Budapest Parliament at night from a river cruise.

Home  »  5 Best Budapest River Cruises and Boat Tours in 2023 (Personally Tested)

5 Best Budapest River Cruises and Boat Tours in 2023 (personally tested)

Portrait of Adam Dimitrov.

Adam Dimitrov

Updated January 5, 2023

Summary | Why Go On a River Cruise? | Budapest River Cruise Types | Detailed Breakdown - The Top 5 River Cruises in Budapest | Top 10 River Cruise Tips | Frequently Asked Questions

Best Cruise Overall
4.4 (+2600 reviews)

🏆 Editor's #1 Choice

My recommendation: Easily the most complete sightseeing cruise experience in Budapest. Comes with a welcome drink and an audio guide. You can't go wrong with Legenda.

Going on a river cruise in Budapest is a must. But with so many options available, it can be tough to choose the best one. That's where I come in!

I've tried out eight of the top boat tours in the city and spent hours researching and comparing them.

From my trips, I've selected the 5 best river cruises that offer a fantastic experience.

Be sure also to check out my top 10 tips for maximizing your enjoyment during the cruise.

Disclaimer: This website uses affiliate links. I get paid a small commission if you purchase anything through my links. It costs you nothing and makes my job financially sustainable. Cheers!

MAP

Best River Cruises in Budapest in 2022

Best Dinner Cruise: Mahart's Sightseeing Cruise

5

6

5 Best River Cruises in Budapest in 2023 (Summary)

View All
#
NAME
                                 RATINGS
                         Price
DURATION
     booking
1
by Legenda City Cruises
4.4 +2300 reviews
$19
1 hour 10 min
2
by Portum Lines Cruising
4.5 +8600 reviews
$11
1 hour
3
4.1  +2100 reviews
$17
1.5 hours
4
by Rubin Group
4.7 +1200 reviews
$19
1.5 hours
5
No public reviews
$4
1 hour

Why Go On a River Cruise in Budapest?

It's simple, really. The best way to marvel at the city’s beautiful sights is via a river cruise.

On most river cruises, you’ll see the following major sights and attractions:

On two cruises (Legenda and Hungaria Koncert), you’ll also see these less famous sights:

What Kinds of Cruises Are There?

Liberty bridge at night, from the perspective of a Danube river cruise.

In addition to sightseeing cruises, Budapest offers a variety of other fun cruise options to choose from, including:

Bonus: For something a little different, try the Amphibious Bus Tour, which combines land and water sightseeing.

5 Best River Cruises in Budapest in 2023 (Detailed Breakdown)

#1: legenda's Sightseeing Cruise

Best Sightseeing Cruise Overall
4.4/10 +2300 reviews (Getyourguide)
4.5/10 +1200 reviews (Viator)

Pros:

✔️ The best all-around sightseeing experience, with everything you need for a complete experience.

✔️ Includes a welcome drink — choose from champagne, wine, beer, a soft drink, or mineral water.

✔️ The ship is modern, spacious, and well-maintained, with great views from both decks.

✔️ The audio guide is available in 30 languages and has excellent sound quality, with headphones provided.

✔️ The route is longer, going all the way down to the National Theatre.

Cons:

❌ Pricier than other sightseeing cruises (19€) but offers more value.

❌ Lemonade is not included — contrary to the description (except in the summer).

Summary

A standard evening sightseeing cruise with one welcome drink and an audio guide via headphones. You can also go during the day.

About Legenda City Cruises

Legenda is the oldest and most reputable cruise company in Budapest. They’ve been operating since (at least) 1990 and are still going strong.

Detailed Breakdown

Cruise duration:

The ship:

The top deck:

The lower deck:

Audio guide:

💡 Tip: Immediately put on the headphones once you sit down - so you don't miss parts of the narration as I did.
BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE →BOOK ON VIATOR.COM →

#2: Portum's Sightseeing Cruise

Best Value Sightseeing Cruise
4.5 +8600 reviews (Getyourguide)
4.0 +1400 reviews (Viator)

Pros:

✔️ The best value for money cruise in Budapest (40-50% cheaper than Legenda).

✔️ Offers the second-best all-around sightseeing experience in the city

✔️ Includes a welcome drink (options include prosecco, a seasonal cocktail, mulled wine, or a soft drink).

✔️ The open-air top deck is spacious, unobstructed, and offers a 360° view.

Cons:

The meeting point is a bit out of the way, making it slightly inconvenient to reach.

Summary

A standard sightseeing cruise with a welcome drink.

About Portum

Portum Lines is a solid company operating since (at least) 2014. Their offerings are pretty slim compared to others but still superb in quality.

Detailed Breakdown

Cruise duration:

The ship:

The top deck:

The lower deck:

Other observations:

💡 Tip: You must arrive early to snatch the best seats.
BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE →BOOK ON VIATOR.COM →

#3: Hungaria Koncert's Cruise

Night River Cruise w/ Live Music
4.1/5 +2100 reviews (Getyourguide)
4.0/5 +250 reviews (Viator)

Pros:

✔️ Provides the best vibes, giving you the feeling of being on the Titanic.

✔️ Features the best live folklore music show with authentic and award-winning performers.

✔️ Includes a welcome drink — there are also several ticket options with different drinks packages and there's a bar with reasonable prices.

✔️ The ship takes a longer route — going all the way down to the National Theatre.

✔️ Lasts 90-120 minutes, 50-75% longer than the average cruise in this price range.

Cons:

I would not recommended it for sightseeing — the views from the ship are mediocre as you don't have 360-degree views.

Summary

A unique evening cruise focused on a live folklore music trio performance rather than sightseeing. Drinks included, but food or an audio guide are not.

About Hungaria Koncert

Hungaria Koncert offers a variety of cruises and they organize other touristic activities too. Nevertheless, they've been rolling since (at least) 1995.

Detailed Breakdown

Cruise duration:

The ship:

The top deck:

The lower deck:

Folklore and operetta performance:

Confusion on where to hang out:

💡 Tip: I recommend staying downstairs and "sneaking up" the main stairs to catch a glimpse of the views, then going back down.
BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE →BOOK ON VIATOR.COM →

#4: RubinGroup's drinks Cruise

Best Unlimited Booze Cruise
4.7 +1200 reviews (Getyourguide)
4.5 +600 reviews (Viator)

Pros:

✔️ Best-value booze cruise — Budapest's most affordable unlimited drinks cruise.

✔️ Unlimited drinks — you can choose either prosecco or lemonade.

✔️ 90 minutes long — 50% longer than the average cruise in this price range.

Cons:

❌ The audio guide is inaudible  the passengers crowd out the sound.

The assorted food platter is skippable — it's not worth the extra $10.

❌ The meeting point is a bit out of the way — getting there will be a bit of a hassle.

Summary

It's a booze cruise with unlimited drinks. You can buy an optional food platter for $10, but I recommend skipping it.

About RubinGroup

Rubin Group is another solid company, operating since (at least) 2015. They specialize in gastro-themed events rather than standard sightseeing cruises.

Detailed Breakdown

Cruise duration:

The ship:

The top deck:

The lower deck:

Audio guide:

Drinks refills:

Assorted food platter:

BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE →BOOK ON VIATOR.COM →

#5: Mahart's sightseeing cruise

Cheapest Sightseeing Cruise
No public reviews

Pros:

✔️ The cheapest cruise in Budapest

✔️ Includes unlimited cruises for the same day with one ticket

Cons:

It's a low-quality sightseeing tour with minimal value

No public reviews, since it's not on Getyourguide or Viator

Update: This ride is unavailable from 2022 October until Spring 2023.

Summary

This sightseeing cruise is dirt cheap, but ranks lower in terms of quality compared to other options. If your budget is tight, this may be the right choice for you.

Note that this cruise does not have public reviews, as it is a quasi public service operated by a government-owned company (Mahart). Tickets must be purchased on the spot and cannot be reserved in advance.

Detailed breakdown

Cruise duration:

The ship:

Lower deck:

Upper deck:

5 stops:

No pre-booking:

Company
Duration
1.5-2 hours
1 hour
1 hour
10 minutes
Day/evening cruise
evening
evening
day and evening
Timetable
19:00
17:00-21:00
11:00-21:30
Pricing
$12
$9
$13.50-$19
Itinerary
Long route
Normal route
Long route
Drinks included
✔️
✔️
Food included
Audio/live guide
✔️
Live music
✔️
Open air deck
Weak
Great
Great
On-board wi-fi
✔️
✔️
✔️
Aircon/heating
✔️
✔️
✔️
Pets
✔️
Wheelchair/stroller
✔️
✔️
Infant/children discount
✔️
✔️
✔️
Meeting point
More info
More info
More info
Listing URL
Book on GetyourGuide
Not available on Viator

Top 10 River Cruise Tips

#1: How to have the perfect views and Instagram-worthy photos
#2: How to have the best audio guide experience
#3: What is the best time of day for a river cruise?
#4: What you should know before arriving at the meeting point
#5: What you should know about food and drinks
#6: How to avoid the overcrowded ships
#7: How to prepare for winter/summer weather
#8: How to have the best seats on any cruise
#9: How to decide which cruise to go on
#10: Which sights are covered

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth booking cruise tickets in advance?
What's the ideal river cruise length?