Let’s take a second and imagine how romantic a Danube river cruise could be. About ten years ago, my friend just came back from Hungary and told me all about her experience, having dinner on a Budapest river cruise with her boyfriend. I was 17 and single, so the concept of these romantic experience didn’t sound so appealing. But here I am, a decade later, married to the love of my life, exploring the Hungarian capital hand in hand, sightseeing in Budapest.
Danube River Cruise in Budapest
The Danube is the second largest river in Europe, and it beautifully dived the Hungarian capital into Buda and Pest. Budapest truly is a gem on the Danube, because it is, to me at least, the perfect combination of so many European cities.
The Buda side is more fancy, richer and definitely more aristocratic. It’s the place to walk around with a camera in your hand and marvel at quaint streets as well as admire the Parliament from above in the Fishermans’ Bastion.
Pest is more down to Earth, a bit more vibrant and dotted with shops and restaurants.
But to see Budapest in all it’s splendour, you must be right in between, which is on a Danube river cruise. We opted for a two-hour evening cruise with dinner included in our package. We got ours through Hungaria Koncert which offered the friendliest service we could expect.
Prepare for the Budapest River Cruise
Our cruise lasted for two hours, and it included a welcome drink, a glass of house wine, a bottle of water and all-you-can-eat dinner buffet. Amongst the food, we had the chance to sample some Hungarian classics such as töltött káposzta (mince and rice wrapped in cooked cabbage leaves), Paprikás Csirke (chicken in paprika sauce), as well as pork based dishes, various salads, well-baked potatoes and fantastic desserts.
If you plan on taking this cruise, say goodbye to your diet for the night! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! We absolutely loved the white house wine included in the package, but if your taste buds are after something a bit more sophisticated, you have a menu with reasonably priced bottles of wine. You can also order cocktails, Hungarian special wines (Tokaji) and Hungarian wines or spirits.
There is live music for the duration of the cruise, and luckily it was relatively quiet so everyone can still have a conversation. Most tables are located by the window, so you can enjoy the fantastic views of Budapest as you cruise along. For the duration of the 2 hours, you will have the opportunity to see both sides of Budapest: Buda and Pest. The best part? You can photograph the beautiful Hungarian Parliament at night time. Hard not to love this!
The Budapest River Cruise was well organised and everyone was very friendly. We loved the service. We also absolutely loved that just before we left, we had a professional photographer going around taking pictures of everyone at the tables. Towards the end of the cruise, the photographer came back to us with a high-quality folder, with images of Budapest and our awesome little pictures inside. The price of this memory is around £5 but we think it was well worth it.
Initially, we were a bit like...no, we are not going to buy it, because what is the point. But then, we realised that it’s these little things that in time acquire a lot of sentimental value and remind us of the fun experiences we had during this lifetime.
Towards the end of the Danube river cruise, the live band came around the tables to ask if we would like a song played at the table, but since we are quite shy, we actually said no. We listened to the songs played at the table next to us and we liked it, so next time, be sure to not be as silly as us, and just say yes to everything!
What to do after the Danube River Cruise?
Once our Danube cruise came to an end, we decided to go sightseeing a bit more. It was around 9 pm, but we wanted to experience Budapest at night. In all honesty, there was a huge contrast between Buda and Pest. We walked around Pest in the evening and the streets were full of joyful tourists, willing to spend and have a good time. It was definitely the fun scene of the Hungarian capital. The restaurants were still open and bars were roaming with people in search of a good and cheap drink.
Once we crossed the Elizabeth Bridge to get to our apartment in Buda, everything changed. We joked so many times that the Danube River in Budapest represents a secret portal. Buda was quiet, silent and inviting. It had a completely different atmosphere, so elegant!
I am really excited that we finally had the chance to experience a Danube River cruise in Budapest as in a way, it has been on my wish list for far too long. Both my husband and I would definitely recommend this experience which has exceed our expectations.
Have you been to a Danube cruise in Budapest before or would you like to have this experience whilst in the Hungarian capital? Please let us know in the comments section below. And don’t forget to share your pictures with us!
Thank you so much, Hungaria Koncert for making the Danube river cruise a dream come true. These guys have been incredibly epic, and all opinions in this article are absolutely unbiased, and our own.