Only 10% of Danube’s water flows through Budapest, one of the four major cities on the banks of the river, but that is enough to make a Danube River Cruise the favorite activity of most tourists.
However, there are many kinds of Danube River Cruises, and it is impossible to decide on one without an expert’s help.
1. What to expect?
2. Best time to go on Cruise
3. River Cruise prices
4. Sightseeing Cruises on Danube
5. Lunch cruise on Danube
6. Dinner Cruises on Danube
7. Danube cruises with Music
8. Money saving combo tours
9. Danube Cruise FAQs
10. Danube Cruise Reviews
What to expect on a Danube Cruise
The Danube is the second largest river in Europe touching ten countries, including Hungary.
During this long journey, the river offers the best scenic views along its coast in the city of Budapest.
Cruising on River Danube is a fantastic way to see the beautiful sights of Budapest from inside out.
Check out this video:
Best time to go on a Danube cruise
The best time to go on a Danube River cruise in Budapest is during the fall months of September and October because of pleasant weather, smaller crowds, and consistent river levels.
But having said, you must also know that the city looks so stunning from the Danube that thousands of cruises filled with tourists sail the river from April to December.
From January through early March, the temperatures along the Danube river drop significantly, making it a wrong time for a cruise.
*Some people feel Christmas is a great time for a Danube Cruise because of the Christmas markets of the Danube River.
Danube river cruise prices
Since there are many types of Danube Cruises, their prices vary significantly.
In the night cruise, a glass of champagne gets thrown in, and the price gets hiked to Ft 5158 per person.
A 4-course buffet dinner cruise on the Danube can cost anywhere from Ft 15,000 to Ft 40,000 (40 Euros to 110 Euros).
Best Danube River Cruises
As mentioned earlier, there are many kinds of cruises you must sift through before you can finalize one.
Danube Cruises come in various flavors – day cruises, evening cruises, night cruises, cruises with champagne, cruises with dinner, those with live music, etc.
We have shared below nine highly-rated Danube cruises from Budapest and three of the most popular combo tours, which include a river cruise.
But before that –
How online Danube Cruise tickets work
The moment you purchase the Budapest River Cruise tickets, they get emailed to you.
On the day of your visit, show the tickets in your email, on your smartphone, and board the boat. No need to take printouts!
Since you would have bought these tickets online, you get to skip the line at the attraction’s ticket counter.
Now for the best Danube River experiences –
Sightseeing cruises on the Danube
These are the most basic of all cruises, and you can opt for day time, evening, or a nighttime sightseeing cruise.
Except for maybe a glass of champagne or wine, you won’t get anything else.
1. Daytime Sightseeing Cruise
This trip is a 70-minute cruise where you see panoramic views of Budapest’s landmarks, monuments, and the city itself on both shores.
A multi-lingual guide describes attractions you pass along the way.
You also get a drink of your choice – champagne, wine, beer, a soft drink, or mineral water.
Departure: Dock 7, Jane Haining Rakpart, 1052 Budapest (Google Map)
Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip starts
Adult ticket (15+ years): Ft 4,691
Youth ticket (10 to 14 years): Ft 4,168
Student ticket (with ID): Ft 3,126
Child ticket (less than nine years): Free entry
If you want something cheaper, try this 1-hour sightseeing cruise which costs only Ft 2,751 (8 Euros). Find Out More
2. Evening Sightseeing Cruise on the Danube
These evening sightseeing boats start after 6 pm and are perfect for spending a leisurely hour looking at Budapest even as you glide down the River Danube.
You can grab your seasonal cocktail and go up to the open deck for perfect views of the floodlit monuments.
The boat can take along 70 tourists.
Departure: DOCK 42, Northside, Budapest. (Google Map)
Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip starts
Ticket price (3+ years): Ft 3,095
3. Night Cruise on River Danube + champagne
These cruises start at 8 pm and carry on till 10.30 pm, and you get to drink a glass of champagne.
They start from right opposite the Hungarian Parliament, which itself is a remarkable experience at night.
Recorded English commentary gives you exciting insights and details about the Hungarian capital.
Departure: Batthyány tér, Pier 1 (Google Map)
General ticket (7+ years): Ft 5158
Child ticket (less than 9 years): Free entry
For an unlimited number of cruises on the Danube within 24 hours, check this out.
Lunch Cruise on Danube River
During this 1.5-hour cruise, you admire Budapest and its architecture from the water even as you enjoy a delicious and warm buffet lunch.
This cruise starts at 2 pm daily and touches Budapest’s two historical sides, Buda and Pest.
The four menus offered onboard are Gluten Free, Lactose-free, Vegetarian, and Non-Vegetarian. You also get a glass of wine/beer/juice.
Departure: Gróf Széchényi Ship (Academia 3 dock), Antall József quay 18., 1051 Budapest (Google Map)
General ticket (All ages): Ft 13,755
Student ticket (with valid ID): Ft 12,380
Danube dinner cruises in Budapest
There are different kinds of dinner cruises on River Danube, which we explain below.
1. Candlelit Dinner Cruise on The Danube
This two and half hour cruise starts from Central Budapest at 7.45 pm.
On this Danube River cruise, you get to enjoy a 4-course candlelight dinner even as you listen to live music.
You also get to choose between a glass of champagne, wine, beer, soft drink, or mineral water.
Departure: Dock 7, Jane Haining Rakpart, 1052 Budapest (Google Map)
Adult ticket (13+ years): Ft 24,295
Child ticket (3 to 12 years): Ft 17,638
2. Dinner Cruise and Piano Battle Show
This enchanting evening cruise along the Danube River comes with a 4-course dinner with different menu choices and an entertaining piano battle show.
The two pianists on the restaurant boat participate in a unique piano battle show, even as the hostess provides commentary about the melodies they play.
This cruise starts at 7.30 pm and comes in two flavors – with only the welcome drink or with unlimited drinks.
Departure: Dock 11, Jane Haining Rakpart, 1052 Budapest (Google Map)
Ticket price (only welcome drink)
Adult ticket (11+ years): Ft 21,665
Child ticket (6 to 10 years): Ft 19,601
Infant ticket (0 to 5 years): Free Entry
Ticket price (unlimited drinks): Ft 30,262 / person
3. Danube Cruise with Hungarian Gourmet Dinner
This cruise happens on Pannonia Gastroboat, a vintage restaurant ship, and is perfect for couples or families celebrating a special occasion.
You get to enjoy a 5-course gourmet Hungarian dinner in an elegant setting, even as you take in the stunning Budapest views.
This is a two and a half hour cruise starts at 7 pm.
The dress code is smart casual.
Departure: Kossuth Museum Ship (Kossuth Múzeumhajó), Budapest, Vigadó 2 pier, 1052 (Google Map)
Cost of the cruise: Ft 40,000 / person
4. Danube Dinner Cruise and Folk Show
This Daube Dinner cruise is a combination of three things – fantastic sights of Budapest, a yummy 4-course dinner, and a live gypsy folk show.
It starts at 7.30 pm, and you are back on the shore at 10.30 pm.
The onboard chef handles vegetarian dishes, and special dietary requirements, if requested.
Departure: Dock 11, Jane Hanning rakpart, Budapest (Google Map)
Ticket price: While booking this cruise, you must decide if you want an unlimited drinks package, and what kind of table you prefer.
Depending on what you opt for, this cruise’s cost ranges from Ft 21,665 / person to Ft 53,646 / person.
Danube River Cruise with Live Music
Many tourists prefer to listen to music in peace even as they enjoy the gorgeous visuals of the Hungarian capital.
These cruises set sail twice in a day – at 7 pm and 10 pm.
Departure: Széchényi boat, Antall József quay 18, 1051 Budapest
Ticket price: While booking this cruise, you must decide what you want to drink, how much (one drink or unlimited), and if you want a hotel pickup and drop. The cost of this Danube cruise depends on your choice.
Depending on what you opt for, this cruise’s cost ranges from Ft 3,439 / person to Ft 17,538 / person.
If you want to mix dinner with live music, check out this cruise.
Combo tours with Danube Cruise
Tourists in Budapest love combo tours which include a cruise on River Danube for two reasons:
1. Since the Danube River Cruise takes only 1 to 3 hours, many tourists combine it with yet another activity, so that their day’s itinerary gets sorted.
2. Combo tours are cheaper than if you book the activities individually. They usually give you a 20 to 25% saving on ticket prices.
1. Danube Cruise + Szechenyi Thermal Bath
This trip is the most sold combo tour in Budapest and includes two of the most popular activities in the city – Danube Cruise & a visit to Szechenyi Baths.
You can have a simple cruise with just a glass of wine or champagne or opt for a buffet dinner cruise.
The Cruise happens on the day for which you book your ticket, but visit to Széchenyi Spa is flexible – you can visit on any day you prefer.
At Szechenyi Spa, you get a cabin to store your belongings.
The 7 pm cruise is 2 hours long, and the 10 pm cruise is 90 minutes long.
Ticket price: Depending on what you opt for, the adult ticket cost ranges from Ft 15,475 to Ft 25,276.
2. Hungarian Dance Performance + Dinner Cruise
This tour is a three and half hour experience which starts at 8 pm every day.
Your evening kicks off with a fantastic performance by The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, the Danube Folk Ensemble, and Hungaria Folk Ensemble & Orchestra.
The three groups are some of the best professional Hungarian folk ensembles, with international recognition.
After this performance, you board a ship to enjoy the warm lights and sights of the Hungarian capital Budapest, even as you enjoy a buffet dinner.
The dinner cruise lasts 90 minutes, after which you are dropped back on the shore.
Ticket price: Depending on the category of tickets you choose for the show, the adult ticket cost for this experience ranges from Ft 22,696 to Ft 25,447.
Check out yet another exciting combination of Hungarian Dance show and Wine tasting cruise.
3. Classical Music Gala + Dinner Cruise
This 3-hour experience starts at 8 pm at the Danube Palace.
The Budapest Gala Concert offering the best of Hungarian classical music culture lasts 1 hour 45 minutes.
The hostess then guides you to the nearby ship, which sets sail at 10 pm for an 80-minute cruise on the River Danube.
During the cruise, you also enjoy a buffet dinner prepared by the ship’s chef.
Ticket price: Depending on the category of tickets you opt for, for the music concert, the adult ticket cost ranges from Ft 23,728 to Ft 26,479.
If you prefer a classical concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica with compositions by Vivaldi, Handel, and Chopin and a dinner cruise, check it out.
Danube River Cruise FAQs
While planning their Danube River cruise in Budapest, tourists have a lot of doubts.
We try and answer them here –
The best Danube river cruise for you will depend on what you expect from the experience.
Visitors on a budget holiday prefer the cheapest sightseeing cruise, couples or travelers celebrating a special occasion opt for the dinner cruise.
For visitors with lots of time and money, the best river cruise ticket will be the one which also includes a visit to Széchenyi Spa.
There are many kinds of river cruises on the Danube. Some run its whole length while some others originate and end in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.
The Danube runs through its most scenic route, in Budapest.
The longer cruises (which last for 2 to 7 days at times) cross many countries, while on the Danube’s waters.
However, the Danube river cruises in Budapest sail between the Buda and the Pest regions and get back to the Dock from where you started.
Most of Budapest’s scenic views and monuments are along the Danube.
Besides, after seeing the city on foot or public transport, a cruise is an opportunity to see the city from inside out – so they are definitely worth the time and money.
Yes, you can buy Seine Cruise tickets online here.
When you buy them in advance, you save yourself time (you don’t wait in the ticketing counter lines) and money (online tickets are cheaper!).
Even though it is not a must to buy Danube River Cruise tickets in advance, we recommend you buy them before you visit the dock.
If you already have the tickets when you reach the boarding point, you can avoid standing in the lines at the ticketing counter.
Online tickets also tend to be cheaper.
If money is not an issue, or if you are on a romantic holiday, we highly recommend a Danube Dinner Cruise.
However, if you are on a budget or if you are a big group, we recommend the regular Sightseeing Cruise.
No, the Danube river cruise tickets in Budapest are not timed.
However, the boats have a set time for sailing which you must choose while booking your tickets.
And you are expected to be at the departure point at least half an hour before the departure time.
A sightseeing Danube cruise lasts for an hour.
If you book a Lunch or Dinner Cruise, depending on the tour operator, the time of departure, etc., the duration can be anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours.
The answer is both yes and no. From late November to December, the
Christmas fever grips and Danube cruises continue despite the cold.
Since it gets frigid on the water in winter, you must dress up appropriately.
However, in the slow months of January, February, and early March, most cruise operators take away their boats for repair and maintenance, leaving visitors with fewer options.
If you can afford it and if you have the time, you must do the Sightseeing cruise during the day and the Danube Dinner Cruise at night.
If you can’t do both, it is better to do the Sightseeing cruise during the day because you can then get a better view of the City.
River cruise boats don’t rock and sway like the boats in the ocean.
If you’re still concerned, you can pack Dramamine or OTC seasickness medications as a precaution.
Danube River Cruise reviews
Tourists have rated the Danube River Cruise very highly on Tripadvisor – 4.5 out of 5.
Here are two reviews we have handpicked, so you know if the Danube Cruise is worth it.
The river showcases Budapest
Some of the most visually stunning buildings in Budapest are along the river. You can be mesmerized from the Buda or the Pest side of the river.
Take a river cruise – you won’t regret it. – PKDenton
I took a boat ride in the Danube river, and it was amazing. Especially during evenings where you can see the sunset and all colors of the sky reflects in the water. Slowly the city is becoming darker, and street lights are coming on. It’s a mesmerizing view. I highly recommend taking a boat ride or have a walk in the Danube riverbank. – Lovetravel2livelife
Popular attractions in Budapest
She is a finance graduate with a bucket list full of places to visit and historic cities to explore. She loves to chat up and strike friendships with other travelers when she is on the move. Favorite Cities: Antwerp, Koyoto, Muscat, Bangkok