaceful Buda on one side, and the buzzing congestion of Pest on the other. Both banks offer many sights, including the graceful tower of the Matthias Church, the Fishermen’s Bastion, and the historic Castle District.

Nighttime cruises often feature dinner and drinks, and can be an affordable option for an evening of sightseeing, entertainment and romantic ambiance. Hungarian folk-dances and classical music concerts are the order of the day (or rather, night), with performances on most cruises beginning around 8pm (the typical cruise lasts several hours). The ticket price typically includes a lavish meal, at least one beverage (wine, beer or soft drinks) and there are discounts for students.

Lunch cruises depart in the early afternoon. These are very popular and less widely available (the fleet of vessels that undertake afternoon cruises is comparatively smaller), so you’ll want to get your tickets ahead of time.

Another memorable option is a holiday cruise. Christmas cruises are available, as are New Year’s Eve cruises. The latter are particularly fantastic, as they provide a wonderful vantage point from which to take in the spectacle of the annual fireworks displays put on by the city.

Nearly all of the above depart from Danube Palace or Budai Vigadó.

-John Reality

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