Trains from Budapest
 

small bullet point  Budapest Keleti station information

small bullet point  Budapest Nyugati station information

small bullet point  Budapest Dιli station information

bullet pointI want to go from Budapest to...

      

      Click here if your journey starts in another city

      See COVID-19 information & update

This page explains how to travel by train from Budapest to other cities all over Europe, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Train information is current for 2021.  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...

Back to top


Budapest to London...

Back to top


Budapest to Paris from €79...

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

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

Option 2, by Hungarian sleeper train to Zurich and high-speed TGV-Lyria to Paris.  This is the fastest & most time-effective option, & saves a hotel bill too...

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

2-berth sleeper. Larger photo.

 

Step 1, from Budapest to Zurich by sleeping-car, seen here at Budapest KeletiMore information about this train.  Photos courtesy of Matthew Williams.

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

The sleeper from Budapest, arrived in Zurich...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

6-berth couchettes.

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

Step 2, take a TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyon. These 320 km/h double-deck trains now operate all TGV-Lyria services.

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, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. 360Ί photo.

 

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

Option 3, by Hungarian sleeper train to Munich and high-speed TGV to Paris.  Similar to option 1, but via Munich, and it takes a little longer.

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

Step 1, Budapest to Munich on the Kalman Imre. More information about this sleeper train.

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

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

Step 2, onwards to Paris by 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 4, by railjet from Budapest to Munich, overnight stop, TGV from Munich to Paris. This is the fastest & cheapest all-daytime option.

Option 5, Budapest to Zurich via the scenic Arlberg Pass, overnight stop, then TGV-Lyria to Paris.  The scenic route! 

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A railjet train pauses at Vienna...

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet arrived at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf spot on time.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

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

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, the stewardess 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...

Back to top


Budapest to Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Marseille, Avignon...

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

Thello train from  Nice to Milan, at Milan Centrale

Step 1, Nice to Milan by Thello, seen here at Milan Centrale.  More photos & information about Thello trains.

2nd class seats on the Thello train from Nice to Milan   1st class seats on Thello train from Nice to Milan

2nd class seats on the Thello train.  All seats have power sockets, with plenty of luggage space on racks and between seat backs.

 

1st class seats on Thello.  All seats have power sockets.  Plenty of luggage room on racks & between seat backs...

Coastal scenery from the Thello train from Nice to Italy

Views from the train, along the Ligurian coast between Nice and Genoa.  Photos courtesy of Lucas Martin.

Option 2, by direct Russian sleeper train every Friday...

Back to top


Budapest to Brussels & Bruges from €56...

Option 1, using the Vienna to Brussels Nightjet sleeper train on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays - the most time-effective option...

Option 2, using the Vienna-Cologne Nightjet sleeper train - on days when the direct Vienna-Brussels Nightjet isn't running...

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

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

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

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 3, by sleeper train to Munich, then daytime trains to Brussels...

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

Budapest to Munich on the Kalman Imre More information about this sleeper train.

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

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

Munich to Frankfurt & Brussels by ICE...

 

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.

Option 4, by day trains with overnight stop in Munich...

Option 5, by sleeper to Prague then day trains to Brussels - the cheapest option from €64!

The sleeper train from Prague to Budapest, boarding in Prague

Budapest to Prague by sleeping-car.  This is the Prague-Budapest sleeper at Prague.

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

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

 

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

 

Deluxe sleepers are similar to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.

 

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

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

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

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

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

Easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb...  The blue train on the left is the Czech train to & from Prague, the red train on the right is the German regional train to & from Nuremberg.

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.

Back to top


Budapest to Amsterdam from €69.80...

Option 1, using the Vienna-Amsterdam Nightjet sleeper train - the easiest, most comfortable & time-effective option...

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

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

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 2, Vienna to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper train seen here at Vienna Hbf 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, by sleeper train to Munich, then daytime trains to Amsterdam...

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

1.  Budapest to Munich by sleeper, see more information about this sleeper train.

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

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

2.  Munich to Amsterdam by ICE...

 

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.

Option 3, by day trains with overnight stop in Munich...  If you prefer daytime trains and a hotel...

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

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

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Back to top


Budapest to Zurich & Switzerland from €39...

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

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

2-berth sleeper. Larger photo.

 

The sleeping-car to Zurich, at Budapest Keleti. see more information about this sleeper train.  Photos courtesy of Matthew Williams.

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

The sleeper from Budapest, arrived in Zurich...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

6-berth couchettes.

Option 2, by daytime train from €39 - the scenic option, through the wonderful Arlberg Pass...

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

A railjet on platform 9 at Budapest's historic Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

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, the stewardess 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...

Back to top


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

Option 1:  By railjet train to Vienna then Nightjet sleeper train to Italy - the comfortable, time-effective option...

Budapest to Italy by train...

Simply hop on an afternoon railjet train from Budapest to Vienna, have dinner in Vienna, then board the sleeper to Italy.

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

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

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

The Nightjet train from Vienna to Venice, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia

Step 2, take the nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Italy.  This is the Vienna-Venice nightjet, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia.  See more nightjet information, photos & video.

Nightjet deluxe sleeper, 2-bed   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

2-berth deluxe sleeper.  360° photo.

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes.  360° photo.

Sunrise as the sleeper train crosses the causeway into Venice

Sunrise as the Munich-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 train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet boarding at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.

 

Economy class on railjet...

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

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, by daytime trains with overnight stop - same as option 2, but an overnight stop breaks up the journey nicely...

Option 4, 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 1, 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.

Back to top


Budapest to Barcelona & Spain

Option 1, by daytime railjet train through the scenic Arlberg Pass, hotel in Zurich, then TGV...

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, sleeper to Zurich, train to Marseille & overnight stop, morning train to Barcelona - a pleasant option...

Back to top


Budapest to Lisbon & Portugal
En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet   Trainhotel at Madrid

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

...return from the cafe-bar to find the beds made up...

 

Gran Clase sleepers have a toilet & shower...

 

The trainhotel from Madrid to Lisbon is an articulated Spanish Talgo train.  Seen here at Madrid Chamartin station.

Back to top


Budapest to Munich from €37.90...

Option 1, by EuroNight sleeper train - the time-effective option...

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

The Kalman Imre, at Munich. More information about this sleeper train.

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

Option 2, by daytime railjet train...

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

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

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

 

A railjet about to leave Budapest Keleti.  More photos & information about railjet trains.

Back to top


Budapest to Berlin from €39.90...

Option 1, by EuroCity train Hungaria - the leisurely daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

The Berlin-Budapest Hungaria with the latest air-conditioned Hungarian cars.  Photos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

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, by EuroNight sleeper train Metropol - the time-effective option...

2-bed sleeper on Budapest to Berlin train   Slovakian sleeping-car

A 2-bed double sleeper (above left) in the air-conditioned Slovakian sleeping-car on the Metropol from Budapest to Berlin.  Above right, a morning view of the Budapest-Berlin couchette car (nearest the camera) and sleeping-car in the morning light...

Each sleeper compartment is fitted with 3 beds so can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Sleeper compartments convert to comfortable private sitting room for evening use.  A light breakfast is included in the fare.  See larger photo.  See more photos of this type of sleeping-car. Photos courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Back to top


Budapest to Hamburg from €39.90...

Option 1, by EuroCity train Hungaria - the leisurely daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

The Berlin-Budapest Hungaria with the latest air-conditioned Hungarian cars.  Photos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

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, by EuroNight sleeper train Metropol - the time-effective option that saves a hotel bill...

2-bed sleeper on Budapest to Berlin train   Slovakian sleeping-car

A 2-bed double sleeper (above left) in the air-conditioned Slovakian sleeping-car on the Metropol from Budapest to Berlin.  Above right, a morning view of the Budapest-Berlin couchette car (nearest the camera) and sleeping-car in the morning light...

Each sleeper compartment is fitted with 3 beds so can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Sleeper compartments convert to comfortable private sitting room for evening use.  A light breakfast is included in the fare.  See larger photo.  See more photos of this type of sleeping-car. Photos courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Option 3, using the Vienna-Hamburg Nightjet sleeper...

Back to top


Budapest to Frankfurt, Cologne, Dόsseldorf & Germany from €29...
The morning RailJet train has arrived in Vienna.   Premium class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train   Economy class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train

Direct Austrian railjet train from Budapest to Munich.  This is a RailJet train at Budapest Keleti...  More photos, video & information about Railjets

 

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

 

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

Back to top


Budapest to Vienna from €9...

Option 1, by Railjet & EuroCity train jointly operated by Austrian & Hungarian national railways.

Option 2, by private open-access operator Regiojet, 2 trains per day from €9...

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

Austrian railjet trains link Budapest with Vienna every 2 hours.  This is a railjet at Budapest's historic Keleti station...

 

Business class costs €15 more than regular 1st class...

 

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

Back to top


Budapest to Salzburg...

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

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

Austrian railjet trains link Budapest with Salzburg every 2 hours.  This is a railjet at Budapest's historic Keleti station...

 

Business class costs €15 more than regular 1st class...

 

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

Option 2, by competing Regiojet train to Vienna and 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

Back to top


Budapest to Innsbruck...

Back to top


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

Back to top


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

Option 1, by daytime trains 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 Add intermediate stops 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 Add intermediate stops 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).

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

Step 1, Budapest to Hamburg on the EuroCity train HungariaPhotos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

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.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

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

Option 2, by sleeper train to Berlin then day trains to Copenhagen...

Option 3, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

Back to top


Budapest to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...

Option 2, Budapest to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line 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 complimentary wine & WiFi.

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:13 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.

    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....

Back to top


Budapest to Helsinki & Finland...

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

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, by train to Stockholm, then ferry to Helsinki...

Back to top


Budapest to Prague from €16...

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

EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A EuroCity train from Prague to Budapest about to leave Prague Hlavni...

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

Option 2, by competing Regiojet train...

  • In addition, starting 31 July 2020, private open-access operator Regiojet now 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 details...

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

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

Option 3, by safe & comfortable sleeper train - the time-saving option

The sleeper train from Prague to Budapest, boarding in Prague

The Budapest-Prague sleeper.  This is the southbound train, boarding at Prague Hlavni...

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

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

 

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

 

Deluxe sleepers are similar to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.

 

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

Back to top


Budapest to Českύ Krumlov...
  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Linz by swish Austrian railjet train with restaurant car & free WiFi.  There are departures at 06:40 then every two hours from 07:40 to 13:40, journey time around 4h04.  Book this at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at with advance-purchase Sparschiene fares from €39.90 upwards.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Linz to Ceske Budejovice by comfortable air-conditioned Czech train.  These leave every two hours or so, journey time 2h16.  Book this at Czech Railways www.cd.cz from €7 in advance or €22 on the day.  Booking normally opens 90 days ahead.

    Tip:  You can usually choose a train giving you a tight 10-minute connection in Linz or a leisurely 2h10 connection with time for a wander in Linz.  If you want the tight connection, 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!

    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 can look up times at jizdnirady.idnes.cz/vlaky/spojeni.  It costs 40 CZK, about €1.55.

    Buy a ticket for this local train on the day, either from the distinctive green & orange GWTR ticket office at Ceske Budejovice station or from the ticket machines on board the GWTR local train which accept cash or contactless Visa/MasterCard.  No reservation necessary or possible.

    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.

Back to top


Budapest to Brno...
  1. The Budapest-Prague EuroCity trains link Budapest Nyugati with Brno every 2 hours or so, journey time just 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.cz.  Booking normally opens 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

    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.

Back to top


Budapest to Ostrava...
  1. A direct EuroCity train leaves Budapest Nyugati for Ostrava at around 08:40 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.cz.  Booking normally opens 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

    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.

Back to top


Budapest to Bratislava from €9...
  • Air-conditioned EuroCity trains with restaurant car leave Budapest Nyugati every hour or two for Bratislava Hlavna taking just 2h23.  For train times, fares, photos & travel tips, see the Budapest to Bratislava EuroCity train page.

    Note that since December 2017 these trains start from Budapest Nyugati station, not Keleti.

  • Buy Budapest-Bratislava tickets from just €9.50 at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  Limited availability, no refunds, no changes.  Booking normally opens 60 days ahead.

    If you want 1st class, here's what to do:  www.mavcsoport.hu doesn't sell 1st class tickets from Budapest to Bratislava.  So go to the much easier-to-use Czech Railways website www.cd.cz and book a one way 1st class ticket from Budapest to Brno, which is the next stop after Bratislava, just over the border in the Czech Republic.  You'll see cheap 1st class advance-purchase fares from €29, limited availability, no refunds, no changes.  You print your own ticket.  You now simply get off in Bratislava when the train stops there as they all do.  This is perfectly legitimate, no worries. 

    Note that although booking at cd.cz opens 90 days ahead, you can only add an optional seat reservation if you book 60 days or less before travel, as cd.cz has to source the reservation from the Hungarian Railways system, and they only load seat reservation data 60 days ahead.

    If you want to stay flexible and buy tickets at the station on the day of travel, there's a permanent unlimited-availability round-trip special offer for €17.50 in 2nd class which is the cheapest on-the-day ticket even for a one-way trip.  There are no 1st class cheap deals, so if you insist on 1st class and buy on the day, a full-flex full-price 1st class fare costs over €65.

EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A Budapest-Bratislava-Prague EuroCity train seen at Prague Hlavni.  Most trains on this route are Czech like this, a few use Hungarian and/or Slovakian carriages.  More photos & information.

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

Back to top


Budapest to Kosice & Poprad Tatry...
  • There are two direct Intercity trains every day between Budapest Keleti and Kosice in Slovakia, early morning and late afternoon, journey time 3h29.  The trains use comfortable air-conditioned Slovakian carriages, with 1st & 2nd class compartments.  Seat reservation is required.

    Change in Kosice for a train to Poprad-Tatry, another 1h15.

  • 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.

Back to top


Budapest to Brasov & Bucharest from €29...

Option 1, by time-effective sleeper train...

  • The safe & comfortable sleeper train Ister leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:10 arriving Brasov 09:54 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 12:33 next day.

    The Ister has a comfortable, safe & civilised 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!

    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 IC and look for Ister.

  • Fares start at €39 with a couchette, €59 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €89 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper.

  • Buy tickets at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  You use Bucuresti for Bucharest.  Booking usually opens 60 days ahead.  You show the ticket in the MAV app on your smartphone.

    Tip 1:  If www.mavcsoport.hu 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 2:  If you're going to Brasov and it says No offers available, that just means they have forgotten to program in any allocation for Brasov.  Try booking from Budapest to Bucuresti instead, you'll then often find places available, then you simply get off in Brasov.

2-berth sleeper on the Ister   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

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

 

The sleeping-car (vagon de dormit) of the Ister at Budapest Keleti.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use. 

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

The vagon cuseta (couchette car) on the Ister, at Budapest.  Always book a couchette, not just a seat.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats for day use.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest  

Enjoy breakfast in the bar-bistro eastbound, or an evening beer westbound.  The bar-bistro is attached between Simeria & Bucharest.  Bar-bistro photos courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Option 2, by daytime train from €26.30...

  • There are comfortable air-conditioned daytime trains between Budapest & Romania, an epic journey across Transylvania...

    The comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti daily at 07:10 and arrives Arad 12:37, Timişoara Nord 13:27 & Bucharest Nord at 23:59.  1st & 2nd class.  A Romanian cafe-bar car is available for snacks & drinks.

    Another air-conditioned IC train leaves Budapest Keleti 10:10 via Simeria & Sibiu and arrives Brasov 00:55.  2nd class seats only.

  • Advance-purchase online fares start at €26.30 in 2nd class or (on trains which have 1st class) €40.50 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  For Bucharest, type Bucuresti.  You must show the ticket on the MAV app on your smartphone.

The morning train to Brasov about to leave Budapest

The morning train from Budapest to Bucharest at Budapest Keleti, with modern air-conditioned Romanian carriages...

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   2nd class Romanian InterCity coach

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

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats in an air-conditioned Romanian carriage.  Larger photo.

Back to top


Budapest to Cluj, Timisoara, Sibiu, Sighişoara....
  • The Dacia Express sleeper train leaves Budapest Keleti at 23:10 and arrives at Sighisoara 10:34.

  • Two daily air-conditioned trains link Budapest with Cluj, leaving Budapest Keleti at 07:40 & 13:40, journey time around 7h30.

  • The comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti daily at 07:10 and arrives Timişoara Nord at 13:27.

  • Use the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu to check train times & buy tickets.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  See my advice for using mavcsoport.hu.

  • 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.

Back to top


Budapest to Ljubljana from €19...
  • A comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Citadella runs direct from Budapest to Ljubljana every morning, leaving Budapest Dιli (that's Deli station, not Keleti) at 09:00 and arriving Ljubljana at 16:37.  There's no catering car so take your own picnic & beer or wine.

    Advance-purchase fares start at €19.  Bought at the station on the day, expect to pay around €40.

    Book at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  Booking opens 60 days aheadSuggested hotel in Ljubljana.

  • 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.

  • There are other journey options involving a change of train which you can find using the online timetable at www.bahn.de/en.

  • There's also a daily direct InterCity train from Budapest Keleti to Rijeka, at 05:45 arriving 16:41.

Back to top


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

    In the morning, the InterCity Gradec leaves Budapest Dιli at 06:35 arriving Zagreb 12:51.  Runs from 5 June to 12 September 2021.

    In the afternoon the InterCity Agram leaves Budapest Dιli at 15:35 arriving Zagreb 21:05.  Runs every day all year round.

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

  • Both trains have comfortable air-conditioned Hungarian coaches, the Gradec also has Croatian air-con and non-air-con cars.  There's no catering car so take your own picnic & wine.  You can check the train formations at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Hungary then click Ex.

  • You can buy a cheap ticket for either €15 or €29 online (depending on availability) at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.  Booking opens 60 days ahead Suggested hotels in Zagreb & Split.

  • There are other journey options involving a change of train which you can find using the online timetable at www.bahn.de, but you'll need to book these at the station as these cannot be booked online.

EuroCity train Rippl Ronai from Zagreb to Budapest

The Intercity train at Budapest with comfortable & modern air-conditioned coaches, both Croatian (foreground) and Hungarian (background).  A great way to travel.  Courtesy of Jonathan Hounsome.

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.

Back to top


Budapest to Split & Dubrovnik...

Option 1, all year round via Zagreb - 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, using direct sleeper train Adria from 14 June to 6 September 2020 (2021 dates not confirmed)...

  • A direct train called the Adria runs from mid-June to early September, 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.

Option 3, using the Regiojet sleeper from Budapest to Zagreb & Split (with bus to Dubrovnik) - summer only, 3 times a week, recommended!

  • Open-access operator Regiojet introduced this overnight train from Prague to Rijeka last year and it was the surprise runaway success of 2020, with every 500-seat train averaging 90% occupancy and carrying tens of thousands of passengers on holiday.  It will be back for summer 2021, expanded to call at Budapest Kelenfold and serve Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, with bus connections to other resorts along the Adriatic coast.

  • It will run 3 times a week from 29 May until 27 September 2021, increased to daily in July & August.

    It will leave Budapest Kelenfold at 00:05 on Saturday, Monday & Wednesday mornings (daily in July & August), arriving Zagreb 05:17 & Split 13:44.  The train is due to pull in from Prague at 23:40 (Fri, Sun, Tue nights), so you can board before midnight.

    This excellent Regiojet train has 4-berth couchettes & seats.  The couchette fare includes all necessary bedding and a light breakfast.   There's excellent on-board at-seat service from an extensive menu, with complimentary bottled water and excellent Illy coffee.  There's free WiFi.

    On most departures there's a bus connection from Split to Dubrovnik, arriving Dubrovnik bus station at 18:10.

  • The fare is €34.90 in a seat or €41.90 with a couchette in a shared 4-berth compartment, or €125.60 for sole occupancy of a whole couchette compartment for 1 to 4 people.

  • Buy an e-ticket online at www.regiojet.com.  Booking is a breeze, it even allows you to choose your exact place from a carriage plan.  Booking for summer 2021 opens 18 February.

Regiojet overnight train   Regiojet couchette compartment

The holiday train...  Above left, Regiojet overnight train at Prague Hlavni.  Above right, a 4-berth couchette compartment on this train, in daytime mode.  The seat back hinges up to form the upper berths.  See video of this overnight journey, taken during the 2020 season.

Regiojet arrived in Croatia   Berth on the Regiojet train to Croatia

Arrived in Croatia...

 

Couchette...

Back to top


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:

Back to top


Budapest to Belgrade for €15...  Or to Montenegro for €35...
  • The Budapest-Belgrade line is out of action since February 2019 for a planned 33 months.  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.

  • You might consider going Budapest to Zagreb as shown here, staying overnight and/or visiting that city, then taking the daily Zagreb-Belgrade train as shown here.

Back to top


 

Budapest to Sofia...

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

Back to top


Budapest to Warsaw from €19...

Option 1, by direct sleeper train...

  • A safe & comfortable EuroNight sleeper train leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:25 every night, Warsaw Centralna at 08:33.

    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.

  • 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!

Modern Polish sleeping-car

Modern Polish sleeping-car of the type used Budapest-Warsaw.  Photo courtesy of WieselFahrer...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   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...

Option 2, by direct daytime EuroCity train from €19...

Back to top


Budapest to Krakow from €19...

Option 1, by daytime train...

  • Two modern air-conditioned through cars leave Budapest Nyugati every day at 08:40, arriving Krakow Glowny at 17:39.  They run from Budapest to Bohumin attached to the Budapest-Warsaw EuroCity train Varsovia, they then run 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.  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.  I recommend sticking with 2nd class.

    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.

The Budapest to Krakow train

Above, the Budapest-Krakow through cars, seen at Katowice attached to the rear of the Prague-Krakow Cracovia...

One of the Budapest to Krakow through cars   One of the Budapest to Krakow through cars

Hungarian Railways are starting to use their latest international cars on this route, with power sockets, wheelchair provision, bike spaces and an unusual interior layout with some open-plan seats with tables for four and several 5-seat semi-compartments like the one shown above right.  Click the images for larger photos Photos courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

Option 2, by sleeper train.  Safe, comfortable & time-effective...

  • A direct EuroNight sleeper train leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:25 every night, arriving Krakow Glowny at 05:41.

    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.

  • 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 ahead.  See 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!

Modern Polish sleeping-car

Modern Polish sleeping-car of the type used Budapest-Krakow-Warsaw.  Photo courtesy of WieselFahrer...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   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...

Back to top


Budapest to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn...
  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Kaunas & Vilnius, leaving Warsaw at lunchtime, changing at Bialystok and arriving Kaunas in Lithuania in the evening, with connections to Vilnius, see the Warsaw to Vilnius page for details.  Warsaw-Vilnius costs around €24, buy a ticket at the station in Warsaw.

  • Day 3, for onward travel from Vilnius to Riga, see here.

  • Day 4, for onward travel from Riga to Tallinn, see here.

Back to top


Budapest to Lviv, Kiev & Ukraine...

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

  • A Ukrainian sleeping-car leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:40 every evening and arrives next day at Lviv at 09:10 & Kiev at 16:14.

    Introduced in December 2017, this Ukrainian sleeping-car has comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  It comes through from Vienna.

    Bought at the station in Budapest the fare is around €54 with a bed in a cosy 3-bed sleeper.  However, this direct sleeping-car is proving popular and can leave fully-booked, so it's best pre-booked.

    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 Kiev 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-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev 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-Kiev 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 train for €26...  Also a useful alternative for Budapest-Kiev if the direct train is full...

  • This is an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel from Budapest to the beautiful city of Lviv.  The Latorca used to have through cars from Budapest to Lviv, but it was always cheaper to switch trains and rebook at the border so the through cars aren't running any more.  You now need to change trains at the border, but that makes it now online-bookable (well, almost) and cheaper!

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Chop on the Ukrainian border by air-conditioned Hungarian intercity train Latorca, leaving Budapest Nyugati station at 07:23 every day arriving Chop at 13:40.

  • Step 2,  travel from Chop to Lviv & Kiev by Ukrainian train called the Desna, leaving Chop at 16:58, arriving Lviv at 22:25 and then travelling overnight to Kiev, arriving 07:27.

  • To buy tickets:

    Step 1, pre-book Budapest to Zahony on the 07:23 InterCity Latorca from Budapest Nyugati for around €17.50 at www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using it.

    Step 2, Zahony to Chop costs €2.50, you buy this at the station at Zahony.  The train spends an hour at Zahony station, so plenty of time!

    Step 3, pre-book Chop to Lviv for around €6 in a 4-berth sleeper or €12 in a 1st class 2-berth at the Ukrainian Railways website www.uz.gov.ua on train 81 Desna leaving Chop at 16:58.  Or book to Kiev if going there, obviously!

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

  • Alternatively, you can travel via Mukachevo instead of Chop, this may be a better place to spend a few hours than the border station at Chop!

    Step 1, travel from Budapest to Mukachevo, leaving Budapest Nyugati at 07:23 every day arriving Mukacheve in Ukraine at 15:20.  Just one through carriage runs direct to Mukachevo, with air-conditioned 2nd class open-plan seats, power sockets available for laptops & mobiles.  Tickets from Budapest to Mukachevo cannot be booked online, so buy at the station for €23, there are usually be places even on the day.  You can check times for this train at www.bahn.de or www.mavcsoport.hu.

    Step 2, now travel from Mukacheve to Lviv or Kiev on the Desna, leaving Mukachevo at 18:02 and arriving Lviv at 22:18 & Kiev next morning at 07:27.  This train can be booked online at www.uz.gov.ua.

Back to top


Budapest to Moscow & St Petersburg...

Option 1, via Kiev avoiding need for a Belarus visa - recommended route...

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Kiev by direct sleeper train as shown above.  Leave Budapest in the evening of day 1, arrive Kiev late afternoon on day 2.

  • Step 2, travel from Kiev 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 Kiev 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.

    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 Kiev 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 Kiev.  Feedback appreciated!

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

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Bohumin on the EuroCity train Bathory, leaving Budapest Nyugati at 08:40 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.

    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.

Back to top


Budapest to Athens, Thessaloniki & Greece...

Option 1, 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 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 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.

    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) or you can pre-arrange through the excellent Mr Popovic at the Wasteels office in Belgrade, see this advice on the Serbia page.  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.trainose.gr, with print-at-home tickets see the step-by-step advice on using trainose.gr here.

Option 2, overland by train via Belgrade & Sofia... 

Option 3, by ferry from Italy.  This is a somewhat round-about route but a viable option whilst trains from Belgrade to Greece remain cancelled.

Back to top


Budapest to Istanbul & Turkey for €65...

Option 1, via Bucharest....

This route used to take two nights, but now requires an extra night in a hotel in Bucharest as the connection between trains in Bucharest is now too tight for a reliable same-day connection.  But it's a scenic route, with comfortable sleeping-cars as well as couchettes on both overnight trains.

  • Step 1, take the comfortable sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord at 12:33 next day.

    The train has a comfortable air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, a Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  There's no dining-car (although a bar-bistro is usually attached within Romania) so take a picnic and bottle of wine.  Enjoy the superb scenery as the train climbs through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest.

    Fares start at €39 with couchette, €59 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper or €89 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper.

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

  • Spend a day and night in Bucharest.  In Bucharest, the Hotel Ibis Gara de Nord is walking distance from the station, inexpensive and gets reasonable reports.  Search other hotels in Bucharest.

  • Step 2, travel from Bucharest to Istanbul by train as follows:

    In summer from 6 June to 6 October 2021 (subject to conformation) there's a direct couchette car from Bucharest to Istanbul leaving Bucharest Gara de Nord at 11:00 and arriving Istanbul Halkali station at 05:20 next morning.  It's modern Turkish air-conditioned couchette car with 4-berth compartments.  See the Bucharest to Istanbul page for full details.

    Until 5 June & from 7 October you leave Bucharest Gara de Nord at 11:00 on a series of connecting trains for Dimitrovgrad, picking up a sleeper leaving Dimitrovgrad at 23:40 and arriving Istanbul Halkali station at 06:20.  The Dimitrovgrad-Istanbul sleeper train has two air-conditioned Turkish sleeping-cars (1 & 2 bed compartments) and a Turkish couchette car with 4-berth compartments.  See the Bucharest to Istanbul page for full details.

    It's a leisurely journey across Romania, over the Danube on the world's longest steel girder bridge (2.5km), and through rural Bulgaria including a descent through the lovely Shipka Pass.  There's no catering, so bring a picnic and some wine or beer and enjoy the ride.  Halkali is a suburban station 25km west of Istanbul, you can take a frequent Marmaray suburban train from Halkali to Istanbul Sirkeci in the city centre, see the Bucharest to Istanbul page for details of how to make this transfer.

    When the through couchette car runs you should be able to buy tickets online at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  For Bucharest enter/select Bucuresti (Romania) and for Istanbul enter/select Halkali (Turkey).  Tickets must be collected from a CFR station ticket office in Romania such as Bucharest Nord, so only use this site for one-way or round trip journeys starting in Romania.  Feedback would be appreciated.

    Alternatively, tickets can be arranged by agency Paralela 45 Turism, www.paralela45.com.  They can source train tickets starting in Bucharest, so far recommended by several seat61 correspondents.  Feedback would be appreciated.

    In the off-season when there's no direct train, buy your tickets at the international ticket window at Bucharest Gara de Nord.  It's reported that instead of simply issuing an open ticket from Bucharest to Istanbul (or even to Dimitrovgrad) and letting you use all the trains, you need to buy a ticket to Ruse, then rebook (or pay on the train), but don't let that put you off, it's easy enough to pay as you go.

Back to top


Budapest to other destinations...

Back to top


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.

Back to top


Back to home page