Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. With its grand buildings and boulevards, bustling markets, historic thermal baths and eclectic architectural styles, Budapest is definitely one of my favourite European cities! I’d been to Budapest several times before but on a recent trip, I did something I’d (surprisingly) not done before: a Budapest river cruise along the Danube River in the evening.

Buda Castle.

I did this cruise as part of the Viking River Cruises’ Danube River itinerary from Budapest to Nuremberg. However, there are various local operators who offer daytime and evening river cruises, as well as dinner, opera and wine-tasting cruises – you can find a selection here. The daytime and evening experiences are very different; personally, I prefer the evening cruises as they’re absolutely magical! Many of Budapest’s most iconic monuments are beautifully lit in the evenings and a leisurely cruise along the Danube River is the best way to see them. In addition, seeing the lights makes for a very romantic experience!

Dining with a view onboard Viking River Cruises.
budapest river cruise photo
The Elisabeth Bridge with the Buda Castle in the background.
The Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge.
The Parliament Building.

Read about things to do in Budapest.

Most cruises take about 90 minutes plying up and down the river in a loop. You’ll pass various famous Budapest landmarks including:

  • the magnificent Parliament Building. Construction on the building, in Gothic Revival style, began in the late-19th century and was completed in 1904. Unfortunately, its architect, Imre Steindl, went blind before the completion of his masterpiece.
  • the impressive Buda Castle. For centuries the palace of the Hungarian kings, the castle can trace its roots back to the 13th century!
  • the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. This bridge, designed by the English engineer, William Tierney Clark, was completed in 1849 and was the first permanent bridge across the Danube River in Hungary!
  • the Hotel Gellért. One of the most famous hotel/spas in Budapest, this Art Nouveau style hotel houses one of the most beautiful thermal baths in the city.
  • the Liberty Bridge, a beautiful 19th century bridge directly across from the Hotel Gellért.
The Parliament, Chain Bridge and Buda Castle.

Read more about Budapest on Velvet Escape.




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