The deluxe Dunarama water taxi offers rip-roaring rides
Photo : László Balkányi/We Love Budapest
19/6/2015, 5:09 AM●3-minute article
With panoramic views of magnificent landmarks on both sides of the Danube, a riverboat ride is one of the quintessential experiences of any visit to Budapest, especially if it can be enjoyed with a glass of champagne in hand – and it’s even better when soaring above the current at 70 km/hour while AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” blasts from the onboard speaker system. We step aboard the exclusive water limousine of Dunarama, featuring a mighty motor capable of performing maneuvers usually only seen in action movies.
Numerous tour-boat companies offer sightseeing tours along the Danube, and these all provide pleasant ways to soak in Budapest’s sights while enjoying the gently rolling rhythm of the river waves… but for those who seek a little more adrenaline with their riparian excursions, Dunarama offers an absolutely unique water limousine experience aboard one of the most beautiful speedboats ever created. While this lavish wooden vessel with plush seating and an onboard bar is most often used for elegant events, its powerful engine is capable of incredible cruises at high speed – and the crew is happy to show passengers what this ship can really do.
Dunarama operates this classic water taxi built to resemble the most stylish vaporetti of Venice – but equipped with a 260-horsepower engine, which allows it to rip through the water at speeds upwards of 70 km/hour. When we first step aboard and pull away from the Pest bank, the voyage seems placid yet pleasant… but once the captain takes us out into the (relatively) open water, AC/DC suddenly starts screaming from the speakers, and we charge upriver full speed ahead, swerving back and forth beside plodding passenger ferries and even slaloming around the statuesque stone supports that hold up Margaret Bridge.
Naturally, this adventure ride is just one of the options Dunarama has in store for passengers: we can rent the boat for simple sightseeing tours or relaxing cruising, for a stag party, or for proposing to your sweetheart; we can even take an extended ride upriver to Esztergom, in case we seek a change of environment.
Nonetheless, there are few stretches of river on this planet that offer such perfect scenery as the downtown-Budapest stretch of the Danube, so we truly enjoyed our brief ride through the middle of it all, with monumental buildings like the Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and Parliament looming overhead – or in the case of this wild ride, sometimes dead ahead.
The boat trips cost 50,000 forints per hour, which might seem like a lot at first, but if we can gather 12 people and split the price, it’s well worth the extravagance. We can also rent the boat for shorter periods of time of half an hour, or even just 15 minutes.
The water limousine can be booked in advance, but sometimes we can even hail this special taxi from the riverbank – if it’s not speeding by so quickly that it’s literally making waves.
Photo: László Balkányi/We Love Budapest 8 pictures