Updated February 2017
Budapest is without a doubt one of the most fascinating cities on the Danube. What with its stunning buildings, diverse history and relaxing hot springs, it’s no wonder it features as a must-see stop on almost all of our river cruises. With our Danube River cruises, you will have the chance to explore Budapest for the best part of the day, giving you a real chance to get under the city’s romantic skin.
Here are a few of the best bits you don’t want to miss out on.
Shoes on the Danube
A powerful tribute to the many Jewish Hungarians that were killed in WWII, the Shoes on the Danube Bank mark a dark period in the city’s modern history. The Arrow Cross militiamen who carried out the slaughter are said to have ordered the victims to remove their shoes at the edge of the river. They were then executed so that their bodies fell into the water to be washed away. You will find the display on the west bank of the river on the Pest side of the Danube Promenade. It’s just a short walk away from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The view from Fisherman’s Bastion
From this picturesque spot, you can see all along the length of the Danube from a panoramic platform. Not only are the vistas sensational, but the neo-Gothic design of the Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya) also makes it worth the trip. You’ll find it on Castle Hill, close to another one of the city’s most stunning buildings; the Matthias Church. This ornate Roman Catholic place of worship towers grandly above the area and contains one of the most impressive religious interiors in Budapest.
Have a beer in a “ruin” pub
Kerts or “ruin” pubs, as they are known in English, are a unique drinking venue to the city of Budapest. Formed in derelict, abandoned buildings, trendy bars have sprung up all over the city, kitted out with old furniture and donated wares. They serve a double purpose: firstly, they are some of the coolest places to drink in the city and, secondly, they provide a place for communities to gather. Ruin pubs are dotted all over the city, in and among some of Budapest’s best attractions, making it easy to visit one or two during your sightseeing travels. Ruinpubs.com gives you an excellent breakdown of the Kerts in the area, complete with map and directions. For an authentic experience in Budapest, don’t miss out on these rough-and-ready gems.
Buda Castle at night
Before you head back to the ship, you must take a moment to see Buda Castle lit up at night. This huge, historic complex comprises of both the Royal Castle and the Royal Gardens, and has long been the official residence of the kings of Hungary. A World Heritage Site, this glorious castle also has within it the Budapest History Museum, which tells the story of the city from its founding years up until the modern period.
One of the most unique quirks about Budapest is the amount of spas that you’ll find located around the city. The Gellert Baths is one of the best known and most visually alluring of the spas, but as a result of this it can become overcrowded, especially in the peak season. For the most novel experience, try the Szechenyi Baths’ outdoor pools, which are regularly used by tourists and locals alike. Veli Bej, the oldest Turkish bath in the city, is a much more intimate and quieter affair and can be found at Fejedelem Way - just don’t forget your swimming gear.
View our Danube River Cruises.