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Budapest to Munich by Train or Plane? Which is Better?

We will be completing the last leg of a vacation by traveling from Budapest to Munich, Germany in early October of 2017.

Should we fly or take the train? Flying seems quite expensive. I am quoted 150 euro or more for a one way flight that often has stop overs. I haven't been able to compute the train fare yet, but I have trouble believing it is more than that. I am told the train trip takes about seven hours.

What are your thoughts?

Posted by
4637 posts

I am for train. It is direct and takes almost 7 hours. If you buy ticket ahead it's 39 Euro. I found nonstop flight for 285 Euro, with 1 stop for 122 Euro.

Posted by
12091 posts

Depending on my time constraint, I would take the night train or the day option Munich to Budapest. But my choice is the train.

Posted by
10891 posts

Since October 2017 is a ways off, maybe you should rethink the course a bit. For me, the money to travel is more available than the time to travel; so there has to be a good reason for me to spend over 7 hours in transit anywhere. That's half my waking day; besides trains just bore the heck out of me.

When I find this predicament in my planning I start looking for a stop in-between. If by train, that might be Vienna in your case.

But sometimes this is an opportunity to do something off the wall if you want. Go to Google Flights and put in Munich as a start and Europe as an end and see what discount airlines fly to Munich non-stop. Then do the same with Budapest, then look for overlap between the two.

For instance, depending on the day of the week, a flight from Budapest to Nuremburg is $28. Spend the night, see the town, then its a short train ride to Munich.

More extreme, but worth the effort would be Budapest to either Belgrade or Kiev; both for about $100 then Belgrade or Kiev to Munich is another $150 or so.

But the schedules and cost vary widely by day of the week and a lot of the discount airlines don't post routes and rates more than 4 - 6 months in advance.

Posted by
16764 posts

In your last post, you mentioned flying into Munich and renting a car toward Berlin with several stops. If you dropped the car in Berlin, the direct train options to Budapest are 11.5 hours by day, or an overnight train, but there are also several budget airlines (EasyJet, AirBerlin, RyanAir) that will fly you for $50 per person.

Posted by
6032 posts

I can't comment on which is better because that's pretty much subjective. If at all feasible I will opt for the day train. I enjoy riding the trains in Europe. A couple of years ago I took trains between several cities with rides ranging from 2-1/2 hrs to 7-1/2 hours. None of the train rides was over €39 when purchased ahead of time (specific date and time so you need to have a firm itinerary) and all were trouble-free. I will avoid airports if at all possible - even if the flight itself is short, the time, and sometimes hassles, getting to and from airports and waiting for boarding etc is not worth it to me. I also don't find night trains particularly practical for me, other people disagree and like night trains. Pretty much anything under 6 hrs and I will choose the train option and even for longer train rides if flying is just too much hassle (meaning inconvenient public transport to airports and/or multiple stops and plane changes).