A river boat sailing on the Danube in front of the illuminated Hungarian Parliament

Home » The 10 Best Budapest River Cruises and Boat Tours in 2024 (Personally Tested)

The 10 Best River Cruises and Boat Tours in Budapest (Personally Tested)

Last updated: May 6, 2024

Portait image of author, Adam Dimitrov.

Author: Adam Dimitrov — Budapester, Hungarian & City Expert/Guide

Logo of Legenda City Cruises.
Best Sightseeing Cruise Overall With Welcome Drink & Audio Guide
4.5
+8200 reviews

🏆 Editor's #1 Choice

✔️ tested by author

⏳ In a hurry and want a recommendation you can't go wrong with?

  • Best all-around sightseeing cruise in Budapest.
  • Welcome drink and complementary lemonade.
  • Best audio guide in the city.
  • Weather-proof waiting area.
  • Modern, large, and spacious ship.
  • Comfortable chairs and great views.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of boat tour options in Budapest? 

Then let me help you choose the best boat tour for you, with the best guide on the topic in existence.

To give honest and accurate recommendations on the best river cruises in Budapest, I decided to personally test the most popular cruises of every major cruise company in Budapest, backed up with photos and details and even a video.

That's seven companies and a dozen cruises tested!

As the person with the most boat tour laps on the Danube under his belt, I have handpicked the 10 best river cruises in Budapest from my many voyages based on their exceptional quality, uniqueness, or value for money.

Every cruise has different strengths and weaknesses, so I have curated this list that caters to almost everyone's needs.

Moreover, I have made browsing these cruises easier for you and added informative FAQs to my article containing valuable insights to help you choose the best river cruise for your preferences.

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 of creating high quality articles financially sustainable. Cheers!

Best River Cruises in Budapest in 2022

Best Dinner Cruise: Mahart's Sightseeing Cruise

5

6

Summary & Comparison — Top 10 River Cruises in Budapest

View All
2
4.7
+13070 reviews
25€
4
Dunai Sétahajózási Ltd.
4.7
+720 reviews
25€
5
4.1
+4630 reviews
14€
6
4.2
+1000 reviews
32€
7
3.8
+480 reviews
32€
8
4.2
+10530 reviews
55€
9
4.1
+3010 reviews
19€
10
No public reviews
4€

Reviews calculation: I am using the total review count of the activity from GetYourGuide, Tripadvisor and Viator.

Boat Tour Itinerary & Landmarks

Blue = Attractions, Orange = Meeting Points, Colored Layers = Itineraries

💡 Tip: Remember that the decorative city lights are turned off at 23:00 from Mar 26 to Oct 29 (daylight savings time) and at 22:00 from Oct 30 to Mar 31 (standard time).

To truly immerse yourself the breathtaking beauty of the city, there's no better way than embarking on a river cruise. During such cruises, you'll be treated to a captivating array of iconic landmarks and attractions in Budapest, including:

  • Hungarian Parliament
  • Buda Castle
  • Matthias Church
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Gellert Hill/Citadella
  • Gellért Spa
  • Budapest University of Technology and Economics
  • A host of historic bridges, including the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Margaret Bridge, Liberty Bridge, and Petőfi Bridge
  • Margaret Island
  • Palace of Arts
  • National Theatre

Most cruises follow a circular route between the southern end of Margaret Island at Margaret Bridge and just south of Liberty Bridge. This route covers most of the significant landmarks mentioned above in Budapest.

Offbeat Landmarks

South of Liberty Bridge are two nice-to-see-but-not-obligatory landmarks, the National Theatre (below) and the Palace of Arts (above), which are as beautiful as the Parliament and Buda Castle.

Some cruises, like Legenda, Hungaria Koncert and Silverline, have a complete itinerary that includes these offbeat landmarks.

Types of River Cruises in Budapest

By Time of Day

The Hungarian Parliament at night.

Daytime Cruises

  • During the summer, daytime cruises are a great way to beat the heat and take a break. Standard sightseeing cruises typically run from 10 am to 10 pm.

Sunset Cruises

  • You can turn any cruise into a sunset cruise by booking it specifically for that time. To time your cruise accurately, search Google for "Budapest Sunset Time + Date".

Evening & Night Cruises

  • The city's main attractions are illuminated 30 minutes after sunset. Take an evening or night cruise for a chance to see the stunning illuminated sights of Budapest.

By Drink Type

A glass of prosecco and a laid table on Rubin Group's booze cruise.

Prosecco Cruises

  • Welcome drinks on cruises usually come in 80ml glasses and offer a selection of sparkling wine, prosecco spritzer, mineral water, and soft drinks.

Cocktail Cruises

Beer Cruises

Wine Cruises

  • If you love wine, you can enjoy a special wine-tasting cruise. This cruise offers the opportunity to try seven different types of Hungarian wines, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics.

By Activity Type

The interior of Portum Lines Cruising's sightseeing boat with guests enjoying themselves.

Sightseeing Cruises

  • These cruises offer best way to enjoy the beautiful cityscape of Budapest. Typically, these cruises will provide you with a welcome drink and offer the option to buy other beverages while onboard.

Dinner Cruises

  • Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner cruise with your partner, a buffet libre dinner cruise with a Hungarian folk performance, and more.

Booze & Party Cruises

Food Cruises

  • Satisfy your foodie cravings with a lunch or dinner cruise. However, the quality of the food may be mediocre compared to restaurants.

Private Cruises

  • Book a boat tour all four yourself, perfect for couples, families or groups.

Video

1. Best Sightseeing Cruise Overall With Welcome Drink and Audio Guide

Best Sightseeing Cruise — Legenda  — 70 Min — 15€ (Day) / 21€ (Night)
+5070 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.4
+2100 reviews (Viator)
4.5
+1380 reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.5
The illuminated Budapest Parliament at night, from the perspective of a Danube river cruise.

Pros:

✔️ Best All-Around — This cruise has it all for a complete sightseeing experience.

✔️ Welcome Drink — Choose champagne, wine, beer, a soft drink, or mineral water.

✔️ Great Ship — Modern, spacious, and well-kept, offering superb views from both decks.

✔️ Audio Guide — Crystal-clear sound quality via headphones, and available in 30 languages.

✔️ Full Danube Curcuit — Covers all the must-see and off-beat landmarks, from Margaret Island to the National Theatre/Palace of Arts.

✔️ Family Friendly - Generous discounts for children, including free tickets for ages 0-9 and 50% for ages 10-14.

Cons:

❌ Pricy — It's a bit more expensive than other cruises, but the added value makes up for it.

❌ Missing Free Lemonade — It's not highlighted that the free lemonade is only offered in the summer season.

❌ Headphone Challenges and Hiccups — The first pair didn't work, the second had a cable that was too short for my height (I'm 190cm), and the third functional pair lacked optimal comfort.

Summary

💡 Tip: All cruises have a generous cancellation policy, allowing a full refund if canceled 24 hours before the activity. Additionally, they offer a reserve now, pay later flexible payment scheme.

Legenda's river cruise offers a complete sightseeing experience with a welcome drink and an audio guide in 30 languages.

Audio guide languages include: English, German, French, Italian, Croatian, Dutch, Hungarian, Hebrew, Arabic, Latvian, Finnish, Turkish, Russian, Portuguese, Estonian, Chinese, Thai, Romanian, Korean, Danish, Greek, Swedish, Slovenian, Japanese, Czech, Norwegian, Slovak, Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish.

Their ship is modern and spacious, providing excellent views from both decks.

The itinerary covers the iconic sights from Margaret Island to the National Theatre and Palace of Arts.

This cruise is pricy but offers more value that backs up the higher price. The audio guide has clear sound quality through headphones but needs improvement in content quality and headphone comfort.

Overall, this cruise provides a high-quality sightseeing experience with no major negatives, which is why it's number one on this list.

🎥 Video: Watch this Youtube video I made of Legenda's sightseeing cruise.
📷 Instagram: Check out reels and photos of Legenda City Cruises.

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

Sightseeing & Views

The illuminated Budapest Palace and Buda side at night, from the perspective of a Danube river cruise.
  • Like on any boat tour in Budapest, the cityscape is breathtaking throughout the trip. The best spot for sightseeing on this cruise is the top deck.
  • The cruise itinerary covers all of Budapest's landmarks, including the National Opera and the Palace of Arts.
💡 Tip: For the best sightseeing and photo opportunities, choose a ship with large open-air decks that offer unobstructed 360° views like Legenda, Rubin Group, and Portum.

The Ship

Legenda City Cruises' river cruise billboard.
  • The Gondola is a modern vessel that offers spacious seating, openable windows during the summer, a bar, an audio guide with headphones, and AC/heating.

The Weather-Proof Waiting Area

The interior of Legenda City Cruises' floating dock waiting area.
  • Legenda is the only company in Budapest with a floating dock & waiting area that completely shields you from the elements.

The Drinks

A variety of drinks in glasses being prepared on Legenda City Cruises' sightseeing cruise.
  • The cruise kicks off with receiving a complimentary welcome drink – choose from champagne, wine, beer, a soft drink, or mineral water. You also get to enjoy an extra free lemonade in the summer season.

The Lower Deck

The interior of Legenda City Cruises' sightseeing boat.
  • The lower deck has a cozy bar at the back, near the stairs to the top deck. Rows of comfy seats offer plenty of room to move about, and the large windows guarantee fantastic views.

The Upper Deck

The top deck of Legenda City Cruises' sightseeing boat.
  • It's spacious with unobstructed 360° views from every angle. Ideal for photography and soaking in the city's beauty. Blankets are available upon request.

The Audio Guide

The audio guide controller and headphones on Legenda City Cruises' sightseeing boat.
  • This was the only audio guide could actually be heard out of all the cruises, thanks to the headphones, as the other ships have loudspeakers.
  • The audio quality was excellent, and the narration was available in 30 languages.
  • There's room for improvement contentwise. Around half of the mentioned sights aren't relevant to riverside attractions. Plus, the content could dive deeper into the city's history, culture, and be more historically correct instead of telling stories, trivia and myths.
  • I encountered some issues with the headphones - the first set was defective, the second set had a cable that was too short, and the third set was uncomfortable and hard to wear.
💡 All the other cruises offer loudspeaker audio guides. Loudspeaker audio guides are often inaudible due to passenger noise. Other common issues include un-synced commentary, irrelevant sights/details mentioned, and infrequent audio.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day from 10:00 to 22:00 (varies)
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ✔️ Wheelchair accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for young children (age 0-9), about ~50% discount on tickets for teens (age 10-14)

How to Get There

2. Budapest Night Booze Cruise with Unlimited Prosecco and Lemonade

Best Booze Cruise — Rubin Group — 90 Min — 25€
+10290 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.7
+1720 reviews (Viator)
4.5
+1060 reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.5
A row of glasses with prosecco on Rubin Group's booze cruise.

Pros:

✔️ #1 Most Affordable Booze Cruise — Experience Budapest's most economical unlimited prosecco cruise on the Danube.

✔️ Excellent Ship — The ship features a charming open-air top deck and two indoor decks with a sophisticated cocktail party-like ambiance.

✔️ Unlimited Drinks — Drink all the prosecco and lemonade you want.

✔️ Leisurely 90-Minute Ride — More than enough time to savor your drinks, though drinking responsibly is advised by your friends at Prosecco and Co.

Cons:

Mediocre Food Platter — For an extra 10€, the food platter is disappointing and hardly qualifies as 'gourmet.'

Remote Meeting Point — The departure area near Margaret Island is not easily accessible.

Inaudible Audio Guide — The ambient noise from passengers drowns out the audio guide, but most are too busy enjoying their drinks to notice.

Summary

❓ Is buying food or drinks while on a river cruise in Budapest possible?
💡 Food is not typically included on standard sightseeing cruises. However, you can purchase snacks and drinks at the ship's kitchen bar.

The Rubin Group's boat tour is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable cocktail-party atmosphere with unlimited prosecco and lemonade. The attentive servers are always on hand to keep guests' glasses full.

The top deck boasts breathtaking 360° views of the cityscape during the 90-minute river cruise, while the two indoor decks offer a cozy and inviting ambiance.

As for the less rosy aspects of this cruise, the optional food platter isn't worth the 10€ price, and the audio guide may be difficult to hear over the party noise. Additionally, the meeting point is further from the city center, so getting there may take some extra time and effort.

Overall, if you're looking for a leisurely cruise centered around drinks and stunning views, Rubin Group's boat tour is an outstanding choice.

🎥 Video: Watch this Youtube video I made of Rubin Group's unlimited prosecco cruise.
📷 Instagram: Check out reels and photos of Rubin Group.

About Rubin Group

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

Detailed Breakdown

The Ship

Rubin Group's booze cruise ship, with guests waiting to board on the right.
  • The ship was impressive with a spacious 3-level design and a cocktail party atmosphere. Passengers were seated at 2-person tables.

The Top Deck

The illuminated Liberty Bridge Citadel Statue on Gellért Hill at night, from the perspective of Rubin Group's booze cruise.
  • The top deck offered stunning, unobstructed 360° views. It was the perfect spot for taking photos and enjoying the sights. This is the best place to be during the warmer months.

The Mid and Bottom Deck

The interior of Rubin Group's booze cruise with guests enjoying themselves.
  • There are two indoor decks with plenty of seats and tables where the atmosphere is cozy and inviting.
  • The first passengers to board tend to get the best top deck spots, so it's worth arriving early if you want a prime spot.
The interior of Rubin Group's booze cruise with guests enjoying themselves.

The Drinks Refills

A glass of prosecco and a laid table on Rubin Group's booze cruise.
  • The servers were attentive, constantly refilling glasses with prosecco as soon as they were empty.
  • Self-service lemonade is available in two flavors — regular and one with a strange cucumber taste.

The Assorted Food Platter

Assorted food platter on Rubin Group's booze cruise.
  • The optional assorted food platter for 10€ wasn't what I was expecting.
  • It didn't match the advertised images and wasn't gourmet but ordinary, including simple fruits and vegetables, cheese and ham with two sauces, and a pastry dessert. The portion size was smaller than expected.
  • Save your money and skip the platter.

The Audio Guide

  • The loudspeaker audio guide was inaudible due to the passengers crowding out the narration.
  • They increased the volume upon my request, but the audio guide's content was too basic.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day at 19:00 and 21:00
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, except service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes (at least the bottom deck)
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-3)

How to Get There

  • 📍 Meeting point: Budapest, Szent István park 5, 1137
  • ❌ The meeting point is north of Margaret Bridge, which is slightly out of the way compared to other centrally located cruises.
  • 🗺️ Use the 2 or 4/6 tram line and get off at Jászai Mari tér. From there, walk 500 meters towards the north of Margaret Bridge until you spot a large red "0" sign.

3. Historic 19th Century Steam Boat Cruise

Dunai Sétahajózási Ltd. — 1 Hours — 16.50 (day)/25€ (night)
+520 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.7

Summary

Should I book river cruise tickets in advance? Is it worth it?
💡 Yes
 — It's worth reserving your ticket in advance to ensure your place on the ship, although you can purchase tickets in person.

This is Budapest's only boat tour offering an authentic 19th-century historic cruise experience. The ship is a replica of the Hungarian paddle steamer, the Kisfaludy, which operated between 1847 and 1887 on Lake Balaton thanks to the initiative of István Széchenyi.

The cruise includes a welcome drink and an English audio guide (via loudspeakers).

The ship features an open-air panorama deck at the front (the best place for 360° views), a semi-covered rear area, and a small top deck near the captain's cabin.

There's also a must-see maritime museum on the bottom deck.

In summary, this cruise provides a high-quality sightseeing experience infused with historic flair you can't get elsewhere in Budapest.

🎥 Virtual tour: take a look at the ship through their interactive virtual tour.

About Dunai Sétahajózási Ltd.

Dunai Sétahajózási Kft. was founded in 2021 by Gergely Fogasy, who also operates a successful cruise company on Lake Balaton since 2019.

Detailed Breakdown

Sightseeing & Views

  • Like on any boat tour in Budapest, the cityscape is breathtaking throughout the trip. The best spot for sightseeing on this cruise is the front panorama deck, where you board the ship.

The Ship

  • The boat tour offers an authentic historical experience aboard a replica of a 19th-century paddle steamer, the Kisfaludy, that once sailed Lake Balaton.

19th Century Maritime Museum

  • On the lower deck, there is a captivating maritime museum that displays the lifestyle of 19th century sailors.

The Drinks

  • The cruise includes a complimentary welcome drink of your choice - water, prosecco, orange juice or beer.

The Top Deck

  • The small top deck has four tables, but the chimney and captain's cabin somewhat block the view.
  • The orientation of half the tables is perpendicular to the Danube, so one side of the city is always behind your back. The main deck doesn't have this issue.

The Main Deck

  • The main deck has a front open-air area with a 360° panorama. Additionally, there is a roof-covered rear area with equally splendid views.
  • You can take a closer look at the paddle wheel in the middle or visit the maritime museum on the bottom deck.
  • You can also find free umbrellas, which they likely hand out during rainy weather.

The Audio Guide

  • During the cruise, you can enjoy an English-speaking audio guide through loudspeakers.
  • The guide was synchronized with the attractions we passed by and provided brief introductions, trivia, and historical information about the landmarks.
  • Sometimes loudspeakers can get drowned out by the noise of a crowd, which makes them hard to hear. I didn't experience this during my daytime cruise, but it may be more challenging to hear during the more popular night cruise.
  • In between the narration, there's a pleasant classical piano music playing.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day at 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:00pm, 8:30pm, 10:00pm.
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ❌ Air conditioning/heating: no
  • ✔️ Pets allowed: yes
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-6)

How to Get There

4. Best Value Sightseeing Cruise With Welcome Drink

Best Value Sightseeing Cruise — Portum Lines — 1 Hour — 11€
+18100 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.5
+1970 reviews (Viator)
4.0
+1140 reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.0
The Budapest Palace during the day, from the perspective of Portum Lines Crusing's sightseeing cruise.

Pros:

✔️ Exceptional Value — Costs 40-50% less than Legenda, while still offering a stellar experience, albeit with fewer non-essential amenities (such as audio guides and complimentary lemonade).

✔️ Fun and Lively — This cruise attracts a younger crowd, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere.

✔️ Welcome Drink — Options include prosecco, a seasonal cocktail, mulled wine, or a soft drink.

✔️ Great Ship — The ship is modern, spacious, and well-maintained, with excellent views from both its decks.

Cons:

❌ Inconvenient Location — The meeting point near Margaret Island is not in the city center, thus getting there is a hassle.

❌ Prone to Crowding — The ship may feel cramped during peak travel times, especially the top deck.

❌ Limited Open Air Seats — The coveted open-air tables on the top deck are claimed quickly and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Summary

❓ Is it possible to reserve seats on river cruises?
💡 Seats on most river cruises are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. But some dinner cruises might let you reserve a specific spot.

Portum Lines Cruising is an excellent alternative to Legenda, offering a lively and fun sightseeing experience that's especially popular with younger crowds.

Upon arrival, guests receive a complimentary welcome drink of prosecco, seasonal cocktails, mulled wine, or a soft drink.

While they don't offer amenities like an audio guide or complimentary lemonade, the ship is modern and well-maintained, with excellent views of Budapest's top sights.

The top deck offers both open-air 360° and weather-protected roof-covered sections. While the lower level is cozy and comfortable, it's best to head upstairs to enjoy the views.

Reaching the meeting point is inconvenient, and the ship can get crowded due to its popularity, especially on the top deck.

Overall, Portum Lines offers an exceptional river cruise experience at great value, perfect for those seeking a fun atmosphere.

🎥 Video: Watch my video summary with live footage of Portum sightseeing cruise.

About Portum Lines

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

Sightseeing & Views

The Budapest Parliament during the day, from the perspective of Portum Lines Crusing's sightseeing cruise.
  • During the boat tour, you can enjoy the flawless cityscape of Budapest from certain spots with clear 360° views.
  • The cruise itinerary covers most of Budapest's landmarks, except the National Opera and the Palace of Arts.

The Ship

Portum Lines Crusing's sightseeing boat, Neptun.
  • The ship is spacious and well-maintained, with two levels similar to Legenda's sightseeing ship.

The Top Deck

The open air section of Portum Lines Cruising's sightseeing boat with guests enjoying themselves.
  • The top deck is divided into three areas - the front, middle, and back.
  • The front and back sections are open-air, with perfect 360° views - these are the best places to be.
💡 Tip: The best open air seats go fast! You must arrive early and be at the front of the line to snatch them.
The interior of Portum Lines Cruising's sightseeing boat with guests enjoying themselves.
  • There is a wide indoor section in the middle with tables and chairs lining both sides near the windows.
  • Although the views from here are good, they are even better outside in the open air section.

The Lower Deck

The lower deck of Portum Lines Cruising's sightseeing boat.
  • The lower level is comfortable, cozy, and spacious, with heating and air conditioning to provide a pleasant experience, even on rainy or cold days.
  • The lower deck is an indoor space similar to the upper deck's covered section.
  • Additionally, there is a small bar on board.

The Drinks

Two glasses of prosecco on Portum Lines Cruising's sightseeing boat.
  • The cruise includes a free welcome drink of your choice - a sparkling wine, a seasonal welcome drink, or a soft drink.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day from 17:00 to 22:00 (varies)
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile, printed
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only services animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ✔️ Wheelchair accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Children discount: free for infants (age 0-2), only on viator

How to Get There

  • 📍 Meeting point: Budapest, Dock 42 port, Szent István park, 1138 Hungary
  • ❌ The meeting point is north of Margaret Bridge, which is slightly out of the way compared to other centrally located cruises.
  • 🗺️ Use the 2 or 4/6 tram line and get off at Jászai Mari tér. From there, walk 500 meters towards the north of Margaret Bridge until you spot the Dock 42 sign.

5. No Frills Budget Sightseeing Cruise

Silverline Cruises Ltd. — 70 minutes 10.00 (day)/14€ (night)
+4400 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.1
+150 reviews (Viator)
3.5
+80 reviews (TripAdvisor)
3.5

Summary

When it comes to Budapest cruises, Silverline Sightseeing Cruise is a solid choice with friendly staff and a comfortable meeting point, but it doesn't quite stand out from the crowd.

Unlike most cruises, Silverline's cruise ticket does not include a welcome drink. However, the price is on the low-end. If it were not for their out-of-the-way location, I would recommend the Portum's similarly cheap cruise in a heartbeat.

With a relaxed 70-minute cruising time, this ride offers a leisurely pace that allows you to take in the sights and enjoy the moment.

They used to offer an audio guide, but it suffered from the common issue of being drowned out by the crowd's noise and not being in sync with the landmarks. They seem to have done away with it altogether.

In summary, Silverline's sightseeing cruise provides a leisurely tour of Budapest's iconic landmarks on the Danube. While not exceptional, it offers a decent experience.

About Silverline Cruises Ltd.

Silverline is a solid company operating since (at least) 2011. They have a decent range of cruise offerings, and run popular cruises in the sightseeing category.

Detailed Breakdown

Sightseeing & Views

  • Like on any boat tour in Budapest, the cityscape is breathtaking throughout the trip. However, Silverline's ships have a roof and support columns on the top deck which means they do not provide a clear 360° view.

The Ship

  • The ship itself is decent, but it doesn't claim the title of the most modern or spacious vessel on the waters. It gets the job done without being overly impressive.
  • Silverline rotates boats frequently, so you may not get the same one I did.

The Top Deck

  • During my trip, I was on the larger two-level boat that previously had rows of seats, but has since been replaced with tables and chairs (according to photos).
  • The smaller boat now has the rows of seats, which I found to be cramped and lacking in legroom.
  • Both ships have roofs and support columns which partially block the view.

The Main Deck

  • The main deck offers comfort with ample space, heating, and air conditioning. While indoor views are average, better panoramas await at the front chairs or the open-air section.

The Staff

  • Welcoming and friendly staff at the entrance make a positive impression. I haven't interacted with the ship's crew so I cannot comment on that.

Unneccesary Stop

  • During my cruise, we made a stop at Batthyány tér (Buda), even though no passengers got on or off.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm, 6:00pm, 7:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:00pm.
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, except service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-3)

How to Get There

6. Best Cocktail Cruise With Three Cocktails

Silverline Cruises — 1.5 Hours —  32€
+720 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.4
+170 reviews (Viator)
4.0
+110  reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.0

Summary

Enjoy a 90-minute cocktail cruise on the Danube with Silverline. Sip up to three delicious cocktails as you cruise aboard a cozy, spacious double-decker ship with splendid views. 

As usual, the itinerary covers all the iconic sights from Margaret Island to the National Theatre and Palace of Arts.

While there is no audio guide on board, you can download Silverline's audio guide app. There's a lack of shelter from the elements while boarding, but it's not a big deal (unless you're caught in bad weather).

Overall, a great experience to try in Budapest!

🎥 Video: Take a look at the teaser video for the cruise to get an idea of what to expect.
💡 Keep in mind that the this cruise, the Pizza & Beer cruise and an Unlimited Drink Cruise are happening at the same time and place.

About Silverline Cruises Ltd.

Silverline is a solid company operating since (at least) 2011. They have a decent range of cruise offerings, and run popular cruises in the sightseeing category.

Detailed Breakdown

Sightseeing & Views

The beautiful sunset sky, from the perspective of Portum Lines Crusing's sightseeing cruise.
  • The scenery is breathtaking and you're taken all the way down to the Palace of Arts & National Theatre.
  • For the best views, head to the top deck. However, taking great photos can be challenging due to the roof and side columns obstructing the view.

The Ship

  • The ship is functional, but it is not the newest, most modern, or luxurious vessel available.

Staff & Service 🧑

  • The servers was courteous, accommodating and quick. We never had to wait too long for our drinks.

Drinks Menu

  • Cocktails are served in proper cocktail glasses as seen on the menu.
  • Each guest receives 3 plastic tokens each, which you give to the waitress each time you ask for a cocktail.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: Every day 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ❌ Baby stroller accessible: no
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-6) but food/drinks aren't included.

How to Get There

💡 Cruise alternative: Check out Hungaria Koncert's drinks cruise, which offers a cocktail cruise with folk music, onboard an atmospheric and luxurious ship.

7. Best Pizza and Unlimited Beer Cruise

Best Food and Booze Cruise — Silverline — 1.5 Hours —  32€
+390 reviews (GetYourGuide)
3.8
+50 reviews (Viator)
4.5
+40 reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.0

Summary

💡 Keep in mind that the Cocktail Cruise, this and the Unlimited Drink Cruise are happening at the same time and place. Click the cocktail cruise section for more details and pics.

Enjoy the stunning river views of Budapest while sipping unlimited beer and one pizza with Silverline's cruise.

However, it's important to note that there is no audio guide available and some of the views may be partially blocked by side columns.

🎥 Video: Take a look at the teaser video for the cruise to get an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that the Cocktail Cruise and Pizza & Beer cruise are happening at the same time.

About Silverline Cruises Ltd.

Silverline is a solid company operating since (at least) 2011. They have a decent range of cruise offerings, and run popular cruises in the sightseeing category.

Detailed Breakdown

Sightseeing & Views

The illuminated Budapest Palace and Buda side at night, from the perspective of a Danube river cruise.
  • The scenery is breathtaking and you're taken all the way down to the Palace of Arts & National Theatre.
  • For the best views, head to the top deck. However, taking great photos can be challenging due to the roof and side columns obstructing the view.
  • The lower deck doesn't offer great opportunities for sightseeing or taking photos.

The Ship

Silverline's cruise ship sailing on the Danube.
  • The ship is functional, but it is not the newest, most modern, or luxurious vessel available.

The Food and Drinks

  • Indulge in a delicious pizza of your choice such as Hawaii, Hungarian, Salami, Ham and Corn, and Quattro Formaggi.
  • During the cruise, you can enjoy unlimited draft beer and soft drinks.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ❌ Baby stroller accessible: no
  • ❌ Infant/children discount: no

How to Get There

8. Budapest Dinner Cruise with Buffet Libre, Folk Dance Show & Music

Best Dinner Cruise — Hungaria Koncert — 1.5-2 Hours — 55-72€
+1470 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.2
+4520 reviews (Viator)
4.5
+3610 reviews (TripAdvisor)
5.0
The dinner area of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise boat with guests enjoying themselves.

Pros:

✔️ Buffet Libre — this dinner cruise is a great way to taste various Hungarian dishes.

✔️ Two Welcome Drinks — you can choose from various alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

✔️ Great Atmosphere — you feel like you're in an early 20th century cabaret and forget about the outside world for 2 hours.

✔️ Folk Dance and Music Show — features one of the best live folklore music and dance shows with authentic and award-winning performers.

✔️ Full Danube Circuit — the cruise covers everything worth seeing, from Margaret Island all the way down to the National Theatre/Palace of Arts.

✔️ Long Cruise — the cruise lasts 1.5-2 hours, which gives ample time to eat, drink and see the sights at night.

Cons:

 Not Great for Sightseeing — the views from the ship are mediocre (no 360°, fences blocking the view), spaces for sightseeing are both few/small, the dinner and folk show are more interesting so you'll focus on that and won't see the sights.

❌ Not Fine Dining Quality — the food is fine, but mid-range restaurants (and up) serve better quality food.

Summary

Hungaria Koncert runs this excellent dinner cruise with live Hungarian folk music and dance performance.

There's an unlimited buffet of various Hungarian dishes and a vibe that’s comparable to an early 20th century cabaret.

🎥 Video: Watch my video summary with live footage of Hungaria Koncert's dinner cruise.

About Hungaria Koncert

Hungaria Koncert is a cruise operator and organizes different touristic activities. They've been operating since (at least) 1995.

Detailed Breakdown

Cruise Duration

  • This cruise lasts 1.5 or 2 hours depending on which cruise you choose — 7 pm or 10 pm. This gives ample time to enjoy the delicious food, the unique folk performance, and explore the ship.

What's Included

Two Hungaria folk dancers on Hungaria Koncert's dinner cruise coming up the stairs.
  • You get to enjoy the show of award-winning music and dance performers who are going to give you an amazing time.
Laid table with cutlery and food on Hungaria Koncert's dinner cruise.
  • You get access to a buffet libre of a variety of Hungarian dishes. Meals include goulash soup, stuffed cabbage, beef stew, somlói Galuska, a variety of strudels, and more.
  • The quality of the food is good but isn’t Michelin 2-star grade. Even so, it’s a great way to try out a variety of Hungarian dishes at once.

Dance and Music Performance

Hungarian folk music performers entertaining guests with violin music on Hugaria Koncert's cruise boat.
  • On the top deck, there are folklore dance and music performances for dinner guests only.
  • The music gave the trip an early 20th century cabaret vibe.

The Ship

Guests waiting in line to board Gróf Széchenyi river cruise ship.
  • The interior of the ship has a classical and luxurious feel, including chandeliers, a teak wood interior, custom-made floor carpet, intarsia decorated walls, and more.
The dinner area of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise boat with guests enjoying themselves from the outside looking in through the windows.
  • There are two symmetrical indoor sections on the top deck and a total of four outdoor areas - two on the sides and two at each end of the ship.
The openair section of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise ship on the top deck.
  • The outdoor side areas are available for sightseeing guests; the rest of the level is reserved for dinner guests.
  • The sides have 180° views, while the front and back are 360°, but fences obstruct the view.
The interior of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise boat with guests enjoying themselves.
  • The lower deck has the same look and feel as the rest of the ship. There is only one area accessible - immediately to the right of the entrance. This area is for people with non-dinner tickets. It includes a bar with reasonable prices, tables with chairs, and a folklore trio performance.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day at 19:00, and on weekends at 22:00
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-5)

How to Get There

💡 Pricing 55€ vs. 72€ — What's the difference? Those with a regular dinner cruise ticket (55€) won't be able to see the folk dance show - they need to buy the 72€ ticket if they do. There's nothing stopping you from going over to the other side for a sneak peek, though.

9. Best Cocktails, Craft Beer or Wine Tasting Cruise

Great Atmosphere — Hungaria Koncert — 2 Hours —  17€
+2520 reviews (GetYourGuide)
4.1
+340 reviews (Viator)
4.0
+150 reviews (TripAdvisor)
4.5
Hungarian folk music performers entertaining guests with violin music on Hugaria Koncert's cruise boat.

Summary

I have already mentioned the dinner cruise offered by Hungaria Koncert above.

However, they also offer a more affordable boat tour with drinks, which takes place on the same ship.

The only difference is that this event is on the ship's lower deck and features a live folk violin trio to entertain you.

There is also an open-air area where you can drink and enjoy spending time.

The basic ticket is reasonably priced and includes a drink. You can also upgrade to options offering craft beer, cocktails, exquisite wines, or even unlimited drinks.

The atmosphere is reminiscent of an early 20th-century cabaret.

🎥 Video: Watch my video summary with footage of Hungaria Koncert's cruise. Even though this is about their dinner cruise, you'll be on the same vessel.

About Hungaria Koncert

Hungaria Koncert is a cruise operator and organizes different touristic activities. They've been operating since (at least) 1995.

Detailed Breakdown

The Ship

Guests waiting in line to board Gróf Széchenyi river cruise ship.
  • The interior of the ship has a classical and luxurious feel, including chandeliers, a teak wood interior, custom-made floor carpet, intarsia decorated walls, and more.

Indoor Area

The interior of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise boat with guests enjoying themselves.
  • The bottom deck area has the same 20th-century cabaret feel as the rest of the ship.

Outdoor Area

The openair section of Hungaria Koncert's river cruise ship on the top deck.
  • The outdoor side areas are available for sightseeing guests; the rest of the level is reserved for dinner guests.
  • The sides of the view offer 180° views, so unfortunately you can't see both Buda and Pest at the same time.

The Drinks

  • The basic ticket is reasonably priced and includes a drink.
  • You can also upgrade to options offering craft beer, cocktails, exquisite wines, or even unlimited drinks.
  • If you buy the more expensive tickets you will be seated upstairs in the dinner guest area instead of slightly less luxurious bottom deck area.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: every day at 19:00, and on weekends at 22:00
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile or printed
  • ✔️ Onboard wi-fi: yes
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only service animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: no
  • ✔️ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-5)

How to Get There

10. Cheapest Sightseeing Cruise

Cheapest Sightseeing Cruise — BKK-Mahart Zrt. — 60 Min — 4€
No public reviews
The Budapest Palace during the day, from the perspective of Mahart-BKK's sightseeing cruise.

Pros:

✔️ Cheapest Cruise in Budapest — perfect for travelers that value affordability.

✔️ Unlimited Cruises — for the same day with one ticket, excellent in case you have the urge to binge cruise in Budapest.

✔️ Great for Getting Around — there's an option to disembark on Margaret Island or at any of the four other stops.

Cons:

❌ Low Quality — I'm not mincing words here, this is a bare-bones, low-quality sightseeing cruise.

❌ Smell of Fuel  — a strange smell is often present on the boat.

❌ Five Stops — the boat docks and undocks 5 times during the cruise, which isn't fun.

Crowded — the ship is small and cramped to begin with but wait till the Hungarian pupils on school trips arrive.

Update: This boat tour is only available during the summer season.

Summary

A dirt-cheap sightseeing cruise that ranks low in quality compared to other options. Great if you're on an extremely tight budget.

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

🎥 Video: Watch my video summary with live footage of BK-Mahart's sightseeing cruise.

Detailed breakdown

The Ship

BKK-Mahart's sightseeing boat.
  • It seemed old and in need of renovation.

The Top Deck

The top deck with rows of seating on Mahart-BKKs's sightseeing boat.
  • Poor seat layout, crowded, partial view due to roof and side columns. It wasn't too crowded when I went, so it was acceptable.

The Bottom Deck

The interior of BKK-Mahart's sightseeing boat.
  • The smell of gas/fuel, poor seat layout, dim lighting, mediocre views, and uncomfortable seat cushions.

5 Stops During the Cruise

Embarking/disembarking on Mahart-BKKs's sightseeing boat.
  • The ship makes 5 stops, which takes away from the experience, but allows for a drop-off at Margaret Island. The smell of gas intensified during docking.

No Pre-Booking Available

  • It is not possible to book this cruise in advance, but tickets can be purchased in person at the BKK-Mahart kiosk.

Quick Facts

  • 📅 Schedule: Tuesday-Saturday at 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00 (don't go on Mondays like I did!)
  • 🎟️ Ticket type: mobile, printed
  • ✔️ Open air deck: yes
  • ❌ Onboard wi-fi: no
  • ✔️ Air conditioning/heating: yes
  • ❌ Pets allowed: no, only services animals
  • ✔️ Smoking: yes, outside
  • ❌ Wheelchair accessible: yes
  • ❌ Baby stroller accessible: yes
  • ✔️ Infant/children discount: free for children (age 0-7)

How to Get There

  • 📍 Meeting point: Batthyány tér - Vigadó tér, 1051 Budapest
  • ✔️ Centrally located, easy to find and arrive.
  • 🗺️ How to get there: Use tram line 2 to arrive at Március 15.  You can find Mahart ticket booth in front of you after you descend the stairs at Vigado tér. The boat will be the left from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prepare for a river cruise during the winter or summer?

Summer: Have sunscreen, water, an umbrella, and sunglasses for daytime cruises in the warmer months.

In rainy weather, the open-air deck may be closed. In stormy weather, cruises are canceled. They'll either refund you or offer an alternative cruise if this happens.

Winter: The heated cabin's windows tend to fog up, blocking the views, depending on how well the windows are insulated.

You can always go out to get a few photo shots, then rush back to the safety of the heated cabin. Open-air sightseeing during the winter can be less enjoyable due to cold weather and winds, so it's best to dress warmly, wear layers, and protect your face.

How can I avoid overcrowded boat tours?

If you want to avoid crowded boat tours, you can follow these steps: visit during the off-season, choose daytime tours instead of night tours, or opt for more expensive cruises.