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Highlights of Budapest to see on a Danube river cruise

Budapest is an important European city, and a major stop on river cruises on the Danube. A cultural highlight for travellers, it is home to museums and galleries, and you could spend a week in the magnificent city and still have places to discover

All of the river cruises on the Danube we offer at Global River Cruising stop at Budapest, giving travellers a day or two to explore. Take a look below at the highlights of the city you should definitely visit, either on a guided tour or when wandering the city, yourself:

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace has been rebuilt many times over the centuries, making it one of the most remarkable structures in the city, as kings added to and redesigned parts of the Palace over the years. The Palace is also home to the National Gallery, which is four floors of Hungarian art from the 11th century to the present. The collection found there includes medieval and renaissance stonework, Goth sculptures and paintings, baroque art, paintings depicting the many wars Budapest has seen and much more.

The Budapest History Museum can also be found at the Royal Palace, covering 2000 years of history over three floors. There are also restored palace rooms dating to the 15 century which can be explored as well.


The impressive blend of neo-Gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque Parliament building has nearly 700 extravagantly decorated rooms which you see several of on a guided tour in the North Wing. The building was completed in 1902, designed by Imre Steindl, and is one of the largest buildings in the city. Sitting on the bank of the river, the Danube itself is where you will get the best views of the Parliament building.

Memento Park

A popular place for tourists, Memento Park, southwest of the city centre, is home to around 40 statues of Leni, Marx and others who were big names in communist rule. The statues were built to commemorate the Soviet heroes, but now form an odd collection in this park. There is also a museum about the major events in Communism’s history, and a documentary film showing the methods of secret agents.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

One of the most recognisable highlights to see on a visit to Budapest is the Chain Bridge. The twin-towered bridge opened in 1849 and was the first bridge linking Buda and Pest together, also becoming a symbolic link between the east and west sides of the city. It is named for the man who supported its construction, politician István Széchenyi but it was designed by an Englishman, William Clark and built by a Scotsman, Adam Clark.

Great Synagogue

The Synagogue in Budapest is the largest Jewish house of worship in Europe, and the second largest in the world. Built in 1859, with both Romantic and Moorish architectural designs, the Synagogue is also home to the Hungarian Jewish Museum. There you will find objects relating to the religion, as well as the Holocaust Memorial Room. Don’t miss the rose window and the organ, both dating back to 1902.

Basilica of St Stephen

The neo-classical cathedral took over a half a century and was eventually completed in 1905. The basilica is dark on the inside though ornately designed, but a trip to the top of the impressive dome will provide you with incredible views of the city. The biggest draw of the Basilica is the Holy Right Chapel, containing the mummified hand of St Stephen. Along with the crown of St Stephen it was stolen during World War Two, but returned home afterward.


On the top of Gellért Hill, you can find the Citadel. Constructed by the Hapsburg Empire in 1854, it offers amazing views of the whole city, including the Royal Palace, the Parliament buildings, the whole of Pest and towards the Buda Hills. In 1987 the area was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is definitely one of the most impressive sights to visit in the city when you stop on your river cruise.

Photo by: Civertan Grafikai Stúdió

About Alex Leete

Who is Alex Leete? A passion for travel and over 15 years' experience in the industry encouraged me to set up Global River Cruising, our own family run company. Over the last few years we have been on as many river cruises, ships and seen as many destinations as we possibly can so we can rightfully call ourselves "experts". As independent specialists we work hard to find the perfect river cruise for our clients - at the very best prices too!

View all posts by Alex Leete

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