Hydrofoil Vienna Budapest review.
NOTE: This response from Mahart Passnave, the hydrofoil’s operator, landed in my inbox in May 2017: ‘We are sorry to inform you that we do not operate the Budapest – Vienna regular service any more and we do not have any information at the moment that there would be any other companies offering such a service.’
Gliding on the Danube between Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna is an option if those cities are on your travel itinerary, and you are prepared to stay overnight. The small fast ship travels both ways in around six hours. However, there are a few caveats for this boat trip which you need to know before you decide to book. See the cruise review below, and what else you can do to reach Budapest.
Hydrofoil Vienna Budapest review. What is it really like to do this trip? For his round birthday, I gave my dad two cruise tickets for the hydrofoil from Vienna to Budapest and back. He loves boat rides and has owned various little boats for many years. On a sunny day in May, he finally boarded the hydrofoil with his partner Inge. Here are Fritz and Inge’s main impressions:
Hydrofoil Vienna Budapest review. “The hydrofoil looks great from outside and the seats were really comfortable.”
“The two locks that we passed, Freudenau near Vienna and Gabcikovo in Slovakia, were really interesting. It was impressing to see the 18m lock of Gabcikovo and imagine all the engineering excellence it must have taken the Slovaks and Hungarians to build that lock in the middle of the vast plains around.”
“Because the hydrofoil glides above the water level, the ride is very smoothand no one on board became seasick.”
Hydrofoil Vienna Budapest review. “We actually found the scenery of the Danube between Vienna and Budapest rather dull. It’s mostly plains and the highest elevations around Gabcikovo in Slovakia are probably the cabbages in the fields. It’s really different to a boat trip through the Wachau Valley, for example.”
“The entertainment and tour information on board could have been better. There were occasional short films about some of the towns we passed, and a video screen showing the scenery taken from a web camera at the front of the boat.”
“The food at the sandwich bar was very simple for a 5 to 6 hour ride. It’s best to take your own snacks with you.”
A few years later I went on a sightseeing Vienna Budapest day trip by coach, and loved it. In fact I spent as many hours exploring Budapest than my dad had just going one way by ship.
Hydrofoil Vienna Budapest Information
EU citizens may enter Austria, Slovakia and Hungary with an identity card. Children are requested to show a passport). Non-EU citizens travelling from Budapest to Vienna or vice versa may need a visa for Hungary and Austria. Non-EU citizens travelling from Budapest to Bratislava may need a visa for Hungary and Slovakia.
My tip: Arrive at least 30 minutes before the journey, better earlier, to secure the seat you like. There are no seat tickets.
From Vienna to Budapest
Dates: mid May to end of September
Location: DDSG Blue Danube Schiffahrt GmbH (take Underground U1 to Vorgartenstrasse)
Tickets: EUR 109 (one way); EUR 125 (return);
Bookings: get tickets
From Budapest to Vienna
Dates: mid May to end of September
Location: Mahart Passnave Ltd., HART Nemzetkozi Hajoallomas, 1056 Budapest, Belgrade Rakpart
Tickets: EUR 99 (one way); EUR 125 (return);
Bookings: use ticket link above;
If this hydrofoil ride falls outside your travel dates or is just not for you, consider going by car to Budapest.
- You will save around 2.5 hours of time for more sightseeingin Budapest.
- You can make stopovers in beautiful towns on the way, such as in Bratislava, the old Hungarian capital of Esztergom, or in baroque Gyor.
- You will have a driver-guide who will tell you stories about Hungary and local sights during your journey.
- You can go all-year round.
Customers who chose this alternative found it surprisingly cheap for a group of four people, and a better alternative to taking the train.