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24 Hours In Budapest

24 Hours In Budapest

How to spend your free time in the stunning Hungarian capital

Divided by the majestic Danube, the city of Budapest is one of the great river-cruise destinations - the first or final call on a tour of some of Europe's most historic cities. Indeed, few rivers take in riches like the Danube.

The Hungarian capital, which comprises the once-divided regions of Buda to the west and Pest to the east, remains a dual city defined by its great waterway - many of its most famous sites lined up alongside it. Passengers on Emerald Waterways, when moored opposite the neo-Gothic turrets and arches of the Hungarian Parliament have the elevated Bud Palace, once home to the kings of the Ottoman and Habsburg dynasties, and the beautiful, lush green Margaret Island already in view.

It's a city worth getting up early and staying out late for: deciding between its cafés, bars and architectural delights, while learning of its fascinating past, is a difficult but not impossible task - here's how you could do it!

9am: Familiarise yourself with Budapest with a stroll along the picturesque danube. The architecture that lines its banks tell much about of city's storied past and blend of cultures. The Hungarian Parliament, a Gothic revivalist matserpiece completed in 1904, is a great first stop. Forty-five minute tours take in the old House of Lords and the Hungarian Crown Jewels.


10.30am: Head across the iconic Szechenyi Chain Bridge and south to the Buda Hills to find the Buda Palace, a stunning blend of medieval Gothic and Baroque elements, once home to some of Europe's most powerful dynasties. The Castle Hill funicular carriage, which dates back to 1870, will get you up there if you don't fancy the walk!

 

12pm: The Gellert Hill offers spectacular views of the river and both the Pest and Buda sides of the city, while the 19th-century Citadella fortress at its speak is worth the walk. At the bottom are the Gellert Baths, one of Budapest's many sopectacular thermal spas inspired by Turkish leisure and, in this case, built in a Secession style.

2pm: By now you will probably be a little peckish! There is the opulent Onyx, the city's second Michelin-star restaurant after Costes, which blends traditional Hungarian fare with inventive culinary techniques and is a 20-minute walk from Gellert. The lucnh menu, at three-courses for €30, is remarkably cheap for its standard.

4pm: Take the M line down to Heroes Square, the magnificent statue complex featuring the Seven Cheiftains of the Magyars, next to City Park and the Museum of Fine Art. The stunning Szechenyi spa inside the park is the largest medicinal bath in all of Europe.

5pm: Head down Andrássy Avenue, specked with cafes, boutiques and the Renaissance-style State Opera House, and take in the sobering House of Terror, which commemorates the victims of Nazi and Souviet oppression in Hungary.

8pm: For those looking to experience something a little different in the evening is Szimpla Kert, one of Budapest's famous 'ruined bars'. Housed in a formerly disused building, it has a ramshackle appeal that is quite unique. it's off the beaten track but is friendly, fun and something you'll remember.
 

View our collection of European River Cruises

European River Cruises

Danube Explorer

8 days
Budapest > Passau
Walk the cobblestone streets of Medieval cities, explore Austria’s wine-growing region and marvel at the fusion of old and new in musical Vienna and eclectic Budapest.
from £1,695 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Secrets of the Douro

8 days
Porto > Porto
Terraced vineyards rise from riverbanks and Baroque villages remain a marvellous reminder of the past. Experience Roman Salamanca for its vibrant nightlife, and try Porto’s famous fortified wine.
from £1,745 £1,445
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Danube Delights

8 days
Munich > Budapest
An unforgettable cruise down the iconic Danube & through the heart of old Europe. Walking tours, invitations into the homes of locals & sightseeing excursions showcase the magnificence of yesteryear.
from £1,995 £1,295
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Sensations of Southern France

8 days
Lyon > Marseille
Romance, spectacular historic landmarks & Roman influence, celebrate France’s past & present on this sensory journey through renowned vineyards & world-class restaurants along the Saône & Rhône rivers
from £1,995 £1,695
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Jewels of the Rhine

8 days
Amsterdam > Basel
Architecture, history and natural beauty are ever-present on this wonderful journey down the Rhine, beginning in the Dutch capital and sweeping up Cologne, Koblenz and the Black Forest on its route.
from £2,095 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Highlights of the Netherlands & the Beauty of Belgium

8 days
Amsterdam > Amsterdam
Let the Dutch charm sweep you up on an itinerary full of vibrancy and tradition. From 79 multicoloured acres of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens, to Zaanse Schans, artistic Antwerp and quirky Amsterdam.
from £2,095 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Secrets of the Douro & Lisbon

11 days
Porto > Lisbon
Embark on a journey of rising riverbank vineyards, Baroque villages and vibrant nightlife ending with a three-night stay in the lively Portuguese capital Lisbon.
from £2,120 £1,820
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Classic Rhine

8 days
Amsterdam > Frankfurt
Starting in the Dutch capital, enjoy guided bike tours and museum visits before sailing the beauty of the Rhine on this brand new river cruise for 2018
from £2,195 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Charms of Holland & Belgium

8 days
Amsterdam > Amsterdam
Get to know Holland and Belgium's past and present with this exciting itinerary visiting vibrant capital cities, UNESCO World Heritage listed windmills, battle grounds and magnificent architecture.
from £2,195 £1,695
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Legends of the Moselle Rhine and Main

8 days
Nuremberg > Frankfurt
UNESCO World Heritage-listed locations and picturesque towns make up this historically-rich itinerary, while vineyards and natural beauty create stunning riverbank backdrops.
from £2,295 £1,795
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Majestic Rhine

8 days
Frankfurt > Basel
Journey through Germany on this 8-day Rhine river cruise, brand new for 2018
from £2,395 £1,695
Red Hot Offers

Rhine - Main Discovery Christmas Markets

8 days
Nuremberg > Amsterdam
World Heritage-listed Medieval towns, Baroque palaces, and picturesque villages intertwine with unrivalled natural beauty and sloping vineyards, while Christmas markets invite the festive spirit.
from £2,545 £2,095
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Enchantment of Eastern Europe

9 days
Budapest > Bucharest
As the final stretch of the Danube weaves its way through the depths of eastern Europe, meet locals for lunch in their home, enjoy tours of Osijek & Belgrade & marvel at the beauty of the Iron Gate.
from £2,595 £2,095

Danube Delights Christmas Markets

8 days
Budapest > Nuremberg
Ornate palaces and cultural landmarks fill this wonderfully insightful itinerary, inviting guests to step back in time and celebrate the festive season the Viennese way.
from £2,745
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Classic Prague & Danube Delights

11 days
Prague > Budapest
Extend your journey with a three-night stay in the Czech capital, before your journey towards Budapest invites the beauty of Bavaria, lunch with a Slovakian family and magnificent Vienna.
from £2,795 £2,295
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Imperial Charms of Russia

12 days
Moscow > St Petersburg
Discover the many wonders of Russia’s cultural history, captivating cities and imperial grandeur on this 12 day Russian River Cruise
from £2,895 £2,395
Red Hot Offers

Splendours of Europe River Cruise

15 days
Budapest > Amsterdam
Beginning in Budapest, your colossal journey through Slovakia, Austria Germany and the Netherlands, boasts World Heritage-listed sites, historic cities and beautiful landscapes, between capitals.
from £2,995 £2,345
Red Hot Offers

Rhine - Main Discovery

8 days
Amsterdam > Nuremberg
The Rhine’s legendary status is accompanied by the unspoilt countryside, fairy tale towns and ancient fortresses that scatter its banks, all are waiting to be explored during insightful guided tours.
from £2,995 £2,545

Danube Delights

8 days
Budapest > Nuremberg
An unforgettable cruise down the iconic Danube & through the heart of old Europe. Walking tours, invitations into the homes of locals & sightseeing excursions showcase the magnificence of yesteryear.
from £3,145
Red Hot Offers

Emerald Liberté Christening Celebration Cruise

8 days
Lyon > Arles
Romance, spectacular historic landmarks & Roman influence, celebrate France’s past & present on this sensory journey through renowned vineyards & world-class restaurants along the Saône & Rhône rivers
from £3,195 £2,545

2018 Europe River Cruises

Danube Explorer

8 days
Budapest > Passau
Walk the cobblestone streets of Medieval cities, explore Austria’s wine-growing region and marvel at the fusion of old and new in musical Vienna and eclectic Budapest.
from £1,695 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Secrets of the Douro

8 days
Porto > Porto
Terraced vineyards rise from riverbanks and Baroque villages remain a marvellous reminder of the past. Experience Roman Salamanca for its vibrant nightlife, and try Porto’s famous fortified wine.
from £1,745 £1,445
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Danube Delights

8 days
Munich > Budapest
An unforgettable cruise down the iconic Danube & through the heart of old Europe. Walking tours, invitations into the homes of locals & sightseeing excursions showcase the magnificence of yesteryear.
from £1,995 £1,295
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Sensations of Southern France

8 days
Lyon > Marseille
Romance, spectacular historic landmarks & Roman influence, celebrate France’s past & present on this sensory journey through renowned vineyards & world-class restaurants along the Saône & Rhône rivers
from £1,995 £1,695
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Jewels of the Rhine

8 days
Amsterdam > Basel
Architecture, history and natural beauty are ever-present on this wonderful journey down the Rhine, beginning in the Dutch capital and sweeping up Cologne, Koblenz and the Black Forest on its route.
from £2,095 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Highlights of the Netherlands & the Beauty of Belgium

8 days
Amsterdam > Amsterdam
Let the Dutch charm sweep you up on an itinerary full of vibrancy and tradition. From 79 multicoloured acres of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens, to Zaanse Schans, artistic Antwerp and quirky Amsterdam.
from £2,095 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Secrets of the Douro & Lisbon

11 days
Porto > Lisbon
Embark on a journey of rising riverbank vineyards, Baroque villages and vibrant nightlife ending with a three-night stay in the lively Portuguese capital Lisbon.
from £2,120 £1,820
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Classic Rhine

8 days
Amsterdam > Frankfurt
Starting in the Dutch capital, enjoy guided bike tours and museum visits before sailing the beauty of the Rhine on this brand new river cruise for 2018
from £2,195 £1,595
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Charms of Holland & Belgium

8 days
Amsterdam > Amsterdam
Get to know Holland and Belgium's past and present with this exciting itinerary visiting vibrant capital cities, UNESCO World Heritage listed windmills, battle grounds and magnificent architecture.
from £2,195 £1,695
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Legends of the Moselle Rhine and Main

8 days
Nuremberg > Frankfurt
UNESCO World Heritage-listed locations and picturesque towns make up this historically-rich itinerary, while vineyards and natural beauty create stunning riverbank backdrops.
from £2,295 £1,795
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Majestic Rhine

8 days
Frankfurt > Basel
Journey through Germany on this 8-day Rhine river cruise, brand new for 2018
from £2,395 £1,695
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Enchantment of Eastern Europe

9 days
Budapest > Bucharest
As the final stretch of the Danube weaves its way through the depths of eastern Europe, meet locals for lunch in their home, enjoy tours of Osijek & Belgrade & marvel at the beauty of the Iron Gate.
from £2,595 £2,095
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Classic Prague & Danube Delights

11 days
Prague > Budapest
Extend your journey with a three-night stay in the Czech capital, before your journey towards Budapest invites the beauty of Bavaria, lunch with a Slovakian family and magnificent Vienna.
from £2,795 £2,295
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

The Imperial Charms of Russia

12 days
Moscow > St Petersburg
Discover the many wonders of Russia’s cultural history, captivating cities and imperial grandeur on this 12 day Russian River Cruise
from £2,895 £2,395
FREE Drinks or €250 on-board credit

Splendours of Europe

15 days
Amsterdam > Budapest
Beginning in quirky Amsterdam, your colossal journey through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, boasts World Heritage-listed sites, historic cities and beautiful landscapes, between capitals.
from £3,995 £3,495

2017 Europe River Cruises

Red Hot Offers

Rhine - Main Discovery Christmas Markets

8 days
Nuremberg > Amsterdam
World Heritage-listed Medieval towns, Baroque palaces, and picturesque villages intertwine with unrivalled natural beauty and sloping vineyards, while Christmas markets invite the festive spirit.
from £2,545 £2,095

Danube Delights Christmas Markets

8 days
Budapest > Nuremberg
Ornate palaces and cultural landmarks fill this wonderfully insightful itinerary, inviting guests to step back in time and celebrate the festive season the Viennese way.
from £2,745
Red Hot Offers

Splendours of Europe River Cruise

15 days
Budapest > Amsterdam
Beginning in Budapest, your colossal journey through Slovakia, Austria Germany and the Netherlands, boasts World Heritage-listed sites, historic cities and beautiful landscapes, between capitals.
from £2,995 £2,345
Red Hot Offers

Rhine - Main Discovery

8 days
Amsterdam > Nuremberg
The Rhine’s legendary status is accompanied by the unspoilt countryside, fairy tale towns and ancient fortresses that scatter its banks, all are waiting to be explored during insightful guided tours.
from £2,995 £2,545
Red Hot Offers

Jewels of the Rhine

8 days
Basel > Amsterdam
Architecture, history and natural beauty are ever-present on this wonderful journey on the Rhine, beginning in Basel explore the Black Forest region, Koblenz and Cologne on its route.
from £3,145 £2,495

Danube Delights

8 days
Budapest > Nuremberg
An unforgettable cruise down the iconic Danube & through the heart of old Europe. Walking tours, invitations into the homes of locals & sightseeing excursions showcase the magnificence of yesteryear.
from £3,145
Red Hot Offers

Emerald Liberté Christening Celebration Cruise

8 days
Lyon > Arles
Romance, spectacular historic landmarks & Roman influence, celebrate France’s past & present on this sensory journey through renowned vineyards & world-class restaurants along the Saône & Rhône rivers
from £3,195 £2,545

Prague & Danube Delights

11 days
Budapest > Prague
Extend your journey with a three-night stay in the Czech capital, after your journey from Budapest invites the beauty of Bavaria, lunch with a Slovakian family and magnificent Vienna.
from £3,545

European River Cruises

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