See Budapest from Both Land and Water

Andrew J. Wein - Oct 26, 2009
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Budapest is the first city on the Continent where you can enjoy the unique experience of sightseeing aboard an exceptional amphibious coach.

Until now you had to decide between two options: see the beautiful capital city through the windows of a tour coach or enjoy a boat ride on the Danube surrounded by the wonderful sights of Budapest. No need to choose anymore...

RiverRide is a special sightseeing coach, outfitted with two anchors, a horn, 160 meters of rope, life vests under each of the 45 seats; it is propelled by a jet engine and its driver is a licensed skipper...or, conversely, it is a boat that rolls along on six wheels, can slow down using disk brakes, features backup and break lights and its captain has a bus driver’s license.

First, enjoy the sights of Budapest from the comfortable seats of the coach, as you go through busy streets; then experience the unforgettable moment when with a big splash the coach plunges into the Danube and sails downriver with you while you pass the breathtaking World Heritage sites of this magnificent city. Following the water adventure, the coach climbs ashore, and you’ll find yourself once again in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

Seeing Budapest from special coach is a unique experience because you can enjoy the best of both worlds: visit important sights up-close and see also the big picture from the Danube without ever having to leave your seat.

Launching its operation in September, the amphibious vehicle is the result of international cooperation. The hull, designed by a British naval engineer, was manufactured in Malta; the undercarriage and powertrain come from the Italian plant of IVECO; the jet engine is also Italian, made by Castoldi. Thermosol, a Hungarian company prepared the vehicle to meet European Union’s strict quality and safety inspection standards.

In the present financial crisis several banks declined to support the project; finally FHB Bank signed on and helped this innovative enterprise to become reality. Quality and safety assurance of the amphibious vehicle is backed by both TÜV Rheinland in Hungary and Lloyd’s Register in Great Britain, and its operating permit is underwritten by the National Transport Authority of Hungary and the Malta Maritime Authority.

Not only passenger safety, but also the protection of the environment is a key issue for the operator. Therefore the vehicle has the most eco-friendly, EURO5 engine, to protect the air and waters of Budapest.

The coach operates every day throughout the year; five times a day during the high season, and four times daily between November and March. The tour departs from Roosevelt Square heading north to the Parliament, then goes on along Alkotmány Street and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street to Erzsébet Square, then continuing on Andrássy Avenue to Heroes’ Square. From there the tour heads to DHSR Helia Hotel on Dózsa György Street, where RiverRide plunges into the River Danube via a 70 meter long ramp.

The sail lasts about an hour, gliding by the city’s landmark bridges, the Royal Castle and the Citadella. The boat ride ends at the splash point and from there the tour continues again on land along the Pest Embankment and concludes at the starting point: Roosevelt Square. The whole tour takes about 2 hours.

Take a seat on the amphibious coach, enjoy the ride and splash into the Danube!

By Mr Gergő Galla (Director of Operation, River Ride)

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