Budapest Danube River Water Levels

Just like any other river, cruising in Budapest on the Danube is also highly influenced by the water level. In general, low water level occurs at the end of a hot summer and high water levels happen in the spring months when all the snow is melting in the mountain and rivers are carrying the extra water to the Danube.

Budapest River Danube Flood Memorial 1838 Wesselenyi
Budapest Danube Flood Memorial 1838 Wesselenyi

The water levels are generally unpredictable, but fortunately, Hungary’s biggest river has usually a moderated water level changes, just ideal for cruising.

High Water Levels of Danube in Budapest

Budapest-Flooding-Klein
Budapest-Flooding-Klein

Since the Danube water level is regulated, floods are extremely rare, however, if the water level grows extremely high, it can prevent cruises getting through under the bridges. Infrequent high water levels can make cruising impossible on the Danube in Budapest. Since the water level grows relatively slow, it is predictable in a few days or weeks in advance, and seldom have the Danube Traffic Authority issued an order to suspend cruising due to high water levels.

Historically, one of the highest water levels of the Danube in Buda-Pest took place during the Great Flood in the 19th century, when many streets of the Hungarian capital got underwater.

Low Water Levels of Danube in Budapest

Too low water level can also lead to problems if the Danube is not deep enough to cruise, water transportation might be blocked by the authorities. In August 2018, the water level hit the bottom records in Budapest, the low water bought several lost and forgotten things to the surface like shipwrecks, world war finds and even silver and gold coins near Erd, Hungary.

As such extreme low levels are very rare Budapest River Cruises can make the most of very reliable water levels throughout the calendar year, as the water level in general in Budapest is steady and optimal for cruising, whether it is a local city river cruise showcasing the panoramic beauty of Danube riverside sights, or a longer luxury cruise coming from the Netherlands or Germany, or from / to Romania.

Notably, Budapest Danube Bend boat tours cannot run in low water levels once the month reaches around October. So if you want to enjoy a Danube river ride to / from the Danube Bend in northern Hungary (Visegrad, Esztergom), plan your trip between April and October to make sure that low water levels in the Danube do not stop you from travelling on the river.

3 thoughts on “Budapest Danube River Water Levels

  • May 4, 2021 at 4:34 PM
    Permalink

    Are the water levels upstream from Budapest especially low right now (beginning May)? Looking to be on the water but saw navigation markers are very close together indicating a narrow channel.

    Reply
  • September 30, 2021 at 6:25 PM
    Permalink

    I have a motor yacht with a draft of 2.2 meters would I be able to get to Budapest and if so what time of the year

    Reply
    • October 1, 2021 at 8:23 AM
      Permalink

      Hello Roger,

      Similarly to other countries, the river traffic in the Hungarian Capital is strictly controlled by the River Traffic Control Department of the Ministry of Mobility and Transport.
      You can reach out to them to find out about what, if any, permission you will need to use the river Danube as a private person on your private yacht

      via Phone +36 1 474 1753
      via email: heo (– at –) bfkh.gov.hu

      The River Traffic Department has limited opening hours (please make sure to use Budapest local times)

      Mon 12.30 – 15.30
      Wed 08.00 – 12.00 and 12.30 – 15.30
      Fri 08.00 – 12.00

      There is a very comprehensive information package (available in Hungarian only on the website but the Department may have some internal forms / documents translated into English): https://www.kormanyhivatal.hu/hu/budapest/jarasok/hajozasi-ellenorzes-es-engedelyezes

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *