Budapest Sightseeing Cruises
There's more than one way to admire the beauty of the Danube River, the magnificent scenic divider and connector of Buda and Pest. Embark on a relaxing daytime sightseeing cruise that includes a stroll through Margaret Island, or add a romantic touch with an evening cruise that's accompanied by dinner and dancing beneath the stars.
Several companies in Budapest offer sightseeing cruises, and most of them are head-set-guided in multiple languages. There are many options to choose from: one-hour sightseeing cruises cover all the attractions located on the banks of the Danube, two-hour cruises offer optional walk on Margaret Island, evening cruises are available with buffet-type dinner, and evening cruises with music and dance are also offered. Look for companies like Legenda, EUrama or Mahart, see below.
If you are looking for something personalized and more unique check out the Danube Boat Ride & Wine Tasting, offered by Taste Hungary.
Scheduled Boat & Ferry Service
Another way to enjoy a ride on the Danube is to take a scheduled ship. The Budapest Transport Company (BKV) operates riverboats between Boráros tér and Rómaifürdő, with stops including Petőfi tér (located at the foot of Elizabeth Bridge in Pest), Batthyány tér and Margaret Island. As of 2012, BKV also operates a new Danube River ferry service, connecting Kopaszi-gát and Rómaifürdő. Ferries are marked D11, D12 (running during the week) and D13 (running on weekends), and they take the following route:
Kopaszi-gát (Rákóczi híd) - Haller utca - A38 - Boráros tér (Petőfi híd) - Szent Gellért tér (Szabadság híd) - Petőfi tér (Erzsébet híd) - Batthyány tér (metro) - Jászai Mari tér (Margit híd) - Margitsziget (only on the weekends) - Népfürdő utca (Árpád híd) - Meder utca - D11: Árpád út, Újpest / D12: Rómaifürdő
In the summertime, scheduled ships are also run by Mahart between Vigadó tér, Batthyány tér and Margaret Island. There is a daily operation with multiple departures. During off season, this scheduled service is offered only on the weekends. Mahart ships generally take the following route:
Vigadó tér - Batthyány tér - Margaret Island, Hotels (Pest side of the island) - Margaret Island, South (Buda side of the island) - Vigadó tér
Danube Bend Cruises
The Danube Bend is a favorite destination for daytrips. Szentendre, Esztergom and Visegrád on the west bank are among the oldest settlements in Hungary. One of the most enjoyable ways to visit them is by ship.
Scheduled ships run between:
Budapest (Vigadó tér) – Szentendre
Budapest (Vigadó tér) – Visegrád
Budapest (Vigadó tér) – Vác
Budapest (Vigadó tér) – Esztergom
Danube Bend cruises are offered by Mahart, see below.
Hydrofoil to/from Budapest
Hydrofoils offer an enjoyable ride to the Danube Bend and Vienna. It takes only about an hour and a half to reach Esztergom via hydrofoil, which is not only a fun way to travel, but also the quickest. Danube Bend hydrofoil services are offered to Visegrád and Esztergom.
International routes include Vienna in Austria. Hydrofoils operate from April through September.
Other popular seasonal hydrofoil destinations are Komárom (north of Budapest, famous for its fortress), Kalocsa (south of Budapest, famous for its Baroque cathedral and for growing paprika), and Mohács (south of Budapest, famous for its spring carnival).
Hydrofoil services are offered by Mahart, see below.
Cruise Companies in Budapest
Mahart (Mahart Passnave Passenger Shipping Ltd.) - Mahart is the largest company operating ferries and scheduled ships, including hydrofoils and sightseeing cruises. More information on timetables, prices and routes can be found at www.mahartpassnave.hu.
Legenda Ltd. - Another company specializing in sightseeing cruises is the Legenda Ltd. Their "Duna Bella" tour is a one-hour daytime tour with an optional walk on Margaret Island, which takes about an hour. The evening sightseeing tour is called "Danube Legend", which is also about an hour long. More information on timetables, prices and services can be found at www.legenda.hu.
EUrama - EUrama offers hop-on hop-off boat tours on the Danube. They also run Dunarama, a private water limousine service. More information on timetables, prices and services can be found at www.eurama.hu.
Most Danube cruises have fixed departure times; however, private cruises can also be organized upon request.