The Budapest Parliament building is one of Europe’s great sights; in fact, many Viking River Cruises ads feature photos of a Viking ship sailing by the iconic building. So it was a bit unfortunate that because of the long cruise from Bratislava, the Viking Freya cruised into Budapest, the last stop on my Danube River cruise, around midnight. Never wanting to disappoint, however, the Viking crew arranged for an evening sail-past the next night, and it was well worth the wait.
In order to get the best view of the entire waterfront, we cruised along the river from our mooring at the Chain Bridge, then turned and cruised back. That provided a great view of all the beautiful buildings, lit up and framed by the bridges across the Danube. The bridges themselves are a great sight, but they also create some unique views of the buildings before they arrive.
Of course, the star of the show is the Budapest Parliament building, an amazing Gothic revival fantasy that stretches for 268 metres (almost 900 feet) along the waterfront, with its massive dome glowing in the night sky. And sailing past it a couple of times gave us an opportunity for some different angles, as well as the iconic view at the top of this post.
Almost as impressive, at least when it’s lit up, is Buda Castle, a massive building on the opposite side of the Danube. Built and rebuilt several times over the centuries as a royal palace, the complex is now home to the Hungarian National Gallery.
Some of Budapest’s most dramatic building are its churches, especially the Matthias Church, which towers over the city from atop the Buda hill. The smaller church on the right in the second photo is the Calvinist church, with its unusual pentagonal design.
Finally, we cruised back to our berth, in one of the prime spots on the Budapest waterfront, below the famous Chain Bridge. But the evening wasn’t over: there was an excellent song and dance show waiting for us in the lounge, featuring music of the region. With a glass or two of champagne, it was a great end to our last night on the ship.
Next: an “up close” tour of the city’s highlights, from Pest to Buda and back again. Stay tuned.
I was a guest of Viking River Cruises on this trip. However, the opinions expressed are my own.
The photos in this post were taken with the Panasonic DMC-G7 camera.