Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest.  It's easy to reach Budapest by train..!

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest...

 

London to Hungary in 24 hours...

The train journey from London to Budapest is safe, easy & affordable and takes just 24 hours, by Eurostar to Paris and high-speed TGV from Paris to Munich, then overnight sleeper to Budapest.  Or there are connections via Paris and Munich, or via Brussels, Cologne & Vienna.  Timetables, prices and how to buy tickets for all these options are explained below in a step-by-step guide.

Train times, fares & tickets...

 

Which route to choose?

 

London to Budapest by Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Munich, sleeper to Budapest

 

London to Budapest by Eurostar to Brussels, sleeper to Vienna, railjet to Budapest

 

London to Budapest by daytime trains with overnight stop in Munich

 

London to Budapest by daytime trains with overnight stop in Zurich - the scenic route!

 

London to Budapest via Brussels & Prague - the cheapest route!

 

London to Budapest via ferry from Harwich

 

UK to Budapest via ferry from Newcastle or Hull

 

Starting your journey from other UK towns & cities

International trains to & from Budapest...

  Trains to Budapest from other European cities

  Trains from Budapest to other European cities

Useful train travel information...

  Budapest Keleti railway station facilities

  Hotels & accommodation in Budapest

  Useful country information - currency, dial code, etc

  Holidays & escorted tours to Budapest by train

  General European train travel information

  Taking a bike    Taking a dog

  Luggage   Left luggage at stations

  Travel insurance, Health Card, Curve card & VPN

Route map:  London to Budapest by train...

Route map:  London to Budapest by train

Useful country information

Train operator

in Hungary:

MAV (Magyar Allamvasutak) www.mavcsoport.hu, www.elvira.hu for times & fares

All-Europe online train times    Eurostar times & fares.

 

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses   Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+36

Currency:

1 = 380 Forint,  1 = 335 Forint, approx.    Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.hungarytourism.hu   Hotels in Budapest   Budapest metro map

Hotels:

Find a hotel in Budapest   Hotel reviews: www.tripadvisor.com     Backpacker hostels

Page last updated:

4 February 2020. Train times valid 15 Dec 2019 to 12 Dec 2020.


London to Budapest

Which route to choose?


Option 1:  By Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Munich, sleeper to Budapest...

This is probably the easiest & cheapest way to reach Budapest, with daily trains, a convenient mid-morning departure from London, cosy sleeper berth at night and a morning arrival in Budapest next day, with all that sightseeing ahead of you.  If you'd prefer a departure from London later in the day, see option 2.

London ► Budapest

Budapest ► London

How much does it cost?

Each train is ticketed separately, so add up the price for each leg of the journey.  On the sleeper train, berths are sold individually, so one ticket means one bed, the other beds in your compartment will be sold to other passengers.  For sole occupancy, simply book 1 ticket in a single-berth sleeper or 2 tickets in a 2-berth sleeper or 4 tickets in a 4-berth couchette & so on.

 1. London to Paris

     by Eurostar...

 From 44 one-way, 58 return 2nd class.

 From 112 one-way, 168 return 1st class.  Child & youth fares 

 

 2. Paris to Munich

     by TGV...

 From 39 each way in 2nd class

 From 69 each way in 1st class.

 The price varies, book in advance to get these fares, full-price 139.

 If you book at www.bahn.de, accompanied children under 15 go free.

 

 3. Munich to Budapest

 on the Kalman Imre

In a  

seat:

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

single

 One-way per person:

29

49

59

69

79

139

Saver fare = advance-purchase fare, price varies, no refunds, no changes to travel plans. 

Full price = fully flexible, refundable, buy any time.

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Packages to Budapest by train...

What's the journey like?

London to Paris by Eurostar:  See the Eurostar guide

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 about to leave London St Pancras...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier seats. Larger photo.

Paris to Munich by TGV Duplex See the video guide

Sit back with a glass of red and enjoy the ride - book an upper deck seat for the best views.  The TGV has power sockets for laptops & mobiles at all seats in both classes, and a cafe-bar serves drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  The train soon leaves the Paris suburbs behind and speeds across a vast wide open plateau of woods and farmland at up to 200mph, past picturesque French villages of the Champagne region.  After an hour or two, the train leaves the high-speed line and slowly meanders through pretty wooded hills, the countryside eventually flattening out towards Strasbourg.  On leaving Strasbourg, look out for Strasbourg cathedral on the left with its famously missing second tower.  Minutes afterwards you rumble across the river Rhine into Germany, before heading on to Stuttgart and Munich.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 200 mph double-deck trains link Paris & Munich, a relaxing journey with reading book & glass of wine.  Book an upstairs seat for the best views...

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360 photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex to Munich at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a 'club duo' on the left, a 'club quatre' on the right.  360 photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Munich to Budapest by sleeper train Kalman Imre...  See the video guide

Cosy & inviting, the photo below shows the modern air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car of the Kalman Imre at Munich Hauptbahnhof...  The sleeping-car has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth room, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  The fare includes a light breakfast of coffee, juice & croissantWatch the Hungarian sleeping-car video.  There's time for dinner in Munich before boarding, for a Bavarian meal and a beer or two, try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

The sleeper train to Budapest   Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Munich to Budapest

The Kalman Imre, about to leave Munich...

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   Couchette car on the Kalman Imre to Budapest

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

Good morning Budapest!

City of Budapest & the Danube

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Option 2:  London-Budapest via the Cologne-Vienna sleeper...

This runs daily, and also avoids any walk between stations if that's important to you.

London ► Budapest

Budapest  ► London

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Cologne

 by Eurostar + Thalys

 Fares for Eurostar+ICE start at 59.90 each way.

 Fares for Eurostar+Thalys start at 56 one-way or 103 return

 Fares vary like air fares, so book in advance to get the cheapest prices.

 Child, youth, senior Eurostar fares

 

 2. Cologne (or Brussels) to Vienna

 by Nightjet train (per person, each way)

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at...

29.90

49.90

59.90

89.90

109.90

159.90

99.90

139.90

179.90

 

 3. Vienna to Budapest

 by Railjet

From 19 each way in 2nd class, 29 each way in 1st class.

How to buy tickets online...

Anyone from any country can book a London-Budapest journey in either direction like this.  It involves three bookings, so do a dry run on both sites to check prices and availability before booking for real.

How to buy tickets by phone...

How to use an InterRail pass for this journey...

What's the journey like?

London to Brussels by Eurostar: See the Eurostar guide...

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 about to leave London St Pancras...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier seats. Larger photo.

Brussels to Cologne by Thalys:  See the Thalys guide...

1st class seats on Thalys Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne

Thalys 1st class (Confort 1)...

Thalys 2nd class (Confort 2)...

A 186 mph Thalys at Brussels.

Cologne to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train:  See the Nightjet guide...

This is an Austrian Railways (BB) sleeper train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds plus private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the first class BB Lounge with complimentary drinks.  More pictures, video guide & information about this Nightjet train.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car as used on the Austrian Nightjet from Cologne to Vienna.  More information about Nightjet trains...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

As night falls, the train to Vienna crosses the Rhine at Mainz

As night falls, the sleeper train speeds along the Rhine Valley.  Above, it crosses the Rhine at Mainz...

Vienna to Budapest by railjet train:  See the railjet guide...

Railjet trains have 1st & 2nd class plus a small Business Class area where seats cost 15 more than regular 1st class and a complimentary welcome drink of tea, coffee or wine is included.  All seats have power sockets.  There's a bistro-restaurant car and a cafe-bar, an attendant will take food orders at your seat in 1st & Business classes.  See the railjet page for more information, photos & travel tips.

The morning RailJet train has arrived in Vienna.   Premium class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train   Economy class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train

"The RailJet has landed..."  A Railjet train from Vienna has arrived spot on time at Budapest's historic Keleti station, built 1881-1884...

 

Business class costs 15 more than normal 1st class...

 

Economy class on RailJet, comfortable open saloons with large picture windows.  Some seats around tables, some unidirectional.

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Option 3:  London to Budapest by daytime trains with overnight stop in Munich...

If you prefer to travel on daytime trains rather than sleepers, you can travel very affordably from London to Budapest with an overnight hotel stop in Munich.

London ► Budapest

Budapest ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

A variation:  London to Munich via Brussels...

What's the journey like?

London to Paris by Eurostar: See the Eurostar guide....

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 about to leave London St Pancras...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier seats. Larger photo.

Paris to Munich by TGV Duplex: See the TGV Duplex video guide...

Sit back with a glass of red and enjoy the ride - book an upper deck seat for the best views.  The train is equipped with power sockets for laptops & mobiles at all seats in both classes, and a cafe-bar serves drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  The train soon leaves the Paris suburbs behind and speeds across a vast wide open plateau of woods & farmland at up to 200mph, past picturesque French villages of the Champagne region.  An hour or two later, the train leaves the high-speed line and slowly meanders through pretty wooded hills, the countryside eventually flattening out towards Strasbourg.  On leaving Strasbourg, look out for Strasbourg cathedral on the left with its famously missing second tower.  Minutes afterwards you rumble across the river Rhine into Germany, before heading on to Stuttgart & Munich.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 200 mph double-deck trains link Paris with Nice, Marseille, Munich, Barcelona & Switzerland...

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360 photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360 photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Munich to Budapest by railjet:  See the railjet guide...

Railjet trains have 1st & 2nd class plus a small Business Class area where seats cost 15 more than regular 1st class and a complimentary welcome drink of tea, coffee or wine is included.  All seats have power sockets.  There's a bistro-restaurant car and a cafe-bar, an attendant will take food orders at your seat in 1st & Business classes.  See the Railjet page for more information about Railjet.

A railjet train about to leave Munich Hbf

A railjet to Budapest about to leave Munich Hbf...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet boarding at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

Bavarian scenery between Munich & Salzburg...

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

The view of Salzburg's Fortress Hohensalzburg on your right hand side as the railjet crosses the River Salzach & approaches Salzburg station....

Pleasant farmland scenery in Austria, between Salzburg & Vienna...

Between Vienna & Budapest it's largely flat, with more wind turbines than you can shake a stick at - allegedly over 200.  This photo sums up this part of the route!

A Railjet train at Budapest

The railjet has landed...  A railjet has arrived spot on time in Budapest's historic Keleti station, built 1881-1884

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Option 4:  London to Budapest with overnight stop in Zurich.  The scenic route!

This option not only keeps you on daytime trains with an overnight hotel in Zurich, rather than using a sleeper, it's the scenic option, as it takes you right through the fabulous Arlberg Pass route through the Alps between Switzerland and Austria hugging the valley wall with the mountaintops high above and the valley floor way below.  You then travel on right across the Austrian Tirol.  This option uses a new direct Railjet train between Zurich and Budapest - although the way cheap tickets work you're better off having a lunch stop in Austria!

London ► Budapest

Budapest ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Holidays to Budapest by train...

What's the scenery like?   Watch the Arlberg Pass video

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

Soon after leaving Zurich, the Railjet is running alongside the Zrichsee, then along the Walensee...

Train into Austria: Mountain scenery   Mountain scenery near Buchs

Watch out for hilltop castles - this is Sargans castle, seen from the train...

 

The train cuts across Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through Schaan-Vaduz station...

The mountains keep on coming...

Train into Austria, more scenery   Snowy peaks!

Mountain scenery and snowy peaks all the way, as the air-conditioned Railjet crosses into Austria...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In Railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

The view of the Fortress Hohensalzburg as the Railjet crosses the River Salzach & approaches Salzburg station....

Watch the Video:  By Railjet through the Arlberg Pass...

What are the trains like?

London to Paris by Eurostar: See the Eurostar guide...

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 about to leave London St Pancras...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier seats. Larger photo.

Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria:  See the TGV-Lyria guide...

TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon   TGV bar car

A TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon.  There's no check-in, you just walk up to it & get on..

 

The cafe-bar, serving tea, coffee, beer, wine, hot & cold snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Zurich to Budapest by Railjet:  See the Railjet guide...

A railjet train about to leave Zurich Hbf for Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna

A railjet to Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna about to leave Zurich HB...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

Railjet is Austrian Railways premier train...  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

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Option 5, via Brussels & Prague - the cheapest route!

OK, so this isn't the fastest route or the simplest route with fewest changes.  But it's the cheapest, thanks to an unbelievably cheap 29 Brussels-Prague fare offered by Czech Railways, added to a cheap 21 fare from Prague to Budapest.  There is nothing second-rate about the quality of the trains (see the photos below), and a night-day-night journey taking up just one day is quite time-effective.  Why not stop off in Prague?  So well worth considering!

London ► Budapest

Budapest ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Brussels to Prague for 21 booking

Incredible, Brussels to Prague for only 757 Czech Koruna (29) even booking as little as a week or so ahead.  Remember you must enter Cheb in the via box!

What's the journey like?

e300 power car   1st class seats

A Eurostar e300 about to leave St Pancras...

 

1st class (Standard Premier or Business Premier)

High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Brussels to Frankfurt, seen at Frankfurt...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats...

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats & power sockets...

 

Lunch in an ICE3 bistro car...

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the right is the German regional train arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the left about to leave for Prague.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

A Czech sleeping-car of the sort used on the Prague-Budapest overnight train. 

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe sleepers are virtually identical to standard ones, but with a tiny bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

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London to Budapest via Harwich

The ferry alternative...

If you want to avoid the Channel Tunnel, perhaps if problems are affecting the Eurostar service or if you suffer from claustrophobia, you can travel by train and ferry instead.  Indeed, if you need to travel at very short notice when all the cheap Eurostar tickets have sold out, the rail & sail option may still be affordable.  I don't recommend travelling via Dover & Calais, because bus transfers are now required between station and port in both Dover and Calais, and you can no longer buy combined train & ferry tickets this way.  Instead, I recommend using the excellent integrated rail & sail service via Harwich & Hoek van Holland, because trains arrive right at the ferry terminal in both Harwich and Hoek, through tickets are available from London to any Dutch station.  This is also a handy option if you live in East Anglia.  See the video!  Here's how:

London & Harwich ► Budapest

Budapest  ► Harwich & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Holland by train & ferry...  A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  The journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video...

 

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema...

 

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin, 1 or 2 berth.  Larger photo.  360 photo.

Step 2, Holland to Cologne by ICE high-speed train:  At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and straight onto the station for the frequent metro train to Schiedam & Rotterdam.  Change at Schiedam Centrum for a Dutch Railways (NS) train to Amsterdam Centraal or at Rotterdam Alexander for a train to Utrecht.  You can pick up a German Railways (DB) train to Germany at either Amsterdam Centraal (where they start) or Utrecht Centraal (a bit quicker).   More info about ICE trains.

High-speed ICE3 train at Amsterdam Centraal   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

Step 3, Cologne to Vienna by Nightjet...  After dinner (I recommend the Sion Brauhaus 5 minutes walk from Cologne Hbf), take the daily Nightjet sleeper train to Linz, Vienna or Innsbruck.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Italy   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Nightjet train from Cologne to Vienna.  This is a sleeping-car on an Austrian Nightjet train...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families.  Larger photo.

Step 4, take a railjet or EuroCity train from Vienna to Budapest:  See the Vienna to Budapest page for details.

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 Scotland & North to Budapest   

Naturally, one option is to take a train up to London, then travel to Hungary as described above.  You can buy special connecting train tickets from most UK stations to London International, see advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.  But DFDS Seaways (www.dfds.co.uk) run an excellent daily cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam overnight, and P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) sail overnight from Hull to Rotterdam.  So why not by-pass London, with lunch in Amsterdam into the bargain?

Scotland & the North ► Budapest

Budapest ► Scotland & the North

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

What's the journey like?

Step 1, Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O) by overnight cruise ferry, with private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam arrived at Rotterdam Europoort from Newcastle.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

Step 2, take an ICE train from Amsterdam or Utrecht to Cologne Hbf and spend a pleasant afternoon in Cologne.

High-speed ICE3 train at Amsterdam Centraal   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

Step 3, after dinner (I recommend at the Sion Brauhaus 5 minutes walk from Cologne Hbf), take the daily Nightjet sleeper train to Linz, Vienna or Innsbruck.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Italy   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Nightjet train from Cologne to Vienna.  This is a sleeping-car on an Austrian Nightjet train...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families.  Larger photo.

Step 4, take a railjet or EuroCity train from Vienna to Budapest:  See the Vienna to Budapest page for details.

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Budapest Keleti station

For information about Budapest station facilities, see the Budapest Keleti station guide.

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Holidays & tours by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

 

01904 527120

If you want a holiday to Hungary by train not plane, but want someone else to organise all the train tickets & hotels for you, two specialist companies can do just that.  Railbookers offer tailor-made individual holidays with departure on any date you like, whereas Great Rail Journeys offer escorted tours with specific departure dates.

Railbookers custom-made train holidays & breaks to Budapest...

Railbookers can custom-make a flight-free holiday to Budapest for you, with train travel & hotels, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  Why not combine a visit to Budapest with Prague and Vienna, 6 nights from around 689 per person.  Indeed, they can arrange any tour of Eastern Europe you like to your own specification, with trains reserved, hotels booked and transfers arranged...

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com, 01904 527120...

GRJ offers a 13-day escorted tour to Vienna, Budapest & Prague from 1,750, with 1st class train travel and 5* or 4* hotels.  Great Rail Journeys also offer holidays by train to other European countries.  Check the tour details online, then call 01904 527120 to book or use their online booking form.

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for 14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses 2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for 13 + 5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Guidebooks

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon.co.ukLonely Planet to Hungary - buy online at Amazon.co.ukPaying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook.  For independent travel, the best guide is either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both are excellent.  The Lonely Planet range offers an in-depth guide for Hungary or a guide covering all the countries in Eastern Europe.  You won't regret buying one! 

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk...

My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon.co.uk with shipping worldwide.

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Hotels in Budapest

    

Favourite hotel search & price comparison: hotelscombined.com

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Suggested hotels...

Other hotel sites worth a try...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

 

Curve card

Get a free Curve card to save on exchange rates & foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself and it's great - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I only recommend such things when I've read up on reviews and tried it myself.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get 5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.

 


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