Home » Budapest Floating Bus Tour: See the Hungarian Capital from a Unique Sightseeing Experience

Budapest Floating Bus Tour: See the Hungarian Capital from a Unique Sightseeing Experience

by Paola Bertoni
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The RiverRide Floating Bus tour is one of Budapest’s most enjoyable tourist activities, especially with children. The yellow amphibious bus has a unique shape and travels around Pest, as well as floating on the Danube, to showcase the city’s top attractions by both land and water. The amphibious tour starts on the streets and then plunges into the Danube, providing tourists with breathtaking views of the Parliament and other magnificent landmarks while floating on the river.

RiverRide Floating Bus: the Budapest’s Amphibious Bus

The RiverRide Floating Bus tour is a unique sightseeing experience that combines a bus tour and a river cruise in Budapest. This tour takes you to the city’s most iconic landmarks by land and water.

Get ready to make the most of your Budapest trip with the Budapest Card to enjoy free public transportation throughout the city, enter for free at several of the city’s very best museums, relax at the famous Lukács Thermal Bath, and enjoy exclusive discounts to some of the most popular tourist attractions and tours.
Keep you connected throughout your journey in Budapest with an Airalo eSim, saving money on data coverage while in Hungary.

RiverRide is an amphibious bus that was first introduced in Budapest in 2009. It was the first of its kind in Hungary and Europe. Since then, it has become a popular tourist attraction, and the yellow floating bus cruising around the river is immediately recognisable.

Budapest amphibious bus looks unusual on land, but when it turns down from the quay of Pest and enters the Danube, its shape makes perfect sense. However, on the opening day of the RiverRide Floating Bus service, people called the rescue services to report a bus had fallen into the Danube. Even today, emergency services receive occasional calls from Budapest residents claiming that a bus full of passengers is about to sink in the Danube.

To operate the RiverRide bus, two drivers are required: one who can drive the bus on land and a captain who knows everything about water transport. Unlike other amphibious buses operating in Europe, the windows of the Budapest amphibious bus are fixed and cannot be opened.

Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus
Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus

Budapest’s Sightseeing Tour By Land and Water with RiverRide Floating Bus

The tour commences at a convenient central location, close to the iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge. On the bus, a knowledgeable and friendly English-speaking tour guide will provide insightful commentary throughout the journey by land and water.

Additionally, the bus has an audio guide available in many languages. If you’re English is not your native language, or you’re not proficient, you can follow the city sightseeing in your favourite language and learn about the city’s fascinating history and landmarks.

Tour by Land

After showing our booking, we followed the instructions and boarded the RiverRide Floating Bus. During the journey, the guide provided interesting insights into Budapest’s culture and history. We passed several significant landmarks like the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the famous Parliament building. 

The RiverRide tour took us through some of Budapest’s most iconic attractions and landmarks, such as the Opera, the House of Terror, Millennium Square, the Zoo (which we discovered had thermal water and art nouveau palaces inside!), and Heroes’ Square. Then, the bus entered the river from a ramp near St. Stephen’s Park and continued the tour afloat, which was the journey’s highlight.

Tour by Water

One of the most exciting parts of the tour was when the bus descended into the water and took us across the scenic Danube River. The aquatic journey provided breathtaking views of the cityscape, and we were particularly amazed by the view of the Parliament from our riverine vantage point.

The guide’s informative monologue informed us about Margaret Island and the Parliament’s historical significance. The Hungarian Parliament is the largest building in the country, and its construction, starting in 1885, took 1,000 workers 17 years to complete. It was meant to be finished by 1896 to mark Hungary’s 1,000th anniversary, but it wasn’t.

Continuing the tour on the river, the bus went under the Margaret Bridge and, after reaching the shore again, passed again through Pest until it reached its final destination Széchenyi István Square.

Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus tour postcard
Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus tour postcard

Why Book the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus Tour when Travelling with Children

Budapest amphibious bus tours is an absolute must-do on a family trip to Budapest. This unique tour offers a fun and exciting way to explore the city’s landmarks and attractions while cruising on a floating bus.

Children can learn about the city’s history and culture with the tour guide. If they aren’t English speakers, they can listen to the audio guide in their native or favourite language.

My son was amazed about the operation of the amphibious bus and was particularly interested in the technical explanation. The Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus is, in fact, slightly different from the Les Canards de Paris amphibious bus. Plus, the tour is designed to be safe and comfortable for all ages, so you can sit, relax, and enjoy the ride with your family.

Budapest Floating Bus Tour: What to Know Before Boarding

RiverRide offers 3-4 rides a day throughout the year, depending on the season. The RiverRide Floating Bus tour is approximately 1.5 hours but can vary based on traffic and water levels. 

During the RiverRide Budapest bus tour, we enjoyed the city’s scenic views from the water for almost two hours. The tour ended at the same starting point, after which we resumed our inland sightseeing with a renewed appreciation for the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Where to Buy Budapest Floating Bus Tickets

You can purchase tickets for the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus online, or if seats are still available, you can buy them at the bus stop before the tour departs.

Each ticket costs HUF 9,000, which is approximately €25. I personally bought our tickets through GetYourGuide before our trip to ensure our places because we wanted absolutely to do this activity.

Budapest amphibious bus tours tickets usually sell out quickly. For this reason, I recommend buying them in advance, especially during the summer or bank holidays. On the calendar below you can see the available dates.

Departure and Arrival Point

The starting point of the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus is at 7/8 Széchenyi Square, near the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge. You’ll easily spot the departure point as it is almost directly in front of the bridge. In case of road blockages on dry land and high water levels, the tour route may change.

RiverRide Floating Bus Tour
Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 7/8, 1051

Paola Bertoni on board the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus
On board the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus

Where to stay in Budapest

Budapest offers a wide range of beautiful hotels to choose from. Hampton By Hilton Budapest City Centre (here my review) is located in the heart of Budapest, just 600 metres from St. Stephen’s Basilica. They offer a delicious breakfast and have a restaurant and a bar on-site. For those looking for a hotel with unique and stunning decor, Stories Boutique Hotel is a 4-star property situated 500 meters away from the Hungarian State Opera. They have a restaurant on-site that serves à la carte, a continental or vegetarian breakfast. If you prefer an aparthotel, Zoya Luxury Residence is an excellent option with units with a coffee machine, a dishwasher, a microwave and parking space.

In conclusion, the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus tour is a unique and exciting way to explore the city’s iconic landmarks and attractions by land and water. You’ll experience the thrill of riding on an amphibious bus and enjoy breathtaking city views from the Danube River. Feel free to share your thoughts about the Budapest RiverRide Floating Bus tour in the comments.

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