I was lucky enough to attend the Clia River Cruise Conference in Budapest in March this year – it was an opportunity to experience 10 River Cruise Ships firsthand, that sail in European Waters and to say that I was impressed is an understatement! Firstly, what surprised me the most was the size of the Ships and the available space you have, coming together with a feel of how easy this type of holiday actually is – I fail to see how you could not enjoy yourself on a River Cruise!
We spent the first 2 nights on the Avalon Envision and the last night on the Scenic Amber – both Ships offered impeccable service, delicious food and cabins that were roomy and very comfortable. During the daytime we also toured 8 other River ships each offering their own distinctive on board experiences. River boats are more accessible and attainable now for all ages – allowing you to relax, enjoying the slow pace of life whilst travelling from City to City.
You can while away the day, enjoying the view along the River from the Sun Deck area or anywhere else on board, plus look forward to a Dining experience that includes seasonal and regional flavors. Although wining and dining is important to a holiday there are also wellness & activities to fill your day – many ships have their own fitness room and Pool onboard, plus offer excursions at every stop so you will never be bored!!
The biggest bonus of choosing a River Cruise is that they stop in the heart of the City, so even if you want to just take a walking tour on arrival – you don't have far to go!
Budapest is split by the Danube – one side being the Buda and the other the Pest side. The famous 19th Century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with the flat Pest. The Hungarian Parliament Building sits on the bank of the Danube and this is the largest building in Hungary, along with the Liberty Statue which commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom and prosperity of Hungary which sits high up on the hill, welcoming you to this wonderful city – both are lit up at night and are quite spectacular and also have a magical feel to them.
We had some free time to do some sightseeing and Budapest did not disappoint. There are so many places to visit – Heroes Square, which is a gateway to the City's Park. Key figures from history form a colonnade around a huge statue of the Archangel Gabriel. On either side of him the Museum of Fine Arts and Hall of Arts. Europe's largest Synagogue in Dohany Street, the Jewish Quarter which is a lively part of the City and without a doubt requires a visit.
Not forgetting the Buda Castle in the Castle Quarter along with the Fisherman's Bastion – so many beautiful buildings, full of history also offering wonderful views. These are just a few of the fine buildings to be found in Budapest as it is full of surprises, so whether you decide to visit on a River Cruise or stay longer, I can assure you that you will come away feeling you have been somewhere very special.