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Train from Vienna to Budapest

I need to take a train from Vienna to Budapest on April 28. I have found quite a few options, but the one I'm leaning toward is MAV from Wien Westbahnhof to Budapest-Keleti. (Wien Westbahnhof is pretty close to our hotel.)

Is this a good choice? I'm actually kind of startled that it's so cheap -- 13 euros per person, where OEBB is 38 euros and RailJet is 58 euros and more. Also, is it true that when you buy a MAV ticket online, they give you a code that you punch into a machine at the train station to get your ticket? Is this as simple as it sounds?

Thanks!

Posted by
4158 posts

The problem here is that the ticket kiosk is in Hungary , so you will not have a valid ticket on board the train . When I took this trip ( Budapest to Vienna ) I had first arrived in Budapest from Prague by rail . Upon leaving Keleti station , the ticket machine was to the left of the front door of the station , so having purchased my Budapest to Vienna ( Railjet ) ticket from MAV online , all I had to do was to enter the code in the machine and retrieve the ticket , as easy as could be . You will need to purchase from OBB , but be aware that there may be discounted ( Sparschein ) tickets available , in part , depending on what time of day you wish to travel . It would be wise to revisit the OBB website and poke around a bit more . You may find a better result ,

Posted by
4158 posts

A quick check does indeed show Sparschein ticket - 7:02 Vienna Meidling to Budapest Keleti 9:49 Railjet @ 19 EU per person . Jump on it , they won't last !

Posted by
10 posts

With your assistance I found inexpensive tickets. Can't quite manage getting up at 7 a.m. but I got two tickets for an afternoon train at 29 euros each. Thank you!

Posted by
18741 posts

When you get to Budapest if it is your intent to taxi, be sure to call one and do not take one of the taxis waiting at curbside or the taxi ride could cost more than the train ticket.

Enjoy Budapest

Posted by
5450 posts

Great that you got this worked out.

I wanted to add a comment to those who refer to this post in the future.
The walk up price for a ticket purchased on the day of travel for a Vienna to Budapest trip is 41 Euro per person in 2nd class. This ticket will allow you to travel on any train from Vienna to Budapest.
The SparSchiene ticket (from 19 Euros upwards, depending on availability) needs to be purchased online and in advance. This ticket can only be used on a specific train on a specific date and cannot be transferred.

In this part of the world, you generally can only purchase your tickets online from the national rail carrier of the country in which your travel originates. Example, this case, where the ticket cannot be purchased from MAV (Hungarian National Rail Service), but from OeBB (Austrian National Rail Service).
The post above makes it sound like RailJet is something entirely different, like a different company. RailJet, however, is the name of the type of high speed train that travels in this part of the world. Kind of like TGV (France) or ICE (Germany) trains. In other worlds, RailJet is OeBB.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the warning, James! And Emily, thanks for the explanation. I usually Google for train tickets because prices vary widely and some websites seem to charge ridiculous fees just for convenience. Last time I booked travel in Europe I remember RailEurope and the official Czech railway offered tickets to the exact same train but RailEurope's were three to four times the cost. I'm thinking the MAV website should have some kind of warning, because it's weird they sell tickets from Vienna to Budapest but you have to buy the tickets in Hungary!

Posted by
4158 posts

Hopefully , my comments will help you to understand a few quick points : Raileurope is an online ticket agent that is a reseller of tickets . In the interest of brevity , they are middlemen who tack on a high markup on pretty much every product they sell . You are ALWAYS better off dealing directly with the rail companies ( SNCF - France ; Trenitalia - Italy ; OBB - Austria etc ) . A wonderful primer on the ins and outs of European rail travel is the " Man in Seat 61 " website . By utilizing the site map there you can find answers in logical context without struggling to find your way via the homepage ( IMO ) . Finally ,a last word on MAV policies about ticket purchases ; If you take the time to carefully read the terms that are clearly outlined on the website , they clearly state that home printing ( a common technique ) of International tickets is not possible ,and that the ticket must be retrieved in Hungary . Without getting into a whole explanation here , SNCF has similar policies depending on the composition of a trip and many other factors . One example as an illustration : On my trip this past fall , I needed a ticket (SNCF ) to take me from Chamonix to Paris . Since there were three legs on this trip ( 2 TER regional and 1 TGV high speed express ) I had to pick up the ticket in France in the same manner as MAV . The reason in that case was due to the fact that two legs were regional and that is SNCF policy . In any event , the best way to grasp these techniques starts with the Man in Seat 61 . PS enjoy the site , the learning process is a lot of fun in itself !

Posted by
5450 posts

Yes, it can't be said enough - RailEurope is a ticket reseller with highly inflated prices. Only use the website for the national rail carrier of the country where your travel originates for tickets. Ever. Period.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

I highly recommend Railjet, use it wherever I can.

Posted by
18741 posts

Oddly enough the Railjet service isn't always the fastest between Vienna and Budapest. Sometimes the IC and EC trains are as fast or a little bit faster. Maybe the Hungarian tracks aren't all they should be and the Railjets cant do their thing with enough effectiveness on such a short trip? No idea,