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Boating holidays in Hungary: our top 5 family activities

It is sometimes difficult to find a holiday that’s ideal for the whole family – especially when there are children involved! Don’t worry though as at Nicols we have the perfect solution in the form of our fun and flexible boating holidays. Before you’ve even thought about what destination you’re going to go to and what you’re going to do when there you already have the advantage of knowing that a break on a boat provides an opportunity of getting together to enjoy an activity – navigating your own accommodation along the waterways! Crews will need to help with mooring and steering the boat as well as passing through the locks so children and teenagers can actively participate in these navigation manoeuvre - under the orders of the captain of course.

Choosing to do a family boating holiday also means getting together away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take time to share the relaxing pace of life on board, game evenings on deck, picnic breaks by the water, bike rides, canoeing, memorable fishing trips or a swim together in the river.

Then, when you do venture away from the canal boat, take advantage of the many tourist sites and attractions that can be found close to the waterways, many of which are perfect for families. Although new to the Nicols programme, Hungary is a great destination for family boating holidays – and to prove it we’re showcasing here our top five recommendations of things to see and/or do while enjoying a boating holiday in Hungary and exploring the Tisza river or Bodrog river...


If your children like swimming then they will love this area of Hungary as there are so many possibilities

  • Once at Lake Tisza you can take a dip straight from your Nicols boat. The swim ladder on the boat is there to provide an easy way to get back on board.
  • Why not moor your canal boat to one of the buoys set out in the middle of the Tisza river, away from the navigation channel. Mooring here means you are out of the way of passing boats and can swim in the river in complete safety.
  • Head to one of the many sandy beaches such as those at Abádszalók or Sarud. These locations offer entertainment and activities for all ages on site.
  • Enjoy an energy filled day out at a swimming pools with slides and flumes, or if that all sounds too much like hard work then look out for one of the many thermal spas and thermal baths that are famous for their health benefits. Again, there is something for everyone with spaces often dedicated to children including swimming pools and playgrounds. One such example is the thermal centre at Tiszaújváros.

Giant water slide in Sarud



If your crew contains thrill-seeking children or teenagers then we recommend you set sail for Sarud. At this village, which is located on Lake Tisza, there is an array of watersports on offer – wakeboarding, paddle boarding and much more!

If you are looking for quieter water-based activities then canoe trips are offered in several places along your route. We highly recommend that you explore the wild fauna of the Bodrogkeresztúr protected park and enjoy the surrounding nature from a new perspective.

Watersports fun at the village of Sarud



If there are fishing enthusiasts in your crew, there are plenty of opportunities available. The Tisza river, Lake Tisza and the Bodrog river are all home to a large number of fish of all species and sizes including the renowned catfish. The record catfish caught was in 2015 with a catch weighing more than 80kg and at a length of over 2 metres. Think you can beat it?!

If you collected your spacious and stylish canal boat from the Nicols base at Kisköre, your cruising route will lead you in just a few hours to the small town of Poroszló, located on the shores of Lake Tisza. It is here that you’ll find the “Poroszló Ecocentre”, home to over 3000 species of fish and the largest freshwater aquarium in all of Europe. A visit here reveals the secrets of the lake, the rivers and their fish…

Lastly, fans of fish must enjoy a dining experience at one of the many waterside restaurants of the region. As you’d expect fish features prominently on the menu with specialties of grilled fish or fish cooked in delicious sauces.

Poroszló Ecocentre Aquarium



From the Nicols base at Tokaj, if you venture north along the Bodrog river you will end up close to the border of Slovakia, and not far from Satoraljaújhely. Moor your boat here and either use the bikes provided on board or take a taxi to the famous "Zemplen Kalandpark", an exceptional adventure theme park.

Here you will find numerous fun activities to keep all ages entertained from a summer bobsleigh run and the longest chairlift in Hungary, to a ski resort and zip line ride...

Zemplen Kalandpark is open all year round. In high season: Monday to Thursday from 10am to 700pm and Friday to Sunday from 9am to 700pm. In low season: every day from 9am to 4pm. For more information visit the website.

Family thrills at Zemplen Kalandpark



Although it’s not possible to directly get to the Hortobágy National Park by boat it is well worth the detour so make sure you include it on your boating holiday itinerary. If you moor your canal boat at either Tiszacsege or Tiszafüred you and your crew can either take your bikes or a taxi ride to get to this 82,000 hectare national park that is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit here is a unique opportunity for children to discover another culture, at the heart of the famous "Puszta", the largest steppe (a vast area of plains and wetlands) in Central Europe.

Created in 1973, classified as a biosphere reserve in 1979, then gaining UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition in 1999, the park offers the possibility of discovering an agricultural region still rooted in its traditions and proud of its folklore: shepherds, herdsmen and horse keepers will demonstrate their work to you, while the "Maguyars" will give you a performance of horse training in stud farms.

Finally, a visit to the national park is also an opportunity to observe typical Hungarian animals such as Hungarian oxen, water buffaloes, wild horses, racka sheep and the great bustard.

The horse show at Hortobágy Park

With so many things to see and do we’re sure we must be close to convincing you to consider a holiday in Hungary for your next family boating holiday. Find out more about the various cruising itineraries on offer from our two Nicols bases in Kisköre and Tokaj.

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