The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe linking the countries of Central Europe as a chain. The 2850 km long river has plenty of attractions both on the water and on land. When you are in Budapest, make sure you pay for a Danube river cruise that offers a wide range of trips from a few hours to voyages up to 2 days. You will surely find the one that suits you the best.
Shipping has an important role in the public transport of Budapest. Navigation on the Danube’s downtown section is crucial for short-distance travel, crossing the river’s two shores, and also for the tourist life of the capital. Those who like to mingle with the locals can choose the BKK (Budapest Transport Center) scheduled flight. This probably offers the best prices. BKK organizes four Danube river cruises for passengers. D11 and D12 run from Kopaszi-gát to Rómaifürdő. They cross the historic city center going under seven bridges while the tourist can see the most significant buildings of Budapest. Just to mention a few: the Hungarian Parliament, the foot of the Gellert Hill or the Várkert Bazár. The Danube river cruises reach the major center of cultural life, the Palace of Arts and the National Theater, as well as the Danube green areas, Margaret Island, Óbuda Island on the north and the Roman coast. The D2 crossing ship carries passengers to one of the most spectacular points of the capital, at the center of the city, between Kossuth Lajos Square and Batthyány Square. The D14 crossing ship operates ferries between the Csepel Royal Forest and the Molnár Island of Soroksar. Boats operate according to travel needs with three seasonal timetables – spring-autumn, summer, and winter – including weekdays, weekends and holidays. In the spring-summer season you can purchase a ticket for longer routes and cruises run more frequently at this time whereas in late autumn and winter, there are typically shorter routes with greater tracking times. The current timetable is available at https://bkk.hu/en/timetables/. Season tickets and tickets can be purchased in advance at BKK Customer Centers, ticket offices, BKK vending machines, or are sold locally by staff. Boat trips are available on any day with a boat ticket 750 HUF and 550 HUF for children. A ferry ticket is available with a full-price ticket 170 HUF, a student ticket 110 HUF or a pensioner ticket 110 HUF. On weekdays the following tickets and passes are also valid: Budapest Tickets (Budapest 24 Hour Ticket, Budapest 72 Hour Ticket, Budapest Weekly Ticket, Budapest Group 24 Hour Ticket); discount group ticket; Budapest passes (all passes with the term “Budapest pass” in their name). Budapest Cards can be used onboard any day during the period of validity indicated on them.
Longer Danube river cruises
Those who have the opportunity to go on a longer cruise can choose from the excursion boats. These boats visit historical settlements along the Danube, such as Szentendre. On the Budapest-Szentendre-Budapest route the small town, known as the Danube Bend’s jewel box, has become a popular destination for excursions because of its historic streets and the city’s artistic life. On the expanded route, tourists visit Visegrád and Esztergom, which are of outstanding importance for the Hungarian history. The former is famous for its citadel, the latter for its historic buildings. You can buy a return ticket for the Danube river cruise for 5720 HUF. On the same route, there is a cruise ship along with a stop at Vác, as well as a hydrofoil with a capacity of 71 or 54. The hydrofoil represents a slightly higher price range, a return ticket for the before mentioned Budapest-Vác-Visegrád-Esztergom route is 8000 HUF. Excursion boats run between April and September, and hydrofoils run from mid-April to late September, except Monday.
Exclusive Danube river cruises
The navigation on the Danube also offers various program boats, such as the one-hour Danube Corso sightseeing cruise, which offers daily hourly departures from March to the end of December. The price of the adult ticket is 3500 HUF, the student is 3000 HUF, and the child ticket is 2000 HUF. At the same time, you can enjoy sunset cruises, wine tasting, live music dinner, party cruise, craft beer tasting, etc. For those who like fine cuisine and like to combine it with a Danube cruise, the Pannonia Gastro boat is the best choice. Combining the elegance of the last century with the demands of modern times, Pannónia Ship will host the SVÉT (Stylish Country Restaurant) restaurants in 2017, with award-winning chefs and their award-winning cuisine presented monthly. It is worth booking in time as the boat can carry up to 50 people. Prices are high class, with a dinner costing 40000 HUF / person.
The largest and at the same time the market-leading Hungarian shipping company has plenty of competitors in the Danube shipping. These include Silverline cruises, sightseeing cruises along the Danube. During a sightseeing boat excursion, you can enjoy breathtaking panorama for 75 minutes. The boats also have a snack bar, so you can drink ice cold beer in the summer heat, or warm yourself up with some good hot tea in the cold winter. Excursions depart every second hour; the price of the adult ticket is 4400 HUF whereas the child ticket is 3800 HUF. Unlimited drinks and food are sold from 9200 HUF. The range of sightseeing cruises is complemented by the Legenda sightseeing cruises, which, in addition to the usual day sightseeing cruises, offer evening cruises and evening cruises with dinner. The biggest benefit of the company is that it makes its programs available to travelers in 30 languages (the average is just 12 languages!). Its quite new fleet ranges from a capacity of 70 to 160, which can accommodate up to 250 people during the summer. The ships operate all year round, every 45 minutes during the summer season and 2-4 times a day in winter (November to February). Adult ticket prices range from 4200 to 5900 HUF depending on the type of the boat. The cost of a cruise with dinner is higher, 21900 HUF / person, but it is also cheaper than the exclusive Pannonia Boat mentioned earlier.
MAHART /the largest passenger shipping company of Hungary/
Those who come on a cruise with a simpler dinner can also take part in a music-dinner cruise for the price of 12000 HUF / person. The cruises listed below are on offer from MAHART PassNave Ltd., the largest passenger shipping company in Hungary. The MAHART hydrofoil offers include domestic cruises as well as foreign cruises, including the Budapest-Bratislava / Dévény and the Budapest-Vienna two-day cruises. Timetables and the full price list can be found on the company’s website: https://www.mahartpassnave.hu/en.
For those who like extreme things, Redjet is the best choice. 30-minute cruises on the Redjet with unlimited speed (440 hp), stunning panorama and extreme maneuvers. The extreme cruise departs from the Kopaszi-gát at a cost of 8000 HUF / person. Redjet runs its tours between May 1st and September 30th, and one thing is sure, no one will stay dry. (Book an appointment at: https://www.redjet.com/ )
Another extreme but more exciting way of navigation on the Danube is the Riverride, the amphibious bus that takes you on land and water during your sightseeing trip. The price of an adult ticket is 9000 HUF, and the child ticket costs 6000 HUF / person. Take off on the Pest side, Széchenyi square; the sightseeing takes about 1 hour 35 minutes. From April 1st to October 31st buses leave 4 times a day (10am, 12pm, 4pm, 4pm, 4pm), and three times a day for the rest of the year. Visit http://riverride.com/ for the exact schedule. Due to limited seats, it is always advisable to book tickets in advance.
In sum, if you want to rank the top Danube river cruises offered by different companies, check the below cruise organizers:
You can see now how many opportunities tourists have for navigation on the Danube. The peculiarities of water transport (water level, ship traffic, etc.) can cause scheduling differences, so it is advisable to be informed before traveling regardless of the shipping company. Be sure to try one of the river cruises of the Danube, it will be an unforgettable experience for all ages.