Trains from Budapest to Vienna: How To Travel Cheap by Train?

Traveling by train from Budapest to Vienna is simple, cheap and comfortable. Now you can even save by buying your train ticket online in advance. Here are some frequently asked questions with the answers:

Railjet - economy class seats of Budapest - Vienna train travels

Railjet – economy class seats of Budapest – Vienna train travels

How much does it cost to travel from Budapest to Vienna by train?

Single train tickets

The single train ticket from Budapest to Wien is approx. 3600 HUF/ 13 Euros / 20 USD (single ticket). This is currently the cheapest Budapest – Vienna train ticket. This ticket is called SparSchiene‘ ticket (say shpar-shee-ne). An interesting thing is that the Budapest – Vienna train ticket is slightly cheaper to buy in Budapest than in Vienna (e.g. single is 13 Euros in Budapest vs. 19 Euros in Vienna).

Return train tickets

A return train ticket for Budapest – Wien – Budapest is

  • 9300 HUF/ 33 Euros / 45 USD (return ticket). It’s the price of a full adult ticket. This ticket is called TripTicket Austria (Kirandulojegy in Hungarian), which for this price (33 Euros) contains the rail trip from Budapest to Vienna, in Vienna you can use the public transport free of charge for two days, then you can travel back to Budapest. (Note: the train ticket does not contain free public transport in Budapest only in Vienna)
  • 7,100 HUF/ 25 Euros / 33 USD (return ticket, also called TripTicket Austria): the other return ticket from Budapest to Vienna and back to Budapest does not contain the local public transport in Wien, Austria, only the return train trip between the two cities: Budapest-Vienna-Budapest. This option is ideal for a 1 day quick trip to Vienna (in Hungarian ‘Becs’ Bécs)
Nyugati Train Station Budapest

Nyugati Train Station Budapest (photo: Damian Entwistle)

Kids between 6-14 years of age travel at approx. half price, but there is no price discount on the Sparschiene tickets (single train tickets at the cheapest price).

Return Ticket Deals from Budapest

Special deal about the return train ticket: if you buy the more expensive TripTicket Austria return ticket for the route Budapest – Vienna-Budapest, your two-way ticket is valid for 4 days. Plus on the first two (only 2!) days of your trip to Vienna, you can freely use the public transport in Vienna, i.e. trams (streetcars), metros, buses free (incl. VOR 100 zone local buses, S-Bahns, ÖBB regional trains and Wiener Lokalbahnen trains too.), so the ticket acts like a Vienna travel pass combined with the return railway tickets.

What if Discount Tickets are Sold Out?

Budapest Train Departures

Budapest Train Departures (photo: Robin Brown)

Mind you, if the very favorable ‘SparSchiene’ and ‘TripTicket Austria’ tickets are sold out (they are limited and only sold online, so usually they easily sell out weeks before a trip), you can still buy regular train tickets at the railway stations in Budapest a one-way train ticket from Budapest to Vienna is about 6700 HUF/ 24 euros / 36 USD (no public transport pass included), or a standard return ticket for Budapest-Wien-Budapest. So if you cannot book online in advance, or you do not want to book in advance, there are still tickets available, but at a slightly higher price.

The trains have never been so full that no train tickets were available for a given day (there are more trains from Budapest to Vienna on a day, and you will surely get a ticket for one of them! Although Christmas time is special, as many Hungarians love to visit both the Budapest Christmas markets and the Vienna Christmas market!) See further deals and useful travel tips below.

Is it cheaper if I buy the train ticket online?

YES, it is! We do not want to seem overtly joyful as the interface of the Hungarian Rail company’s online train ticket purchase system is still awfully lame and useless (sorry, that’s the truth, even though we love MAV). BUT we have made a detailed guide to How to Buy Hungarian Train Tickets Online?

Let’s just say that the current online purchase system of train tickets is not really prepared for buying railway passes / tickets in English. Although the interface starts off in English, at a point it turns into fully Hungarian. So hopefully our guide will be of help to travel from Budapest to Vienna.

NOTE!

In the Hungarian MAV internet train system:

  • you can buy tickets from Budapest to Vienna
  • you can buy tickets from Vienna to Budapest, if it is a return trip, i.e. Budapest – Vienna – Budapest
  • you cannot buy tickets from Vienna Budapest as a single trip (only in Wien can you buy it)
  • you cannot buy return tickets from Vienna, i.e. Vienna – Budapest – Vienna (only in Wien can you buy it)

In the Austrian OBB internet train system:

  • you can buy tickets from Vienna to Budapest
  • you can buy tickets from Budapest to Vienna, if it is a return trip, i.e. Vienna – Budapest – Vienna
  • you cannot buy tickets from Budapest to Vienna as a single trip (only in Budapest can you buy it)
  • you cannot buy return tickets from Budapest, i.e. Budapest - Vienna – Budapest (only in Budapest can you buy it)

Bear in mind that – supposing you travel from Budapest to Vienna – you cannot buy your ticket via OeBB as they only deal with train trips originating in Austria and not in Hungary (i.e. from Vienna to Budapest and not from Budapest to Vienna). However, you always have the option to buy a return train ticket (currently about 25 euros), and use it as a one-way ticket, which in some cases may be cheaper than a normal one-way ticket. You could ensure your cheap train seat by

  • buying your Budapest – Vienna train ticket online (allow half an hour) OR
  • by going to any of the major train stations in Budapest:  Nyugati Train Station (the nicest!), Deli Train Station or, where most of the Budapest – Vienna trips depart from, Keleti train station a few days before the planned trip (especially in summer time / high season). Don’t forget to take Hungarian forints with you. Younger train ticket agents are more likely to speak English.
Budapest - Vienna railjet trains at Keleti Pu Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest – Vienna railjet trains at Keleti Pu Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary

Are there Further Train Deals?


Special discount is for kids between the age 6 and 14 (approx. -50%). Additional goodies: the TripTicket Austria ticket includes a two-day free public transportation pass in Vienna: during the first 2 days in Vienna, you can freely travel by trams (streetcars), metros, buses, and the following vehicles in the VOR 100 zone: local buses, S-Bahns, ÖBB regional trains and Wiener Lokalbahnen trains too. If you are visiting Budapest with kids, and you cannot buy the cheaper train tickets online, don’t worry, you will surely be able to buy some at the cashier: please allow at least one hour before train departure (to locate the cashiers, stand in queues, buy tickets, go to your platform)

Where do trains from Budapest to Vienna leave from?

Budapest-Vienna trains leave mostly from Keleti Train Station (in Hungarian Keleti Palyaudvar), abbreviated as Keleti pu. railway station (say: keh-let-tee pah-yah-ood-vahr). Some trains leave from Deli train station.

If you arrive at Budapest airport, and take the train to Nyugati train station , here is how you can get from Nyugati to Keleti train station. Learn more about Budapest airport transfer here. If you want to buy a Budapest card, you can get it online here (5% discount on online buying). Budapest cards (24h, 48h, 72h), are in fact quite cool: check out the 2013 list of Budapest card benefits. The cards include the local transport in Budapest, free guided tours, free tickets to museums, and many more discounts (even a free ticket to a Budapest bath). You can also buy simple Budapest travel passes, without further tourism deals (just for travel).

You can easily get to Keleti Railway Station by taking the metro (M2 red metro line) and getting off directly at Keleti pu. station (approx. 10-15 min from the city center, Deák tér station). You can also take the bus number 7, whose route goes from the Buda side to the Pest side and touches upon Gellert Spa Bath, Elisabeth Bridge, Vaci utca shopping street, Astoria square, Blaha square and then Keleti Train Station.

Where on earth is Keleti Pu. Railway station?


OK, here’s the Budapest Tourist Map to help you (see the train sign in the middle? You can also click on any of the icons to get more info, or follow the blue link ‘View Larger Map’ under the map to get a larger picture of Budapest).


View Budapest Tourist Map in a larger map

How long does the train trip take from Hungary to Austria?

Traveling time is about 3-4 hours (similarly to the Budapest Vienna bus ride). Check the exact duration here.

Are there any passport checks, delays or other inconveniences when the train crosses the border of Austria and Hungary?

Not any more! Hungary joined the Schengen area December 21, 2007. No more borders to keep buses up for passport check. (likewise, rail passengers enjoy the same smooth crossing between the two countries). But if you are a tourist from outside the EU, you will need to check if you need a visa to Hungary, and a visa to Austria.

How many trains leave for Vienna a day? What about the train schedule?

Trains leave almost every two hours! So trains are very frequent between these two beautiful cities. For instance, on a weekday you could leave Budapest for Viena at approx. 6am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm. Excellent connections, right? The Budapest-Vienna train schedule may change, so always check the fresh data, please:

Where can I buy train tickets in Budapest?

Train tickets can be bought at any railway stations in Budapest: e.g. Nyugati Pu (on the Pest side – accessible easily by blue metro line), Deli pu (on the Buda side – accessible easily by red metro line) or at Keleti pu (on the Pest side – accessible easily by red metro line). All 3 major railway stations are quite close to the city center, and are the names of given metro stops, so you can’t miss them.
Online purchase: unfortunately, on the Hungarian railway ticket system, you need to speak Hungarian to go through the purches process, so let’s skip this option for a while. Here is the Austrian railway ticket system online train ticket system, or you can call the Austrian call center if you have any questions: 00-43-05-1717.

Are the Budapest – Vienna trains comfortable?

Sure they are. If you need something more comfy, you need to buy a more expensive train ticket for the first class (the prices above refer to second class regualr seats)

Keleti Train Station, Budapest - photo by Matt Francis

Keleti Train Station, Budapest – photo by Matt Francis

Any quick programs at Keleti railway station?


If you are stuck at Keleti train station (which is a beautiful historical building), and you have a couple of hours to kill, for example you want to eat something in the neighborhood, there are some budget options or mid range options in the vicinity of Keleti train station:

  • McDonalds with a McCafe 2 min walk from the entrance of the train station
  • Montenegroi Gurman Balkan Bar, 12 min walk, open day and night, 24/7 food bar
  • Sissi Food Bar (Sissi Ételbár), 8 min walk, Mon – Fri: 7:30 am-4:00 pm
  • sausages, chicken legs, etc. at the counter of a traditional Hungarian butcher, 80 Rakoczi Way Budapest District VII, about 7 min walk
  • you can see from the entrance of the train station the Golden Park Hotel or diagonally the Best Western Hotel Hungaria, which are two hotels right on the Baross square (5 min walk from the railway station) – you can have an elegant cup of coffee or lunch there.

Budapest Attractions by Keleti Train Station:

In general, the city center is only 15-20 min by metro (red metro line) so you can check out some of the attractions of Budapest (also on the map).

Buses or Trains from Budapest to Vienna?
The vast majority of users on forums (me added) will say: TRAINS are better to travel from Hungary to Austria. But if you wish to learn more about bus travel from Budapest to Vienna, follow the link.

What to do in Budapest?

Here are some ideas what to do in Budapest, Budapest attractions and upcoming events (festivals, concerts, exhibitions, free programmes, etc.) in Budapest Events Calendar - note: the calendar is a bit slow to download but worth having a look at.

Last updated: June, 2013

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] There are all sorts of boat tours in Budapest, from relaxed, simple tours to fancy tours, like the Budapest Fireworks Cruise, or the Budapest Party Boat, river cruises with beers, cocktails, wines and champagne, boat tours for families with kids – everyone can find their tastes and budget. Most cruises on the river Danube take about 60-90 minutes, some include the tour guides too (audio guide), while other cruise take longer where you can see more than the city centre of Budapest in an hour, and will take you on boat to Szentendre or the Danube Bend, or even from Budapest to Vienna (to be more precise the Budapest – Vienna river cruise is not on a boat, but on a noisy hydrofoil, so you may be better off taking the train from Budapest to Vienna). [...]

  2. discount travel tips

    Trains from Budapest to Vienna: How To Travel Cheap by Train? – Budapest Travel Guide

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