As the jewel of the Danube, Budapest is known for its iconic river views. Split in two by this wide river, Buda and Pest each offer spectacular sights — from Gellért Hill and Buda Castle on Buda, to Parliament on Pest. Elegant bridges criss-cross the river as well, joining Buda and Pest as one city. Without a doubt, travelling by boat is the best way to see the city. Passing beneath Liberty Bridge and the Chain Bridge on a slow river cruise gives visitors a unique, up-close view of the incredible architecture and details of these structures. The passage is slow and steady, making it easy to take in the views, and as you go, you may feel inspired to hop off at one of the stops to explore the buildings up close. But when you choose to ride MAHART, you get to explore more of Budapest, and travel past the city centre and through the picturesque Danube Bend.
To see iconic Budapest sights in one days, book a one-hour Danube Corso sightseeing cruise, which offers daily hourly departures from March to the end of December. You’ll love this relaxing boat ride from Rákóczi Bridge to Margaret Bridge, as you take in the sights of Buda and Pest. To top it off, you’ll get a welcome drink, which is included in the price, waiting for you when you board. As you go, you’ll learn all about the history of the buildings and bridges.
If you’re ready to see the city at sunset, or in the evening when buildings along the riverbank light up, try a dinner cruise. With wine tasing and live music, your sightseeing trip will become a romantic one. For those who are looking for something a bit more lively, MAHART also offers party cruises, craft beer tasting cruises, and more.
Book your guided day cruise today for 3500 HUF (around €10) or your sunset dinner cruise for 12,000 HUF (around €33). The guided tours are available in 11 languages: Hungarian, British English, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish.
As the largest and most popular river boat in Budapest, MAHART is the way to go to see Budapest and the surrounding area. If you have the time for a longer Danube river cruise, you have a range of excursion boats to choose from. These boats visit historical towns Hungarian neighbouring Budapest along the Danube, such as Szentendre, Visegrád and Vác. No matter which town you choose to visit, the journey through the Danube Bend itself is spectacular — one of the few natural places that still feels wild and pristine in Budapest.
On the Budapest-Szentendre-Budapest route, you’ll get to stop in Szentendre to stroll the cobblestone streets. This small town is known as the Danube Bend’s jewel box for a reason and is the perfect place to see and experience traditional Hungarian architecture and culture. It has become a popular destination thanks to its historic streets and the folk-art vibe. Be sure to stop in a few of the shops to pick up handmade Hungarian goods, from lace tablecloths and embroidered clothing to pálinka and and the nation’s staple spicy sausage, kolbász.
You can then choose to expand your route to include Visegrád and Esztergom. If you’re interested in Hungarian history, you won’t want to miss the Visegrád citadel or Esztergom’s magnificent basilica. On the same route, you can add a stop at Vác, a scenic riverside town known for its river ‘beaches’.
If you have a need for speed, you can forgo the lazy river boat and choose to arrive in a superfast hydrofoil. With wide-angle cameras and LCD screens, you’ll get the captain’s view of the front of the ship. Aside from the typical river boat cruises to Visegrád, and Esztergom, the Hydrofoil often goes to Kalocsa, the birthplace of paprika, Mohács, the home of the famous Busójárás, and the Equestrian Center of Solt.
Book your MAHART cruise between April and September, or the hydrofoil between mid-April to late September (excluding Mondays). You can buy a return ticket for 5720 HUF per adult for the Budapest-Vác-Visegrád-Esztergom route. For the hydrofoil a return ticket is 8000 HUF per adult.
The MAHART hydrofoil offers foreign cruises too, including Budapest-Bratislava / Dévény and the Budapest-Vienna two-day cruises. The Budapest-Bratislava route costs 49,990 HUF per person, and the Budapest-Vienna tour costs 53,990 HUF. From Budapest to Vienna, the travel time is about 7 hours. Prices include bed, breakfast, and guidance.
Be sure to book your seats in advance, as the MAHART cruises are very popular. Tickets can be booked on the website or in person at ticket offices near Batthyány Square and Vígadó Square. To see the full timetables and price list, visit www.mahartpassnave.hu/en.
Budapest has plenty of other river sightseeing tours to offer. To learn about other Danube cruise companies, check out our article on the top river cruises in the city.
- What is MARHART PassNave Ltd?
- MARHART is the largest and most popular river cruise company in Budapest.
- Where do MARHART river cruises go?
- MARHART river cruises take you through the main sights of Budapest, and if you choose, through towns along the Danube Bend
- What river cruise should I book in Budapest?
- Book a guided cruise with MARHART to see iconic sights in Budapest and along the Danube Bend
- What should I see along the Danube in Budapest?
- You should see Budapest’s Parliament, Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge, as well as popular small towns along the Danube Bend, such as Szententdre.