The Blue Danube (and other waters)
by Lucas Aresin
When summer is here, and Budapest experiences its first hot days of the year, the desire to plunge into rivers, lakes, and pools is strong. Water has always been an integral part of leisure in this city -
the Danube plays a pivotal role in Budapest’s history and present. Once, it was the river that divided the two cities (Buda and Pest) before several stunning bridges changed that. The Danube is Europe’s second longest river and touches nine countries in total; it even has its own symphony. The river’s prominent nature in Budapest is highlighted by the fact that the city is sometimes called ‘Pearl of the Danube’. Even apart from the Danube, Budapestians love water: Budapest is also known as the city of spas and thermal baths.
To navigate the rough waters of endless choices, we’ve collected a few fun activities that involve water. And this time, we’re trying to flip things on their head a little – with surfboard-meditation and a spa party.
Kayak & Canoe Rental
The Roman banks (Római part) is Budapest's pebble beach south of the centre. But apart from pebbles, the shoreline is also lined with beach bars that are open between April and September. If you feel like taking a stab at kayaking or canoeing on the Danube, this is your destination.
The canoe tours offer a day-trip along the river. An experienced canoeing coach will guide the tour and make sure everyone is safe. After all, you're supposed to relax. Experiencing Budapest from a canoe on the Danube has its own special charm to it. Buildings and the surrounding hills appear taller, and the reduced speed of a canoe gives everyone enough time to take it all in. It adds another majestic dimension to your trip to Budapest!
SUP Board Rental
‘Sup today? Excuse the pun. SUP stands for ‘Stand Up Paddling’. Imagine a surfboard, but instead of riding fierce waves, you’re standing on the board and using a paddle to move forward. Stand Up Paddling is a safe, yet fun way to ‘walk on water’ if you will. Absolutely no prior qualification is needed and the whole family can join.
SUP can be incredibly relaxing since your board is moving gently across the surface of the lake or river you’re on. And while you’re out there, gliding forwards smoother than an eel under water, why not sit down on your board and meditate a bit? You can rent a SUP board or go on organized SUP tours, check SUP Budapest's facebook for the next one! Their main site is in Hungarian.
Budapest Boat Party
We’ve all been to parties indoors. We have all seen the basement level clubs underground, and maybe also some on the rooftops, but have you partied on a river?
At Budapest Boat Party, you will find a boatload (excuse this pun as well) of party opportunities every Monday, Thursday, and Friday, or even book the entire boat for your own celebration. For those who are planning to drink the night away, there is a ticket option for unlimited drinks. Use promo code B Side Tours when booking!
Wakeboarding at Lupa Lake
Lupa Lake (Lupa Beach) is Budapest’s solution to having no real seashore. It’s an artificially created beach less than an hour away from the city centre. On its own, it already offers quite an authentic beach-feel and makes it easy to forget that the capital of a landlocked country is within reach. However, for those who enjoy adrenaline, there’s wakeboarding at Lupa Lake.
If you are not familiar with wakeboarding, it involves standing on a board which is strapped to your feet and then riding the water while being pulled by a boat or cable system.
Lupa Lake offers a cable park both for pros and beginners alike. Here, you can learn wakeboarding step by step and choose the one appropriate for your own skill level.
Budapest is a city of spas – you can find great ones on either side of the river – and if simple relaxation and soaking in healing springs are not enough for you and you crave the excitement of a night out, then maybe you’re looking for a ‘Sparty’.
At Szechenyi Bath, which is located only 15 minutes by public transport from the central station, weekly parties bring some action to the baths. It’s a seasoned event by now, running for more than twenty-two years since its inception in 1994, and it is a unique take on the ancient culture of thermal baths and spas that Budapest is famous for.
Budapest River Cruises
A fine-dining river cruise at night is a good way of combining traditional Hungarian cuisine, dance, and a splendid view of the city at night with its illuminated river-side.
Of course, there’s more than just fine-dining cruises. Jump on a boat during the day and enjoy a classic sight-seeing tour. For those who aren’t convinced by fine dining and sight-seeing, maybe a Pizza and Beer cruise can do the trick.
These tours can be a great way to take a break from a long trip across the city or to simply end the day on a joyful note. Just like Strauss’ The Blue Danube.
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