Having spent three days wandering and exploring both the Buda and Pest sides of this fascinating city we thought we had seen the sites from all viewpoints – how wrong were we? As it was our wedding anniversary on our last day in Budapest I wanted to treat Mr ESLT to something to remember. After a bit of research I decided on an evening River cruise on the Danube River. I booked our river cruise via Viator. Here, I found a number of options i.e. wine tasting river cruise, cocktail river cruise, late night river cruise etc. I finally decided on the Danube River Dinner Cruise without the dinner option for £11.30 each which included two drinks.
After trekking all day around Buda we had great intentions of heading back to our hotel to shower and change before our cruise. However, time got away from us so we headed straight to the rendezvous point, the Danube Palace, for the check in time of 6.30pm with mobile phone firmly in hand ready to show our e-ticket. Check in was easy and we were given physical tickets to get on board with. At 6.45pm we were all then shepherded out of the building and to the boat. Be warned this is a 5 – 10 minute walk across busy roads. Keep an eye on the leader of the group/rest of your group so you don’t get lost. The pier is located between the Elizabeth and Chain bridges.
As we embarked we swapped our ticket for a glass of champagne each. As we had not taken the dinner option we were told to go upstairs were we would find empty tables to sit at. Once on the upper floor I noticed that there was a small outside deck with a couple of tables and chairs, I assume primarily for the smokers. This area offers you the best views out over the Danube and seeing as though it was a pleasant June evening we decided to sit out there, on our own at that point may I add. As we set sail I had the bright (possibly selfish) idea of turning our chairs outwards (facing west towards Buda) so we get uninterrupted views. Needless to say many people joined us shortly after.
It was light when we set sail on this river cruise which allowed us to see all the main attractions from a new vantage point. We sailed north so we had the beautiful Castle Hill right in front of us. A waitress came round about 20 minutes into the cruise and asked what we would like for our second drink. Mr ESLT and I both chose a local beer. Although there was the option of sparking, red or white wine or a soft drink too. As the cruise continued the sun started to set which meant that a number of the buildings started to be illuminated. We sailed as far north as the Margret Bridge. The boat then turned round meaning that we now had perfect views of Pest and the breath taking Parliament buildings. We then sailed South along the Danube right down to the most Southerly bridge of Budapest the Lagymanyosi Bridge before the ship swung round again and sailed back to the original departure point.
The cruise itself lasts 90 minutes which was for us was the perfect length of time. Personally, I’m glad that we didn’t take the dinner option. It looked fantastic with plenty of traditional Hungarian food on offer but I think it would have detracted from the views offered from the open air back of the ship as you would have only been able to see them through the windows in between eating. For just over £11 each this was my favourite thing we did in Budapest and I would highly recommend it. Plus it was a good rest for our abused feet. We arrived back at 8.30pm which then still gave us time to enjoy the Budapest nightlife.