After a short stop over in Bratislava we headed along the E-65 highway to the Hungarian capital, Budapest. The city was spread out along the banks of river Danube, the lifeline of East Europe. The city is divided into the hilly side of ‘Buda’ and the plain side of ‘Pest’. We headed to the pier to board the Legenda cruise on the Danube river.
After a short wait on the deck we went to the top tier of the boat and headed towards open air seating space. Headphones were attached to each seat where we would be listening to a prerecorded audio describing the structures along the banks of the river. The short stretch of Danube had six bridges over it, each with an unique style and design.
As we started, the cruise headed towards the Gellert hill after crossing the Elisabeth Bridge on the Danube. The top of the hill had the Citadella which was the iconic statue symbolizing the Hungarian independence. The limestone hill had several old rock cut structures in them where soldiers and fisherman lived in the remote past.
The audio described how the city was developed and prospered around the river. The Budapest castle was a imposing structure on the Buda side of the river. There is a funicular to ride up to the top of the castle hill. It houses several museums, St Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, some of the popular sightseeing spots in the city. Exactly opposite on the Pest side stood the massive work of art, the Hungarian Parliament. It was one of the finest examples of the Gothic architecture in the country and a very popular tourist destination.
While experiencing the beauty of Budapest, a lady approached us to inquire our choice for a complimentary drink on the cruise. We gladly accepted the offer and expressed our wish to have ‘champagne’. A glass of Champagne with the beauty of Budapest made a perfect combination for the evening. We crossed the Chain bridge, Liberty Bridge and Margaret Bridge and headed towards the island inside the river- the Margaret Island. It is a popular area for jogging and outdoor activities for the locals. The island also housed the international swimming and water sports complex. We returned back to the pier in another 30 minutes.
The Danube cruise at Budapest is definitely a highlight of east Europe venture.
Sightseeing attractions around Danube-
1. The Hungarian parliament- Guided tour at 22 Euros with prior online booking.
2. The Budapest Castle- entry is free to roam around in the premises. The museums have an entry fee of 10-15
3. Fisherman’s bastion and St Matthias Church- In the Castle Complex
4. The Citadella and Gellert hill- Panoramic view of the city
5. Las Vegas Casino- A formal dress code and passport is needed to enter the casino
6. Chain Bridge- Just opposite the Castle
Read the Bratislava story- Click here