How to spend a day along the Danube river in Budapest?

Article published on July 8, 2010
Article published on July 8, 2010
The Danube is the longest river in the European Union, and flows through four capital cities in Europe. Budapest is the third capital flowing through from source to mouth. There are many place recommended to visit at the bank of the Danube, now we give you hints to spend a whole day along the river. Have fun!

Danube riverside in the northern part of Budapest

Margaret Island –Island of Leasure

The so called oasis in the heart of Budapest, is one of the favorite place of the Budapest’s citizens. It is common to start the day with swimming in the Hajós Alfréd swimming pool, (where you can watch also the water polo players during their training) or just run a Sziget-circle – (Island circle) on the modern running track. If you want to take a breathe after jogging you can rest on the brink of the music fountain, where Bocelli arias made your relaxation more enjoyable.

The Parliament and Nagyi Palacsintázója

Just to go down on the bank of the river, it is worth to stop at Batthyány square where you can find the best view to the Parliament. Budapest Parliament is the third largest parliament in the world. The Parliament has 691 rooms. The length of all the stairs together measures about 20 chilometres. The architect, Imre Steindl mixed medieval features with national and his own style.

Sitting at the bank of the Batthyány square staring at the Parliament is there anything better than order also Hungarian pancake from the Nagyi Palacsintázója which is situated at the back of the square. Hundreds of type of pancakes can be found, sweet, salty, creamy and our favorite the pleated one.

The Chain Bridge

It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Budapest, and was opened in 1849. At the end of the bridge a channel can put you trough under the hill where the Buda Castle is. The story which is often told to children is that the bridge is pushed into the channel for night. Obviously it would be a hard try. Another story related to the bridge is that the stone lions sitting at the foot of the chain bridge may have no tongue. No wonder that some tourists dive into mouth of the lions to discover the truth. It might be dangerous.

The Gellért Hill

To be sportive again after having lunch, it is a nice walk up to Gellért Hill where the Statue of the Liberty posed. The citadel which is next to the statue today is a restaurant and bar and has a wonderful view to the Pest side. There are many small roads and meadows where you can have picnic, but do not forget to bring also your swimming suits and have a bath at Rudas Thermal, where also the famous Cinetrip party takes place.

Danube riverside in the southern part of Budapest

A38 – concerts and a restaurant

The A38 ship is a cultural venue „docked” at the Petőfi Bridge, opened in April 2003. The ship itself used to be an Ukranien stone-carrier. Due to the concerts from stars like Maceo Parker, Courtney Pine, Amon Tobin, Vienna Art Orcestra, DJ Krush, Einstürzende Neubauten, the club is well known in Europe’s cultural life. Here you can watch theatre plays, exhibitions, as well as performances, have wine-dinners or traditional Hungarian dishes with a beautiful view of the Danube. Book your entrance in advance!

National Theatre- performances

The National Theatre is located at the Lagymanyos Bridge. The opening ceremony took place on the Hungarian Revolution day of 15 March in 2002. In the huge building, passage by foot is accompanied by two panoramic lifts, however the space on the second and third floors acts as a gallery from which to take in the view of the Danube and the Buda hills. The Theatre provides not only Shakespeare, Chekhov, Schiller but contemporary works also.

Palace of Arts – classsical and world music, balett, museum

The Palace of Arts can be found next to the National Theatre, opened in 2005. The building was invested with the aim to create a new European cultural hub. There are three institutions in the Palace: the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, the Ludwig Museum and the Festival Theatre. In the Concert Hall the most prestigious concert organ of Europe is located, which is 12.5 meters wide and 15 meters high. While the Ludwig Museum displays the international and Hungarian contemporary and fine art. Although you have to buy tickets for the events, there are free guided tours in the building.

Kopaszi Dike – leisure time

The dike is located in the Lagymanyos bay, opened in 2007. As it is the first private investment public park in Budapest, many young families are going to spend their free time here at weekends. Just lying on the grass and sunbathing in summer time – going to be the competitor of the Margaret Island. There are playground for children, restaurants and cafes for adults, glossy road for bikers and skaters, rubber field for runner and the full panorama of the Danube for everybody.

Written by: Györgyi Darida and Eva Csorba

Photos made by: Györgyi Darida and Tiago Baptista