How To Buy Hungarian Train Tickets?

If you wish to travel by train from Budapest to Vienna, Prague or Berlin with a pre-purchased discount railway ticket, you may bump into some unpleasant obstacles when buying or booking a train ticket online from the Hungarian MAV Train Company.

Printing out the online rail tickets in Budapest, Hungary

Printing out the online rail tickets in Budapest, Hungary

On the bright side, at least it is possible. Even though some interface pages are NOT in English. So here is our train ticket screenshot step by step guide how to buy tickets in Hungary on the internet. In the screenshots below we will walk you through the online ticket purchase of a train ticket from Budapest to Vienna.

The Hungarian train company, MAV seems to finally keep up with the recent developments, and is now offering online train ticket purchase in advance for both local and international train routes. The snag is that the online MAV interface of buying a train ticket from Budapest to another travel destination has not been really made for tourists who do not speak Hungarian.

So here is a step by step train ticket based on the buying process and screens on the official website of the Hungarian railway company, MAV. Hopefully, with this little help, you will be able to book your budget and discount train tickets from Budapest without a glitch – and save a few hundred or thousand Hungarian forints for your Budapest holiday.

Before you start buying your train ticket, some buying tips:

  • Be prepared for a cumbersome ticket purchase interface, not really made for tourists at this point, sorry
  • Allow about 20 – 35 minutes for booking your rail ticket in Hungary
  • Have something to drink with you. It may help to get over potential frustration
  • Have your valid card prepared (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro, Electron are all accepted)
  • Please bear with us, sometimes the interface is dumb.

First of all, your browser may find the official online train purchase system of the Hungarian MAV untrustworthy and you may get a warning:

Hungarian Train Company MAV website - online ticket purchase

Hungarian Train Company MAV website – online ticket purchase

You will have to choose ‘proceed anyway’ in order to get through to the ticket buying interface. Sounds a real adventure, we know.

So let’s get on. Visit the official website of MAV, the Hungarian rail company, and in the upper right hand corner, click on the English language version, and give the FROM and TO info:

MAV Hungarian ticket buying for trains

MAV Hungarian ticket buying for trains

In most cases, you will need Keleti Train Station in Budapest.

Then in the right hand boxes, pick your starting date, and choose any of the discounts if it applies to you or your travel partners (children, under 26, students, pensioners, blind, etc.). Discounts can save you a lot of money, so don’t forget to use them well, and bring your ID to prove that you are entitled to the reduced train ticket prices. The ticket inspector will ask you to show your ID if you have a discount train ticket. Note: in general, discounts are for tourists from the EU or for Hungarians only.

Discounts for train tickets in Hungary

Discounts for train tickets in Hungary

In the next window, you can set your single or return dates, the current exchange rates (upper right hand corner), the number of passangers, and you will also need to give your date of birth (MAV system wants to find out if you are automatically entitled to a discount, and old enough to buy tickets – it is not a remnant of the old Big Brother days, no worries).

Single or return tickets bought online from Budapest, Hungary

Single or return tickets bought online from Budapest, Hungary

By scrolling down a bit, you can also see what trains are available on your starting date, if they leave from Keleti Train Station (by default) or from Deli Train Station, which is about a 20 minute metro ride from Keleti, so do check the details of your train route. At the time of writing, the system does not recognize ‘Deli Train Station’ only ‘Déli’ with an accent (say: ‘daily’ not ‘deli’). Mind you, you will get some info on which platform your train will leave from, but it may change, so again, better double check and leave some time for rolling your suitcases (Keleti is quite big).

from Budapest Keleti or Deli Train Station to Vienna

from Budapest Keleti or Deli Train Station to Vienna

The estimated time of your journey is in the 5th column, saying DUR (for Duration). Some trains are not direct, which can make your train trip twice as long, but there are many direct train routes, which e.g. regarding the Budapest – Vienna route, can mean that your trip is less than 3 hours. It is great, isn’t it? (The other option would be the slow, noisy and uneventful hydrofoil trip from Budapest, or taking the fast bus from Budapest to Vienna).

Let’s assume, that we are travelling from Budapest to Vienna in August, two of us, date of birth info given for both of us. Then click on the button ‘Tickets and Prices’:

Date of Birth for passengers on Hungarian trains

Date of Birth for passengers on Hungarian trains

Here we get the ticket prices:

Potential routes for Budapest Vienna train trips with prices

Potential routes for Budapest Vienna train trips with prices

The OPEN button is the little orange arrow, by clicking on which you will get extra info about each train ticket:

Detailed train ticket info - Hungarian MAV

Detailed train ticket info – Hungarian MAV

The white seat icon means that it is a train seat ticket, the white arrows indicate if the trip is there or back.
Most importantly, the little yello I for info icon will take you to a Hungarian page, where you may learn with google translate the following info about Sparschiene for instance:

Sparschiene-Fortuna Budapest goes to both Wien and Graz, and there is another Hungarian Sparschiene-Fortuna from the nice little southern Hungarian town called Pecs (Pécs) to Vienna. Then comes a list of the actual trains and engine numbers (the Hungarian MAV and the Austrian OBB) which are part of the Sparschiene offer. You will also learn that the Sparschiene is a discounted ticket for all year (not just for the tourist season), and that you can only buy this train ticket 2 months in advance (for instance on July 1 you can buy it until September 1 but not later) for both 1st class and 2nd class seats.
Sparschiene is not refunded and cannot be replaced with another train ticket. Once you bought it, you are stuck with it. Children discounts do not apply for Sparschiene train tickets. I think these are the most important, non-technical train nerdy items on the info page.

And here comes a decisive point, where should you click to actually buy the train ticket?

Now, currently, what you need to do is to click on the OPEN button on the left side (by the orange arrow) once again.

open button - buying the train ticket but how?

open button – buying the train ticket but how?

Well, this was the OPEN button they were talking about you think with a hindsight…
And there you go:

Buying rail tickets in Hungary online

Buying rail tickets in Hungary online

Now in the right hand column, you can reserve your train seat. The prices indicated include both the standard train tickets and the price of the extra seat reservation (the latter of which is also compulsory to buy):

Hungarian trains - with obligatory seat reservation

Hungarian trains – with obligatory seat reservation

Not all trains in Hungary go with obligatory seat reservation, but international ones definitely do, and most of the better, faster trains too.

Let’s assume that we have picked an outward and an inward return journey date too. Then scroll up to the top of the page and click on the orange button saying ADD TICKET TO THE…
Then you will end up on this nice Hungarian page after all this work:

Register on Hungarian MAV to buy a train ticket

Register on Hungarian MAV to buy a train ticket

Scroll down to get to Regisztracio (Registration) – you will need to register to the Hungarian rail company site to buy a train ticket. And you are on the right track, as according to their instructions, first you need to pick which tickets you need for which dates, and then register… Painful, we know. Sorry about that.

Registration on the Hungarian MAV train website

Registration on the Hungarian MAV train website

So let’s go through the registration process on MAV site. Under the email, you will need to give your password (‘Jelszó’ in Hungarian) you create specifically for the MAV site (min 6 max 16 characters). Then ‘Jelszó ismét’ means Password again, so you will need to retype your chosen password. The coloured bar measures the strength of your password. Fill in the form, then click on the button ‘Regisztráció’ (register):

Registration on Hungarian MAV Train site

Registration on Hungarian MAV Train site

After clicking on the Register button, you will face a long long Hungarian text, the MAV Terms and Conditions. These are pretty general things, but if you need to know the terms and conditions in English, we can send it to you for a modest surcharge (the fee of the Hungarian – English translation).
Otherwise, if you are lazy terms and conditions readers like we are, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a box you can tick for accepting the terms and conditions. Please note that we accept no liabilities, so it is your responsible decision:

MAV Hungarian Rail Company - Ticket Purchase Terms and Conditions

MAV Hungarian Rail Company – Ticket Purchase Terms and Conditions

Scroll down to see this little box, and tick.

Accepting MAV terms and conditions

Accepting MAV terms and conditions

Then hit the orange ‘Tovább’ button, which means ‘Next’ in Hungarian (literally ‘further’ but as a web button it is used as next)

Then comes the long long Privacy Policy (data protection declaration) issued by MAV, the Hungarian Train company (again, no liabilities on our behalf, but if you are an accurate legal person, we are glad to make an English version for a modest charge). And let’s not forget about the useful free Google translate tool, although with legal docs it may not be the best help, it gives a general idea what the text may be about.

Scroll down to the bottom of the declaration doc, tick the box to accept it, and hit ‘Regisztráció’ (registration)

MAV Hungarian Train - Privacy and data protection

MAV Hungarian Train – Privacy and data protection

Accepting the MAV privacy doc

Accepting the MAV privacy doc

Believe it or not, at this point I needed to have a coffee break… so cumbersome. Never mind, be persistent. :)

Now comes a pop up window: Thanks for registering on MAV Ticket Purchase. Click ‘OK’ Check your spam box if you don’t see MAV’s automatic email in your inbox.

Thanks for registering on MAV Ticket Purchase

Thanks for registering on MAV Ticket Purchase

Go to your email account to activate your registration by clickin on the link in the confirmation email.

Activate your new MAV registration by clicking on the link in your email account

Activate your new MAV registration by clicking on the link in your email account

Now you end up at the beginning but you can start purchasing your tickets. This interface shows KOrábbi vásárlások = History of purchased tickets (literally ‘earlier buys’)

The red warning text is about bank account data. If you want to print out train tickets (currently only available for inland tickets but not for international tickets) you will need to provide some bank data.

Start buying your train ticket

Start buying your train ticket

In the upper right hand corner you will see a count down. So you will have a short approx. 10-15 minute time frame to finalize your train ticket purchase. Make sure you have your credit card ready.

Choose the option at the bottom of the page
“Tudomásul vettem, nem kérek számlát.” which means that you are not asking for an invoice / receipt for your train ticket, so you are not giving a really detailed bank account info, as you don’t need a fully fledged MAV Ticket account (like a local would do). But you will of course need some bank data (less detailed) to buy your international ticket too.
So tick the box, and hit the orange button ‘Banki fizetés’ (paying via bank)

Don’t forget that you are paying for the train tickets in Hungarian forint (HUF or Ft for short) even if you see the prices in Euro!
You can pay by the following cards (dombornyomott means the numbers on the card are in relief, stand out, are not flat on the card surface):

American Express

Credit Cards accepted by MAV ticket purchase

Credit Cards accepted by MAV ticket purchase

If you run out of the time frame, no worries, log in, and start your purchase again.

Here I am demonstrating another potential glitch in the train ticket buying system:

if you picked your train route, e.g. for a Budapest Vienna return trip the two trains (outward and return) and click on the button ‘Add ticket to the cart’ you may get a totally blank page. Like this:

MAV blank page during ticket purchase

MAV blank page during ticket purchase

No worries, hit the backpage button, and try again. It may very well be the case that there are no more tickets left for that train relation:

No more train tickets, sorry

No more train tickets, sorry

If you get the red warning message above: no more tickets, sorry (A kiválasztott jegytípus az adott vonatra elfogyott.). It means that you will need to pick another hour or date. Try until you get the right train tickets.

For instance, this Budapest – Wien – Budapest return train ticket in August, Hurraaaay! Or not yet?:

Buying a Hungarian train ticket for international trains

Buying a Hungarian train ticket for international trains

the text “A kiválasztott ajánlat igénybevételi feltételei” simply means the terms and conditions for the given train route and relation. Kosár – Fizetés means ‘Cart – Payment’. Yes, you are in the right place. But where can you actually buy the ticket? Where are the buttons?

If you click on the orange arrow saying ‘részletek’ you will get the detailed info of the tickets, but still no buying (or you can delete the train ticket by Jegyek törlése orange button) Where is your cart now? Good question. I am looking for my cart now. You may be luckier, it is a moody train ticket purchase system. But I won’t give up and you shouldn’t either. :)

I couldn’t find it anywhere, logged in again and started the train ticket purchase again. This time success!!

Booking a ticket in advance for Budapest Vienna online MAV system

Booking a ticket in advance for Budapest Vienna online MAV system

Time is ticking quickly. As above stated, scroll down the page to accept the fact that you don’t want to get an invoice or receipt:

No invoice about booking your rail ticket for Hungary

No invoice about booking your rail ticket for Hungary

Here comes a redirect to the Hungarian Bank called OTP to actually make your booking become true and financially solid:

MAV train ticket booking redirecting to OTP Bank

MAV train ticket booking redirecting to OTP Bank

Then fill in the form:

OTP Bank transfer form for booking train tickets in Hungary

OTP Bank transfer form for booking train tickets in Hungary

And here is a short translation (see both Hungarian and English) for the bank transfer, hopefully, you will make your train ticket booking with success. Please note: we accept no liabilities for your train ticket purchase and we do not buy train tickets for tourists (sorry). I am using bank card and credit card for this form now as synonymous terms.

Bolt (szolgáltató) neve – Name of the service provider MÁV-START
Fizetendő összeg – Amount to be paid 7.670
Devizanem – Currency: HUF
On-line áruház megjegyzése – Additional info by the store (service provider) – MAV-START Zrt. – Nemzetkozi menetjegy – International rail ticket
Terhelendő bankkártya adatai – Data of the bank card to be credited
Kártya típusa – Type of bank card (please choose your valid card data)
Ha OTP SZÉP kártyával, Cafeteria kártyával, stb. kíván fizetni Válassza az ‘Egyéb’ kártyatípust! – irrelevant for you probably, relevant for local Hungarian buyers (If you wish to pay by SZEP card, Cafeteria card, etc. choose the ‘Other’ bank card type)
Kártyát kibocsátó bank neve – Name of the bank issuing the card
Kártyára írt név – Name of the Bank holder
Terhelendő bankkártyaszám – Bank account number to be credited
A kártya számát folyamatosan gépelje be, a fizető felület automatikusan elvégzi a kártyaszám tagolását.
Please print the numbers of the card continuously without spaces. The system will add the spaces automatically.

Amennyiben a kártyaszám beadására kialakított mező hosszabb, mint az Ön kártyájának a száma, a kitöltetlen helyet hagyja üresen.
If the card number box is longer than your actual number, please leave the rest of the boxes empty.

Ha Ön olyan, az OTP Bank által kibocsátott Maestro kártyával kíván fizetni, amelynek száma tíz számjegyű, akkor az első hat számjegyként a következőt kell megadni: 675761. Ezt az Ön bankkártyája 10 számjegyének kell követnie, így tehát összesen 16-jegyű bankkártyaszámot kell megadnia.
(this info refers to Hungarian OTP MasterCards only)

Lejárati dátum (hhéé) / Date of expiration (mmyy)
Érvényesítési kód (CVC2/CVV2) – security code on the back of your card (the 3 digits)
A kártya hátoldalán, az aláíráscsíkon szereplő szám utolsó három számjegye. Amennyiben az Ön bankkártyáján ilyen adat nem szerepel, kérjük, hagyja a mezőt üresen!
Please give your 3 digit security code, if your card does not have any, leave the box empty
Felhívjuk figyelmét, hogy amennyiben az adatbevitel és a Fizetés indítása nem történik meg 5 percen belül, a vásárlás elutasításra kerül!
If you don’t make your purchase within 5 minutes, your purchase will be annulled / rejected.

Printing out your Hungarian train ticket bought via internet

Printing out your Hungarian train ticket bought via internet

Ideally when the paying is done, you should receive a buying code consisting of 10 digits. These ten digits will be used to print out your ticket in Budapest. Go to any of the major Budapest train stations and locate the blue ticket printing machines (saying INTERNETES). These machines are about an average woman’s height with a touch screen. Use your 10 digits to get your train ticket printed out. Here is a small demo made by the Hungarian rail company: video of using train ticket machines.

We can be self ironic and say that it would not be a Hungarian video if it was straightforward. The video is mostly about using the tiring MAV interface for buying an electronic train ticket online with a Nokia mobile phone. The last 5 seconds then suddenly change to a woman printing her online ticket at the official printing terminal (‘the blue MAV ticket machine’.

You can use Keleti Train Station, Deli Train Station, Nyugati Train Station to print out your international rail ticket (plus 3 minor out of the city train stations, you will be unlikely to use). The city of Budapest is pretty spread out, so the 3 major train stations are about 15-20 min ride from each other. You may envision to arrive in Budapest by flight, get a Budapest airport transfer, and expect to hop on your train heading elsewhere from the ‘Budapest Train Station‘. This is not the case.

How can I buy a train ticket in Hungary on the internet?

How can I buy a train ticket in Hungary on the internet?

All three train stations are heavily used. Although Nyugati Train Station is connected with Budapest Airport, which means an easy and cheap Budapest airport transfer, your train will likely leave from Keleti Train Station (most trains from Budapest to Vienna and Budapest to Prague leave from Keleti Train Station).

If you have a lot of luggage and big suitcases with you, taking Budapest public transport is not recommended. You can use a reliable Budapest taxi company or the shuttle service or some of the upcoming and competitively priced private companies for your smooth airport transfer.

Useful Budapest Info

Budapest Cards: Budapest coupons, free tickets to attractions, 5% discount on online orders – the Budapest tourist card includes a travel pass and dozens of good Budapest deals.

Budapest Events Guide: upcoming events in Budapest, festivals, fairs, exhibitions, concerts, etc.

Dos and Don’ts Budapest: some warnings, some tips on what to do

Top 10 Things to Do in Budapest: some of the top things to do, must see places in the city of Budapest (which has lots of hidden gems too).

Please read the comments, or hit the control F search on your laptop to see if you find more relevant info in the comments. We are trying to update the info as best as we can.


  1. Hi, I’m trying to follow your guide, but I’m looking to buy a 1-way ticket to Ljubljana from Budapest and it’s not showing me the ticket and pricing page, only the Timetable. I’ve tried emailing the company, but no luck. I know the overnight train to Ljubljana only starts running in June on Mondays, and I’m trying to buy for July 1st. Anyone else experiencing this type of issue, and does anyone have a solution?

    Many thanks!

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Katya, the Hungarian MAV train site tells me the same: neither information about this route for the given date nor electronic tickets from Budapest to Ljubljana. There is also an additional red lettered info box saying that the trains through Hegyeshalom Hungary have a special timetable because of the river Danube flood and its damages along the affected train rail rides. I think this is the main reason why MAV does not show any info. By July 1st I think things should be back to the regular timetables.
      I am sorry but I think you will need to wait to sort your railway tickets out.
      If you cannot book your ticket online, you will still be able to buy one on the day of your travel, or before that at the cashier.
      Hope this is of some help.

  2. Rebecca says:

    short question on tickets budapest->wien

    Would it be alright to book tickets for budapest-bratislava-wien and stop in bratislava? and then take the next train that comes along, in like 2 hrs, to austria? If not ;) is there a good way of doing this without spending double or triple the cost of the spar* ticket straight from budapest to wien?

    cheers :)

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hello Rebecca, we got the following info from MAV: there are no direct trains from Budapest to Vienna via Bratislava, in each case, you will have change in Bratislava, which means that 2 tickets must be bought. You will have to buy two separate tickets, one from Budapest to Bratislava, and another one from Bratislava to Vienna. Train trips by default cannot be interrupted the way you wish they could (and I wish too, but that is not the case, sorry).

      The trains from Budapest to Wien (like the cheap Sparschiene train tickets) do not call at Bratislava, but they are definitely super cheap if booked online. But this would mean that you will either skip Bratislava on the way, or you can arrange a trip from Vienna back to Bratislava.

      The train ticket costs about 17.5 Euro (€17.5 from Budapest to Bratislava and another €17.8 from Bratislava to Vienna. The total fee is still very cheap compared to prices in western Europe. Oh, before I forget, You will have to buy special seat reservation tickets (of about €3 per trip)
      Try to check the prices on this MAV link:
      Here you can add the option “via” i.e. via Bratislava, and it will show some options with 1 change in Bratislava. The thing is that when you wish to know the prices it will show you the cheap Sparschiene ticket (despite the fact that I have specified ‘via Bratislava”), which do not go through Bratislava at all.

      So I wanted to make sure and get the info directly from the Hungarian train company, MAV: the above prices and info were given by them. Hope this helps.
      Have a nice trip!

  3. George Johnson says:

    I want to buy RailJet tickets from Budapest to Salzburg but I live in the US and can’t print an international ticket online. I would like to go to a MAV office Budapest when we get there by riverboat but can’t find a good address for the office. One listed is 73-75 Andrassy utca 1061 and some people way that address is no longer valid. Others say 1051 Jozsef Atilla utca 16 (I may have that wrong) is the correct address. Do you know the correct address? Thanks for your help.

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi George, there are international train ticket offices in the major train stations (Nyugati Train Station, Keleti Train Station and Deli Train Station), or you can go to a perhaps less frequented ticket office of MAV on Ferenciek Square. This office is within a travel agent office called IBUSZ, address Cím: 1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 2.
      The opening hours of this office are

      Mon-Fri: 09.00-18.00
      Sat: 09.00-13.00

      The current list of Ticket offices (besides the railway stations in Budapest) are enlisted on MAV’s website:

      Although the one in Jozsef Attila street is enlisted (1051 Budapest , József Attila utca 16.), it says only a ticket machine is in operation, no human cashiers. So if you want to go to a ticket office of the Hungarian rail company where there is personal client assistance, you will have to go to Ferenciek tere square, or to one of the 3 major train stations.

      Unlike the IBUSZ office on Ferenciek tere, the train station ticket offices are open for longer hours and on Sundays too, but queues often build at the cashiers, and cashiers’ English skills are basic. If you are unsure, just put the places and timing on a piece of paper for the cashier.
      Have a nice trip from Budapest to Salzburg.

      • George Johnson says:

        Thank you for the information. I had read the cashiers at the train station could be difficult at times and to look for the MAV office. Now I just have to find Ferenciek Square. Thank you again. You provide a valuable service.

        • Ho Anna,
          I will be in budapest Oct 1-7. I was trying to buy 2 first class full fare Budapest-Prague for oct 7. Tried over 10 times in the last 3 hours but still can’t proceed to the payment page. :-(
          Where is the closest MAV office to Budapest 5? I’m staying by the opera house. Do you think there will still be tickets left if I go to the office a few days before?

          You probably will make lots of money buying tickets for people for a small fee ;-)

          • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

            Hello Cindy, I am quite sure that there will be tickets to Prague from Budapest in October (it is not the high season, plus you have 5-6 days to buy a train ticket in person at the office. The closest railway station to the Opera House is Nyugati Train Station.
            Oh yes, we are making lots of money for the state owned Hungarian Rail company, MAV :)

          • Anna,
            The nyugati station has the same price as the MAV office in Ferenciek square?

          • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

            Hi Cindy, as it is a MAV ticket office too, I do not see why they would have different prices. But to make sure you can contact them. Phone: 00-36-1/501-4908 E-mail:

          • Ok I think I understand. I can buy the ticket either from Frenciek square or the a nyugati railway office. I will also depart from Nyugati railway station to go to Prague.

            Now, I can take the metro from opera house metro station to nyugati METRO station, but Is the RAILWAY station next to it?? Is it walking distance from the metro?

          • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

            Hi Cindy, yes, exactly as you are saying: Nyugati is a 2 in 1 station, both a metro and a railway station right next to each other with stairs (and escalators) leading up / down to the streetcar 4 and 6, and the train station. This is a major traffic hub in Budapest with lots of train passengers, metro passengers, streetcar, etc.
            From the Opera there are more options to get to Nyugati Train Station. If you have lots of luggage, the best is to take a short taxi ride (not cheap, but at least you do not have to squeeze into the vehicles with many passengers if you are in peak time). If you have a rolling suitcase or a backpack, you can also take the Opera M1 metro to Deak Sq and then the M3 blue metro to Nyugati. Or, you can take the M1 to Oktogon square, and then the streetcar to Nyugati (I would choose the latter, less hassle with stairs). 1 metro stop to Oktogon and 1 streetcar stop to Nyugati, 12 min
            (google maps does not show the metro option, but there is one of course)

          • Thanks so much for all you feedback Anna. We drive everywhere here at home, and are not used to trains & metro so all your info is very useful.
            We plan on taking the 09:25 train to Prague, which I’m sure is peak hours, so will probably opt for the taxi.

            Will keep you posted on our Budapest adventure :-)

          • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

            Hi Cindy, yes, I understand, we have been to the US, and realized that it is a lot more driving around than we do in Hungary.
            I am quite sure you will find the metro and the train easy to get around, also the streetcars, buses, trolleys, etc. Thanks for keeping us posted! Have a great time in Europe! :)

  4. Hi Anna – Just come across your blog when researching a problem. I need some help :).

    I am due to travel from Prague to Budapest in two-day time. I bought my ticket online via MAV START (thanked God, I worked through the website!) but I only received an email with a reference number. They also instructed me to print my ticket at one of their e-ticket machines just as your guide. However, the problem is their e-ticket machines are only located inside Hungary. That means it is impossible (and nonsense) for me to print my ticket in Hungary for a trip from Czech Rep to Hungary! I sent them an email and did not receive an answer. Have you dealt with this kind of experience before? I really need your help now. I also will ring the tomorrow too.

    Thank you very much for your time


    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Dear Hau, I’m afraid I have bad news: the Hungarian train tickets are indeed only from Hungary to another country, and you really need to print them out in Hungary in order to be able to use them. I am so sorry, and I hope you can get a refund, or sort it out somehow. In the meantime, try to book a ticket from the Czech site, as your trip is from Prague to Budapest, not from Budapest to Prague. :(
      Really sorry that I cannot help more.
      The Czech train website for a Prague – Budapest railway trip is :
      If you cannot get any info / reply from the Hungarian MAV train company, which I hope is not the case, you should still print out the reference number and try to arrange a refund in person at the cashier. I am not sure if you are entitled to a refund, so I do not have high hopes, but it is worth a try.
      I see what you mean when you say nonsense, but the fact is that the Czech Republic is a different country, and to start a journey in the Czech Republic you need to have something from the Czech Republic, and the Czech rail company. Hungarian train tickets bought online are like train tickets bought at Hungarian train cashiers but virtually. I really understand your frustration, but it does not change how the train tickets work here. If you buy a Budapest – Vienna ticket online from the Austrian train company, you should get it and validate it in Vienna. We may be neighboring countries, but the co-operation of the train companies is not 22nd century yet unfortunately. Hopefully in a few decades.

      • Hi Anna! Wow thanks for this great article. I referenced it when booking my tickets. However, I am a bit confused now that I have my tickets purchased. I received the confirmation e-mail but have no times listed in the e-mail. Do you know the reason for this? Should I have recorded this information when booking? Or is the time flexible? I have to book flights in between the trains so the time is really important to me. Would appreciate any advice you have on the subject!

        • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

          Hi Gwen, I think the best is to ask the customer service of MAV as they are the only competent partner to let you know which trains you can / cannot use with your ticket. Sorry, I cannot advise you in such important and tangible matters.
          Is there any link perhaps in your confirmation email or any train type listed? Certain trains only leave at regular times, so this may give a solid clue.
          Another option is to re-enact buying another ticket for the same day (and not finishing it) to see if during the train purchase process there is any list of trains, a train schedule coming up. Many times it is the train ID number that gives a hint at the timetable. It should.
          At any rate, I would contact the customer service just to be on the safe side.

  5. Hi Anna,
    Just wanted to tell you I was able to purchase my MAV tickets to Prague from the Oktober 6 office upon my arrival in Budapest without any problems. Per your recommendations, we took a taxi to the station (to Keleti, coz the lady at MAV said the train does not leave out of Nyugati).
    Thanks again for all your feedback. We really enjoyed your beautiful city for the entire 5 days! I’ve read some scary things about the metro ticket checkers, but since we had the 7 day pass, all the transports were very smooth for us. I did encounter a very persistent porter at Keleti, just like the ones I read about, but I handled just fine.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Cindy, thank you for letting us know, I am glad everything was all right in the MAV office. Yes, the 7 day pass (also available as a 5 day pass!) gives a peace of mind to all. Hope to see you back some day! Thanks for visiting Budapest! :)

  6. Hi!. I wanna book my tickets from budapest to vienna on 3rd jan however the website does not allow me to book a date later than 14 Dec. Is there something wrong with the website? Thanks.

  7. Hi Anna,

    Firstly, thank you for your detailed outlining of the MAV website. I managed to understand most of the process through other forums, although your blog really clarified a few extra key points:-)

    One area which I’m still confused with (it is the MAV website after all!) relates to the selection options when booking the overnight train from Budapest to Brasov for my trip with two friends on the 4th of January 2014. To begin with, I am getting an error message after the Ticket to Cart screen that reads “Data error. Please return to Journey selection.” yet I’m sure this is due to the online function being available later in December. What I am not understanding, however, is the difference between the couchette tickets. For example, once I select Tickets and Prices I can see one of two options as per the following:

    3 tickets of Fortuna: 29,00 euro/person (outward journey)

    3 tickets of 35% MÁV-START – CFR discount: 47,20 euro/person (outward journey)
    3 tickets of seat reservation: 16,40 euro/person (outward journey)

    If I were to book the first option for 29 EUR per person does this include seat/couchette reservation? It seems to be clearer with the second option (47.20 EUR plus 16.40 EUR per person) and I’d rather organise three confirmed couchettes rather than going for the cheapest option without seat reservation.

    I look forward to hearing from you and hope I’ve provided enough information!



    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Chris,

      I have tried to book a ticket for this December from Budapest to Brasov with a couchette, and was offered various prices, but each price offered contained a package of an outward ticket, and inward ticket and a seat reservation fee.
      e.g. (reszletek means details in English) a total sum of €92.6 includes the following 3 tickets

      92,60 euro

      open [Outward journey (D6:1) ] [Fekvőhely 2. osztály 6 személyes fülkében] 6 [Return journey (D6:1) ] [Fekvőhely 2. osztály 6 személyes fülkében] 6
      Részletek1 ticket of 35% MÁV-START – CFR discount: 47,20 euro/person (outward journey)
      1 ticket of seat reservation: 16,40 euro/person (outward journey)
      Részletek1 ticket of Fortuna: 29,00 euro/person (return journey)

      If you click on the orange colored open button you can even see the exact trains you are buying the tickets for, e.g. in this package:

      outward journey:
      BUDAPEST* – Brasov, 2013.12.21 Couchette
      For these offers is seat reservation compulsory. Price includes seat reservation fee.
      Please choose a train!
      22:33 Kelenföld 13:31 13:01 P –
      return journey:
      Brasov – BUDAPEST*, 2013.12.24 Couchette
      For these offers is seat reservation compulsory. Price includes seat reservation fee.
      Please choose a train!
      18:55 08:20 Budapest-Keleti 14:25 Helyjegy

      20:06 08:50 Budapest-Keleti 13:44 Helyjegy

      You are offered 3-4 similar railway packages from Budapest to Brasov (I picked a return journey), choose one of the packages, and then buy one by clicking on the OPEN button. At least if you run a mock buying test for a date for this year, the whole thing may be easier to grasp.

      Nevertheless, the main differences between Fortuna train and MAV – CFR are that:
      1, Fortuna is only accepted for a set of trains, while the MAV – CFR is for all trains.
      2, Fortunate includes the seat reservation fee (Seat reservation obligatory: Seat reservation is included in the price) but MAV – CFR does not
      as far as I understand. Please check it yourself, as more details are described by MAV (scroll down to page 2 for the English version)
      MAV – CFR

      In case you wonder: picture of the sleeping car:
      and the Hungarian train couchette in a drawing:

      • Hi Anna,

        Thanks for your quick response to my query, your practical example really helped to clear this up!

        The options between Fortuna and MAV START tickets were the main point of confusion. I’ve now gathered that the Fortuna train ticket is only available on such trains as the 473 ISTER EN that I’m trying to book, which leaves on the 4th of January 2014 at 19.10. The other options are the MAV START – CFR train tickets on this same train at a higher price, so from your understanding above the Fortuna is a special ticket that is probably limited, yet it includes the couchette seat reservation at a lower cost if you’re quick enough.

        I had attempted to purchase both the sleeper compartments or the couchettes and noted that the Fortuna ticket has already disappeared as an option with the sleepers, so hopefully when the online purchase for the 4th of January 2014 becomes available that some Fortuna couchette tickets are still around!



  8. Hi Anna,

    Thank you very much for this excellent guide! However, when I tried to book a ticket from Budapest to Munich for 2 January 2014, I get an error message in red saying: “Data error. Please return to Journey selection.” Do you have any idea why this happens? Any advice on how to book this ticket? Thank you very much!

  9. Hi,
    I’m trying to purchase or at least be able to see the prizes of a one-way ticket from Budapest to Wien, but I can’t though.
    I only get offers when I enter a return date, if I only type the departure date it ays no offer available, and I can’t go any further, so it seems impossible to buy a one-way ticket. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or it just can’t be done

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Jess, which date have you checked for the Budapest Vienna train? I can see an example on Dec 24, 29, 31 one way train ticket
      1 ticket of SparSchiene-Fort.1: 13,00 euro/person (outward journey).
      I imagine you tried next year, 2014 for a date? Prices and schedules change in 2014 so MAV is only allowing 2014 ticket purchases later on (cannot tell you when).
      But you will be able to take a train, and it won’t be very expensive.
      Have a nice trip!

  10. Hi Anna,

    I enquired in regards to the Budapest to Brasov overnight train on the 4th of January 2014 last week, so I apologise for the new thread yet would like further information on a new query.

    I had been in touch with MÁVDIREKT in relation to my attempts at online booking, who advised me that I can only book these train tickets in person from their international ticket offices. Because I arrive in Budapest on the 1st of January this will be my earliest opportunity to reserve tickets.

    I was really hoping to confirm these before I left Australia for peace of mind, although it seems that I must now hope that these tickets do not book out before I arrive. In light of my concern, and to the best of your knowledge, do either of the 473 ISTER or 407 CORONA trains between Budapest and Brasov completely book out? We are intending to book a couchette for 3 people.

    Thank you very much for your time.


    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Chris, I would think it unlikely, but the best is to ask the Mavdirekt contact you previously asked. They will have stats about recent years, so you can ask if the train will be booked very much or not. I cannot imagine that many folks are traveling on Jan 1 to Brasov, but I do not know it actually. They will know.
      On the bright side: nobody will be able to book online, only at the cashiers, so this reduces competition, doesn’t it?
      Keep my fingers crossed for you! I think you will be perfectly all right, but you may expect to stand in a long queue at the international cashier, so prepare for a 1 hour waiting in the worst case, bring something entertaining perhaps, or make a journal about the adventures in Budapest :)

      If you think, get back to us to share what actually happened so that other Brasov heading folks can learn from your story.

      • Hi Anna,

        Yes I think you’re correct in asking Mavdirekt for historical statistics and hoping for the best, yet I’ve enquired with my hostel in Budapest and their manager’s opinion is that we should be fine given the low tourist time of the year in addition to us arriving a few days before travelling again. Our hostel is located 100 metres from the Mavdirekt office, and we might even be able to book at Budapest Keleti when we arrive via train from Vienna. It’s also reassuring to know that I’m probably one of many who are not able to book online, and I’ve reassured myself that both the trains arrive at Brasov in the morning which is ideal.

        I’ll definitely keep you updated with my experiences at the Mavdirekt counter upon arrival in Budapest as this is such a valuable blog to learn about travelling through Hungary, plus all the other information!

        Thanks again:-)


  11. My wife and i want to take a sleeping compartment on the night train from Budapest to Krakow on 28 April 2014. On the MAV website I can get as far as putting in our selection but when i hit the “Tickets and Prices” button I get the message “No offer available for the journey with these conditions”. I have been trying for about 3 weeks and this has happened every time. We would love to have our tickets organised before we leave Australia in a few weeks, so any help/advice would be greatly apprfeciated.

    • 3 years later and I’m having exactly the same problem! Did you manage to get your tickets in the end?

  12. Thank you for your step by step guide in booking a ticket! I am planning on taking the train from Budapest to Vienna in June ( those tickets are not available yet but it looks like it should be in a few weeks) There are two of us heading to Vienna. My question is, using your guide, how do we reserve seats ? we are looking into the 2nd class tickets and I see that seat reservations are allowed. so how do we pick our seats? or if they are automatically assigned, is it safe to assume they would be together?

  13. Anna,

    Here it is 2015 and my question to you is——- rather than fight with the complications and possible errors with the reservation system, do you think that the Hotel would make the Train reservations for us 2? Thank You

  14. Hello, Thank you so much for the time you spent writing this article. I am stuck at the registration point. I have sent in the email with password, but have not received a return email with the registration authorization. Any suggestions? Many thanks

  15. hi
    I bought E-ticket from mav-start site and i got a ten digit code.
    My question is : Do I need the credit card while I will collect my ticket from the machine?because I have bought ticket by my sister-in-law’s credit card so i dont have it while collecting my ticket.thank you for your answer.

  16. Susie Garman says:

    I just tried to get a train ticket that I purchased on MAV going from Vienna to Budapest. I knew that I couldn’t print it from the internet and that I would need to wait to get it until we get to the train station. We went in to print our ticket and was told it was impossible. MAV sold us a ticket that could ONLY be printed in Hungary. However, the ticket was for Vienna to Budapest. They refused (via phone) to refund our money. So MAV is selling tickets that they know are useless. It leaves a bad impression on tourists even before they arrive in Hungary.

  17. Francisca Martins says:


    Thank you for the explaning, very useful!

    But i still have one question:
    – I have an interrail global pass, so i just want to reserve the night bus (8 euros for the couchette) from Budapest- Belgrade, and not the all ticket (15+8). But in the website that option doens’t appear..

    What can I do?
    Thank you!

  18. ROUA GHOSH says:


    i am traveling in 22 September to Budapest, and i will continue in 25 September to Vienna or Prague. I am wondering if the train lines will be working in these days specially after the refugees problems. Furthermore, can i book my tickets directly from Budapest before 1 day of traveling to Prague or i have to book them online better?

    Thank you

  19. Hi, I just bought two tickets from Munich to Budapest and I have received my code. But in the list of eTicket machines where you can collect your tickets, I don’t see any location for Munich. Are these eTickets designed for people who are already in Hungary? How can I get collect my tickets. There was no option for home print. Tanks.

  20. I stupidly bought a ticket reservation online for travel from Budapest to Ljubljana without selecting reserved seats (for my son and me). Will I be able to buy the seats at the train station? Or is that risky? Should I re-buy tickets with the seat assignments?

  21. Thank you for your detailed instructions. I recently purchased train tickets on MAV site for travel from Budapest to Vienna. My bank card was charged the fee but I did not receive a confirmation email with the 10-digit code. I have returned to the MAV site using my email and password but cannot find out how to retrieve the 10-digit code there. How can I obtain the code?

  22. Thanks for your explanation! I was wondering if it is also possible to buy a ticket that includes a reservation for bike transport. There is a search filter for that on the website, that shows the connections that allow bike transport. However I did not find the option to actually buy a reseveration for a bike. Do you know how that works?

    Thanks in advance!!


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