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):

Visa
MasterCard
American Express
Maestro
Electron

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.

Comments

  1. ophelie says:

    Thanks for all advises, but I still can’t buy the train tickets because when I click ‘don’t send an invoice’ nothing happen….

  2. This is a fantastic site! I will be attempting to purchase in the near future. Successful or not, your explanation of a VERY complicated process is much appreciated :)

  3. William says:

    Thank you so much for this information. It took more like 2 hours to eventually battle through, but I successfully booked my ticket.

    A few notes which may be helpful to others: using the Google Translate feature in Google Chrome, while helpful, sometimes rendered the buttons inoperable. I also repeatedly had issues with the English version of the page that were resolved by using the German version, but if you do not speak German this method may just result in more inoperable buttons. Perhaps most curious, the train time that I wanted was not available in the English version but somehow was in the German version.

    Good luck!

  4. Thanks for the detailed walkthrough. When I try to book tickets from Budapest to Vienna on August 13 (right after Sziget) it shows many trains on the first screen but only a few after I click through to “Tickets and Prices”. Does this mean the other trains are sold out? Are they sold out completely or just for internet fares? Will I be able to buy them later online, or buy them later at the train station? Sorry for all the questions and appreciate any help.

  5. Anna from Budapest says:

    Hi David, I’m afraid most of Sparschiene train tickets have been sold out by now (I have checked the same Budapest – Vienna route for Aug 13, and there is only 1 left).
    The lists are different, because the ‘long list’ contains all the trains leaving for Wien (even the ones where you have to get changed 1-2 times, not only the direct Budapest – Vienna trains), while the short list only shows the available _discount_ priced tickets. Luckily, it does not mean that there are no more rail tickets in general, it only means that the _cheap_ Sparschiene tickets are gone (mostly), while the _standard_ priced train tickets (often double cost of the discount) are available for purchase at the train station (international cashier).

    You can buy your train ticket at the station or at MAV office in advance in person too. So if you have a chance to take a look around the city of Budapest, before or during the Sziget Festival, you can go to the cashier and secure your rail ticket for Aug 13. But if you are here for the Sziget Festival only, I would not bother about the ticket, if you can afford approx. 13 – 15 more extra euros for a normal full priced ticket. This way you do not miss great concerts at Sziget, which are absolutely worth 15 euros right? :)
    If you are full of Sziget and want to enjoy something cool, check out the spa parties at Szechenyi:
    regular Szecska spa party: http://szechenyispabaths.com/sparties/
    the übercool party called Water Circus Sparty (even worth a one night detour from Sziget and an extra 35 euros I think): http://baths.topbudapest.org/water-circus-spa-party-at-szechenyi-baths-august-2012

  6. Anna from Budapest says:

    William, thanks for your input and congrats for the hard work of buying your Vienna train ticket!
    Ophelie, I am sorry. I am sure you will buy a good train ticket at one of the Budapest stations or in the MAV office.

    Please don’t despair if you don’t succeed. There are many trains, maybe not so great, but you will definitely get to Vienna eventually. Or don’t forget that the bus is also a standard and daily option to get to Austria!
    http://budapestblog.luxuryhotelsbudapest.com/from-budapest-to-vienna-by-bus-quick-guide/

  7. Dear Anna

    I’m on a fundraising row down the Danube from Vienna to Budapest in August, and bought a 5-day Eurailpass (adult) to get me there and back. But when I tried to book a seat Budapest-Zurich on 19/8, there were no seats available on any grain leaving Budapest that day – for those with a Eurailpass. But if I paid Eur.127 (which is one-third of the cost of the Eurailpass) I could have a seat. I tried for the day before (18/8), but was told the same story. Does this mean that Hungarian Railways have decided that they can sell all their seats at full price in August so don’t make them available for Eurailpass holders ? And that if you have a Eurailpass, you shouldn’t plan to visit Hungary ?

    I’d be grateful for you advice.

    Hal

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Hal,
      I have replied to your comment but it is gone. :(
      I hate to realise that I have to copy paste everything for an autosave. Ouch.
      OK, trying to ‘quickly’ sum up again.

      So first of all I am not a train expert, only trying to fully understand how to help tourists visiting Budapest the best I can. And my test was run on Aug 6, 2012.

      I have tested the full fare train tickets, as I cannot see any options to include Eurailpass (or Eurail pass) – sorry, how did you do it? :) There are all sorts of discounts on the left hand but not eurailpass option. I have even searched within the site… I gave up and calculated a full priced train ticket.

      The earliest cheap Vienna rail tickets right now I can see are for Aug 21. These are only the ‘discount train tickets’ to Vienna and _not all_ of the tickets. So you will have a seat on the train I assume, if you try to buy it at the train station (ideally not on the same day, but as soon as you can, 2-3 days before the actual train trip to Wien). If you cannot make your ‘real life’ purchase at the train station earlier than the day of your travel, you may risk not getting a train ticket for a given hour on the same day of your travel, but I am sure that there will be at least a couple of trains taking you to Vienna. It is quite unlikely that all the trains to Wien get sold out for a complete day.
      I hope this helps! :)

      So to sum up

      1, I have no clue about the Eurailpass sorry
      2, ideally, it is worth buying your Vienna tickets either more cheaply via online, or for the standard price at the train station (possibly 2-3 days before your actual train trip takes place)
      3, it is not a disaster, if you arrive in Budapest on the same day that you want to leave for Vienna – this will reduce your options for the seats and the best trains and will likely cost more, but you will find a train to take you to Vienna on your planned day – with or without Eurail pass

      If you have 1st class Eurailpass or anyway, you can use the Business Lounger at Keleti rail station, I copied the info here quickly

      The Business Lounge is open between 6.00 AM and 9.30 PM every day.

      1st class international railjet ticket with Premium Class supplement,
      1st class tickets for any international traffic realized in at least two countries, including Budapest as departure, arrival or transit station,
      sleeping car supplement and global-price ticket holders of the category Single
      START Club Premium or VIP Card,
      ÖBB CLUB MEMBER Card or 1st calass ÖBB ÖSTERREICH Card holders.
      Malév Duna Club Silver, Gold or Platinum card holders when travelling by train;
      1st class Eurail or InterRail pass holders with 1st class reservation, or railjet Premium Class seat reservation, or with single/double sleeping car supplement, valid on the day of travel.

      ——————-

      Here comes the 2nd version of my reply due to my a, loss of the first reply b, my misunderstanding that you wanted to travel to Zurich (not Vienna) from Budapest. I will share it anyway now that I have put it together (maybe others heading to Zurich can use it). :)

      Aug 19, Budapest – Zürich

      With full fare, I can see train tickets for 2nd class trains for 51.9 Euro, which you can only buy at the train station itself not via online. Not all train tickets can be purchased via online only some special ones.

      There are tickets all day, some leave from Deli Railway station others (most of them) from Keleti Train Station. The two stations are quite farm from each other (approx 25 min from platform to platform on foot and by M2 metro), so please check where your train from Budapest to Zurich leaves from.

      I have found this table to help you: does it help? lots of railjets on this day I have checked Zürich Hb as a destination, and some euronights

      05:10 Budapest-Keleti 17:20 1 12:10 – –
      05:21 Budapest-Déli 20:44 4 15:23 – –
      05:21 Budapest-Déli 20:44 3 15:23 – –
      06:05 Budapest-Keleti 17:20 11:15 –
      06:38 Budapest-Keleti 21:20 3 14:42 – –
      07:10 Budapest-Keleti 20:44 2 13:34 –
      07:10 Budapest-Keleti 20:44 1 13:34 –
      07:21 Budapest-Déli 21:20 3 13:59 – –
      09:10 Budapest-Keleti 21:20 1 12:10 –
      17:38 Budapest-Keleti 07:20 2 13:42 – –
      19:10 Budapest-Keleti 07:20 12:10 –
      21:10 Budapest-Keleti 11:44 1 14:34 –
      21:21 Budapest-Déli 15:20 2 17:59 –

  8. Thanks for this useful guide.

    I tried to buy tickets for this 11:10 Budapest-Keleti 14:00 Wien Westbf 2:50

    It worked the 3rd time I tried it, but somehow in the email I received and in the confirmation page it says:

    2 db menetjegy SparSchiene-Fort.1 egyúti 2. osztály
    Vonat: rj 64 Kocsiszám: 21
    Indulás: rj BUDAPEST KELETI 09.25
    Ár: 7 280 Ft (26 €)

    Meaning it departs at 9.25

    How is that possible? It said 11.10 and there is no Railjet at 9.25 (the earlier one that appears is 07:10 Budapest-Keleti 10:00 Wien Westbf 2:50) but nothing in the middle, try September 25

    Thanks in advance

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Alvaro,
      I think you have purchased the tickets you wanted to, at least this is the schedule of the rj 64 train (railjet from Budapest to Vienna and Munchen number 64) http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dll/xslvzs/vt?v=14615&d=12.09.25&language=1&ed=501CE0B3
      The train leaves Keleti train station at 11:10 from platfrom 9 (though the platform can change, please check)

      Indulás: rj BUDAPEST KELETI 09.25 means that you have bought this ticket for the 25th of September I assume, right? (as in the English date order: 09.25 (09: September)

      Sorry, maybe I am confused, but that’s what I gather from the info above. Did you try this day?

      PS I have edited out the exact seats on the train for your privacy (as you requested)

  9. Hi Anna,
    Thank you so much for this information. I am planing to use your instruction to book ticket for Vienna in Nov’12. I am planning to use Deli station not Keleti. Can I do so? Is there any disadvantages of using Deli station because your instruction is about using Keleti station. Thanks for reply.

  10. Anna from Budapest says:

    Hi Shiblee,
    both train stations are good, the only question is whether you manage to book a ticket in advance for your Vienna trip leaving from Deli. Sparschiene tickets sell out quickly (even though the Hungarian train company’s site makes seemingly impossible to make a quick booking…).
    There are no disadvantages to leave from Deli Railway Station: it is smaller, so less crowded, but it is also fruther away from the city center of Budapest (though with M2 metro the distances in Budapest are reduced to a few minutes – e.g. Deli is approx. 10 min from Deak by metro.)
    Even if you don’t manage to book your train ticket online, you can buy one (more expensive) at the cashier (at both train stations – just check where your train will leave from at the scheduled time. Most of them leave from Keleti)

  11. I can pick out the train and select it, but it keeps saying this:

    “Simultaneously you can book tickets for maximum 4 journeys.

    Basket – Payment
    Budapest-Keleti – Wien Westbf | 24/08/2012
    Special terms & conditions of the selected offer
    BUDAPEST KELETI – WIEN WEST 3,640 Ft (13 €)
    details
    Budapest-Keleti – Wien Westbf | 24/08/2012
    Special terms & conditions of the selected offer
    BUDAPEST KELETI – WIEN WEST 3,640 Ft (13 €)
    details”

    The issue is I haven’t seen a basket or shopping cart icon. It never has let me PAY for the tickets. Any advice :[?

  12. Anna from Budapest says:

    Hi Britney,
    try to click on the word ‘kosar’ which means basket or cart – maybe this way you can get to the train ticket payment page and get your Budapest train ticket (?). Let me know if it works! Good luck!

  13. Hi Anna

    Thank you for this website. It was very helpful for me when purchasing tickets. I have received my confirmation email and it says the following (note i’ve blanked out the seats):

    Budapest-Keleti – Wien Westbf

    2 ticket(s) SparSchiene-Fort.1 one way 2. class
    Train: rj 64 Car number: 21 Seat(s): xx xx
    Departure: rj BUDAPEST KELETI 15/10
    Price: 7,280 Ft (26 €)

    this all looks correct but it just doesn’t say the time anywhere on the confirmation email. I booked the 11:10 train. I think this is fine but just wanted to check. I think someone else had a similar comment above.

    Thanks again for your help

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Simon, yes, it can be a bit confusing with the confirmation: the key to decoding the train ticket confirmation mail from MAV company is the number of the train (the railjet). In your case, for instance, rj64 is actually always scheduled for 11:10am from Budapest Keleti Train Station, so the number of the train is, in this case, equivalent with the booked time – of course, MAV, the Hungarian rail company, does not realise that it is their innermost piece of knowledge and not at all straightforward to newbies (not just tourists / foreigners but for locals either).
      In other confirmation mails you may get
      rj 60 means Budapest Keleti pu., leaving at 7:10
      rj 62 Budapest Keleti pu. 9:10
      rj 64 Budapest Keleti pu. 11:10
      rj 66 Budapest Keleti pu. 13:10
      etc.

      I hope this helps!
      Have a good trip to Vienna from Budapest!

  14. Thank you very much Anna!! That helps! I’m sure we’ll have a great trip

  15. Hi Anna how are you? Help needed please.

    We (2A and 1C, 10 years old) are going to visit Budapest this 20th Sept Thursday. Plan to travel to Vienna on Sat for a day trip as we only stay 4d 3n in Budapest.

    After reading all the comments from you and others travellers, I have some question to ask you as I am not sure which one should I purchase. Thanks !

    Keyed in all the details as required and 2 different prices came up:

    1. €62.50 – 1 ticket of trip ticket Austria child €12.50 euro/person (Outward and Return Journey)
    2 tickets of trip ticket Austria €25.00 euro (Outward and Return Journey)
    BUT THIS ONE DO NOT SHOW WHITE ARROW OR WHITE SEAT
    THIS OPTION HAS MORE TRAIN 6 GOING / 4 COMING – MORE CHOICES

    2. €78.00 – 3 tickets of Sparschiene-Font €13.00 person (Outward and Return Journey)
    3 tickets of Sparschiene-Font €13.00 person (Outward and Return Journey)
    WITH WHITE ARROW AND WHITE SEAT
    BUT LESS CHOICES – ONLY 4 GOING AND 4 COMING.

    I thought the Sparschiene ticket is the cheapest ticket that everyone is looking for. But now I got even better deal, so please help me to make the right decision. Are both Day Return Ticket as we are leaving Sun afternoon from Budapest and I do not want to make a mistake.

    What is the different between Wien Westbf and Wien Sudbf ? Which one is the popular and easy access to city centre or sight seeing?

    Thanks for reading and really appreciate your kindness for helping us foreigner to make our trip easy.

    Regards
    Seana

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Seana, I have run a search on elvira.hu (the same MAV ticket site, http://elvira.mav-start.hu/) and I got the same results for a one day return train trip from Budapest to Vienna. Indeed the cheaper train tickets of Euro 62.50 are available, for a 50% discount for kids. But these tickets of the cheaper deal do not contain the public transport costs in Vienna, which you may or may not wish to use during your one day holiday in Vienna. The Sparschiene rail tickets on the other hand do include the local transport tickets in the train ticket price. So what you need to figure out quickly is if you want to use the public transport in Wien, Austria and how much. Then how much would it cost to have a daily pass or a few bunch of tickets for the local trams / streetcars, buses, metros in Vienna. The daily pass for 24 hours is “24-hour network card: €6.70” So three times 6.7 Euros, if you should need a 24 hour travel card at all, means that you would still save on the Sparschiene train ticket for the family. Single tickets are 2 Euros. Your child is entitled to half price tickets, but I cannot see a child daily pass (though it may exist). On Sunday he/she could travel free, but that is your return day as I understand.
      Anyway, the saving is minimal, and if you decide to walk in Vienna a lot, you may be better off with the cheaper rail tickets from Budapest to Vienna rather than the Sparschiene (2 in 1 ) tickets.
      More about Vienna public transport here
      http://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal/ep/programView.do/pageTypeId/10220/programId/30694/channelId/-8366

  16. Anna,
    I need some advice. We are 4 ladies who want to travel from Budapest to Warsaw in Poland. Please let us know what is the best way to go there. Flying is too expensive. If we take the night train and want to sleep on beds, how much does each ticket cost? Where can we buy the tickets?

  17. Anna from Budapest says:

    Hi Hazel, you can buy the Budapest Warsaw rail tickets online on the MAV website of the Hungarian train company (as in the post above), or personally at one of the train ticket cashiers of MAV, i.e. at one of the train stations (Nyugati, Keleti or Deli, which are scattered all over Budapest in various districts, whichever is convenient for you), Keleti being the busiest I guess.

    The night train is said to be fine (the ride is not too scenic from Budapest to Warsaw anyway).

    You can buy the train tickets with beds (berths) on the sleeper train for roughly about 65 Euros for 2 people (3 people sleeper cars are logically cheaper, but not much cheaper, around 55 Euros or so). If you run a trial search on the Hungarian train website, you will get the exact costs, depending on how old you are and what your comfort needs are. So it depends.
    I agree, fly tickets with all the taxes, the hassle, the check in, the luggage costs, etc. may well exceed the train costs, but if you don’t get rail tickets (which I would be surprised about, as this time of the year is getting calmer) you can still keep the cheap Budapest Warsaw flight tickets on the back burner. Ryanair and Wizzair have flights from Budapest to Warsaw and they are cheap, so if you get a good deal on the airplane, it is worth a try. But the trains should be OK, if you don’t mind sleeping on a train bed, and the train leaves from Budapest close to the city centre and also arrives Warsaw downtown.

  18. Hi Anna how are you? Thanks for replying….. I’ve decided to go for the “Sparschiene Ticket” as the price is include the local transportation in Vienna.

    Will be there for the Chocolate and Sweet Festival weekends….. Will you be there?

    Thanks a million!

    Regards

    Seana

  19. Hi Seana, how are you?
    you are welcome. :)
    Yes, that is the major difference indeed between the Sparschiene tickets and the regular Budapest Vienna train tickets. Good choice I agree! It depends on many things if I can personally make it to this year’s yummy festival of the year, but I am sure you will love it! more about the Chocolate and Sweet Festival
    http://topbudapest.org/ai1ec_event/chocolate-festival-budapest-sweet-days-september-2012
    take a pair of comfortable shoes as the Buda Castle is full of cobblestones…
    Anna

  20. hello anna!!despite the detailed information you offer us i would like some help!!well i am travelling next week to budapest and would like to take an one-day trip to vienna..the discounts shown above are valid for foreigners or just for hungarian people??for example,if i am unemployed in my country can i get a 90% off??! is there any reduction for (foreigners always) university students or people under 25 in bus tickets??
    thanks a lot in advance!!

  21. Anna from Budapest says:

    Hi Ioanna, many of the MAV train discounts can be used by EU citizens generally, not just by Hungarians.
    Unemployed does not matter in your case though, as the discount for unemployed is only applicable between the home of the unemployed and the given town or village where a special training is held for a group of unemployed (e.g. someone living in Kecskemet town but attending a job training in Budapest is entitled to buy a 90% rail ticket between these two towns, but bot anywhere in Hungary… so even local unemployed people are limited to a certain route between home-school, not all over Hungary).
    Young people under 26 from the EU (26 not 25) are entitled to a weekend discount anywhere in Hungary, regardless of the fact if they are students or work or are unemployed. Form 1o am on Friday until Sunday midnight. To quote from the Hungarian train company MÁV “bármely viszonylaton péntek 10.00 órától vasárnap 24.00 óráig, és a vasárnapi közlekedési rend szerint meghirdetett ünnepnapokon korlátlan számban, 2. osztályon”
    Students from the EU (or to be more precise from the EEA, i.e. the countries of the European Economic Area) who have a valid student card can travel at half price. MAV is very specific about what kind of student card they accept. Interestingly enough, the ISIC internaitonal student card is not accepted at all for discounted train tickets. You must have your own country’s student card: valid (clearly indicating when it expires), with your name on it, possibly with a photo (or having another ID with a photo, e.g. passport), with the name and city of the given school.
    These discounts are for train tcikets in Hungary. Do you need info about the bus discounts and reductions too, or is the train OK?
    Anna

  22. ok!!that will work!i found out about buses in another post of yours!thanks a lot :)

  23. Hi Anna,

    Hope you are doing great .. !

    I was looking forward to book the ticket from Budapest to Kosice (Slovakia). The website showed two different options,

    1 ticket of MÁV-START- ZSSK relation discount: 20,00 euro/person

    1 ticket of MÁV-START- ZSSK return discount: 24,00 euro/person

    I want to know tht which one i can buy and whats the different between both ?

    Looking forward to your help. Thanks

    Waqas

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Waqas, I have checked Budapest – Kosice trains for both prices, and I cannot see any difference whatsoever, 2nd class, around 6-6:30 am and 6-6:30 pm, even the number of the train is identical (e.g. 532 RÁKÓCZI EC ( – Kosice)), and the little MÁV train icons do not specify special conditions for the discount prices either. So what I gather from the site info is that as long as they have the cheaper tickets you can buy them online in advance for the railway, and once they run out of the cheaper train tickets, you can only choose the one which is 4 Euros more. You will also need a so called seat reservation for these direct EuroCity trains (and who would want to change twice and travel double time): “seat reservation (+3 euro/person)” If you have ample time before your train ride, you can ask them to make absolutely sure http://www.mav-start.hu/english/customer_service/customer_service.php

      but I would just go ahead and buy the cheaper Budapest – Kosice rail ticket as long as you can.

  24. Greetings, Anna. Thank you for sharing information about how to use the MAV website. Unfortunately, I have encountered a problem early on. I completed the steps for registration, including accepting both pages of terms and conditions. However, I never received a confirmation email so that I can activate my registration. (I checked my spam folder, but the email is not there either.) When I try to register again, I get a message that says, “There is already a registration with the given e-mail address.” When I try to sign in, I get a message that says, “This e-mail address and password is not associated with an existing user, or the registration has not been activated yet.” Do you know what I can do to get the confirmation email? Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Esme, still no news of a confirmation email from MÁV? Hope you got it by now. As you are the first who commented on not getting it, I am hoping this was just a temporary failure. If not, I would try another email (maybe another mail server too – yahoo, gmail, etc.) from another browser. Or you could contact them via email and make them re-send the confirmation email by filling out this form: http://www.mav-start.hu/english/customer_service/customer_service.php
      They may not answer during out of office hours at the weekend, but worth a try. Good luck!

      • Thank you, Anna, for your suggestion about using an email address on a different server. That worked right away! I was able to purchase my ticket quickly and with no other problems. Your help is much appreciated!

  25. Very useful site. I’m planning one way trip from Budapest to Wien. Does the ticket on train give me 2-days of free using public transport in Wien? If so how this option is activated? Thanks.

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Arkady, you simply buy the Sparschiene Vienna train tickets which are so called Vienna day trip rail tickets. The Vienna public transit 2 day pass is included in the train ticket and it is valid for two days starting on the day of your train trip (for streetcars, metros, buses, local buses within the indicated zone (VOR 100), S-Bahn, ÖBB regional trains within the zone and Wiener Lokalbahnen within the given Wien zone. You activate it by activating your train ticket at the train station and commencing your trip to Vienna from Budapest.

  26. Have used the English version of the site & navigated it ok. I’ve now got the problem of having gone for the download version of the tickets I have booked – I canot download them! I get the chioce of opening the file or saving it but what ever I do I just cannot get the file to open! So I’ve paid for tickets I cannot use – great!

    • Anna from Budapest says:

      Hi Paul, so far I have only used the option (and know about) when you get your confirmation of the booking plus a code. This code is sent to you in email. If you have received your Budapest – Vienna train code in email, you will be able to retrieve your ticket at the station. Honestly have no idea about the download version, but you could try to log in from a different browser to download it, if indeed there is a download option. At the same time, I would also quickly contact MÁV about this problem. Let us know what worked.

  27. i will try to book my tickets later today, and so far your guide has been more than helpful and thank you for that, but i have a question. on the time schedules i like a train that leaves from Wien Hütteldorf for Budapest but it says that it passes from Wien Westbf too. do you know whether i could book the ticket for that train and board from the Wien Westbf instead of the Wien Hütteldorf station?thank you in advance

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Nikos, you can only buy Vienna-Budapest train tickets on the Austrian website ÖBB, not on MÁV.
      If you contact ÖBB they will inform you how and also how you can use the train stations.

      • Thank you for replying! i was thinking of booking tickets from Budapest to Wien, and then return tickets from Wien to Budapest from MÁV. Should i book them seperately?

        • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

          Hi Nikos, no, sorry, I did not mean to confuse you. In Budapest at MÁV you can buy train tickets from Budapest to Vienna
          OR
          from Budapest – Vienna – Budapest, i.e. a return ticket. If you buy them separately it will surely be more expensive from both railway companies in Hungary and in Austria.
          Sorry, hope still in time.

  28. Fantastic website. Thanks very much for all your help. I just paid €62 instead of €172 to go to Vienna!

    Thanks a lot

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      You are welcome. :) Let us know if everything went smoothly with your train trip and printing the ticket.

  29. Does anyone now is it possible to buy a train for Wien-Budapest train from Wien? Where to collect the ticket in Wien?

  30. Sorry! Once again ))

    Is it possible to buy a train ticket Wien-Budapest-Wien in Wien?

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Irina, certainly! You can always buy a ticket in a city where the city is the departure place for your return train trip. In Vienna you can buy Wien – Budapest single tickets, or Wien-Budapest-Wien return tickets. What you cannot buy in Vienna is a Budapest-Wien and Budapest – Vienna – Budapest train ticket. Rail tickets in the two cities are not from the same system, although it would be very convenient for passengers, the technologies are just not there yet.

  31. Hello Anna! You’ve said that is possible to buy tickets online to Vienna for 2 months in advance,
    but on MAV site now it is possible only 45 days before trip.

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Arkady, I have just checked the available tickets. Now the system only allows me to see the dates until December 8, which is just over a month. I have checked the official info by making a test purchase (halfway) for Dec 5-Dec 7, and each ticket option has a little letter i for information on the right side. If you click on the ‘i’ you will get a link to a pdf information sheet in Hungarian (sorry, I know…), and this information sheet says Elovetel maximum 2 honappal elotte (Elővétel max 2 hónappal), which literally means that the tickets for MAv trains can be bought 2 months in advance. Now, I cannot be more clever than what their official statements are, so all I can say is that the system is cheap, good, but the language and style of communication is below standards sometimes. I am sorry, hopefully the Hungarian train company will not go bankrupt and at least will function, even at the current level. Improvements? Maybe if the recession is over, who knows. But the trains at least are pretty good, and super cheap. Even if you only get your ticket on the same day as you want to travel, the most expensive tickets are still a bargain for a 3 hour quality rail trip between Budapest and Vienna. At least, that is the way I see it.

  32. Hello

    I am trying to book two Sparschiene return tickets with free transport in Vienna for 22/12/2012 but I cannot book for that dates. The latest dates that I can book is 8/12/2012. Any idea what is wrong?
    Should I follow any specific steps? Will these dates open later on?

    Thanls

  33. MAV company answered:

    We would like to inform you that the schedules are changing from the 9th of December, and the new schedule is not available yet. Online purchase will only be available after the announcement of the new schedule, so you should try purchasing later.

  34. This website was really helpful in aiding me to buy tickets. However–I bought tickets for Vienna to Budapest, not realizing that they had to be printed in Hungary. Do you know of any options for printing them somehow in Austria–maybe printing them from online?

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Clara, I am somewhat puzzled: so far the default scenario was that you cannot buy a Vienna – Budapest single train ticket on the Hungarian MAV Railway company website. Only a return ticket where the trip on the train starts in Budapest then goes to Vienna then back to Budapest. MAV does not and can not sell tickets where the journey starts outside Hungary.
      Let me check.

  35. Hello

    I am trying to buy the EN Night train ticket leaving from Budapest for Warsaw on the MAV site. On any given day the site shows there are 3 EN trains to choose from, all leaving Budapest at 20.05 and arriving at 07.04. It appears to me all these 3 EN trains are identical. Can you tell me if there is any difference among them and how to choose the correct one What I want is to travel from Budapest to Warsaw. Thank you.

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Raymond, I think there is only one night train from Budapest to Warsaw, and when you actually click on the booking tickets button, you will only have two options, quote mavstart:
      open [Outward journey (B:1) ] [Ülőhely 2. osztály]
      1 ticket of SparDay: 29,00 euro/person (outward journey)
      open [Outward journey (B:1) ] [Ülőhely 2. osztály]
      Részletek1 ticket of SparNight: 29,00 euro/person (outward journey)
      BUDAPEST* – WARSZAWA*, 2013.01.19 seat (2nd class)
      For these offers is seat reservation compulsory. Price includes seat reservation fee.
      Please choose a train! end quote from mav start
      It seems that the train will have a change at around midnight in Breclav, and there will be a half an hour or so break in the rail trip. From train 476: http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dll/xslvzs/vt?v=11151&d=13.01.19&language=2&ed=50F54BB4, you will change to 406 http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dll/xslvzs/vt?v=13788&d=13.01.20&language=2&ed=50F54BB4
      At least that is what I gather from the site info. If in doubt do call them to find out the details.

  36. THANK YOU! Amazing information, would have been absolutely lost without it – well, more lost anyway. Vital blog post!

  37. i managed to buy tickets from wien to budapest but how am i going to collect my tickets from wien?any ideas?do you think the code will be ok to give ? Clara how did you solve this problem?

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Maya, I have also tested the MAV website again. Indeed one can buy a Wien – Budapest train ticket, which is quite unfortunate for those who are not staying in Budapest to pick up their tickets, and skip the warning in red letters. Right on the page when you are buying the tickets (and also in the guide above) there it is in red letters:
      “Please note that home printing of international tickets is not possible. International tickets booked online must be collected at one of the e-Ticket machines located at 40 railways stations in Hungary before your journey. ” So only in Hungary
      MAV also adds on another page that the Sparschiene train tickets are non refundable and cannot be exchanged either for another date http://www.mav-start.hu/utazas/kulfoldi_utazasi_ajanlatok.php?mid=149b008c074758 But you can contact them to ask for a refund if you think, or any help they may be able to provide. There is nothing to lose.
      So it seems to me that the cheap ticket you bought from Vienna to Budapest via the MAV website will not be of any use, unless you can get that ticket somehow to get to your Vienna accommodation. If you have a friend or anyone living in Budapest, you may ask them to go to the Budapest ticket terminal, and using the code you have been sent, print out the ticket, and mail it to you (?).
      I am truly sorry about it.

      • thank you so much for the response.
        it is my fault not realizing the red colored parts :) the ticket is not refundable i guess but i will try to contact customer service.
        if oebb can have printable tickets, why doesnt MAV have it.it is so weird.
        by the way price was 13 euro in MAV and 29 euro in oebb for the same train. this is what blunts our eyes :)

  38. Hi Anna,
    I want to book ticket from Budapest to Prage thu MAV websie. Do you know how I can reseve a sleeping cabin from the website? All I can find there are normal seats only.

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      when you want to book train tickets with sleeping cars from Budapest to Prague, you need to pick the From To options first, then comes the page where you pick the dates. The default is set to 2nd class train tickets, but click on the sleeping car ticket option.
      These are the four options under the little outward and inward trip calendar pickers
      seat (2nd class)
      Couchette
      seat (1st class)
      Sleeping car
      There two sorts of sleeping options, the more expensive is when you can lock your door, it is called ‘ own compartment’ on MAV website.
      If you want sleep in your own sleeping car booth, tick the box, if not, leave it empty. I would choose to have a private compartment just to be on the safe side, and getting some real sleep overnight.

      More info about the sleeping cars, Prague etc. in Hungarian here (maybe some google translate will help)

      http://www.mav-start.hu/utazas/cseh_praga.php

  39. Tony Reed says:

    Thanks SO much for this! It was SO helpful!

  40. Hi Anna,
    Your blog is brilliant and will certainly help my wife and I in planning a trip to Budapest. We are Canadian and will be in Budapest in June. We wish to travel by train from Budapest to Prague. We are both pensioners, and the Mav website indicates a 50% discount is possible. However, can you tell us if the discount is available to pensioners who are not from an EU country? We would not want to buy the tickets online, pick them up from a kiosk and then be told they were not legal when we go to get on the train.

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Ron, I am glad you liked the info (some of it is outdated to be honest). And I am very sorry, but the pensioner discount and the over 65 year old free train rides is most probably only for EU pensioners according to the MAV website http://www.mav-start.hu/utazas/kedvezmenyek_20120901.php
      Or more precisely the table linked above says
      “Nyugdíjasok Utazási Utalványa” which means “Travel Voucher for Pensioners” (which is issued for Hungarian pensioners, so may not be applicable to EU tourists either)
      I have tried to contact MAV, the Hungarian Railway company, but got no reply. But you can try to contact them directly to find out about the vouchers. My guess is that if the 65+ waiver is only for EU citizens, then the pensioner discount is also to EU travellers at the best (or maybe for Hungarian pensioners having this travel voucher?) http://www.mav-start.hu/english/customer_service/customer_service.php

      I will publish their statement as soon as I find out in case other pensioners are also considering buying the discount train tickets.

      In general, almost all pensioner discounts are only applicable for retired EU tourists. But there have been some recent changes in Budapest, so the discounts and favours are receding, it seems.
      The Hungarian Parliament http://hungarianparliament.com/
      used to be free for EU citizens, but now everyone has to pay a ticket (from Jan 2013)

      I am sure you will have a nice time. Do visit Szechenyi Bath, it is very relaxing: http://szechenyispabaths.com/
      Prague is very historical and a lovely place, great for beer lovers. :)
      Still, your best bet is to take, possibly, a night ride from Budapest to Prague as the train trip is quite long. If you book a ticket, make sure you book a sleeping car, should you want to have night ride and a good nap on the train.

      • Hi Anna,

        Thank you so much for replying so quickly. We believed the discount probably would not be available to us, but sometimes it’s a good idea to ask, isn’t it? We thought about taking the night train, but eventually decided to go through the day, partly so we can spend our last evening in Budapest. If we take the 9:25 AM train we will be in Prague in time to get to our accommodation and then go out for dinner. We understand the scenery between Budapest and Prague may not be very interesting, but to travel on a train will be nice and we will have something to read. We think for this one trip we might even go first class! :)

        I have one question about baggage that I hope you can answer. We will be travelling with luggage large enough that it would be checked luggage for plane travel, about 20 kg for each suitcase. Can you tell us for the train if this luggage can be checked or will we have to take it into the passenger car? It’s just another small thing that is good to know before the trip.

        • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

          Hello Ron, I have got the reply from MAV, the Hungarian train company.

          Luggage: there is no special luggage transport service on the train, unfortunately. It would be a nice add on service, but currently the railway company only offers passenger transportation services without checking in baggage / suitcases.
          The maximum suitcase or luggage in general you can have with you is, quote, from their email sent to Budapest Blog Travel Guide: “3 pieces of easy to carry luggage”. Somewhat hazy definition, but the main point is that whatever you decide to have with you during your train trip from the city of Budapest, will remain with you all through the train trip. MAV does not provide luggage delivery on the train.
          So, yes, you will have to take your luggage in the passenger car, and keep an eye on it (the train company assumes that you are guarding your own bags, valuables, suitcases, etc. on the train). In most cases, you do not have to be alert, and keep a hawk eye on your baggage. But it is better to have your luggage in eyesight, just to make sure there is no theft. First class may be a good idea, but it is not much different from second class (the seats have a different cover, and there are fewer people traveling in 1st class from Budapest to Prague). As far as I remember there are some sockets for charging laptop etc. in the restaurant cars (at one end or the other).

          I also wanted to make sure that the pensioner information is correct. I know it is of no interest to you, but maybe other senior citizens are reading this train info here. Under 65 pensioner discounts on the Hungarian train is only for Magyar citizens, while over 65 pensioner discount tickets are for EU tourists.

          Have a great trip!

  41. Hi Anna,
    Thankyou for your fantastic blog. Im trying to book a sleeper from Budapest to Brasov in late April and I keep getting message that this is not available. Am I doing something wrong, have tickets been sold out or maybe sleeper carrage is not available all the time. Are you able to advise me please.
    Thanks
    Bruce

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Bruce, I think online booking has not started yet. You should try it a bit later, I am sure it will work. Online purchase is usually 4-6 weeks before the time of train travel. And I am absolutely sure that there are tickets, so it is not about being sold out, simply being available for online booking. Have a nice trip to Brasov!

      • Anna, Thank you for your response. I have since discovered that I am able to book tickets to the station before and beyond Brasov, so their maybe some problem with booking to Brasov. I will just book to the next stop, Predeal, and get off at Brasov. I presume that we can do this. Thank you again for your help and advice. Bruce

        • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

          Hi Bruce, what date have you tried? It made me curious, so I went to the website of MAV to make a test booking for the Budapest Brasov route April 25. It works fine with a seat that is called a fekvohely (lying seat sort of, but less private than a sleeper car) at 29 Euros.
          I chose the option Brassó [Brasov] as a TO, from Budapest.

          Then in the second test I picked the same with a Sleeper and the booking system asked for my gender (because of the private sleeper car). Then I got the message that for this particular route with the conditions I chose (private sleeper), no seats are available.

          How did you try to book your train ticket?

          • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

            Another test: same date, in a sleeper car, but this time I did not choose private cabin, and chose “men” instead of “women” Again I got a price for the train ticket, but this time a bit more expensive, at 49 Euro.

          • Anna, Yes I came up with simularr results as you. I could book a couchette on April 25, for as you say 29 Euro each, but when trying to book private sleeper it gives me message that this is not available. I am however able to select 2 tickets for a private sleeper for the next station without problem, about 180 Euro for 2, which I think I will do and just get off in Brasov. Thank you again for all your help, it is very much appreciated.

  42. Hi your blog has been more than helpful!! One problem though, I tried to purchase 4 tickets for 8th of April
    with return 12th of April (Budapest-Wien-Budapest) And it says they are no available but if I ask for 1 or 2 tickets there are available. Is it possible they have ONLY 2 train seats available already? I did not suppose that 4 persons would be an issue for a train.. Or is it a lag and I could book 4 seperate tickets..? If not can you recommend some other way, perhaps bus, and give a link..?
    Thank you so much in advance!! Keep up the good work!

  43. Hi Anna,

    Although I’m not an EU citizen, I’m a full-time student in the UK. Do you know if I would be entitled to the student discount? Thanks!

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hello Yvonne, I don’t think so, as legally the definition is for EU citizens, and the agreement is between EU countries. But I can imagine that in many places they would just look at your student ID (and not your passport) and would accept it. Still, it is a bit risky.

  44. Hi there! This site is so helpful, i hope my question will contribute…i am trying to book 2 seats for a journey from Budapest to Wien on the 30th of April and back to Budapest on the 4th of may. When I try to book for 1 person, the reservation is ok, and points out a total price of 26euros. When I try to book for 2 persons, either on the 4th,5th,6th etc of may, i am informed that *No offer available for the journey with these conditions*. Does this mean that there is only 1 seat left for the 4th,5th,6th etc of may?

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hello Marnie, I have tried the same and the system says NO availability for 1 person for April 30 and May 4 (“Erre az utazásra a megadott feltételekkel érvényes ajánlat jelenleg nem elérhető. “). That said, the electronic train ticket purchase system only offers a limited range of tickets, and a limited number of tickets: there are always more tickets actually than in the web booking system. I am quite sure that if you go to the cashier you will be able to buy your 2 tickets Budapest – Vienna – Budapest for April 30 and May 4. It is neither the high season, nor special holidays, so there should be enough tickets for both routes, but MAV may have decided to put a cap on the online tickets numbers, have no idea why in this age… Never mind. The tickets will be a bit more expensive than the cheaper Sparschiene tickets, but I am sure you will be able to buy your tickets on the spot.

      • HI Anna,

        I am from Malaysia and will arrival in Budapest on 26/5/2012. And will stay for 3 nights . My next destination is to Vienna. Heard a lot of the cheap train tickets with 13 Euro one way include some public transfer in Vienna..

        My question is if I will to buy the tickets 3 days before the date of Travel in Budapest trains station, can I get some discount fares?

        Thanks best regards

        Lillian

        • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

          Hello Lillian, indeed, you can buy a very cheap train ticket at 13 Euro (single trip). However, I doubt that there would be online tickets only 3 days before your trip to Wien. There will be more train tickets at the cashier in real life, but online there are a lot fewer tickets calibrated in the booking system. What is more the tickets at the cashier will be a bit more than 13 Euros as the cheapest tickets are only sold online.
          I think you should try to book your ticket as soon as you can. Have a great time in Budapest and Vienna!

  45. Hi Anna!

    I’ve been trying to book tickets for the past 1 hour from Budapest to Vienna but I have no idea how to book a one way journey and not a return journey. Please advise. Thank You!!

    • Anna at Budapest Blog says:

      Hi Stacia, the first screen on the Hungarian train ticket booking page http://www.mav-start.hu/english/index.php makes you choose 4 things:
      from
      to
      date
      reduction
      Choose Budapest Wien, the date and then you click on Search
      The next page (the second page) shows outward journey Budapest Vienna in the left column, and the return journey in the right column. The return journey is empty by default. So if you leave it empty as it is, you will have a single railway ticket from Budapest Hungary to Wien Austria.
      Hope this helps in your trip.

  46. Hello!
    This is a fantastic guide, but I too have a quick question(s).. I am wanting to buy two tickets Budapest – Krakow (overnight train) via the website, but it keeps coming up with “No offer available for the journey with these conditions. For the list of available offers click here.”
    We would be arriving in Budapest the day of departure, so can’t pre-buy in person..
    Would this mean that it’s sold out? Or is it just too close to the day for online tickets? Would we be okay buying it on the day?
    Thanks a lot, it’s very much appreciated!
    Marta

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hello Marta, I would say that yes, you will likely have a ticket to Krakow, but I am not a seer, nor a Hungarian MAV official to see their train stats and give reliable advice. Usually the overnight trains have sleeping cars, or you can just slumber on the usual seats. Online tickets are much restricted on MAV website (there are considerably more tickets sold and available offline, at the cashiers), and overnight train options are even more restricted in their online sales. Maybe you could try another sleeping arrangement (you have not given any dates, or specifics, so I couldn’t run a test booking). Hope this helps! Let us know how it went, so that others heading to Krakow from Budapest can get good tips from real travellers. Have a good trip!

  47. Hi, I am trying to book two tickets from Budapest to Krakow on the sleeper train, 3rd August. Whatever I try, sleeper, couchette, 1st or 2 nd class it comes up as no offers. Is it too early, or have I left it too late.
    Any help would be great. If I can’t get the train am I able to travel by coach?

    • Anna's Guide, Budapest Blog says:

      Hello Pat, I think it is too early to buy a train ticket in May for an August Budapest – Krakow trip. But even if you will not be able to buy it online, I am sure you will get to Krakow on one of the 8 pm trains (as I can see there is a train from Keleti railway station and another from Nyugati train station – with various options.

      If for some reason there should be a full train to Krakow (which I am quite confident is not the case, especially if you can buy the ticket in Budapest at the cashier 1 day earlier, as a worst case scenario), there are still buses to take.

      Please take a look at our Budapest – Vienna bus info, it gives some clue about the Budapest – Krakow bus options.
      http://budapestblog.luxuryhotelsbudapest.com/from-budapest-to-vienna-by-bus-quick-guide/

      This is the price I got on volanbusz.hu bus company website for Budapest Krakow
      leaves from BUDAPEST, NÉPLIGET AUT. PU. (the same as Vienna buses), to
      KRAKOW, RDA, UL. BOSACKA start 06:30, arrive 13:30, bus ride duration: 7 hours
      Bus ticket price: HUF 4,900

      I’m afraid the bus only leaves at 6 am at dawn, while the train only leaves at around 8 pm. You can book your bus ticket here: http://berletelin.volanbusz.hu/ticket/wrd/run/ticmain?lang=en

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