With so many different river cruises available in Budapest it’s hard to know which ones are the best and will provide a memorable experience during your trip.
Sure, you could opt for the basic river cruise. You know, those huge boats packed with tourists where you don’t even have enough room to take a picture of your friends or significant other.
Or you could go with something better that will leave you with a lifelong memory of the fun and excitement you had while cruising the famous Danube River and taking in all of Budapest’s famous sights along the river itself.
I know you’re busy planning your trip so I’ve gone ahead and done the research for you.
For the best river cruise experience I have to recommend Dunarama and their private luxury speedboat service. Between high speeds, champagne on-board during your sightseeing cruise and plush, comfortable leather seats, what’s not to love?
Danube River Cruising with Dunarama
Unlike those large and noisy river cruise boats you tend to see on the Danube the boats that Dunarama uses for their luxury speed boat service in Budapest are something you would expect to see in Venice, Monaco or in the South of France.
Polished and dark wood, silver details and large comfortable seats are the first things you notice as you step onto the speedboat.
For a Danube River cruise I don’t think there is a better option if you’re looking to sit back, relax and enjoy all of the sights with the rumble of the speedboat engines behind you.
I was able to enjoy the trip with just one other person and the privacy of the boat along with the romantic setting made it an experience I won’t soon forget.
Whether you’re looking to propose to your loved one, enjoy some time away from the busy tourist crowds of the city center, take some unique shots of some of the main sights along the river or just feel the wind in your hair while sipping on some champagne at high speeds you will definitely enjoy yourself on a Dunarama luxury speedboat cruise.
Highlights of the Cruise
The dock where you get on the boat is located right beside the famous Elisabeth Bridge. It’s the perfect place to end up after a long day of walking around the city.
After checking in with the attendant at the entrance to the dock I was lead through another boat before I walked out onto a small platform overlooking the Danube. Right below me the luxury speedboat was floating and the two boat captains welcomed me on-board while they helped me onto the boat.
I had never been on a speedboat like the ones used by Dunarama before and I was surprised by how little it rocked, how stable the boat felt and how high it sat in the water.
The boat itself has a roof, which would be useful if it’s raining or cold outside, but there is a bench seat at the back that’s open to the elements. This seat is the perfect place to sit if you want to enjoy all of the sights and take some great shots of the buildings along the river.
There is seating for up to 12 people but it wouldn’t be as private or as enjoyable of an experience if the boat was full. If you’re travelling in a group it would still be enjoyable but I recommend taking the cruise with 4 or less people.
After being introduced to the captain and driver we were off! At first I didn’t even notice we were moving – the ride itself was so smooth and there were hardly any vibrations as we cruised into the center of the river.
The driver will ask you how you want to enjoy the ride, whether you want a regular or a fast ride. I suggest going for the fast ride. With the fast ride the last half of your cruise you will be flying along the river at a higher speed and it makes for a more exhilarating and memorable experience.
At first we slowly made our way to the bridge that crosses over Margaret Island before turning around.
Along the way the boat passes under the many bridges in Budapest, the Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and many of the other buildings and churches that line the Danube.
When the boat turned around we started heading back to the starting dock and I had the chance to take any photos I missed. Other than that I was able to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
After crossing under Elisabeth Bridge I was rewarded with some great views of the Citadel, the University buildings, the Central Market Hall and many of the apartments in the newer part of the city. The boat turned around again at the last bridge crossing the Danube in the city.
This is when the fun starts.
Shortly after turning around the driver looked back, smiled, and started speeding up the boat.
As I cruised by the sights again at upwards of 50kmh I couldn’t help but smile as the wind was blowing through my hair while the boat flew over the river waves, past commercial boats and the other tourist sightseeing cruises.
I passed by all the same sights, only now at a higher speed, and the climax of the cruise was when the driver did a sharp turn and sped up even faster. I looked up and ahead of me I saw we were barrelling towards the Hungarian Parliament.
At the last second the driver executed another sharp turn and I was able to see the Hungarian Parliament up-close in all its beautiful glory. This was the best part of the entire cruise and one of the best things I’ve been able to experience in Budapest.
It was now time to head back and once I reached the dock I thanked both the drivers and headed back into the city.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
If you’re looking for a private luxury speedboat service in Budapest then I highly recommend going with Dunarama.
Their sightseeing tour is definitely one of the best you can get in the city and it can’t be beat when it comes to privacy, comfort and experience.
I had a great time with Dunarama and there isn’t anything I would change about my experience with their luxury speedboat Danube River cruise.
If you want a sunset cruise, which is more romantic and gives you the chance to see the city while it’s both illuminated with the sun and all of the nighttime lights, then look online before booking your trip to find out when the sun is going to set.
I went at 16:00 and my cruise ended at 17:00. In late October or early November this is the best time to ride if you want to take advantage of the sunset.
For more information, a list of their luxury speedboat services in Budapest, and prices you’ll want to check out their website:
Check back soon for a video of my experience!