HU, Budapest: A night cruise on the Danube River

After 2 days of walking in a sunny and hot Budapest, the time has come, finally. Time to rest our legs, to enjoy the cold drinks and the exceptional views of the Danube shore. Time to have a cruise on the Danube River to see the glowing Budapest.

Budapest - Buda, Danube Western shore
Buda, Danube Western shore

Budapest - Buda Castle
Buda Castle – known as the Royal Palace is the historical castle of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. Castle was built in XIII century, but the Castle District was completed in XVIII and XIX century, which is famous for the medieval, Baroque style. The castle is part of the Budapest World Heritage Site since 1987.

The Danube River, a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire about 2000 years ago, flows today through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. It is the European second longest river, with a length of ‎2,850 km, starting from Black Forest in Germany, and flowing into Black Sea in Romania.

Budapest - Szechenyi Chain Bridge with Buda Castle on the right
Szechenyi Chain Bridge – at the time of its construction, 1849, the Chain Bridge was the suspension bridge with the second largest span in the world, and it was the first permanent bridge across Danube in Hungary. It was rebuilt and reinforced post WWII, as it was destroyed by Nazi in their retreat, as all the other bridges across Danube. Total length is 375 m and width 14.8m.
Budapest - Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion in the background; Szilagyi Dezso Square Reformed Church in front
Matthias Church, built in the 14th century, is an important landmark in the Buda Castle District. Originally built by Saint Stephen, the first king of Hungary, in 1015, was destroyed by the Mongols in 1241. Matthias Church was named in the 19th century, when King Matthias extended it and transformed the original southern tower. Around the church lays Fisherman’s Bastion (seen on the back, right side), a terrace with 7 towers, representing the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the area in 10th century, and which name was taken from, in memory of the fishermen’s guild that protected the Buda castle wall in the Middle Ages.

Since the completion of the German Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in 1992, the river has been part of a trans-European waterway from Rotterdam on the North Sea to Sulina on the Black Sea, a distance of 3,500 km. In 1994 the Danube was declared one of ten Pan-European transport corridors.

Budapest - University of Technology and Economics
The University of Technology and Economics is the most significant University of Technology in Hungary and considered the oldest Institute of Technology in the world with a university rank. It was founded in 1782 and it was the first institute in Europe to train engineers at university level. It has 100+ departments, and students from more than 50 countries.

Budapest - Elisabeth Bridge

Elisabeth Bridge, built originally in 1903, was named after Queen Elizabeth the wife of Franz Joseph I and has a total length of 378.6 m and width 27.1 m. The original bridge was destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt between 1961 and 1964. The original Elizabeth Bridge was the suspension bridge with the largest span in the world, until 1926.

Fascinating landmarks can be seen from ashore as well as the water, from Germany to Romania. There is a variety of travel cruises on the river, but also one can do cycling (Danube Bike Trail), hiking (Sultans Trail, Donausteig, or The Route of Emperors and Kings), or rowing (i.e. Tour International Danubien) along the river.

Budapest - Gellert Hotel and Thermal Baths
The Danubius Gellert Hotel opened in 1918 was named after St Gellert, the first bishop in Hungary in the 11th century. It was extended in 1927 with more rooms and a wave pool. In 1934 it was added a Jacuzzi pool. Hotel Gellert is famous for its thermal baths and they are using the spring waters discovered in the 15th century, but also for its main hall with gallery and glass roof built in Art Nouveau style.

The Danube Banks in Budapest are a part of UNESCO World Heritage sites, they can be viewed from a number of sightseeing cruises offered in the city.

Budapest - Liberty Statue and the Citadella
Liberty Statue, was erected first in 1947 in remembrance of Hungary liberation during WWII. It is a statue to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom and prosperity of Hungary. The 14m tall bronze statue stands on top of a 26 m pedestal and holds a palm leaf. Located on the Gellerd Hill, the statue is visible from Budapest, especially in the night.

With no particular reason we picked company Legenda for an hour long cruise on the river. The month of August can be pretty busy everywhere and we decided to purchase the tickets online, in advance; especially because we wanted to have an evening cruise, to capture Budapest glowing in the dark.

Budapest - Liberty Bridge
Liberty Bridge, opened in 1928 was named originally Franz Joseph Bridge. This bridge was the first one to be restored after WWII. With a length of 333.6 m, and width of 20.1 m, the bridge is well known for its portals’ decorations: the coat of arms of Hungary designed by Virgil Nagy and the Turul statues. Turuls are falcon like birds, well-known in ancient Hungarian mythology.

Budapest -Liberty Bridge coat of arms and the two Turuls

With vouchers in our hands, waiting impatiently in line, we finally got to the edge of the boat. We still had to get an entrance ticket, and were a little confused where to obtain that from. But a nice lady from the ticket booth directed us to the boat entrance, where we actually exchanged our vouchers for the tickets. We didn’t find seats available on the upper deck, as they were filled up very quickly, as well as the majority of the seats of the main desk. One really need to come very early to get good seats!

Budapest - Legenda cruise
Legenda cruise – main deck, after departing. We could watch a documentary on the screen and listen to the tour guide on the headset. The guide is offered in 30 languages.

Ready to get into the magic world, we picked randomly some seats on the main deck and let ourselves enveloped by the evening, indulged by the views while sipping from our cold drink.

Budapest - Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building, completed in 1905 in a Gothic style, is the largest and the tallest building in Budapest. About 100,000 people were involved in construction, and about 40 million bricks, half million precious stones, and 40 kg of gold were used.

I hope you have enjoyed the ride with me!

9 thoughts on “HU, Budapest: A night cruise on the Danube River

  1. We did this cruise last fall! It was such a beautiful evening and a great way to see the city all lit up. It’s such an ornate place, and having it all twinkly and reflected in the river made it all the more grand.

    Liked by 1 person

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