From Vienna to Budapest by boat
The Danube is the pearl of European river shipping. The ships are usually departing from Passau (Germany), traveling to Budapest (Hungary) or to the Danube Delta (Black Sea) in Romania. There are many variations with different ports and durations of 4-16 days. But if you don’t have time for such a long trip, you can choose the popular route and travel from Vienna to Budapest.
There are several options to use the river Danube to get to and from the Hungarian capital. The cheapest way to get to Budapest river way is to use the once state-owned ship company: so far only the Hungarian MAHART runs hydrofoils between Budapest and Vienna. Hydrofoils are not ships; you cannot get on the open deck. Instead, they are closed waterway vehicles, noisier than ships. These cheap cruises run every day from Vienna to Budapest. Since you are not travelling on the open board, you don’t need extra clothes, though the river cruise is a real treat with many beautiful sights along the river. The trip from Vienna to Budapest by boat is truly an impressive journey.
During the about 5-6 hours shipping time you are passing by Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia where the old Castle of Bratislava overlooks the Danube. Another spectacular view is the Danube bend, where the river is heading to Budapest destination. There you can see the former Royal Palace of Hungary, the Citadel of Visegrád and with its surrounding mountains this is Hungary’s most beautiful tourist region, which played an important role of the Hungarian history. Budapest is the only stop on the cruise where the river Danube flows right through the heart of the city with a dramatic sight. Hills on the left (Buda), plains on the right (Pest) and 19th century architectural beauties on both sides: the Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hungarian Parliament, the domes of the St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Gresham Palace, the historical bridges and other Budapest buildings along the Danube, all make a wonderful sight and make our river cruise from Vienna to Budapest to be an unforgettable experience.
When you arrive in Budapest, it is worth visiting the mainland as well, as there are plenty of beautiful buildings in front of us, but a simple walk along the Danube River offers a wonderful sight too. If you insist on being near the water there’s a possibility to rent a private motorboat. The motorboat ride on the Danube provides an experience you have never had before, and shows a different side of the city: you can see the most beautiful attractions in Budapest from the breezy deck of the boat.
As Budapest earned the title of ‘City of Baths‘ in 1934, you can take a wonderful bath at all seasons of the year. You can go to the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath or Gellért Bath, to mention only the most famous ones. But if you don’t like thermal water, the city offers other waterfront activities. 20 minutes from the city center you will find the recently formed Lupa Beach, which is originally a lake but looks exactly like seashore with crystal clear water, white sand, palm trees, sunshades. You can sip cocktails, swim, and play beach volleyball, football, flyboard, do kayaking, scuba diving, wakeboard or even SUP surf, so you get a real seaside feeling. It also has a separate “kid’s beach” for children or private beach if you need peace.
This city is a venue for opportunities, and don’t forget that it takes only 5 and a half hours to get from Vienna to Budapest by boat. Once you visit Budapest, you will fall in love with it for sure. It’s recommended to book your ticket in advance if you don’t want to miss it.