The Best-Value Boat Tours In The City!
If you’re planning a trip to Budapest a cruise on the river Danube is an absolute must-do activity.
This is a fantastic way to explore the beautiful city and enjoy its stunning views from a unique perspective.
We offer several river tours a day so can you include it in your travel itinerary where it fits the best. If something comes up and you won’t be able to take the cruise you can cancel it any time free of charge.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Why Take A Danube River Cruise In Budapest?
We could list plenty of reasons why taking a sightseeing boat tour is a must-do activity.
Here are just a few:
- ✅ Unbeatable views: Budapest’s skyline is stunning from the water, and a cruise on the Danube river is the best way to take it all in.
- ✅ Iconic landmarks: You’ll see all of the city’s iconic landmarks from the river, including the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and Fisherman’s Bastion.
- ✅ Relaxing activity: A river excursion is a relaxing way to explore the city without having to worry about getting around on foot or by public transport.
You Can Book A Danube Sightseeing Cruise With:
- Meal – usually dinner serviced at your table of buffet-style In most case it will be an international/Hungarian mixed menu. Some cruise dinners are just OK or average re food quality but there some offering relly fine food (these are table-serviced)
- Hungarian dinner all-you-can-eat buffet style (Goulash soup with beef, Chicken paprikash, Strudels with various fillings)
- Street Food: Pizza or Lángos (local deep-fried pastry)
- Wine Tasting & Cheese Plate/Snacks – You’ll sip Hungarian wines from various regions of the country
- Craft beer tasting – Taste local specialty brews
- Cocktails: – 2 or 3 Cocktails of your choice
- Free cancellation – if something comes up you can cancel the program anytime.
Budget-Friendly Danube Cruises – Daytime Tours
Recommended for Families with Kids
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler seeking a remarkable experience on the Danube River, look no further.
These budget-friendly Danube cruises promise an excellent blend of affordability, scenic beauty, and cultural immersion.
What’s more, daytime boat tours aren’t too long – 75-85 minutes – so even toddlers or babies will have a good time, not to mention their parents!
With a wide selection of cruise options available on the Danube, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one without breaking the bank.
Our top-notch recommendations for the best cheap Budapest cruises cater to a variety of preferences, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
TIP: #1. BEST VALUE: Daytime/Evening Cruise & 1 Drink /70 minutes Only for 10 EUR By Silverline Cruises
Evening Cruises With Dinner From 19.00 / 7 PM
#1 – Cruise with 3- or 6-Course Dinner & Live Piano or Folk & Operetta BEST VALUE!
We really enjoyed this evening boat excursion with delicious served dinner and entertaining piano duet.
It departs at 19.30 / 7.30 pm from a dock next to Elizabeth Bridge.
The cruise is 3-hour long and you may think it’s too long but the serving of food plus muisc combined with a peformance of a talented singer is extremely well-organised.
Even as locals who’ve already taken a couple of Danube cruises since living in Budapest this one stands out because of the:
- Quality of food – really tasty soup (choose from 2 options), a main dish and a dessert.
- level of entertainment – talented musicians and a singer
- Kindness and professionalism of staff .
So if you’re looking for a pleasant night program in Budapest we can’t recommend the cruise with 3- or 6-couse dinner highly enough.
Date & Time
- Every day at 19.30 / 7.30 pm
You can book this Danube tour with a 6-course dinner (the same boat, itinerary and entertainment ptograms). The dinner menu includes an: amuse bouche, starter, soup, main course, dessert and a cheese plate.
#2 – Hungarian Dinner With Folk Dance Show & Live Music
We also recommend taking the 19.00 o’clock evening tour with a Hungarian or multi-course buffet dinner, accompanied by a spectacular Folk Dance Show & Live Music.
It’s ideal for those who want to sample typical Hungarian dishes all at once.
Date & Time:
- Every day at 19.00 – 21.00 (except for 14. Feb, 20. Aug, 24. Dec and 31. Dec)
What Will You Get On The Evening Sightseeing Cruises?
Depending on which river tour you choose you will enjoy the followings:
- A 2- or 3-hour river tour where you will see the charming city scape at sunset and that’s is part of the UNESCO World Heritage project
- Welcome drink + additional drink at dinner (or you can go for a complete drink package)
- Warm buffet or served dinner (if you choose this option): international dishes or Hungarian-style dinner, with a glass of wine/juice + a small bottle of mineral water (See dinner menu here!)
- On the Wine/Craft Beer Tasting Cruise: testing of 7 local wines or 5 craft beers (dependig which options you book)
- Cocktail Cruise: 2 or 3 Cocktails from a drink menu that included concoctions like Cuba Libre, Old Fashioned, Mojito, Pina Colada, Sex on the Beach, Tequilla Sunrise, Gin Fizz
- Piano & Singing Show or Folk Dance Performance and
- Live music by a Gypsy orchestra – all depending on which option you choose.
- Free cancellation
Besides the fine meal (served at your table of buffet-style), drinks and live entertainment let’s not forget the sightseeing value of a river tour.
You’ll see among many other stunning landmarks, the
- Impressive Parliament building in Pest, the
- Elegant neo-renaissance buildings of the Castle Bazaar at the foot of Buda Castle
- Gellért Hill and two of the thermal baths
- All the major bridges spanning the Danube, and the other
- Prominent sights under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage program.
What’s more, an impressive dance show will introduce you to the rich traditions of Hungary’s folk heritage.
Following dinner you can enjoy the romantic night vista of Budapest from the upper deck of the boat.
Night Cruises With Dinner, Starting at 20.30 / 8.30 PM
If you wish to see the city in the dark of the night take a late-hour cruise starting at 20.30 or even later at 22.00.
Captivating Night View Of Budapest With Lights
The city is just magnificent after sunset when the lights turn on in the streets, on the historic buildings in Buda Castle (the Royal Palace, matthias, Church, Fishermen’s Bastion), the Parliament and of course the bridges.
You’ll see Budapest in a whole new light on a
- 2.5-hour romantic river excursion with dinner by candlelight starting at 20.30 or on a
- 1.5-hour Danube tour with buffet dinner and live gypsy music departing at 22.00.
A multiple-course dinner served at your table or buffet style makes the program even more pleasant.
TIP: The 10 pm night cruise can be booked without dinner: with wine tasting, craft beer tasting, cocktails or just a drink of your choice.
Budapest Cruises With Drinks
If you want to skip the food you can choose from several river tours with drinks.
- Cocktails – 2 or 3 of your choice from a cocktail menu,
- Wine tasting with cheese/salami plate – local wines served with cold plate.
- Craft beer – taste samples of local artisan brews
- Welcome drink – you’ll be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine or fruit juice. You can buy more drink if you feel like having another one from the bar on board the boat.
When Do Drink Cruises Depart?
River tours with drinks are available several times a day. You can go
- During the day if you wish to see the city in sunlight or
- In the evening – departures at 18.00 -19.30 when you catch the sunset and have the opportunity to admire Budapest bathed in warm colours.
- Night – departures from 20.00, when the city lights turn on and show a different but just as captivating face of the Hungarian capital. There is also a late night tour starting at 22.00.
Sunset Cruise With Cocktails
Wine Tasting Cruise – At 19.00 / 7 PM or 22.00 / 10PM
If you don’t want to have a meal you can sip some excellent local wines on the Wine & Cruise program starting
- In the evening at19.00/7 pm (2 hours) or
- Late night at 22.00/10 pm (1,5 hrs)
You’ll be served 7 top-quality Hungarian wines, 80 ml of each, or in case you prefer to take our Tokaji wine cruise then you can enjoy a glass of the famous Hungarian dessert wine the Tokaji aszú.
- Tokaji Furmint Grand Selection – Tokaj region
- Büttner Pinot Grigio – Badacsony Region/Lake Balaton
- Molnár rosé – Mátra Hills region
- Merlot by György-Villa Vinery (Villány region)
- Pastor Red for Meat – a red cuvée from the Szekszárd region
- Tokaji szamorodni – a lovely sweet wine
- Tokaji aszú 5 puttonyos – an exquisite dessert wine with long-lasting aftertaste.
Craft Beer Tasting & Cruise
Discover the exciting world of Hungarian artisan beers!
Sample 5 high-quality craft brews by the country’s best micro breweries on a 2-hour river excursion.
Each sample is 150 ml and at the end you’ll get an extra pint of your choice of the tasted beers.
Live Gypsy music, snacks, and you can soak in one of the world’s most captivating cityscapes from a deck of a sightseeing ship.
Cocktails & Cruise
See the city at its most beautiful when the rays of the setting sun paints it in the hues of orange, pink and blue.
A great time to make some memorable photos while cruising on a boat and sipping cocktails to the tunes of an orchestra!
You can choose 2 Cocktails from these:
- Cuba Libre,
- Old Fashioned,
- Pina Colada,
- Sex on the Beach,
- Tequilla Sunrise,
- Gin Fizz
Holiday Cruises – Christmas, New Year’s Eve & Special Events
A perfect way for you to celebrate some wonderful holidays in Budapest is by going on a unique river tour that allows you to experience the magic of the city within the comforts of a spacious panorama ship (400 sqm, has space for 220 guests).
We offer the following exclusive river excursions with fine dinner on a festively decorated panorama ship on these specail occasions:
- August 20/St. Stephen’s Day (when you can also see the fireworks from the best possible spot)
- Christmas Eve Dinner & Cruise,
- New Year’s Eve and Day Cruises,
- Valentine’s Day Cruise,
- River tours on Easter weekend.
Please note that availability is limited for these programs!
Fireworks Show & Cruise On 20th August 2023
Budapest hosts a spectacular Fireworks Show on 20th August National Holiday to celebrate the foundation of Hungary by King St. Stephen (975 – 1038).
The fireworks are launched form ships anchored on the Danube river and some of the bridges. No doubt, a crusie ship provides an excellent viewing spot for the shop.
You can also enjoy a fine 3-course dinner served buffte style.
- 145 EUR (Full price only.)
- Free cancellation
Note: Tickets usually sell out quickly for this event so if you want to ensure your place book the program in advance.
You will receive an E-Ticket with all the details in email, that you just present to the hosts/hostesses (on your mobile/tablet or in print form). No need to stand in queue in the summer heat!
New Year’s Eve Cruise With Dinner & Party
Date & Time: 31. December 2023/01. January 2024, 19.00 – Unlimited Drink Included
Say farewell to 2023 on a fabulous cruise with 5-course gourmet dinner, live music with dance show and party till dawn.
Relaxed atmosphere on a spacious 400 sqm event ship delicious food served at your table, second dinner at midnight and open bar the all-inclusive drinks guarantee a memorable New Year’s Eve in Budapest!
Meaning of symbols: G: gluten-free, L: lactose-free, V: vegetarian
Alföld style Goulash soup with noodles (L)
Vegetable broth (G, L, V)
Stuffed cabbage (G)
Traditional chicken paprikash
Roast pork with grilled vegetables (G)
Eggplant tower in marinara sauce (G, L, V)
Garnishes & Vegetarian:
Grilled vegetables (G, L, V)
Homemade dumplings (V)
Hash-brown potatoes (G, L, V)
Fresh seasonal salad with two types of dressing (G, V)
Home-made strudel selection (V)
Trifle (English-style, sponge cake pieces layered with custard, fruit, jelly heavy cream)
1 glass of wine (or juice) + 1 bottle of water (0,33) or soft drink
When To Go On A Danube River Cruise In Budapest?
The best time to go on a Danube river cruise in Budapest is between
- April-May and
At this period, the climate tends to be temperate with pleasant temperatures both during the day and at night.
Another advantage is that there is less crowd during these months compared to summer but still you will find a pleasant mix of locals and tourists relishing the warmer weather.
This creates a vibrant atmosphere that you can absolutely absorb during your visit, especially on a Danuber river tour.
For Families With Kids: Take An Afternoon Cruise At 2 PM
If you are here with chidlren and want to avoid the crowd we recommend our early afternoon cruise with a nice buffet lunch.
This is the least busy of all our cruises so you can enjoy a relaxed lunch during the 1.5 hour sightseeing tour.
The Grof Széchenyi Boat that will take you on the trip has plenty of space with large panorama windows on all sides.
BEST Time For Photos: Evening Cruise At 7 pm
If you’re looking to take lots of amazing photos, aim to book a cruise that departs just before sunset.
The two-hour evening cruise staring at 7 pm will give you the chance to see the city both in the daylight and at night when it is lit up by the city lights.
What To Expect On A Typical Budapest Cruise?
A typical river cruise in Budapest will take you on a scenic tour of the city’s most famous landmarks.
Most boat tour last between one and two hours and some include an audio guide with information about the sights you’ll see along the way.
You can choose from cruises with unlimited prosecco, a welcome drink, cocktails or beer.
For a more mmeorable
Here are some things you will experience when taking a river cruise in Budapest:
- Spectacular views: The views of Budapest from the river are simply stunning. You’ll get to see the city’s iconic landmarks from a unique perspective.
- Audio guide: Most cruises include an audio guide that provides information about the sights you’ll see along the way.
- Food and drinks may be included on certain cruises, varying from a basic snack to a complete dinner complemented with wine. Be sure to check what’s included before booking your cruise.
- Live music: Some cruises may also feature live music, which adds to the ambiance and creates a festive atmosphere.
Length of the boat excursions: each program lasts for approx. 1.5 hours.
- Meeting is 30 minutes before the start of the river tours.
- Meeting Point: Gróf Szechenyi Ship – Akademia Port (1. ponton) – Address: Budapest, 1051 (View on map)
Note: After payment you’ll receive a confirmation in e-mail with all the details including meeting point.
- 15 minutes before the start of the program: Hosts/hostesses accompany the guests to the ships docked at the Pest side of the river (just a couple of minutes walk).
- After boarding the ship you are welcomed with a glass of drink and shown to your table.
- 10 minutes after the program starts the ship departs, taking you on a panoramic tour between Margaret Bridge and Rákóczi Bridge, and the open buffet dinner/lunch is served (see the menu below).
- During the tour: a second round of drinks are served, and you can have further drinks in the ship’s bar.
- 1,5 hours – or in case of the 7 pm evening tour – 2 hours after the program start: the ship returns to the pier. The hosts/hostesses will call you a taxi if you would like one.
- Free cancellation
We took the evening boat trip with live music and dinner on a pleasant summer day.
The sightseeing ship departed from a dock near the Chain bridge at the foot of the Chain Bridge in Pest.
The Kossuth Museum Ship (or Kossuth Vénhajó) is a standing ship with a small exhibition about the 20th-century history of navigation in Hungary
While the ship was gliding through the greyish foams of the river – contrary to the title of the Strauss waltz, The Blue Danube, it rarely is that colour- we had a tasty dinner with a glass of wine and enjoyed the breathtaking view basking in the golden light of the setting sun.
We’ve always known – and many tourists, travel websites, blogs, magazines agree – that Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world but we tend to forget it living and working here day by day.
This river tour reminded us of this fact and we were really enchanted by the
- striking view of the many monuments lit up after dusk,
- romantic ambience created by the gently rocking ship,
- magical melodies of the gypsy music (only on tours starting at 19.00) and
- fine food. (The wine and champagne also helped.)
The river bisects the city into two different parts:
- the hilly and more peaceful Buda on the right side,
- and the buzzing Pest on the left.
Further up the building of Budapest Parliament dominates the Pest shore.
Joggers do their regular rounds on the picturesque Margaret Island (Margitsziget), named after a medieval Hungarian princess.
At the north end of Margaret Island the ship turned and went down the river as far as the National Theatre at the Pest end of the Rákóczi Bridge.
The fine building of the Gresham Palace – today an exclusive luxury hotel of the Four Seasons chain – stands at the Pest end of the Chain Bridge.
The dolomite rock of the Gellért Hill towers above the water between Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd) and Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd).
The Gellért Spa and the refurbished Rudas Bath originally built by the Turks in the 16. century can also be seen at the foot of the hill.
The modern-style National Theatre marked the final attraction of our excursion on the Danube river:
FAQ – Budapest Cruise
1. How much is a sightseeing boat trip in Budapest?
The cost of Danube River Cruises can vary depending on the company and the type of cruise you choose.
Prices typically range from around 10 to 50 Euros per person. Cruises with dinner and live entertainmment (folk show, live piano music) can cost up to 70 Euros or more.
2. How long is a Budapest River cruise?
The duration depends on the type of cruise you choose.
Most Budapest sightseeing cruises last between 1-2 hours, while some dinner cruises can last up to 3 hours. Private boat tours can be customized to your preferences.
3. Can I bring my own food and drinks on a river cruise?
Most cruises do not allow you to bring your own food and drinks, but some may allow you to bring a small snack or drink (water, non-alcoholic drink).
Be sure to check with the cruise company before bringing anything on board!
4. Which cruise to take in Budapest?
There are several types of river cruises available, including inexpensive sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises, boat tours with drinks as well as private Danube tours.
It depends on your preferences and budget.
Some popular options include: a 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise with unlimited prosecco (cc. 25 EUR), 2-hour Budapest Dinner Cruise with live music & folk program, and a nighttime cruise with wine/cocktail.
5. What language are the audio guides on Danube River Cruises in Budapest available in?
Some of the boat tours in Budapest offer audio guides, like the one with Unlimited Prosecco, in several languages, including English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish. The popular Legenda Danube Cruises also have audiou comemntary during the trip.
6. Are Danube River Cruises in Budapest wheelchair accessible?
Some Danube River Cruises in Budapest are wheelchair accessible e.g. the Gróf Széchenyi Ship is accessible for people in wheelchair on the groundfloor , but not all. Be sure to check with the cruise company before booking.
In conclusion, a Danube River Cruise in Budapest is an unforgettable experience that you don’t want to miss.
With striking views, iconic landmarks, and a relaxing atmosphere, it’s a great way to explore the city and make lasting memories.
Just be sure to book in advance, dress comfortably, and bring a camera to capture the moment.