Things to do in Budapest

6 Best Rated Budapest River Cruises – Dinner, Sightseeing & Entertainment Cruises

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Cruising River Danube, the fairytale watercourse cutting through Budapest is a quintessential experience once you step foot in Budapest. Locals often say that the best way to feel the romance in Budapest is to take a Danube River Cruise. With every Budpest River Cruise, be prepared to pamper yourself with world class service onboard while passing through years of history and culture during your comfortable journey. Ready to hop aboard a cruise of your choice and view Budapest from a central perspective? Here's all you need to know before taking a Budapest River Cruise.

Why You Must Go On A Budapest River Cruise?


River Danube is not just a river. It is a breathtaking showcase of some of the finest world heritage sights chosen by the UNESCO. You can see the Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Gellert Hill, Gellert Spa, Gresham Palace, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and many historical bridges , buildings and churches. There's literally no better way to bask in the beauty of Budapest than on a Danube river cruise. The sights mentioned above can be experienced from a unique vantage point and you also reach parts of the city that cannot be accessed by foot!

The Danube river divides the city into its two constituent halves: Buda and Pest. On the Buda side, you will see the famous Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion. Pest, on the other hand, is filled with beautiful urban buildings and historical landmarks. A Budapest River Cruise in short, captures the spirit of Hungary’s capital in its entirely.

6 Best Budapest River Cruises

1Budapest River Sightseeing Cruise - 70 minutes

If you have 70 minutes in hand and want a quick tour of Budapest from the river, this sightseeing cruise won’t disappoint. It’s a no frills tour but will tick off all the important landmarks and sights to give you a wholesome RIver Danube Cruise. You will go to places that cannot be reached on foot and glide under all 6 bridges of importance around Budapest. See the locals getting on with their daily life and soak in the sombre sun if you take this tour during the day.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • Live commentary in German and English + An audioguide that is available in 11 languages
  • Photography is allowed
  • Open Terrace sightseeing

23-Hour Dinner Cruise with Folklore and Operetta Show: 3-Course Menu

Take a gulp of Hungarian Folk and Culture on a luxurious catamaran while cruising down River Danube. The performance by 30 talented Hungarians in their folk ensemble is the perfect accompaniment to the unparalleled sights on the littoral ; not to forget your 4- course authentic dinner.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • 3 course dinner
  • Alcohol available (extra payable)
  • Entertainment onboard - Folklore and Operetta show

3Danube River: 3-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Piano Battle Show

Enjoy an enchanting cruise feasting the city’s panorama in the glowing backdrop of Budapest at night. Heighten your senses further with the accompaniment of two duelling pianists and a scrumptious 4 meal course prepared by a chef on board. Sip your glass of complimentary sparkling wine o beer and enjoy the musical battle and the host’s engaging commentary running you through the melodies played by the pianists.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • 4 course dinner ( Vegetarian options are available
  • Complimentary alcohol
  • Entertainment onboard - Live piano

4Budapest Sunset Cocktail Cruise Ticket

This 75-minute panoromic cruise might just be the best way to relax after a looooong day of sightseeing. In the ship, either chill on the terrace or in the air-conditioned lower deck (heated in the winters), and sip on three freshly-prepared complimentary cocktails.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • Sightseeing cruise
  • Complimentary alcohol

575-Minute Danube Cruise with Pizza and Unlimited Beer

TThis cruise is one of the most economical and popular cruises in Budapest so make sure you book your tickets in advance as they sell out pretty soon. The rave reviews on Tripadvisor will reiterate my point. Savour your choice of pizza and wash it down with your favourite chilled beer while you marvel on the iconic views of Budapest.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • Unlimited beer and soft drinks
  • Free Wi-Fi on board
  • Long pizza list

6River Danube Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink: Guided Tour

This Guided Tour + Cruise is your chance to dive into the history of Budapest's history head-on. This one hour sightseeing tour, will help you see the city in a new light. Along the Danube, you'll find a number of well-known tourist attractions and sights, including the Margaret Bridge and Margaret Island, Budapest's largest green area - among others.

Cruise Ticket Inclusions:

  • Sightseeing tour
  • Guided tour

Check out the other Budapest River Cruise tickets here.

Budapest River Cruise - Tips & Hacks for Choosing the Right Cruise

When you think river cruise, you think of dinner cruises, maybe a brunch cruise or a plain ol’ sightseeing cruise. Well, Budapest offers you all of these but it also has some really exciting ones that I have never heard of before. They have a Pizza & Beer Cruise, a Craft Beer Cruise, a Piano battle cruise and a cruise with Operetta & Folklore ! Agreed they are all cruises in the end, but the experience inside the cruise is what makes all the difference and these unique Danube River Cruises are nonpareil. Make up your mind about the following and you'll have chosen the right tour.

1. Time of the day

What time of the day would you like to go for the Budapest River Cruise? Morning or Evening? If you can squeeze in an evening cruise, which allows you to witness the city under the pinkish sunset hues and then be illuminated under the starry night sky, nothing like it! That way, you experience Budapest from the river under daylight and at night. Quick tip: Most Tripadvisor Reviews recommend a night Danube River Cruise.

2. Duration of Cruise

How much time do you have to spare for a cruise? If you're on a tight itinerary, out 75 minute Budapest Sightseeing Cruise is the way to go. It takes you through the entire city and its mesmerising sights in 75 quick minutes and has you back on dock right in time for your next activity. Bonus guided commentary onboard as well!

3. With or Without Food & Beverages

Are you looking for a no-frills cruise or a fancy cruise with a good Hungarian meal and some local brews? If you're looking for the latter, you have a plethora to choose from. Budapest is especially famous for its Pizza & Beer Cruises, so if you can squeeze a little extra, you must definitely try them.

4. With or Without Onboard Entertainment

Are you looking for some quiet time with your partner or maybe some local folklore and some wine to go? I personally prefer onboard entertainment because it is a taste of local culture in the right setting. Also, how long can you stare out?! Might as well have something keep you entertained for a while onboard. The Piano battle Cruise is quirky option and a popular choice amongst music lovers.

5. Budget

Are you traveling in Budapest on a budget? We have just what you're looking for, that too at a 20% discount! The Budapest Sightseeing Cruise costs less than 10 Euros and you can hop on multiple times a day and allows a 45 minute cruise at every hop in. I'd spend my day traveling through Budapest just on this! No traffic quick commute, not to mention a beautiful commute.

6. Sights Covered

While this is not much of a deciding factor since most Budapest Cruises have a similar route, if you have a wishlist of places you want to see from River Danube, pick a cruise accordingly. The most famous sights that are covered on every other cruise are : Chain Bridge, Margaret Bridge, Elisabeth Bridge, Liberty Bridge, Rákóczi Bridge,Petőfi Bridge, Árpád Bridge, Buda Castle, National Theatre, Matthias Church, Szent Gellért, Citadella , Gellért Hill, Gellért Baths, Vigadó Square, Budapest Parliament and all the other buildings lining the shores of Danube.

Budapest River Cruise Reviews

We were a group of six friends and we booked a Budapest cruise on Headout. Apart from simply loving it, the whole ambience you get of Budapest and Danube is really worth it.

- Howard, Headout, March 2022

River cruises can be taken during daylight or evening, the latter being particularly pleasant in the Christmas period. Light refreshments are available, and dinner cruises also take place. English commentary, and no doubt other languages, are provided. The duration of our cruise was one and a half hours, and we thought it time well spent in warm comfortable facilities.

- DavidCO94 , Tripadvisor April 2022

Budapest River Cruises Guide