Danube Promenade Budapest

Great stroll along the Pest Riverbank

The Danube Promenade or Dunakorzó (in Hungarian) is a  favorite  Budapest attraction for locals and tourists alike. It is a popular esplanade standing between the Chain Bridge and the Elisabeth Bridge.

The pedestrian area was constructed in the middle of the 19th century, which shortly became the spot where celebrities and aristocrats liked to spend their time on summer evenings. During World War II, the promenade was fully destroyed and covered under debris. It was rebuilt in 1970.

Many locals  spend time here at the Danube promenade and enjoy the fresh breeze of the river. There are several five star hotels, terrace bars, cafes, restaurants, and casinos along the Promenade, all of them  offering  great cuisine and all kinds of entertainment.

You can simply relax and take amazing shots  of the Buda Castle, and Gellért Hills  from the Promenade or from any of the boat restaurants, pubs or cafés you can find along the Danube.

What to See in the Promenade

Elizabeth Bridge

The Danube promenade starts here, at the foot of the Pest side of Elizabeth bridge.

Elizabeth  bridge was named in the honor of the Emperor Franz Joseph’s wife Queen Elisabeth. It is located at the narrowest part of the Danube connecting Buda and Pest and spanning only 290 m.  The original bridge was made at the end of 19th century and it was It is one of the most beautiful bridges of Budapest. As many other bridges  in the country,  it was blown up at the end World War II.

The new bridge was designed by Pál Sávoy and it was rebuilt  in the 1960s. For its reconstruction, its original pillars were used as foundation because the government couldn’t afford to construct entirely new foundations in another location, besides it was not possible to rebuild it in its original design.  Tram traffic and its heavy tracks had to be removed from the bridge in 1973 after signs of cracks appeared in the structure.  Elisabeth bridge is white in color, an easy way to recognize the bridges of Budapest.

Pest Parish Church and Március 15 Square

Next to the Elizabeth bridge, you can  find the oldest church in Pest (1046) – Inner City Parish Church, surrounding Március 15 tér, where you will find protected ruins of the ancient Roman city of contra-Aquincum. The interior of the church reveals remains of Roman walls, as well as Gothic and Neo-Classic elements added after the several reconstructions the church has gone through.  Besides the church you will notice  a passageway that takes you directly to Váci utca.

Március 15 square has been renovated recently and has become a nice place to hang out and relax for Budapestians and tourist alike who want to enjoy beautiful views of Buda. There is a wide green area with modern benches, a nice terrace café (only in summer) and fountains.

In the middle of the square you will notice a Bronze sculpture (by Istvan Tar) depicting a battle between the Romans and the Barbarians, it shows a number of Roman soldiers (with shield and eagle), one of them on a horse.

The most important feature of Március 15 square is the remains of Contra- Aquincum, a Roman fortress built in the second century. Later, in the middle ages, this spot  became important part of the core of the city of Pest.

Some meters forward from Március 15 square you will  find a statue of the 19th century poet Sándor Petőfi, who died in the war against Habsburg Empire. There is a Greek-Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition behind the statue constructed in 1791. The towers and front facade were reconstructed by Miklós Ybl in the late 19th century.

Vigadó Concert Hall

Walking northwards, passing  by the Marriot hotel you will immediately find the  Vigadó square.

Here,  you will notice a beautifully decorated 19th century building, the Vigado Concert Hall. It was built between  1859 and  1865 and is the second largest concert hall in the city. It has  hosted shows by Wagner, Debussy, Liszt, Mahler, Von Karajan, and Brahms. Vigadó’s building was damaged during World War II and it was reopened in 1980.

Vigadó tér is a peaceful place with a   nice fountain in the middle adorned with the statues of two boys playing by the waterside. Next to the Vigadó tér and on the promenade you can find two more bronze statues: “the girl and the dog” and a statue of Shakespeare.  Vigadó tér is  a busy pier on the Danube since most of the Budapest cruises depart from here.

One block away from here you can easily find Vörösmarty square and a  Yellow metro stop.

Little Princess Statue

When you reach the Vigadó tér, you would be welcomed by breathtaking views of the Danube River toward the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle. Soon you would find  the Little Princess – a beautiful small bronze statue, sitting on the Danube Promenade’s railing at the Vigado Square. It was built in 1989 and t has become an icon of Budapest’s promenade.

 Szechényi Istvan Square and Chain Bridge

Just at the end of the promenade by the Sofitel hotel, there is the Széchenyi István square (called Roosvelt square until 2011). Around Széchenyi tér, visitors can find the Art Nouveau-style Four seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences  and the Chain Bridge.

Chain Bridge is one of the most beloved places of Budapest, not only because of its magnificence but because of all what it means for Hungarians. It was the first permanent bridge built onto the Danube Budapest bringing with it great development to the region.

Here you will also see, a very old tree supported by two poles, it is said that this is the oldest tree in Budapest with more than 150 years old.

On one side of this small but beautiful park you will see the sitting statue of Ferenc Deák, on the other side there is a monument of István Széchenyi at its very top. Déak and Széchenyi  were prominent hungarians in the 19th century.  Széchenyi’s statue faces the Chain Bridge which is one his most important legacies to the city.

Memorial of World War II – Shoes on the Danube

The Dunakorzó or Danube Promenade ends at Széchenyi tér, but if you walk to the Chain bridge and keep walking north on the river bank, soon you will find “the shoes on the Danube”.

The Shoes on the Danube bank is a must-see destination, it is a memorial honoring and dedicated to the Jewish victims who were shot before falling into the Danube River during World War II. You can find sixty pairs of iron made shoes that are attached to the stone surface resembling original shoes worn by the victims. All shoes at Danube Promenade are made by Gyula Pauer and Can Togay . This memorial shows the effects and circumstances World War II has left on Budapest, Hungary.

If you visit Budapest around 20th of August, you must visit the promenade and enjoy spectacular fireworks in the city. You can also experience sightseeing cruise tours through the Danube River and Margaret Island or take scheduled boat trips to take delight in the panoramic views of the beautiful scenery.

How to get the Danube Promenade

Tram 2 takes you from Jaszaimari tér (Margaret bridge) all the way along the pest river bank until Boraros tér and back, passing by the Danube promenade and offering you the opportunity to get beautiful views of the Buda side of the city.

 Return from Danube Promenade to Budapest Attractions

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