Trains from Budapest
 

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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 2024.

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 buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or a €35 point-to-point ticket?".  How far ahead can you 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 day - the leisurely daytime option

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

Option 2, using the Vienna-Paris Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option, 3 days a week

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 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 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

 

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 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-Stuttgart sleeper - similar to option 3, but via Stuttgart.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

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

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

Crossing the Salzach at Salzburg:  View of the Fortress Hohensalzburg on the left hand side as the railjet crosses the river after leaving Salzburg Hbf.

Cutting across Germany:  From Salzburg to Kufstein the train takes a short cut through Germany without stopping, see the route map here.  All fast Vienna-Salzburg-Innsbruck trains do this, they're still considered Austrian domestic trains even they spend an hour on German territory!  Such a train is called a Korridorzug.

Kufstein station and castle   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Kufstein:  The train stops at Kufstein, where the castle towers above the station.

Above right, lunch is served.  In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

Scenery in the Tirol

Mountains near Innsbruck.  The train calls briefly at Innsbruck Hbf.

Scenery on the Arlberg route

River Inn:  Running alongside the river Inn in the Tirol, somewhere between Φtzal & Landeck.

Scenery in the Arlberg Pass

Arlberg Pass:  Above, brooding skies over the Arlberg pass.  The pass itself is long, narrow and curvaceous with the train snaking along the valley sides, often high above the valley floor.

Arlberg Tunnel:  Between St Anton am Arlberg & Bludenz the train passes through the Arlberg Tunnel, 6.2 km (6.3 miles) long and opened in 1884.  See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlberg_Railway_Tunnel.

Schaan-Vaduz station   Sargans Castle

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

 

Sargans castle:  Watch out for hilltop castles, this is the one at Sargans.

The lakes between the Austrian border and Zurich

Swiss lakes:  Between Sargans & Zurich the railjet runs alongside the shore of the Walensee and then the Zόrichsee.

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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 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 Genoa by Nightjet sleeper train More 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

 

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, Genoa to Ventimiglia by Intercity train.

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

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

    Treat this as a chill-out day across Europe.  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.  In 1st class on railjets and ICEs, a steward will take food & drink orders and serve you at your seat.

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Tip:  Before running the enquiry, change Transfer time from normal to 30 minutes to ensure robust connections.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

Option 2, Budapest to Brussels using the Vienna-Brussels Nightjet sleeper 3 days a week - the time-effective option

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Vienna by railjet train, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:40 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 18:20.

    The railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st & business class, a steward will take your order and serve you at your seat.  More about railjets.  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), you print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

    You can also book at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same fares) or with Hungarian Railways at www.mavcsoport.hu (more fiddly, in Hungarian forints, booking on MAV opens 60 days ahead, see my advice on using it).

    Tip:  Don't risk tight connections with a sleeper, these trains run every hour.

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

    Tip:  If you've booked a sleeper, 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 19:38 on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, arriving Brussels Midi at 09:56 next morning.  This train is expected to become daily from autumn 2024.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet sleeper 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 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 (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 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 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, so book ahead.

    Book this at the German Railways website int.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 phone.

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 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 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

 

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-Stuttgart sleeper

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Stuttgart by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Budapest Keleti at 20:40 & arriving Stuttgart Hbf 08:38.

    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 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 €, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    You can also book at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice on using it first.

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

    Tip:  If you have a sleeping-car ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti with complimentary tea & coffee.

  • Step 2, travel from Stuttgart to Brussels by ICE, leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 10:05, changing at Cologne Hbf, arriving Brussels Midi 15:35.

    Times may vary, on some dates you leave Stuttgart Hbf 10:37 and change at Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi 15:35.

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

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

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Tip:  Change Transfer time from normal to 30 minutes.  I'd allow at least 60 minutes or more between trains in Stuttgart.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You can book to any station in Belgium.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Step 1, Budapest to Stuttgart by sleeper train Kalman Imre, seen boarding on platform 7 at Budapest Keleti.  More about this sleeper 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, Stuttgart to Frankfurt & Brussels by ICE.  This is an ICE3M at Frankfurt.  More about ICE trains.

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 22:32.

    The railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st & business class, a steward takes food & drink orders and serves you at your seat.  More about railjets.

    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 int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

    Tip:  Why not take the earlier 11:40 or 13:40 railjet and spend a pleasant evening in Munich?  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 affordable Eden Hotel Wolff & NH Collection Mόnchen are across the road from the station's north side exit with great reviews.  Or consider the more upmarket 25 Hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian, Excelsior by Giesel & Mercure City Center.  For a splurge, the luxurious Sofitel Munich Beyerpost occupies the former Royal Bavarian Post Office building of 1896-1900, at the station's south side exit.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Brussels by ICE on any departure you like, for example leaving Munich Hbf 06:47, change Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi 13:35.

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

    But by all means have a leisurely breakfast and take a later train, there are departures every hour with just 1 change, although only alternate departures offer a good-value through ticket, the ones using the DB-run ICE between Frankfurt & Brussels rather than a Eurostar.

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

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or you can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  You can save money by using int.bahn.de to book from Budapest to Brussels in one go.  To get the overnight stop, click Stopovers and enter Munich Hbf with a length of stay of (say) 12 hours.  Adjust departure time and length of stay to get the trains you want either side of Brussels - it may take a little trial & error.

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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.

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Tip:  Before running the enquiry, change Transfer time from normal to 30 minutes to get robust connections.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

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 20:10 & 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) 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 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 trainMore 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

 

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

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, soap & towels 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-Stuttgart sleeper train

  • Step 1, travel from Budapest to Stuttgart by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Budapest Keleti at 20:40 & arriving Stuttgart Hbf 08:38.

    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 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.

    You can also try the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice on using it first.

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

    Tip:  If you have a sleeping-car ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti with complimentary tea & coffee.

  • Step 2, travel from Stuttgart to Amsterdam, leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 09:51, changing at Cologne Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:46.

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

    Times may vary, departure from Munich is at 09:23 some dates.

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

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.  See suggested hotels in Amsterdam.

EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre from Budapest to Munich

Step 1, travel from Budapest to Stuttgart by sleeper train Kalman Imre, seen boarding at Budapest Keleti.  More about this sleeper 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, Stuttgart 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 about ICE trains.

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 22:32.

    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 int.bahn.de

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

    Tip:  Why not take the earlier 11:40 or 13:40 railjet and spend a pleasant evening in Munich?  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 affordable Eden Hotel Wolff & NH Collection Mόnchen are across the road from the station's north side exit with great reviews.  Or consider the more upmarket 25 Hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian, Excelsior by Giesel & Mercure City Center.  For a splurge, the luxurious Sofitel Munich Beyerpost occupies the former Royal Bavarian Post Office building of 1896-1900, at the station's south side exit.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Amsterdam, leaving Munich Hbf at 07:47, change at Dόsseldorf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:29.

    By all means book a later train, for example the 09:51 from Munich Hbf, change at Dόsseldorf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 17:29.

    All ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Times may vary.

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

    Book this journey at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    Tip:  You can save money by using int.bahn.de to book from Budapest to Amsterdam in one go.  To get the overnight stop, click Stopovers and enter Munich Hbf with a length of stay of (say) 12 hours.  Adjust departure time and length of stay to get the trains you want either side of Brussels.  It may take a little trial & error!

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 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 about ICE trains.

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 by daytime trains

  • 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 int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    Tip:  To avoid journeys with buses, click Stopovers and enter Igel, leaving length of stay zero.  The trains call at Igel, the buses don't!

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

Option 2, Budapest to Luxembourg using the Vienna-Koblenz sleeper - the time-effective option

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Koblenz by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:38 on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, arriving at Koblenz Hbf at 05:45 next morning.  This train is expected to become daily from autumn 2024.

    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 (or if the sleeper is late), 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 int.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 about this sleeper 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 scenic 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 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.

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

Crossing the Salzach at Salzburg:  View of the Fortress Hohensalzburg on the left hand side as the railjet crosses the river after leaving Salzburg Hbf.

Cutting across Germany:  From Salzburg to Kufstein the train takes a short cut through Germany without stopping, see the route map here.  All fast Vienna-Salzburg-Innsbruck trains do this, they're still considered Austrian domestic trains even they spend an hour on German territory!  Such a train is called a Korridorzug.

Kufstein station and castle   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Kufstein:  The train stops at Kufstein, where the castle towers above the station.

Above right, lunch is served.  In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

Scenery in the Tirol

Mountains near Innsbruck.  The train calls briefly at Innsbruck Hbf.

Scenery on the Arlberg route

River Inn:  Running alongside the river Inn in the Tirol, somewhere between Φtzal & Landeck.

Scenery in the Arlberg Pass

Arlberg Pass:  Above, brooding skies over the Arlberg pass.  The pass itself is long, narrow and curvaceous with the train snaking along the valley sides, often high above the valley floor.

Arlberg Tunnel:  Between St Anton am Arlberg & Bludenz the train passes through the Arlberg Tunnel, 6.2 km (6.3 miles) long and opened in 1884.  See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlberg_Railway_Tunnel.

Schaan-Vaduz station   Sargans Castle

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

 

Sargans castle:  Watch out for hilltop castles, this is the one at Sargans.

The lakes between the Austrian border and Zurich

Swiss lakes:  Between Sargans & Zurich the railjet runs alongside the shore of the Walensee and then the Zόrichsee.

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Budapest to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy

Option 1, Budapest to Italy using the Vienna-Italy Nightjet sleeper trains - 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 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 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

 

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

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, soap & towels 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 page for more information, photos & video.

Option 3, Budapest to Italy with overnight stop in Vienna - same as option 2, but with an overnight stop

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

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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 about this sleeper 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 - the daytime option

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

A railjet on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore 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 time-effective option

EuroNight sleeper train from Budapest to Berlin

The Budapest to Berlin sleeper train, boarding at Budapest Nyugati More 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 KeletiMore 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 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 Keleti stationMore 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 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

EuroNight sleeper train from Budapest to Berlin

The Budapest to Berlin sleeper train, boarding at Budapest Nyugati More about this sleeper 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 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 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 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 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 in Hamburg on 1 September 2022. The author rode this first departure.  More about this train.

6-berth couchettes.

Larger photo.

Standard sleeper, set up as a double   Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Padborg

2-bed sleeper.  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 €56.90 in 2nd class or €99.90 in 1st class.

    These are German Railways Sparpreis through fares.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • To buy tickets

    You can buy a through ticket from Budapest to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmo or Gothenburg at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    To get the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopovers and enter Hamburg Hbf with a length of stay of (say) 10 hours.

    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 & length of stay to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg.  You print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you have any problems you can split the booking into stages:  Book from Budapest to Hamburg & Hamburg to Copenhagen using int.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 €, £ or $, small booking fee, quick & easy to use and happily 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 Keleti stationMore 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 HbfMore 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

A 1st class table for 2, my favourite configuration.  There are tables for 4 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

Step 3, Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train.  From June 2023, these trains are temporarily being operated by former German Railways intercity cars and a Danish electric locomotive, until new trains being built by Talgo arrive in 2024.  The current trains have 1st & 2nd class, power sockets at seats, but no catering so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches, but only a few.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo 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

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Berlin by sleeper train Metropol leaving Budapest Nyugati at 19:30 & arriving Berlin Hbf at 08:15.

    The train has a comfortable air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments & 2nd class seats.  In the sleepers, a light breakfast is included in the fare.  More 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 (only in €, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

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

  • Day 1, travel from Budapest to Berlin by EuroCity train Hungaria as shown above.

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

  • Book from Budapest to Copenhagen at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Set departure time to 07:00.  To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Stopovers and enter Berlin Hbf with length of stay 11 or more hours.

    Increase the length of stay to a later train from Berlin on Day 2.  If you have any problems, simply book Budapest to Berlin and Berlin to Copenhagen as two separate tickets, although this usually costs a little more.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

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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 18:20.

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

    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 only opens 60 days ahead, see advice for using it).

    Tip:  If you have a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

    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 20:10 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 08:47.

    From the timetable change on 10 December 2023 this train is operated by a new generation Nightjet train with 1 & 2 bed sleepers all with shower & toilet, 4-berth comfort couchettes, individual mini cabins and ordinary seats, see the new generation Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips & photos.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers, couchettes & mini cabins.

    Fares start at €59.90 in a mini cabin or 4-berth couchettes, €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 10:53, change at Copenhagen, arriving Gothenburg Central at 20:20.

    Hamburg to Copenhagen is by EuroCity train with power sockets at all seats, refreshments available.  Copenhagen to Gothenburg is by Φresund train, via the impressive Φresund fixed link.

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

    Buy a ticket for this journey at the German Railways website int.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 phone.  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 Sentral at 09:42, or at 07:55 on Saturdays arriving 11:42, or at 10:15 on Sundays arriving 13:42.  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 18:20.

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

    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 a 1st or business class ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti, open 06:00-21:30 daily.

    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 20:10 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 08:47.

    From the timetable change on 10 December 2023 this train is operated by a new generation Nightjet train with 1 & 2 bed sleepers all with shower & toilet, 4-berth comfort couchettes, individual mini cabins and ordinary seats, see the new generation Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips & photos.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers, couchettes & mini cabins.

    Fares start at €59.90 in a mini cabin or 4-berth couchettes, €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 (only in €, 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 it's a 7 minute 450m walk from Kiel Hbf to the Color Line ferry terminal, see walking map.  But always allow several hours between trains and ferry for the ferry check-in and in case of any 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.

    Money-saving tip:  It appears that it's considerably cheaper to book on Color Line's Norwegian website www.colorline.no in Norwegian Krone, for example a €274 fare becomes the equivalent of €164.  You'll need to use Google Chrome translation to translate the Norwegian.  You are still able to enter a UK or other European address and contact details.  Feedback appreciated.

    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 Travemόnde in Germany - the easiest option

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Hamburg by ICE train, leaving Berlin Hbf at 12:05 & arriving Hamburg Hbf 13:51.

    You can in fact take any train you like as trains run twice per hour, just make sure you allow at least an hour between trains in Berlin in case of delay.  Which departure you choose depends on whether you want more time in Berlin or more time in Hamburg.  The ICE has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Book this train at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

  • Book onward trains within Finland at the Finnish Railways website www.vr.fi.

Finnlines ferry Travemunde-Helsinki

Finnlines operate the Finnstar, Finnmaid & Finnlady on the Travemόnde-Helsinki route.  Photo courtesy of Hubert Bartkowiak.  Photos below courtesy of Chris Russell.

Cabin on Finnlines ferry Travemunde-Helsinki   Gym on Finnlines ferry   Sauna on Finnlines ferry

Standard cabin.  Larger photo.

 

Gym with a view.

 

Sauna.

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 about these trains.

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

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

A RegioJet train at Vienna Hbf.  More about Regiojet trains.

Option 3, Budapest to Prague by sleeper train - the time-effective option

  • A comfortable sleeper train leaves Budapest Nyugati at 19:30 and arrives Prague Hlavni at 08:13.

    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.

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 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 int.bahn.de.

    This is the quickest and easiest website to use, although it won't sell tickets.  Tip:  Click Stopovers and enter Linz as a stopover.  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 Transfer time changed from normal to minimum 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.

    Linz to Cesky Krumlov starts at €9.90 in 2nd class or €22.90 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares so book ahead.

  • How to buy tickets

    When you know 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. EuroCity trains link Budapest Nyugati with Brno every 2 hours or so, journey time around 4h06.

  2. Advance-purchase First Minute fares start at €12.  The full-flex fare bought on the day is around €37.

  3. Book at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.

    Booking 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 08:12 every morning, journey time 5h51.  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 €49.

  3. Book at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.

    Booking 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 about these trains.

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 06:25 until 18:25, journey time 3h38.

    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.

  • 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 11:30 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!

    Tip:  If you have a sleeping-car ticket, you can use the business lounge on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti with complimentary tea & coffee.

  • There's also an earlier train, the Muntenia leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 arriving Bucharest Gara de Nord 08:42.

    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 Romanian sleeping-car is attached between Arad (depart 21:04) 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 15:06.

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

  • Fares for any of these trains 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 and the cheap fares have limited availability, so book ahead.

  • Book at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  If you want to take the Muntenia and use the sleeping-car from Arad to Bucharest, first book a sleeper from Arad to Bucharest on train D 79 using the Romanian Railways domestic trains booking site www.cfrcalatori.ro, then book a seat from Budapest to Arad on train IC 79 using bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.

  • 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 phone.  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!

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 Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti at 07:10 daily arriving Arad 12:28, Timişoara Nord 14:24, Craiova 21:05 & Bucharest Nord 00:31.

    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, but always take your own supplies.  It's an epic journey across Transylvania, sit back and enjoy.

  • 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 18:29.

    This air-conditioned Intercity train has 2nd class seats.  There's no 1st class and 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 it.

    Booking opens 60 days ahead.  You show the ticket on the MAV app on your phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Arad to Bucharest overnight on the Astra Trans Carpatic, leaving Arad at 20:35 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 07:45.

    The Astra Trans Carpatic has a modern 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 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 380 Lei (€77), deluxe 2-bed sleeper 280 Lei per person (€57), single-bed sleeper 310 Lei (€62), 2-bed sleeper 250 Lei per person (€50), bed in 4-berth couchette compartment 166 Lei (€34).

    Book 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.  Virtual tour of the Astra Trans CarpaticCourtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.comClick the images below for larger photos.

4-berth couchette compartment on the Astra Trans Carpatic   En suite shower in deluxe sleeper   Deluxe 2-bed sleeper on the Astra Trans Carpatic

4-berth couchette compartment. Courtesy of Simply Railway.

 

En suite shower, deluxe sleeper.  Courtesy of Simply Railway.

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a double. Courtesy of Simply Railway.

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Budapest to Brasov from €29

Option 1, Budapest to Brasov by sleeper train Corona - dinner in the diner, then retire to your bedroom

  • A sleeper train called the Corona leaves Budapest Keleti at 17:40 and arrives in Brasov at 09:43 next morning.

    The Corona has a Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.  The sleeping-car used is usually a beautifully-maintained 1960s car with wood-panelled compartments as shown in the photos below, although sometimes a more modern air-conditioned car instead, similar to the one shown here.  The Corona also has an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.

    There is a Hungarian restaurant car for dinner and breakfast.  Linger over dinner and a beer or two before retiring to your sleeper.  For sleeper passengers a cooked breakfast in the restaurant is included.

    This is a Hungarian alternative to the Romanian Ister shown as option 2, the Corona takes an extra 90 minutes but with a proper Hungarian restaurant car and an elderly but cosy wood-panelled Communist-era sleeping-car kept in remarkable condition, it's a lovely train.  Some prefer it to the Ister.

  • 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.

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  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 phone.  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, a more modern air-con sleeping-car is sometimes used.  That's the 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 2, Budapest to Brasov by sleeper train Ister

  • The safe & comfortable sleeper train Ister leaves Budapest Keleti at 19:10 arriving Brasov 08:50 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

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  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 phone.  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 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 22:42.

    2nd class seats only, in comfortable air-conditioned Romanian carriages, an epic journey across Transylvania.  Bring your own food & drink.

  • 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
  • For Sighisoara, the sleeper train Dacia Express leaves Budapest Keleti at 22:45 every day, arriving Sighisoara at 09:13 next morning.

    The Dacia Express has a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, and a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.

  • For Cluj, a daily air-conditioned train links leaves Budapest Keleti at 09:10, arriving Cluj-Napoca at 20:45.  2nd class only, bring your own food & drink for an epic journey across Transylvania.

    The sleeper train Dacia Express leaves Budapest Keleti at 22:45 every day with a direct sleeping-car to Cluj-Napoca, arriving 10:47.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments.

  • For Timisoara, the comfortable air-conditioned InterCity Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti daily at 07:10 arriving Timişoara Nord at 14:24.

  • Buy tickets at the Romanian Railways international website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    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 int.bahn.de, 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 has one swish modern air-conditioned Hungarian 2nd class car with open-plan seats (car 424, at the rear) and several old-school Slovenian 2nd class cars with 6-seat compartments, no air-con, but large opening windows (cars 421, 422, 423).

    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!

    Tip:  You can check the train formation, car numbers & car types using www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, and use the search box to search for Citadella.

  • 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

    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 phone.  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 swish Hungarian air-con car.

 

2nd class compartments in the Slovenian cars.

Option 2, Budapest to Ljubljana by afternoon train daily all year

  • An excellent air-conditioned InterCity train called the Drava leaves Budapest Keleti at 16:15 and arrives Ljubljana at 01:03.

    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 phone.

    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.

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Budapest to Zagreb from €15
  • The InterCity train Agram leaves Budapest Dιli at 15:35 & arrives Zagreb at 21:59.

    The train travels along the southern shore of Lake Balaton, a scenic section of line.

    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 far as the border.  There's no 1st class and no catering car so take your own picnic & beer.

    Tip:  You can check the train formation, car numbers & car types using www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, and use the search box to search for Agram.

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 - every day, all year round

  • Step 3, take a bus from Split to Dubrovnik.  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.

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 direct sleeper train Adria, 3 times a week, summer-only, recommended.

  • The sleeper train Adria runs on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays from 9 June to 29 September 2024.

    It leaves Budapest Keleti at 18:45 and arrives in Split at 08:46 next morning.

    The Adria is a pleasure to travel on, it has two comfortable air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-cars (with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin) and three or four couchette cars with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.  There are no seats cars.

    It has a Hungarian restaurant car serving dinner and breakfast - start your day in Croatia with a cooked breakfast of ham & eggs!  The restaurant car usually used on this train is an older wood-panelled type which used to be part of the Hungarian governmental train, see the photo below.

  • Fares start from €49 with couchette in 6-berth, €59 with couchette in 4-berth, €64 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €79 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper or €119 in a single-bed sleeper.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • You can book it at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my advice for using itBooking opens 60 days ahead.

  • 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.

The Adria from Budapest to Split approaching Split

The Adria from Budapest to Split approaches Split.  Photo courtesy of Rebecca Lacey.

2-bed sleeper   Restaurant car on the Adria

2-bed sleeper of type used on the Adria.

 

Classic restaurant car. Courtesy Rebecca Lacey

The Adria from Budapest arrived at Split station

The Adria from Budapest arrived at Split station.  So much nicer than a flight!  Courtesy of Rebecca Lacey.

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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 & Montenegro
  • A major route upgrade from 2019-2025 means that all Budapest-Belgrade fast trains are cancelled until at least 2025.  The line is being rebuilt for speeds of up to 200 km/h which will cut journey time cut to 3½ hours.

  • However, in 2024 a new cross-border local service means that the determined traveller can get from Budapest to Belgrade by slow train with 3 changes, in an interesting day with lunch in Subotica, see the Budapest-Belgrade train service here.

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Budapest to Sofia

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 08:42.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments is attached from Arad (depart 21:04) 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.

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Bucharest to Sofia by daily daytime train.

    In summer from 9 June to 9 October 2023 this is a direct train, or rather, a 2nd class through car.  Similar dates expected in 2024.

    At other times of year it's modern air-conditioned Romanian diesel unit from Bucharest to Ruse arriving 13:45, then a Bulgarian train leaves Ruse at 14:20 for Sofia.

    There's no catering so bring a picnic and some wine or beer.  It's a lovely scenic ride, crossing from Romania into Bulgaria over the Danube between Giurgiu & Ruse on Europe's longest steel bridge, 2.5 Km long, then meandering at slow speed through the valleys of Bulgaria.

    You can confirm this schedule at the Bulgarian Railways website www.bdz.bg.  Click English top right.  Click Menu then look for International rail-routes, go to the Bucuresti-Sofia page and open the pdf timetable.

    The fare is €34 standard tariff, bought at the station or online.

    You can book this journey at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.

    Click EN top right for English.  For Bucharest, enter Bucuresti.  Tickets must be collected from the ticket office at Bucharest Nord (or another Romanian station), so only use this site for one-way or round trip journeys starting in Romania.  Feedback would be appreciated.

    If you have any problems, buy the Bucharest to Sofia ticket at the station in Bucharest when you get there.

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 19:30 every night, and arrives Warsaw Gdanska at 08:48.

    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.

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

    Booking opens 60 days ahead. If it doesn't offer deluxe sleepers, stick with regular ones. If it doesn't offer single-bed sleepers, simply book 2 tickets for a 2-bed sleeper.

  • 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 has forgotten to load the necessary data, or because they've 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 23:10 Vienna-Warsaw sleeper 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.

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 safe & comfortable EuroNight sleeper train leaves Budapest Nyugati at 19:30 every evening, arriving Krakow Glowny at 05:59.

    The train has a 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.

  • If booking online at mavcsoport doesn't work - if it says No offer available (and it's definitely less than 60 days ahead), either because the cheap fares are sold out or because MAV has forgotten to load the necessary data, or because they've 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 3 below.

    Option 2, consider catching the 18:40 EuroCity train from Budapest Keleti to Vienna Hbf, then using using the 23:10 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!

  • Tip:  The sleeper arrives in Krakow at an early hour.  Exit the station through the shopping centre and you'll find the Hotel Puro Stare Miasto on the other side of the road and to the right.  They'll let you join their excellent breakfast buffet from 7am for around €16.  Of course, your own hotel may let you join their breakfast buffet on the morning of arrival.  Suggested hotels in Krakow.

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 16:28.

    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.

    These 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, but if you insist on 1st class you will have to switch trains at Bohumin just after 14:00, where the through cars are 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 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 09:20 & Kyiv at 16:03.

    Introduced in December 2017, these Ukrainian sleeping-cars have comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  They start their journey 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 07:20 every day arriving Mukachevo in Ukraine at 15:30.

    Just one or two through cars run direct to Mukachevo, with comfortable air-conditioned 2nd class open-plan seats.  Reservation is compulsory and it often sells out a few days ahead, so book in advance.

    Fares start at €18.80 if booked in advance or around €25 full-price bought on the day.

    Buy a ticket at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see my tips for using it.  Booking usually opens 60 days ahead.

    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.

    Buy a ticket for this train online at the Ukrainian Railways website www.uz.gov.ua (you may need a VPN set to a Ukrainian IP address).  Booking opens 30-60 days ahead.

  • Feedback and any photos of the Hungarian or Ukrainian trains inside or out would be most welcome, please let me know 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 the most viable option whilst trains in the Balkans remain cancelled.

  • Day 2, travel from Bologna to Bari by Frecciarossa, leaving Bologna Centrale at 09:45 arriving Bari Centrale at 15:27.

    The train has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a pleasant run along the scenic Adriatic coast.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, $ or £, they'll refund the €3.50 booking fee to seat61 users if you email them after booking at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly, requires Italian-language place names, see advice on using it).

    Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

Superfast ferry from Bari to Patras in Greece

The ferry Superfast II from Bari to Patras, boarding at Bari.  Photos courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

Boarding the ferry from Italy to Greece   Lounge and reception desk on the ferry to Greece

The passenger gangway, onto the ferry.

 

Reception desk & lounge on the ferry.

Lounge & bar on the ferry from Italy to Greece   Self-service restaurant on the ferry from Italy to Greece

Lounge and bar on the Superfast II.

 

Self-service restaurant.

En suite toilet & shower on ferry to Greece   Cabin on ferry from Italy to Greece

Private cabin with en suite toilet & shower.

Scenic views from the ferry from Italy to Greece

The ferry passes Cephalonia & Ithaca then approaches mainland Greece.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

The ferry from Bari arrives at Patras

The ferry approaches the new port of Patras.

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

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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 08:42 next day.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments is attached from Arad (depart 21:04) 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.

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  Click EN top right for English.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    If you want the comfort & privacy of a proper sleeper from Arad to Bucharest, (1) book a 2nd class seat from Budapest to Arad 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 Arad to Bucharest Nord at the Romanian domestic website bilete.cfrcalatori.ro and print your own ticket.

Option 2, via Belgrade

  • This route is currently not viable.  There are no fast trains Budapest-Belgrade, and no trains Belgrade-Sofia.

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Budapest to other destinations

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Railbookers custom-made tours

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.


Hotels in Budapest

Hotels near the station

Budapest's most iconic hotels

  • The luxurious 5-star Corinthia Hotel is the Grande Dame of Budapest hotels.  Opened in 1896 as the Grand Hotel Royal, it was almost certainly the inspiration for the 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel, made 2 years after film-maker Wes Anderson stayed here.  It's a superb hotel with a renowned spa and an excellent breakfast - with choice of dry or sweet champagne included.  It's 20 minutes walk from Keleti station or 9 minutes by taxi.  It's a !5 minute walk or a few minutes by taxi or number 4 or 6 tram from Nyugati station.

  • Also historic and top notch, the New York Palace Hotel opened in 1894 and houses the famous New York Cafe on its ground floor.  It's 15 minutes walk from Keleti station and gets fabulous reviews.

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

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

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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