River Cruises in Hungary

Forget your preconceptions about this country and you are likely to be surprised by what’s on offer here. The scenery is unexpectedly pretty with some of the finest architecture anywhere – from fascinating Roman ruins to ancient medieval town houses and fabulous baroque churches, spectacular neoclassical public buildings like Budapest’s iconic Parliament Building or the exquisite Art Nouveau design of the sumptuous Gellert Spa.

Historically the country has fought a long battle for independence, enduring centuries of successive occupation by the Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids and Avars. The grand prince Árpád is celebrated by many Hungarians as the founder of their country, and his great-grandson Stephen I was its first king. Crowned in 1000, he converted Hungary to a powerful Christian and military kingdom that carried out fierce raids from Constantinople to Spain. But when Buda was taken by the Turks in 1541, Hungary was divided into three parts – ruled variously by the Habsburg kings, the Ottoman Empire and the Pashalik of Buda until the end of the 17th century. Only then did large scale uprisings and tentative reforms start the process that would lead to greater independence.

The mass demonstrations of 1848 in Pest and Buda paved the way for Hungarian reformists to push through their list of twelve demands – with freedom of speech at the top. The House of Habsburg was dethroned, and the following year the new Hungarian Parliament proclaimed the first laws of ethnic and minority rights in the world. The dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary followed, and was only dissolved at the end of WWI. At the end of WWII, after the fall of Nazi Germany, Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Union and became a communist satellite state. Many thousands of people were purged, imprisoned in concentration camps, deported or executed – despite the brave Hungarian resistance who fought Soviet tanks with Molotov cocktails.

Later, through to the late 1980s, relatively liberal Hungary was often referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc. So it remained until the end of the Cold War, when it was the first country to create a tear in the Iron Curtain by taking down its barbed wire fence along the Austrian border in May 1989 – six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. One of Hungary’s lesser known triumphs is its many discoveries and inventions. The world owes the existence of the Rubik’s Cube, biro pen, electric motor, telephone exchange, thermal camera, Vitamin C, cathode ray tube, plasma TV, holography and biotechnology to the country’s imaginative scientists.

Our river cruises in Hungary

Melk Abbey on a rocky outcrop | Melk, Austria
(1890 reviews)
8 days starting from £1519pp 
2022 & 2023 dates now on sale
Budapest Chain Bridge over the Danube | Budapest, Hungary
(406 reviews)
15 days starting from £2739pp 
2022 & 2023 dates now on sale
Temple of Saint Sava Cathedral with statue | Belgrade, Serbia
(188 reviews)
15 days starting from £2819pp 
2022 & 2023 dates now on sale
Salzburg in the snow with lights reflecting on the Danube river | Salzburg, Austria
8 days starting from £2089pp 
Fisherman's Bastion fortress through stone archway | Budapest, Hungary
6 days starting from £1499pp 
Snow capped Vienna city hall with roofs of Yuletide market stalls | Vienna, Austria
(80 reviews)
6 days starting from £819pp 
Budapest Parliament Building surrounded by blue skies and water | Budapest, Hungary
11 days starting from £2078pp 
11 days starting from £2068pp 
8 days starting from £799pp 

Solo Travellers

Budapest | Chain Bridge | Hungary | Riviera Travel | River Cruises
(1890 reviews)
8 days starting from £1879pp 
2022 & 2023 dates now on sale

The Blue Danube River Cruise Video