Trains from Budapest
 

small bullet point  Budapest Keleti station information

small bullet point  Budapest Nyugati station information

small bullet point  Budapest Dιli station information

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This page explains how to travel by train from Budapest to other cities all over Europe, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Information current for 2023.  Suggested hotels in Budapest.

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  They answer all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".  And most important, click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

Introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...


Budapest to other destinations in Hungary...

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Budapest to London...

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Budapest to Paris from €79...

Option 1, Budapest to Paris in a single chill-out day - the leisurely daytime option...

You can travel from Budapest to Paris in a single day, across Europe in a chill-out day with a good book, free WiFi and lunch in the restaurant car.  The scenery on this route across Austria & Germany is very pleasant, maybe not spectacular.  For a more time-effective journey using sleeper trains, see options 2, 3 or 4 below.  If it's scenery you want, see option 6 through the lovely Arlberg Pass with an overnight stop in Zurich.

Option 2, using the Vienna-Paris Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective overnight option, Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays...

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet, seen here on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Vienna Hbf

Step 2, Vienna to Paris by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 3, Budapest to Paris using the Budapest-Zurich sleeper - another time-effective option, every day...

Hungarian sleeper train

Step 1, Budapest to Zurich by sleeper train.  Above, the couchette car (foreground) and sleeping-car (in rear) boarding at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Zurich   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2-bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris, at Zurich HB

Step 2, take a TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyon.  Above, a 320 km/h double-deck TGV-Lyria boarding at Zurich HB.

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

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes...

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360Ί photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

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

 

A TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

Option 4, Budapest to Paris using the Budapest-Munich sleeper - similar to option 3, but via Munich, taking a little longer.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Step 1, Budapest to Munich by sleeper train Kalman Imre, seen here boarding on platform 7 at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

2-bed sleeper, can also be set up as 1 or 3 bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

An ICE3 (class 407) at Paris Gare de l'Est

Step 2, Munich to Paris by high-speed ICE train, seen here at Paris Gare de l'Est...

Bistro-restaurant on a class 407 ICE3   Lunch in the bistro on an ICE train

Bistro-restaurant car...

Lunch in the restaurant car...

2nd class seats on a class 407 ICE3   Class 407 ICE3 1st class seats

2nd class seats...

 

1st class seats...

Option 5, Budapest to Paris with overnight stop in Munich - daytime trains, with an overnight hotel to break up the journey....

Option 6, Budapest to Paris via the Arlberg route with overnight stop in Zurich - the Alpine scenic route!

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, boarding on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The mountains of 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, a steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The railjet clips a corner of Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Vaduz.  Once in Switzerland, the railjet runs alongside the Zόrichsee, then along the Walensee...

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Budapest to Nice, Cannes, Monaco...

Option 1, Budapest to Nice using the Vienna-Milan sleeper then a scenic coastal ride...

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet, seen on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Vienna Hbf

Step 2, Vienna to Milan by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

Italian InterCity train

Step 3, Milan to Ventimiglia by Intercity train.  Above, an Intercity at the magnificent Milan Centrale...

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

Step 4, take a TER local train from Ventimiglia to Monaco, Nice & Cannes.  Ventimiglia to Nice takes an hour along the coast.  Here, a TER rolls into Juan les Pins station, between Nice & Cannes.

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

Coastal scenery from the upper deck of the TER from Ventimiglia to Nice & Cannes...

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Budapest to Brussels & Bruges from €56...

Option 1, Budapest to Brussels in a single day...

  • You can travel from Budapest to Brussels in a day:

    Leave Budapest Keleti at 07:40, change at Vienna Hbf & Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi 21:35.

    Budapest to Vienna is by smart Austrian railjet train with a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Vienna to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Brussels are by superb German ICE trains also with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Treat this as a chill-out day across Europe...

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    Tip:  Before running the enquiry, click Stopover and changing Duration of transfer standard to at least 30 minutes.

    You print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

Option 2, Budapest to Brussels using the Vienna-Brussels Nightjet sleeper on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays - the most time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Vienna by railjet train, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 18:21. 

    The modern Austrian railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Have dinner in Vienna, see suggested restaurants.

    Fares start from €19.90 in 2nd class, €29.90 in 1st class or 44.90 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards accepted, small booking fee, Booking opens up to 6 months ahead) or at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu (more fiddly, in Hungarian forints, booking opens 60 days ahead, see my advice for using it).

    Tip:  Don't risk tight connections when you have a sleeper train to catch.  By all means travel earlier and have dinner in Vienna, these trains run every hour.  See suggested restaurants.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the ΦBB lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:11 on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays, arriving Brussels Midi at 09:55 next morning.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has two air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-cars with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There's a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and an ordinary seats car.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards accepted, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (more fiddly, in €, same fares).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Option 3, Budapest to Brussels using the Vienna-Cologne Nightjet sleeper - on days when the Vienna-Brussels Nightjet isn't running...

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Cologne by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:11 and arriving at Cologne Hbf at 06:51 next morning. 

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There's a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has several couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the ΦBB lounge at Vienna Hbf before boarding, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, has been known to reject some international cards).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead, less than this when the mid-June or mid-December timetable changes intervene.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, travel from Cologne to Brussels by high-speed ICE3 train leaving Cologne Hbf at 07:42 and arriving Brussels Midi at 09:35.

    The ICE3 has a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start from €18.90 in 2nd class or €27.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You can book through to Bruges or anywhere in Belgium as one transaction for one inclusive price.  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet, seen on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

Step 2, Vienna to Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train.  Above, the inaugural southbound train is ready to leave Brussels the following night, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!  More information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

Option 4, Budapest to Brussels using the Budapest-Munich sleeper...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Munich by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Budapest Keleti at 20:40 & arriving Munich Hbf 06:02.

    The Kalman Imre has an air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  In the sleeping-car, a light breakfast with tea or coffee is included in the fare.  More information about this sleeper train.

    Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €69.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €88.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, more fiddly, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    If you have any problems (for example, you see no sleepers), also try the Hungarian Railways site at www.mavcsoport.hu - see my advice on using it first.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the consist for this train, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Hungary, click EN and look for Kalman Imre.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Brussels by ICE train, leaving Munich Hbf at 06:48, changing at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Brussels Midi 13:35.

    ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Change in Brussels for half-hourly trains to Bruges.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Step 1, Budapest to Munich by sleeper train Kalman Imre, seen here boarding on platform 7 at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

2 bed sleeper, can also be set up as a 1 or 3 bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

ICE3M to Cologne & Brussels, boarding at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

Step 2, Munich to Frankfurt & on to Brussels by ICE.  This is an ICE3M at Frankfurt.  More information about ICE.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Option 5, Budapest to Brussels with overnight stop in Munich...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Munich by smart Austrian railjet train leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Munich Hbf at 22:31.

    The railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. 

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class, €56.90 in 1st class or €71.90 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

    Tip:  I recommend taking an earlier train and spending a pleasant evening in Munich, these trains run every couple of hours.  For dinner in Munich I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

  • Stay overnight in Munich.  The Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno are next to the station with good or great reviews.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Brussels by ICE, for example leaving Munich Hbf 06:48, change Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi 13:35. 

    Or by all means have a leisurely breakfast and take a later train.  ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or you can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  It can save money if you use www.bahn.de to book from Budapest to Brussels in one go.  To get the overnight stop, click Stopover and enter Munich Hbf with a stopover duration of (say) 12 hours.  Adjust departure time and stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Brussels - it may take a little trial & error.

Option 6, Budapest to Brussels using the Budapest-Prague sleeper - sometimes the cheapest option...

  • OK, so this isn't the fastest option.  But a potential €29 fare between Prague & Brussels from Czech Railways plus a €35 fare from Budapest to Prague including a bed for the night can make it the cheapest.  The trains are just as good quality as other routes, too, see the photos here.

  • Step 1, take the sleeper train from Budapest to Prague, leaving Budapest Nyugati at 19:29 and arriving Prague Hlavni at 08:37.

    This train has a comfortable air-conditioned Czech Railways sleeping-car with ten 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin and a Czech couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  Morning tea or coffee is included in the fare in the sleepers.  Have a full breakfast in Prague.

    Fares start at €35 with couchette, €46 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €71 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

    Book this train at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.  Booking normally opens 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Alternatively, you could take any daytime train you like from Budapest Nyugati to Prague Hlavni from €20, see the timetable hereThen stay overnight in Prague:  Hotels with good reviews next to the station include the Esplanade Hotel (a good choice, I've stayed there myself), Falkensteiner Hotel Maria, Chopin HotelBudapest to Brussels from just €41...

  • Step 2, travel from Prague to Brussels, leaving Prague Hlavni at 10:38, change Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt arriving Brussels Midi 21:35.

    You travel on a swish air-conditioned regional train from Prague to Cheb and from Cheb to Nuremberg, then by top-quality high-speed ICE train from Nuremberg to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Brussels, complete with restaurant car and beer on tap, see the photos & travel tips here.

    Fares start at €46.90 each way 2nd class or €61.90 in 1st class.  Fare vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    You'll see journeys via various routes, to specify this route click Stopover and enter Cheb as a via station, leaving duration zero.

    You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    You can also book at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz, in this case booking only opens up to 90 days ahead.  If you are booking well in advance, I find www.bahn.de is often cheaper.  Booked close to departure date, www.cd.cz is often cheaper.

High-speed ICE3 train at Brussels Midi   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Frankfurt to Brussels, at Brussels Midi.

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

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

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

ICE3 bistro.  See this month's menu.

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Budapest to Amsterdam from €69.80...

Option 1, Budapest to Amsterdam in a single day...

  • You can travel from Budapest to Amsterdam in a day:

    Leave Budapest Keleti at 07:40, change at Munich Hbf & Cologne Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 23:29.

    Budapest to Munich is by smart Austrian railjet train with a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Munich to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Amsterdam are by superb German ICE trains also with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Treat this as a chill-out day across Europe...

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    Tip:  Before running the enquiry, click Stopover and changing Duration of transfer standard to at least 30 minutes.

    You print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

Option 2, Budapest to Amsterdam using the Vienna-Amsterdam Nightjet sleeper train - easy, comfortable & time-effective...

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Vienna Hbf 20:13 & arriving Amsterdam Centraal 09:59 next morning.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, bit more fiddly) or at the Dutch Railways international site www.nsinternational.nl (in €, no fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet, seen on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Vienna Hbf

Step 2, Vienna to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper train More information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Budapest to Amsterdam using the Budapest-Munich sleeper train...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Munich by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Budapest Keleti at 20:40 & arriving Munich Hbf 06:02.

    The Kalman Imre has an air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  In the sleeping-car, a light breakfast with tea or coffee is included in the fare.  More information about this sleeper train.

    Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €69.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €88.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (more fiddly, same prices, in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    If you have any problems (for example, you see no sleepers), also try the Hungarian Railways site at www.mavcsoport.hu - see my advice on using it first.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the consist for this train, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Hungary, click EN and look for Kalman Imre.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Amsterdam, leaving Munich Hbf at 07:28, changing at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:29.

    You travel on comfortable ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  See suggested hotels in Amsterdam.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Step 1, travel from Budapest to Munich by sleeper train Kalman Imre, seen here boarding on platform 7 at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   The sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2 bed.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 2, Munich to Amsterdam by ICE with 1 easy change in Frankfurt.  ICEs have a restaurant, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Amsterdam CentraalMore information about ICE

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Budapest to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Munich - if you prefer daytime trains and hotel to sleepers...

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Munich by railjet train, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Munich Hbf at 22:31.

    The comfortable Austrian railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class, €56.90 in 1st class or €71.90 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  I recommend taking an earlier train and spending a pleasant evening in Munich, these trains run every couple of hours.  For dinner in Munich I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Day 1, Budapest to Munich by railjet, seen here on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Day 2, Munich to Amsterdam by ICE with 1 easy change in Frankfurt.  ICEs have a restaurant, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Amsterdam CentraalMore information about ICE

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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Budapest to Luxembourg from €46.90...

Option 1, Budapest to Luxembourg in a single day...

  • Fares start at €46.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  To stop journeys involving buses cluttering up the search results, click Stopover and enter Igel as a via station, leaving duration zero.

    Tip:  In the search results, look for a journey with just 2 changes.

Option 2, Budapest to Luxembourg overnight using the Vienna-Koblenz Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option...

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Koblenz by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:11 and arriving at Koblenz Hbf at 05:11 next morning. 

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There's a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has several couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, has been known to reject some international cards).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead, but less than this when the mid-June or mid-December timetable changes intervene.  You print your own tickets.

  • Step 3, travel from Koblenz to Luxembourg by regional train leaving Koblenz Hbf at 06:03 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Luxembourg at 08:23. 

    On Sundays, leave Koblenz 07:06, change at Trier, arrive Luxembourg 09:23.

    The fare is €28 in 2nd class or €47.80 in 1st class, fixed-price.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

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Budapest to Zurich & Switzerland from €39...

Option 1, Budapest to Zurich by sleeper train - the safe, comfortable & time-effective option...

Hungarian sleeper train

Step 1, Budapest to Zurich by sleeper train.  Above, the couchette car (foreground) and sleeping-car (in rear) boarding at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Zurich   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2-bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

Option 2, Budapest to Zurich by daytime train - the scenic option, through the wonderful Arlberg Pass...

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, boarding on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The mountains of 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, a steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The railjet clips a corner of Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Vaduz.  Once in Switzerland, the railjet runs alongside the Zόrichsee, then along the Walensee...

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Budapest to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy...

Option 1, Budapest to Italy using a Vienna-Italy Nightjet sleeper train - safe, comfortable, time-effective...

The 06:40 railjet from Budapest to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet, seen here on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Vienna Hbf

Step 2, take the nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Italy.  This is the sleeper from Vienna to Florence & Rome boarding at Vienna Hbf.  More information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on Nightjet sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Sunrise as the sleeper train crosses the causeway into Venice

Sunrise as the Vienna to Venice Nightjet crosses the causeway over the lagoon into Venice.  Courtesy of Andreas Wiedenhoff.

Option 2, Budapest to Venice in a single day from €42 - comfy & scenic...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

The afternoon railjet to Venice, about to leave Vienna Hbf.  More photos & info about Vienna-Venice railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

 

Business class, Vienna-Venice.  About.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Option 3, Budapest to Italy with overnight stop in Vienna - as option 2, but an overnight stop breaks up the journey nicely...

Option 4, Budapest to Italy via Ljubljana - the cheapest option at short notice, with a chance to see Ljubljana & Trieste on the way...

  • Day 1, take the morning train Citadella from Budapest to Ljubljana, as shown in the Budapest-Ljubljana section above.  You arrive late afternoon, enjoy a pleasant evening in Ljubljana.

  • Stay overnight in Ljubljana.  Consider the Hotel Slon which I have used myself, 13 minutes walk from the station with good reviews, or the Petkovšek River View Hotel, 800m (10 minutes walk) from the station with great reviews.

  • Day 2, travel from Ljubljana to Venice, taking the early morning regional train to Trieste then the another regional train to Venice, arriving late morning, see the Venice to Ljubljana page for timetable, fares & how to buy tickets.  By all means take a  later train from Trieste to Venice to see something of Trieste (one of Italy's most under-rated cities).  You buy tickets at the station on the day, they cannot sell out.

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Budapest to Barcelona & Spain

Option 1, Budapest to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Geneva ...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right of the train all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

Option 2, Budapest to Barcelona & Spain using the Budapest-Zurich sleeper + overnight stop in Marseille - a pleasant option...

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Budapest to Lisbon & Portugal

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Budapest to Munich from €37.90...

Option 1, Budapest to Munich by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Budapest to Munich by sleeper train:  The EuroNight sleeper Kalman Imre is seen here boarding on platform 7 at Budapest Keleti.  More information about this train.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

2 bed sleeper, can also be set up as a 1 or 3 bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

Option 2, Budapest to Munich by daytime trains...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

A railjet on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjet trains.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

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Budapest to Berlin from €39.90...

Option 1, Budapest to Berlin by sleeper train - the safe, comfortable, time-effective way...

EuroNight sleeper train from Budapest to Berlin

The Budapest to Berlin sleeper train, boarding at Budapest Nyugati More information about this train.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Berlin   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2 bed.  Larger photo.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo

Option 2, Budapest to Berlin by EuroCity train Hungaria - the direct daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Budapest to Berlin & Hamburg

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Budapest to Berlin boarding at Budapest NyugatiCourtesy of David Frankal.

1st classopen-plan seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   1st class compartment on a Hungarian EuroCity train

1st class.  You can choose to sit in a 1st class open plan (saloon) car like this...  Larger photo.

 

...or in a 1st class car with side corridor & classic 6-seat compartments like this.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest

2nd class.  You can choose to sit in a 2nd class open plan (saloon) car like this...  Larger photo.

 

...or in a 2nd class car with side corridor & classic 6-seat compartments like this.   Larger photo.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   The restaurant car of the Hungaria from Berlin to Budapest

Lunch on the Hungaria.  There are no table reservations, just go along & sit down.  Courtesy of @_DiningCar...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria Larger photo.  Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Prague & Dresden the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

Option 3, Budapest to Berlin by day trains - alternative daytime options...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet.  This is a railjet on platform 9 at Budapest's historic Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy (2nd) class.

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Step 2, Vienna to Berlin on the ICE Berolina.  Above, the ICE Berolina at Vienna Hbf.  More information about ICE-T trainsCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant car.  I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

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Budapest to Hamburg from €39.90...

Option 1, Budapest to Hamburg by EuroCity train Hungaria - the direct daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Budapest to Berlin & Hamburg

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Budapest to Berlin boarding at Budapest NyugatiCourtesy of David Frankal.

1st classopen-plan seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   1st class compartment on a Hungarian EuroCity train

1st class.  You can choose to sit in a 1st class open plan (saloon) car like this...  Larger photo.

 

...or in a 1st class car with side corridor & classic 6-seat compartments like this.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest

2nd class.  You can choose to sit in a 2nd class open plan (saloon) car like this...  Larger photo.

 

...or in a 2nd class car with side corridor & classic 6-seat compartments like this.   Larger photo.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   The restaurant car of the Hungaria from Berlin to Budapest

Lunch on the Hungaria.  There are no table reservations, just go along & sit down.  Courtesy of @_DiningCar...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria Larger photo.  Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Prague & Dresden the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

Option 2, Budapest to Hamburg by day trains - alternative daytime options...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet.  This is a railjet on platform 9 at Budapest's historic Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.  Larger photo.

 

Economy (2nd) class.  Larger photo.

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Step 2, Vienna to Hamburg by ICE.  Above, an ICE-T at Vienna Hbf.  More information about ICE-T trainsCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant car.  I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Option 3, Budapest to Hamburg using the Budapest-Berlin sleeper - the time-effective option that saves a hotel bill...

EuroNight sleeper train from Budapest to Berlin

The Budapest to Berlin sleeper train, boarding at Budapest Nyugati More information about this train.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Berlin   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2 bed.  Larger photo.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 4, Budapest to Hamburg using the Vienna-Hamburg sleeper...

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Budapest to Frankfurt, Cologne, Dόsseldorf & Germany from €29...
A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Budapest to Munich by railjet, seen on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

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Budapest to Passau

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Budapest to Vienna from €9...

Option 1, Budapest to Vienna by train with Austrian & Hungarian national railways...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Budapest to Vienna by railjet, on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about Budapest-Vienna trains.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy (2nd) class.

Option 2, Budapest to Vienna by train with private operator Regiojet - 2 trains per day from €9...

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Budapest to Salzburg...

Option 1, Budapest to Salzburg by direct railjet train - fastest & most frequent...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Railjets link Budapest to Salzburg every 2 hours, seen here on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Option 2, Budapest to Salzburg by competing Regiojet train to Vienna & Westbahn train to Salzburg - often cheaper, with easy online booking...

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

A RegioJet train in its distinctive yellow & grey colours, see interior photos of RegioJet trains here

Business class on a RegioJet train from Vienna to Prague   Relax class on a Vienna-Prague RegioJet train

Business class compartment.  Larger photo 360° photo.

 

Relax class seating.  Larger photo 360° photo..

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Budapest to Innsbruck...
A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Budapest to Munich by railjet, seen on platform 9 at Budapest's Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

Restaurant car.  In 1st & business class you're served at your seat.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

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Budapest to Graz, Hallstatt & other destinations in Austria...

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Budapest to Copenhagen, Malmφ, Gothenburg & Stockholm...

Option 1, Budapest to Stockholm using the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Hamburg Altona   6-berth couchette on the Hamburg-Stockholm SJ night train

The inaugural Hamburg to Stockholm SJ EuroNight train at Hamburg Altona, 1 September 2022.  The author rode this first departure...

6-berth couchettes.

Larger photo.

Couchettes in day mode on the Hamburg-Stockholm train   Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Padborg

Couchettes in day mode, en route to Stockholm.  Larger photo.

The inaugural train from Hamburg to Stockholm calls at Padborg, just after entering Denmark.

Scenery from the Hamburg to Stockholm train

Typical Swedish scenery on the morning run into Stockholm...

Option 2, Budapest to Copenhagen, Malmφ, Gothenburg & Stockholm with overnight stop in Hamburg...

  • How much does it cost?

    Budapest to Copenhagen starts at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.

    Budapest to Stockholm starts at €59.90 in 2nd class or €99.90 in 1st class.

    These are German Railways Sparpreis through fares.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • To buy tickets...

    You can buy a through ticket from Budapest to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmo or Gothenburg from the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    To get the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopover and enter Hamburg Hbf in the via box and 10:00 in the 'hh:mm' box.  Click here to open bahn.de all set up with the necessary parameters, just enter your date of travel and passenger details and if necessary change Copenhagen to Malmo, Gφteborg Central or Stockholm.

    In the search results, look for journeys with the fewest changes, for example just 1 change when going from Budapest to Copenhagen.  Adjust departure time & stopover time if necessary to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg.

    Tickets are posted to any address worldwide, in this case they can't be printed out.  You have to allow 1-2 weeks for tickets to arrive.

    Tip:  If you'd prefer a digital ticket than can be printed out or shown on your smartphone, here's how:  Instead of booking from Budapest to Copenhagen, book from Breclav to Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc.  Breclav is the Hungaria's first stop in the Czech Republic.  Add the overnight stop in Hamburg using the Stopover feature as normal, but this time set departure time to 11:00.  In the search results, look for the 11:07 departure from Breclav direct to Hamburg, train EC172.  You'll now get a digital ticket, as German Railways have the necessary agreement with the Czech Railways.  Now go to the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz and buy a ticket from Budapest to Breclav from €20 on the same train, the 07:40 departure, train EC172.  You can print this ticket out.

    Tip:  If you have any problems you can split the booking into stages:  Book from Budapest to Hamburg & Hamburg to Copenhagen using www.bahn.de.  Then book Copenhagen to Gothenburg or Stockholm at either www.sj.se (in Krona, can struggle with some overseas credit cards, no booking fee) or Omio.com (in Krona, €, £ or $, small booking fee, quick & easy to use and readily accepts overseas credit cards).

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

Step 1, Budapest to Vienna by railjet.  This is a railjet on platform 9 at Budapest's historic Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy (2nd).

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Step 2, Vienna to Hamburg by ICE.  Above, an ICE-T at Vienna Hbf.  More information about ICE-T trainsCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant car.  I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

Step 3, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train seen here at Copenhagen.  More about Hamburg to Copenhagen trains.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

2nd class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Step 4, Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Φresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden...

Option 3, Budapest to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm using the Budapest-Berlin sleeper...

Option 4, Budapest to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm with overnight stop in Berlin...

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Budapest to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Budapest to Oslo via Hamburg & Gothenburg - by train all the way...

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Vienna by smart modern railjet train leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 18:21.

    The Austrian railjet has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Don't risk any tight connections when catching a sleeper train.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class, €29.90 in 1st class or €44.90 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, Booking opens up to 6 months ahead, small booking fee) or Hungarian Railways www.mavcsoport.hu (more fiddly, in forints, booking opens 60 days ahead, see advice for using it).

    Tip:  If you have an onward sleeping-car ticket you can use the ΦBB Lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with tea, coffee & free WiFi.

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:11 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 08:47.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, a little more fiddly, same prices). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Gothenburg, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 12:53, changing at Copenhagen and arriving Gothenburg Central at 22:20.

    Hamburg to Copenhagen is by Danish IC3 Intercity train with free WiFi when in Denmark.  There's no catering, so bring your own food & drink.  Copenhagen to Gothenburg is by Φresund train, via the impressive Φresund fixed link.

    From 17 June to 20 August 2023 you'll find an earlier 10:53 departure available from Hamburg Hbf.

    Fares start at €56.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fare vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Buy a ticket for this journey at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Gothenburg is listed as Gφteborg CentralBooking opens up to 4 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

  • Stay overnight in Gothenburg.

  • Day 3, travel from Gothenburg to Oslo, leaving Goteborg Central at 06:10 Mondays-Fridays arriving Oslo Central at 09:51, or at 07:55 on Saturdays arriving 11:52, or at 10:15 on Sundays arriving 13:51.  This is a comfortable air-conditioned Norwegian train.

    Book this at the Norwegian website www.vy.no.

Option 2, Budapest to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry - the most comfortable way to Oslo...

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Vienna by smart modern railjet train leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 18:21.

    The Austrian railjet has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Don't risk any tight connections when catching a sleeper train.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class, €29.90 in 1st class or €44.90 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, booking opens up to 6 months ahead, small booking fee) or Hungarian Railways www.mavcsoport.hu (more fiddly, in forints, booking opens 60 days ahead, see advice for using it).

    Tip:  If you have an onward sleeping-car ticket you can use the ΦBB Lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with tea, coffee & free WiFi.

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:11 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 08:47.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, a little more fiddly, same prices). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg Hbf to Kiel Hbf by regional train, these leave several times each hour taking 1h10, fixed-price fare around €23.

    In Kiel, the Color Line ferry terminal is only 5-6 minutes walk from Kiel Hbf, but allow several hours between train & ferry for the ferry check-in and in case of delay.

  • Day 2, sail from Kiel to Oslo by luxurious overnight Color Line ferry, with a full range of en suite cabins, suites, bars, restaurants and lounges.  The m/v Magic or m/v Fantasy normally sails at 14:00 arriving Oslo at 10:00 next morning (Day 3 from Budapest).

    Check times & buy tickets using the Direct Ferries website or www.colorline.com.

    Make sure you're on deck next morning as the ship sails through spectacular scenery up Oslo Fjord.  The ship docks at the modern Color Line terminal about 2 km from the city centre.  Color Line provide transfer buses to Oslo Sentral station costing 55 krone, or there are plenty of taxis.  If you have little luggage it's possible to walk.  See map of Oslo showing ferry terminal.

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

This photo is taken from the exit of Kiel station, so you can see how close the ferry is.  It's a 5-6 minute walk across the harbour, with a street lift up to a connecting walkway which takes you to the ferry terminal. If you have reserved one of what Color Line call their "5 star suites", check in at the desk rather than the machines and you'll be directed to a special lounge to wait with free tea, coffee, juice, snacks & WiFi.  You'll also have priority boarding of the ship.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

Boarding the Color Line ferry to Oslo in Kiel...

Kiel to Oslo ferry, Color Class suite   Kiel to Oslo ferry, restaurant

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

Option 3, Budapest to Oslo by train to Frederikshavn then DFDS ferry to Oslo...

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Budapest to Helsinki & Finland...

Option 1, Budapest to Helsinki using a Finnlines ferry from Germany - the easiest option...

Finnlines sail from Travemόnde in northern Germany to Helsinki every day, boarding from 22:30 to 24:00 and arriving Helsinki Vuosaari ferry terminal at 09:00 2 nights later.  First go to www.finnlines.com to check sailing dates, times & to book the ferry.  Then travel as follows:

Finnlines Star class ferry to Helsinki   Cabin on the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki

One of Finnlines 3 star class ferries to Helsinki.  Courtesy of Finnlines.

 

Cabin on the ferry...

Option 2, Budapest to Helsinki by train to Stockholm, then ferry...

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Budapest to Prague from €16...

Option 1, Budapest to Prague by air-conditioned EuroCity train from €19...

EuroCity train to Budapest about to leave Prague

A EuroCity train from Prague to Budapest about to leave Prague Hlavni.  More photos & information.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class...

 

2nd class compartment seating...

Option 2, Budapest to Prague by competing Regiojet train...

  • In addition, since July 2020, private open-access operator Regiojet operates 2 trains a day from Budapest to Prague with 4 classes (lo-cost, standard, relax & business) and fares from just €16, book at www.regiojet.com More about this Regiojet service...

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

A RegioJet train at Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about Regiojet trains...

Option 3, Budapest to Prague by sleeper train - safe, comfortable, time-effective

  • A comfortable sleeper train leaves Budapest Nyugati at 19:29 arriving Prague Hlavni at 08:37, with sleeping-car and couchettes.

    There's an air-conditioned Czech sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.  Morning tea or coffee is included in the fare.  There is also a couchette car with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.

The sleeper train from Budapest to Prague

The Czech sleeping-car from Budapest to Prague, boarding at Budapest Nyugati on a summer evening.

Washbasin in Prague-Budapest sleeper   Czech Railways sleeper from Budapest to Prague   Czech Railways sleeper from Budapest to Prague

Washstand, soap & towels provided.  Larger photo.

 

Czech Railways 2-bed 'double' sleeper on the Prague-Budapest route.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.  Larger photo.

 

The corridor.  Each compartment locks securely.  Larger photo.

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Budapest to Českύ Krumlov...
  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Linz by smart Austrian railjet train...

    There are departures at 06:40 then every two hours from 07:40 to 13:40, journey time around 4h04. 

    The railjets have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • Step 2, travel from Linz to Ceske Budejovice by comfortable air-conditioned Czech train...

    These leave every two hours or so, journey time 2h16.

    Incidentally, Ceske Budejovice might sound more familiar by its former Germanic name, Budweis. That's right, where the name of Budweiser beer comes from! The town is worth a look around in its own right. Why not take an earlier train and have a wander into the old town?

  • Step 3, take the little branch line train from Ceske Budejovice to Českύ Krumlov run by private operator GWTR...

    This runs every hour or two taking 44 minutes.

    You'll find  more information about Českύ Krumlov, the GWTR local train, taxis between Českύ Krumlov station and old town, and how to travel from Českύ Krumlov on to Prague, on the Cesky Krumlov page.

  • How to check train times...

    Run an enquiry from Budapest Keleti to Cesky Krumlov using the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  This is the quickest and easiest site to use, though it won't sell tickets.  Tip:  Click Stopover and enter Linz as a via station.  Look for journeys with just 2 changes.

    You'll probably notice there's a tight 10-minute connection at Linz.  Perfectly doable if the first train is only 5 minutes late, not doable if it's 10 minutes late.  If you re-run the enquiry with Duration of transfer changed from standard to at least 30 minutes, it'll give you a 2h10 connection in Linz, time for lunch and a wander.  Your call!

  • How much does it cost?

    Budapest to Linz starts at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.  Fares work like air fares so book ahead.

    Linz to Cesky Krumlov starts at €9.90 in 2nd class or €22.90 in 1st class.  Fares work like air fares so book ahead.

  • How to buy tickets...

    When you have identified the trains you want to book:

    (1)  Book the Budapest to Linz train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.atBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    (2)  Book the Linz to Cesky Krumlov trains at the Czech Railways website www.cd.czBooking opens up to 90 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

    Tip:  If you're happy with the 10-minute connection in Linz, I'd either buy the higher-priced International Ticket fare for around €22 as this is good for any train that day, or buy a €7 First Minute advance-purchase fare but accept that if there's a delay and you miss your specified train you may have to pay €22 for a new ticket.  Or simply buy two €7 First Minute fares, the second one for the later train as a back-up!

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Budapest to Brno...
  1. Budapest to Prague EuroCity trains link Budapest Nyugati with Brno every 2 hours or so, journey time 3h57.

  2. Advance-purchase First Minute fares start at €21.  The full-flex fare bought on the day is around €51.

  3. Book at the Czech Railways website www.cd.czBooking normally opens 90 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

    The cheap fares have limited availability, specified train only, no refunds, no changes to travel plans.

    You can also book at the Hungarian Railways site www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.

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Budapest to Ostrava...
  1. A direct EuroCity train leaves Budapest Nyugati for Ostrava at 08:28 every morning, journey time 5h20.  Later departures are possible every 2 hours or so with one easy change of train at Breclav.

  2. Advance-purchase First Minute fares start at €17.  The full-flex fare bought on the day is around €62.

  3. Book at the Czech Railways website www.cd.czBooking normally opens 90 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

    The cheap fares have limited availability, specified train only, no refunds, no changes to travel plans.

    You can also book at the Hungarian Railways site www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.

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Budapest to Bratislava from €9...
EuroCity train to Budapest about to leave Prague

A EuroCity train from Prague to Budapest about to leave Prague Hlavni.  More photos & information.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class...

 

2nd class compartment seating...

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Budapest to Kosice & Poprad Tatry...
  • Intercity trains link Budapest Keleti with Kosice in Slovakia every 2 hours from 06:30 until 18:30, journey time 3h29.

    These Intercity trains - classified EuroCity in Slovakia - use comfortable air-conditioned Slovakian carriages, with 1st & 2nd class compartments, power sockets and free WiFi.  Seat reservation is required.  There's no catering, so bring some food & drink.

    Change in Kosice for a train to Poprad-Tatry, another 1h15.  Service was increased from just 2 per day in December 2021.

  • You can buy tickets from Budapest to Kosice at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu (see my advice for using it). 

    Online advance-purchase fares start at €13.20 in 2nd class or 19.80 in 1st class.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.

    Buy a Kosice-Poprad ticket at the station when you get to Kosice, or try the Slovakian Railways website www.zssk.sk.

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Budapest to Bucharest from €29...

Option 1, Budapest to Bucharest by sleeper train...

  • The safe & comfortable sleeper train Ister leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arrives Bucharest Gara de Nord at 11:19 next day.

    The Ister has a comfortable, safe & civilised air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and a couchette car with 6-berth compartments.  Take a picnic and bottle of wine as there may not be a bar car until the train gets to Romania.  It's a really scenic journey in the morning, as the train passes through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov & Ploesti, have your camera to hand!

  • There's also an earlier train, the Muntenia leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord 08:06.

    You'll miss the scenery between Brasov & Ploesti through the Carpathians, but may prefer the earlier arrival.  The Muntenia has seats cars and a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, but no sleeping-car.  However, a sleeping-car of an elderly but classy ex-German Railways type is attached between Timisoara Nord (depart 22:00) and Bucharest, with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.

  • There's also a later train, the Dacia Express, leaving Budapest Keleti at 22:45 arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord at 15:05.

    This train starts its journey in Vienna, and has seats, couchettes & a modern Romanian air-conditioned sleeping-car of the latest type.

  • Fares start at €39 with a couchette in 6-berth, €46 with a couchette in 4-berth, €69 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €84 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €162 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    You can also try booking at the Hungarian Railways website www.mav-start.hu, see my advice on using it.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You show your ticket in the MAV app on your smartphone.  However, although it now appears to book couchettes or sleepers, it may or may not manage to do so.

    Tip   If the system won't offer tickets for a 2-bed or 1-bed sleeper, simply book three tickets in a 3-bed sleeper to get sole occupancy of a whole sleeper compartment.  Simples!

    Tip:  If you want to take the Muntenia and use the Timisoara-Bucharest sleeping-car, (1) book a seat Budapest-Timisoara on train IC 79 at bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro then (2) book the sleeper Timisoara-Bucharest on train D 79 at www.cfrcalatori.ro.

2-berth sleeper on the Ister   The Ister at Bucharest Nord

A 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

The sleeping-car (vagon de dormit) on the westbound Ister at Bucharest.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The couchette car on the westbound Ister, boarding at Bucharest.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.  Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Budapest to Bucharest by daytime train...

  • The InterCity train Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti daily at 07:10 and arrives Arad 12:31, Timişoara Nord 13:34 & Bucharest Nord at 23:49.

    The Traianus has comfortable Romanian air-conditioned 2nd class seats, there's no 1st class.  A Romanian cafe-bar car is available for snacks & drinks.  An epic journey across Transylvania...

  • Advance-purchase online fares start at just €26.30.

The daytime train Traianus from Budapest to Bucharest

The Intercity train Traianus from Budapest to Bucharest has modern air-conditioned Romanian carriages.  Three cars travel all the way, additional cars are attached whilst in Hungary, and additional cars and a bar car are attached between Drobeta Turnu Severin & Bucharest.

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   2nd class on the Budapest to Bucharest train

On the left, the daytime train to Bucharest is about to leave Budapest Keleti...

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the Budapest to Bucharest train.  There are power outlets under the tables.  Larger photo.

Bar stools on the Budapest to Bucharest train   Bar car on the Budapest to Bucharest train

A bar car is attached between Drobeta Turnu Severin & Bucharest.  Photos courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

Option 3, Budapest to Bucharest using the Astra Trans Carpatic...

  • A privately-run deluxe sleeper train called the Astra Trans Carpatic operates from Arad to Bucharest.  You can take an afternoon train from Budapest to the pleasant city of Arad, have dinner, then sleep your way to Bucharest in a private sleeper, some with en suite shower & toilet.  Slower than the direct trains, but higher-quality, remarkably cheap, and well worth considering.

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Arad in western Romania, leaving Budapest Keleti at 13:10 and arriving Arad at 18:32.

    This air-conditioned Intercity train has 2nd class seats.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  Have dinner in Arad, there are food outlets in the shopping mall next to the station and a Lidl across the road, or it's a 10-15 minute walk into the pleasant town centre.

    Fares start at €10.80 if you book in advance, even a few days.

    Buy a ticket at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using itBooking opens 60 days ahead.  You must show the ticket on the MAV app on your smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel from Arad to Bucharest overnight on the Astra Trans Carpatic, leaving Arad at 20:05 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 07:17.

    The Astra Trans Carpatic has an air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1 & 2 bed deluxe sleepers with en suite toilet & shower, 1 & 2 bed standard sleepers with washbasin, shower at the end of the corridor.  It also has a swish air-conditioned couchette car with 4-berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  See virtual tour of the Astra Trans Carpatic (please let me know if that link stops working).

    Fares:  Deluxe single-bed sleeper 330 Lei (€67), deluxe 2-bed sleeper 240 Lei per person (€49), single-bed sleeper 270 Lei (€55), 2-bed sleeper 210 Lei per person (€43), bed in 4-berth couchette compartment 147 Lei (€30).

    Book online at www.astratranscarpatic.ro.  You print your own ticket.

The Astra Trans Carpatic train at Arad

The sleeping-car at the rear of the Astra Trans Carpatic, at Arad.  See virtual tour of the Astra Trans CarpaticCourtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

Couchette compartment on the Astra Trans Carpatic   Sleeper compartment on the Astra Trans Carpatic

4-berth couchette compartment on the Astra Trans Carpatic...

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a single. Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

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Budapest to Brasov from €29...

Option 1, Budapest to Brasov by sleeper train Ister...

  • The safe & comfortable sleeper train Ister leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:10 arriving Brasov 08:40 next day.  The train continues to Bucharest.

    The Ister has a comfortable, safe & civilised air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and a couchette car with 6-berth compartments.  Take a picnic and bottle of wine as there may not be a bar car until the train gets to Romania.  It's a really scenic journey in the morning, as the train passes through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov & Ploesti, have your camera to hand!

  • Fares start at €39 with a couchette in 6-berth, €46 with a couchette in 4-berth, €69 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €84 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €162 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    You can also try booking at the Hungarian Railways website www.mav-start.hu, see my advice on using it.  You show your ticket in the MAV app on your smartphone.  However, although it now appears to book couchettes or sleepers, it may or may not manage to do so.

    Tip   If the system won't offer tickets for a 2-bed or 1-bed sleeper, simply book three tickets in a 3-bed sleeper to get sole occupancy of a whole sleeper compartment.  Simples!

    Tip:  If it shows no cheap fares to Brasov, they may have forgotten to program in an allocation for Brasov.  Book from Budapest to Bucuresti instead, you may then find places available, and you simply get off in Brasov.

2-berth sleeper on the Ister   The Ister at Bucharest Nord

A 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

The sleeping-car (vagon de dormit) on the westbound Ister at Bucharest.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The couchette car on the westbound Ister, boarding at Bucharest.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.  Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Budapest to Brasov by sleeper train Corona...

  • An alternative sleeper train called the Corona leaves Budapest Keleti at 17:40 and arrives Brasov at 09:43.

    The Corona has a comfortable but older non-air-con Hungarian sleeping-car with wood-panelled 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, 4 & 6 berth couchettes.  There is a Hungarian restaurant car for dinner and breakfast.

    This is a Hungarian alternative to the Romanian Ister, it takes an extra 90 minutes but with a proper Hungarian restaurant car for dinner & breakfast and an elderly but cosy wood-panelled Communist-era sleeping-car kept in remarkably good condition, it's a nice train.  Some prefer it to the Ister.  This train terminates at Brasov, so only carries passengers bound for that city, not for Bucharest.  It runs via Cluj.

  • Fares start at €39 with a couchette in 6-berth, €46 with a couchette in 4-berth, €69 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €84 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €162 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    You can also try booking at the Hungarian Railways website www.mav-start.hu, see my advice on using it.  You show your ticket in the MAV app on your smartphone.  However, although it now appears to book couchettes or sleepers, it may or may not manage to do so.

    Tip   If the system won't offer tickets for a 2-bed or 1-bed sleeper, simply book three tickets in a 3-bed sleeper to get sole occupancy of a whole sleeper compartment.  Simples!

The sleeping-car of the Budapest to Brasov train Corona

The Corona from Budapest to Brasov waits to leave platform 3 at Budapest Keleti.  That's the elderly Hungarian sleeping-car at the rear, the more modern couchette car is ahead of it with the restaurant car ahead of that.  A pleasant train to travel on!

Sleeper on the Budapest-Brasov train 'Corona'   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

Elderly but comfortable 2-bed sleeper on the Corona.

 

4 or 6 berth couchette compartment...

Option 3, Budapest to Brasov by daytime train...

  • An air-conditioned IC train leaves Budapest Keleti at 09:10, running via Simeria & Sibiu and arriving Brasov 22:46. 

    2nd class seats only, in comfortable air-conditioned Romanian carriages, an epic journey across Transylvania...

  • Advance-purchase online fares start at €26.30.

The daytime train from Budapest to Bucharest

An Intercity train from Budapest to Romania, with modern air-conditioned Romanian carriages.

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   2nd class on the Budapest to Bucharest train

On the left, the daytime train to Bucharest is about to leave Budapest Keleti...

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on a Budapest to Romania train.  There are power outlets under the tables.  Larger photo.

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Budapest to Cluj, Timisoara, Sibiu, Sighişoara....
  • The Dacia Express sleeper train leaves Budapest Keleti at 22:45 and arrives at Sighisoara 09:21.

  • Two daily air-conditioned trains link Budapest with Cluj, leaving Budapest Keleti at 07:40 & 13:40, journey time around 7h30, and there's a sleeper to Cluj leaving Budapest Keleti at 22:45 with a modern sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments arriving 08:19.

  • The comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti daily at 07:10 and arrives Timişoara Nord at 13:34.

  • Book at the Romanian Railways international website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  This can book seats, couchettes or sleepers.  You print your own ticket.

    You can also try using the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu to check train times & buy tickets.  Booking opens 60 days aheadSee my advice for using mavcsoport.hu.

  • Tip:  Sometimes mavcsoport.hu won't book to some smaller destinations, and it will say no offers available.  But if you can identify that the train you want continues to Brasov or Bucharest using the online timetable at www.bahn.de/en, you can use www.mavcsoport.hu to book from Budapest to (say) Brasov and simply get off when the train stops at your chosen station.  This is perfectly legitimate.  Better to buy a €29 ticket from Budapest to Brasov and get off at Sibiu than to buy an expensive full-price ticket from Budapest to Sibiu.

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Budapest to Ljubljana from €16...

Option 1, Budapest to Ljubljana by morning train Citadella daily all year...

  • A comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train called the Citadella leaves Budapest Dιli at 09:00 & arrives Ljubljana at 16:35.

    The Citadella is composed of one modern Hungarian air-conditioned car with open-plan seats and several old-school Slovenian cars with 6-seat compartments, no air-con, but large opening windows.

    Seat reservation is optional for international journeys, so you can sit in whichever car you like.  The Citadella is 2nd class only, there's no catering so take your own picnic & beer or wine.  It's routed directly from Hungary into Slovenia.  Enjoy the scenic run along the Sava river into Ljubljana!

  • Advance-purchase fares start at €16 in 2nd class.  Bought at the station on the day, expect to pay around €40.

  • Book online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it

    The air-con open-plan Hungarian car is car 424.  The Slovenian cars are 421, 422, 423.  In theory, jegy.mav.hu allows you to add a reserved seat, de-select automatic reservation, then choose Termeskocsi (open-plan car), but the reservation usually fails.  Leaving automatic reservation selected works, but always seems to get you a seat in one of the Slovenian cars.  But you can always move to the Hungarian air-con open-plan car if you like.

    Booking opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it in the MAV app on your smartphone.  Suggested hotel in Ljubljana.

The Ljubljana to Budapest Citadella arrived at Budapest Deli

The Citadella from Ljubljana to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Deli.  These are the Slovenian cars.

2nd class seats in the Hungarian air-conditioned car   1st class compartment on the Budapest to Ljubljana train Citadella

2nd class in the one Hungarian air-con car.

 

2nd class compartments in the Slovenian cars.

Option 2, Budapest to Ljubljana by afternoon train daily all year - new from 12 December 2021...

  • An excellent air-conditioned InterCity train called the Drava leaves Budapest Keleti at 16:15 and arrives Ljubljana at 00:58.

    This train is composed of excellent modernised air-conditioned Hungarian carriages with open-plan seating in both 1st & 2nd class.  There's no catering car so bring a picnic & some beer or wine.  It's routed across Austria via Graz.

  • Advance-purchase fares start at €39.40 in 2nd class or €51.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.

    Booking opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it in the MAV app on your smartphone.

    Alternatively, because it crosses Austria you can also  book at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.atBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

The Budapest to Ljubljana train Drava at Budapest Keleti

The Drava from Budapest to Ljubljana about to leave at Budapest Keleti platform 10.

1st class seats on the Budapest to Ljubljana train Drava   2nd class seats on the Budapest to Ljubljana train Drava

1st class seats on the Drava.

 

2nd class seats on the Drava.

Option 3, Budapest to Ljubljana by sleeper train, summer only...

  • In summer late June to mid-August there's also a sleeper train leaving Budapest Dιli around 20:30 arriving Ljubljana around 06:00 and continuing to Koper on the Adriatic coast.  The train has couchettes (4 & 6 bunk compartments) and a sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin).  Book online at www.mavcsoport.hu.

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Budapest to Zagreb from €15...
  • There are one or two direct trains from Budapest to Zagreb every day.

    The InterCity Gradec leaves Budapest Dιli at 06:35 arriving Zagreb 12:55. Ran 6 June - 11 September 2022, 2023 dates to be confirmed.

    The InterCity Agram leaves Budapest Dιli at 15:35 arriving Zagreb 22:10.  Runs every day all year.

    Both trains travel along the southern shore of Lake Balaton, a scenic section of line.  If you get any good photos, let me know!

    The Agram has one comfortable air-conditioned Hungarian car with open-plan 2nd class seats and one air-conditioned Croatian car with 6-seat 2nd class compartments, plus various older Hungarian cars only going as as far as the border.  There's no 1st class and no catering car so take your own picnic & wine.  The Gradec has one air-conditioned Croatian car going Budapest-Zagreb with 6-seat compartments.

Intercity train Agram from Budapest to Zagreb

The Intercity train Agram at Budapest Deli, the Croatian car in the foreground, the Hungarian car  next to it, then in the distance at the front of the train the older Hungarian cars going as far as the border.

2nd class seats on the Budapest to Zagreb train Agram   2nd class seats on the Budapest to Zagreb train Agram

2nd class compartment in the Croatian car.

 

2nd class open-plan seats in the Hungarian car.

Lake Balaton seen from the Budapest to Zagreb train

The train runs along the southern shore of Lake Balaton, Hungary's largest lake.  Courtesy of Della Mcvay.

Sunflowers seen from the train from Budapest to Zagreb

The train passes fields of sunflowers...  Courtesy of Louise Donnelly.

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Budapest to Split & Dubrovnik...

Option 1, Budapest to Split & Dubrovnik via Zagreb - all year round, allows you to stop off in Zagreb.

An ICN train to Splt at Zagreb station   1st class seats on the fast tilting ICN train from Zagreb to Split

The daytime trains to Split:  These fast, tilting, air-conditioned ICN trains link Zagreb & Split once or twice a day through great scenery.  Above right, first class seats on the train to Split.  You can now buy tickets online at www.hzpp.hr.

Scenery seen from the Zagreb-Split train

Scenery between Zagreb and Split seen from the train...  Photo courtesy of Pαraic Maguire.

Option 2, Budapest to Split & Dubrovnik by sleeper train Adria, 10 June to 2 September 2022, 2023 dates to be confirmed...

  • A direct train called the Adria ran from 10 June to 2 September 2022, leaving Budapest Keleti at 18:55 every evening arriving Split at 08:37 next morning.  It has a comfortable Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments and a couchette car with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.

  • The fare is around €79 with couchette or from €92 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper.

  • Check to see if it is bookable online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  If not, you will need to book at the station or by phone with a ticketing agency in your home country.

  • For Dubrovnik, take a bus from Split.  There are buses every hour or even every half hour, run by several companies.  Journey time between 3h45 and 4h35, fare around €13-€17.  Buy a ticket at the bus station in Split.

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Budapest to Sarajevo...

The direct Budapest to Sarajevo train was sadly discontinued in 2012, and the Zagreb-Sarajevo direct train is also currently suspended across the Croatian-Bosnian border.  But you can still travel from Budapest to Sarajevo by train with a short break in the middle by taxi, like this:

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Budapest to Belgrade for €15...  Or to Montenegro for €35...
  • The Budapest-Belgrade line is out of action since February 2019 for several years.  It's being rebuilt for 200 km/h operation which will eventually reduce Budapest-Belgrade journey time to 3½ hours.  See further details & read latest updates about this engineering work.

  • A train leaves Budapest Keleti at 11:57 every day arriving Novi Sad at 18:44.

    Novi Sad is about 90km from Belgrade, you make your own way from there to Belgrade, there are many local buses available.

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Budapest to Sofia...

The Budapest-Belgrade line is currently blocked by upgrading work, so the best route is now via Bucharest...

Option 1, Budapest to Sofia using a Budapest-Bucharest sleeper...

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Bucharest on the sleeper train Muntenia, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 08:06.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car is attached from Timişoara Nord (depart 21:50) to Bucharest.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.

    Fares start at €40 with a couchette in 6-berth or €47 with a couchette in 4-berth.  These are limited-availability advance-purchase fares.

    Book this at the Romanian Railways international website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.

    If you want the comfort & privacy of a proper sleeper from Timisoara to Bucharest, (1) book a 2nd class seat from Budapest to Timisoara from €17 using bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.  (2) Now book berths in a 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper from Timisoara Nord to Bucharest Nord at the Romanian domestic website bilete.cfrcalatori.ro and print your own ticket.

Option 2, Budapest to Sofia by daytime trains with overnight stop in Bucharest

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Budapest to Warsaw from €27...

Option 1, Budapest to Warsaw by sleeper train - the safe, comfortable, time-effective option...

  • A safe & comfortable EuroNight sleeper train leaves Budapest Nyugati at 19:29 every night, and arrives Warsaw Gdanska at 08:56.

    It has economical couchettes in 4 & 6 bunk compartments and a comfortable, safe & civilised sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin or 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower.  A sleeper is the recommended option, you'll be safe and snug.  The sleeper is of Polish Railways latest air-conditioned type, see the photos below.

  • Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €69.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €88.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • You can book this train at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  For single occupancy, book 2 tickets in a 2-bed sleeper.

  • If booking online at mavcsoport doesn't work - it sometimes says No offer available, either because the cheap fares are sold out or because MAV staff have forgotten to load the necessary data, or because they have decided to sell at full-price which their website doesn't sell - do one of the following:

    Option 1, pick up the phone and book that way, although you'll only get full-flex tickets this way, not cheap advance-purchase fares as those are only sold direct by MAV.  In the UK you can DB (German Railways) UK phone line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04.  Alternatively, anyone from any country can order tickets from reliable Polish agency www.polrail.com and pay extra for tickets to be sent to you, although again, this will cost a lot more than buying a cheap advance-purchase ticket from Hungarian Railways direct.  For cheapness, consider option 2 below...

    Option 2, consider catching the 18:40 EuroCity train from Budapest Keleti to Vienna Hbf, then using using the 22:10 Vienna-Warsaw sleeper train instead, see times & fares here.  Or by all means book an earlier train from Budapest and have dinner in Vienna.  You can easily buy a cheap Sparschiene fare in a couchette or sleeper from Vienna to Warsaw at www.thetrainline.com or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at with tickets that can be printed out.  Then buy a ticket from Budapest to Vienna at www.thetrainline.com or the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, also with tickets that can be printed out.  Simples!

The  Polish sleeping-car from Budapest to Warsaw

The modern Polish sleeping-car from Budapest to Warsaw, boarding at Budapest Nyugati...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode, set up as a triple   Deluxe 2-bed sleeper in modern Polish sleeping-car   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as a 3-berth.  It can also be sold as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet.  Click the photos for larger images.

Couchettes on the Budapest to Warsaw sleeper train   Couchettes on the Budapest to Warsaw sleeper train

Polish couchette car on the Budapest to Warsaw night train with 4 & 6 berth compartments.

 

6-berth couchettes. Larger photo

Option 2, Budapest to Warsaw by daytime train - the leisurely daytime option...

  • A smart air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Bαthory leaves Budapest Nyugati at 08:12 and arrives Warsaw Centralna at 19:34.

    The train has Hungarian seating cars (a 1st class car, 2nd class compartment cars & a 2nd class open-plan car) and a Hungarian restaurant car.  Take a good book, enjoy an inexpensive meal in the restaurant car with a beer or two, and chill out.

  • Fares start at €27 in 2nd class or €41 in 1st class if booked in advance online, these cheap fares have limited availability.

  • Book online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  See tips for using mavcsoport.hu.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it in the MAV app on your smartphone.

The EuroCity train Bathory from Budapest to Warsaw

EuroCity train Bathory from Budapest to Warsaw at Budapest Nyugati...  Click the photos below for larger images.

Restaurant car on the Budapest-Warsaw EuroCity train   Restaurant car on the Budapest-Warsaw EuroCity train

1st class seats on the EuroCity Bathory.

 

Restaurant car on the EuroCity Bathory.

1st class compartment on a Hungarian EuroCity train   2nd class seats on the Budapest to Ljubljana train Drava

2nd class compartment on the EuroCity Bathory.

 

2nd class open plan car as used on the Bathory.

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Budapest to Krakow from €19...

Option 1, Budapest to Krakow by sleeper train - the safe, comfortable, time-effective option...

  • A direct EuroNight sleeper train leaves Budapest Nyugati at 19:29 every night, arriving Krakow Glowny at 05:46.

    The train has a comfortable, carpeted sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin or 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower, it also has a couchette car with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.  A sleeper is the recommended option, you'll be safe & snug.  The sleeper is of Polish Railways latest air-conditioned type, see the photos below.

  • Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €69.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €88.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • You can usually book this train online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, although it won't book deluxe sleepers so just stick with regular ones.  Booking opens 60 days aheadSee my advice for using mavcsoport.hu.

  • Tip:  If booking online at mavcsoport doesn't work - if it says No offer available, either because the cheap fares are sold out or because MAV staff have forgotten to load the necessary data, or because they have decided to sell at full-price which their website doesn't sell - try one of the following workarounds:

    Option 1, It's reported that the MAV website only sells berths in triple sleepers, not in doubles - and from online checks this seems to be the case.  So if you want to book 2 people in a 2-berth sleeper or 1 person in a single-berth sleeper, simply book 3 people in 3-berth instead, making sure you run the enquiry with 'own compartment' selected.  This gets you sole occupancy of one whole sleeper compartment from €49 x 3 (which is still cheaper than paying full-whack for a double or single) and you can simply fold one or two of the three beds away to convert it into a double or single.  Easy when you know!

    Option 2, pick up the phone and book that way, although you'll only get full-flex tickets this way, not cheap advance-purchase fares as those are only sold direct by MAV.  In the UK you can DB (German Railways) UK phone line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04.  Alternatively, anyone from any country can order tickets from reliable Polish agency www.polrail.com and pay extra for tickets to be sent to you, although again, this will cost a lot more than buying a cheap advance-purchase ticket from Hungarian Railways direct.  For cheapness, consider option 3 below...

    Option 3, consider catching the 18:40 EuroCity train from Budapest Keleti to Vienna Hbf, then using using the 22:10 Vienna-Krakow sleeper train instead, see times & fares here - the Vienna-Krakow(-Warsaw) sleeper arrives at Krakow coupled to the Budapest-Krakow(-Warsaw), they are two portions of the same train.  By all means book an earlier train from Budapest and have dinner in Vienna!  You can easily buy a cheap Sparschiene fare in a couchette or sleeper from Vienna to Krakow at the www.thetrainline.com or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at with tickets that can be printed out.  Then buy a ticket from Budapest to Vienna at www.thetrainline.com or the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, also with tickets that can be printed out.  Simples!

The  Polish sleeping-car from Budapest to Warsaw

The modern Polish sleeping-car from Budapest to Krakow & Warsaw, boarding at Budapest Nyugati...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode, set up as a triple   Deluxe 2-bed sleeper in modern Polish sleeping-car   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 3-berth, can also be set up as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet.  Click the photos for larger images.

Couchettes on the Budapest to Warsaw sleeper train   Couchettes on the Budapest to Warsaw sleeper train

Polish couchette car on the Budapest to Warsaw night train with 4 & 6 berth compartments.

 

6-berth couchettes. Larger photo

Option 2, Budapest to Krakow by EuroCity train - the leisurely daytime option...

  • Two modern air-conditioned through cars leave Budapest Nyugati every day at 08:12, arriving Krakow Glowny at 17:13.

    They run from Budapest to Bohumin attached to the Budapest-Warsaw EuroCity train Bαthory, then from Bohumin to Krakow attached to the Prague-Krakow Cracovia.

    The 2nd class through cars are comfortable, modern & air-conditioned with power sockets at all seats.  One car has classic 6-seat compartments, the other has open-plan seating.   I recommend sticking with 2nd class which is absolutely fine in these modern cars.  If you insist on going 1st class you will have to switch trains at Bohumin just after 14:00, where the through car is switched between trains.

    A Hungarian restaurant car is available from Budapest to Bohumin, reached around 14:00, and a Czech bistro car runs from Bohumin to Krakow, see the photos of the bistro on the Prague-Krakow page.

  • Fares start at €19 if you book online in advance.

The Budapest to Krakow train

The Budapest-Krakow through cars at Katowice, attached to the rear of the Prague-Krakow Cracovia. Courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

1st class compartment on a Hungarian EuroCity train   One of the Budapest to Krakow through cars

One Budapest-Krakow car has 6-seat compartments like this.  Click the images for larger photos.

 

...the other Budapest-Krakow car has open-plan seats, wheelchair space, bike compartment.

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Budapest to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn...

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Budapest to Lviv, Kyiv & Ukraine...

Option 1, Budapest to Lviv & Kyiv by direct sleeping-car.  See Ukrainian news report on the introduction of the Vienna-Kyiv sleeping-car service...

  • One or two Ukrainian sleeping-cars leave Budapest Keleti at 19:40 every evening and arrive next day at Lviv at 11:00 & Kyiv at 18:30.

    Introduced in December 2017, these Ukrainian sleeping-cars have comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  They start in Vienna.

    Bought at the station in Budapest the fare is around €54 with a bed in a cosy 3-bed sleeper.  However, these direct sleeping-cars have proved popular and they often leave fully-booked, so book ahead.

    The best way to pre-book tickets for this train is via reliable agency www.polrail.com, with tickets posted or couriered to you for a small fee.  Polrail are based in Poland so charge in zlotys, but as they have access to Ukrainian ticketing system they are good for booking this train.  You cannot currently book online with ΦBB although you could try emailing or calling their telesales via their website www.oebb.atFeedback would be appreciated.

    Booked through Polrail (in zlotys, converted here into euros):

    Budapest to Kyiv costs around €103 in a 3-berth sleeper €114 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €184 in a single-berth sleeper.

    Budapest to Lviv costs around €87 in a 3-berth sleeper €95 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €152 in a single-berth sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Budapest-Kyiv sleeping-car at Kyiv Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car has its wheels changed at Chop

The sleeper is jacked up to have its bogies changed at Chop on the Ukrainian border.  Photo Helmut Uttenthaler.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kyiv sleeper at Vienna Hbf... Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

Option 2, Budapest to Lviv by daytime trains for €26...  Also a useful alternative for Budapest-Kyiv if the direct train is full...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Mukachevo, leaving Budapest Nyugati at 07:23 every day arriving Mukacheve in Ukraine at 15:30.

    Just one or two through cars run direct to Mukachevo, with comfortable air-conditioned 2nd class open-plan seats.

    The fare is around €23 bought on the day.

    Tickets from Budapest to Mukachevo cannot be booked online, so buy at the station, there are always places even on the day.  You can check times for this train at www.bahn.de or www.mavcsoport.hu.

    At Mukachevo there's a supermarket across the road from the station and a pizza restaurant nearby.

  • Step 2, travel from Mukachevo to Lviv or Kyiv on train 81, leaving Mukachevo at 18:04, arriving Lviv at 22:24 & Kyiv at 08:36 next morning.

    Train 81 has 1st class 2-berth sleepers (spalny vagon), 2nd class 4-berth sleepers (kupι) & open-plan sleepers (platskartny).

    The fare from Mukachevo to Lviv is around €11 in kupι.

    The fare from Mukachevo to Kyiv is around €49 in spalny vagon, or €21 in kupι.

    This train can be booked online at the Ukrainian Railways website www.uz.gov.ua.  Booking opens 30-60 days ahead.

  • Feedback and any photos of the Hungarian or Ukrainian trains inside or out would be most welcome, please email me if you travel this way!

The Budapest to Mukachevo train

The two Hungarian through cars from Budapest arrived at Mukachevo. Courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

The Mukachevo to Kiev sleeper train

Ukrainian train 81 from Mukachevo to Lviv & Kyiv, boarding at Mukachevo.  Courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

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Budapest to Moscow & St Petersburg...

Option 1, Budapest to Moscow via Kyiv - avoiding need for a Belarus visa...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Kyiv by direct sleeper train as shown above.  Leave Budapest evening day 1, arrive Kyiv late afternoon day 2.

  • Step 2, travel from Kyiv to Moscow by sleeper train...

    There are several trains every night, perfectly safe for westerners in spite of any tensions between Russia & Ukraine.  Train 6 leaves Kyiv at 19:36 arriving Moscow Kievskaya station around 10:09 next morning, which would be day 3 from Budapest.  This route avoids Belarus and the need for an expensive Belarusian visa so it's the route I'd recommend.

    Kyiv-Moscow trains were suspended due to Covid-19 and remain suspended due to the war in Ukraine...

    The fare is around €92 with a bed in 4-berth kupι or €180 with a bed in a 2-berth spalny vagon.

    You can ask www.polrail.com to book this for you too, or you can book tickets from Kyiv to Moscow at the Ukrainian Railways site booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ booking from Kyiv to Moskva Kievskaya.  You collect tickets at the station in Kyiv.  Feedback appreciated!

Option 2, Budapest to Moscow using the daily Prague-Moscow sleeper train...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Bohumin on the EuroCity train Bathory, leaving Budapest Nyugati at 08:28 arriving Bohumin at 14:09.

    Book from Budapest to Bohumin at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz with fares from €19. Booking normally opens 90 days ahead, you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Bohumin to Moscow by Russian sleeper train, leaving Bohumin at 14:40 every day arriving Moscow Belorussky at 16:58 next day (the day after you leave Budapest).  You can check times at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru.

    This train was suspended due to Covid-19 and remains suspended due to sanctions.

    If this seems like a tight connection, don't worry.  The Prague-Moscow sleeping-cars get coupled up to the Budapest-Poland Bathory and run combined as one train between Bohumin, Warsaw & Terespol on the Poland/Belarus border.

    This train uses impressive Austrian-built sleeping-cars with 4-berth compartments built in 2014, see photos of this type of sleeper here & see panorama photo inside one of these modern sleepers.  Each compartment can be sold as 1st class 1-berth, 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth.  The train consist of two or three sleeping-cars which start their journey in Prague.  There's a bistro car in Poland and a Russian restaurant car is attached between Brest (on the Polish/Belarus border) & Moscow.

    The fare is approximately €120 with a bed in a 4-berth sleeper. €180 in a 2-bed sleeper or €215 in a single-bed sleeper.

    You can book this train online at Czech Railways www.cd.cz and print your own ticket.  This is the recommended method.

    Alternatively, you can book with Russian Railways at www.rzd.ru although it's a little quirky and may not accept some overseas credit cards.

    Don't forget to arrange both your Russian visa and Belarus transit visa as the train runs via Belarus.  See my important update about travel to Russia through Belarus.

  • For St Petersburg it's best to travel via Moscow.  Moscow to St Petersburg takes as little as 3h50 by daytime Sapsan trains, or can be done an a number of traditional overnight sleepers.  See the train travel in Russia page to buy tickets within Russia.

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Budapest to Athens, Thessaloniki & Greece...

Option 1, Budapest to Athens by ferry from Italy. 

This is a round-about route but the most viable option whilst trains in the Balkans remain cancelled.

Option 2, Budapest to Athens overland by train via Belgrade - direct route...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Belgrade using the once-a-day train from Budapest to Novi Sad & onward bus as shown above.

  • Step 2, travel from Belgrade to Thessaloniki overnight on the Hellas Express leaving Belgrade Topcider station at 18:21 June-September and arriving in Thessaloniki in Greece at 10:08 next morning, with both a seats car and a North Macedonian couchette car with 6-berth compartments. 

    Following the migrant crisis, this train is temporarily (but indefinitely) replaced by a bus between Gevgelija on the North Macedonian/Greek border and Thessaloniki.  Feedback appreciated.

    This train now only runs in summer, June-September.  See here for dates.  It will not run at all at other times of year.

    This train did not run in 2021 or 2022 and probably won't run in 2023.

    The fare from Belgrade to Thessaloniki is €34 + around €8 couchette supplement if you buy at Belgrade station (there will always be places available on the day).  You can also book the Belgrade-Thessaloniki train (but not onward trains to Athens) using a western European ticketing agency such as Trainseurope or DB's English-speaking line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04, but they can only access full-price international tariffs, so the cost will be around €75 including couchette.

  • Step 3, travel from Thessaloniki to Athens by comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train.  Trains link Thessaloniki with Larissa and Athens every couple of hours, journey time now only 4h09 after a significant speed-up in 2019.  You should make the 12:15 arriving Athens at 16:24.  It's a wonderfully scenic ride, past Mount Olympus and the Aegean, then through the mountains south of Larissa, see the photos & information here.  You can buy train tickets from Thessaloniki to Athens online in advance at www.hellenictrain.gr, with print-at-home tickets see the step-by-step advice on using it here.

Option 3, Budapest to Athens overland by train via Sofia... 

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Budapest to Istanbul & Turkey for €65...

Option 1, via Bucharest....

  • Step 1, take overnight train Muntenia leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 and arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord at 08:06 next day.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car is attached from Timişoara Nord (depart 21:50) to Bucharest.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  The Muntenia is named after the region of Romania in which Bucharest is situated.

    Fares start at €39 with couchette in 6-berth, €49 with couchette in 4-berth.

    Book at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Bucharest is listed as Bucuresti (Romania).  For Hungary to Romania journeys you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you want the comfort & privacy of a proper sleeper from Timisoara to Bucharest, (1) book a 2nd class seat from Budapest to Timisoara from €17 using bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.  (2) Now book berths in a 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper from Timisoara Nord to Bucharest Nord at the Romanian domestic website bilete.cfrcalatori.ro and print your own ticket.  The sleeper is of the classic wood-panelled ex-German Railways type.

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Budapest to other destinations...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

Custom-made tours using trains...

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, talk to Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

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

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

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

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


bullet pointHotels in Budapest

Suggested hotels in Budapest...

  • For something affordable near Budapest Keleti station, but with decent reviews try The Baross City Hotel just across the road from Budapest Keleti station or the Elit Hotel two minutes walk down the road.

  • For something affordable near Budapest Nyugati station, try the 3-star  T62 Hotel just across the road or the even cheaper 3-star Star Inn Budapest Centrum a few minutes walk away, both with good reviews.  The 4-star Radisson Blu Bιke Hotel is just one block along the road from the station.

  • For something different, but relatively inexpensive the floating hotel MS Maribelle gets great reviews, it's a river cruise boat permanently moored on the Pest side of the Danube close to the fortress with views across the river of the Hungarian Parliament.

  • For something special & historic, go for the New York Palace Hotel, opened in 1894 and housing the famous New York Cafe on its ground floor.  It's just 14 minutes walk from Keleti and gets fabulous reviews.  As luxury hotels go, it's pretty affordable.  Or there's the venerable Corinthia Hotel, formerly the Grand Hotel Royal, another famous hotel dating from the late 19th century.  It's 20 minutes walk from Keleti or 9 minutes by taxi.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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