We are currently planning to fly to Budapest and then "travel" to Vienna. Prior topic strings indicate the issues related to renting a car and there is the current complication of the migrant crisis (i.e. rail travel issues). Would people advise hiring a driver and is there a reliable service to be recommended vs. flying to Vienna and doing a day trip to Budapest? Thanks in advance for any and all advice and thoughts.
I'm not aware of any current rail travel issues on this route. (If you were to continue on the same train as far as Salzburg, then you would have to make a connection there, instead of continuing direct to Munich.) Latest news is on the Austrian railway web site.
Last year it was a bear. We had guests stranded in Austria and other guests end up in internment camps when trying to get to Austria. Basically the Austrians closed the border and chaos ensued for a about a month. Right now everything is right as rain and my guess is that it will remain that way this year. Still, if it were me, just to be on the safe side, if there aren't any other controlling factors, I would choose Vienna to Hungary. That would be counter to the migrant flow if it starts up again. I would also choose Vienna first, Budapest second, because Budapest is lot more laid back and it makes a great end of any trip.
Here is the warning from the Hungarian rail service that was mentioned above. It doesn't affect you but it does indicate all is not yet normal.
Passengers travelling from Budapest to Munich with railjet train must leave the train at Salzburg station, where border control will be carried out. A connecting railjet train will be provided towards Munich, where seat reservation is obligatory. There is no such border control when travelling from Munich towards Budapest. The EuroNight train EN 462/463 (Kálmán Imre) operates again with full service (i.e. with seat, couchette and sleeping cars) between Budapest and Munich. At Salzburg station travel documents and ID/passport of all passengers in the seat car will be checked. Although the attendants of the couchette and sleeping cars will collect the travel documents in advance, occasional and thorough controls may be expected in these cars.
As of 8 March 2016, InterCity trains IC200/201 (Agram) and IC204/205 (Rippl-Ronai) are available again for travelling between Hungary and Croatia (via Gyékényes border station). Magyarbóly border station remains closed until further notice.
Click here for up-do-date information on the international railway traffic.
Thanks to both of you for such a quick response and the helpful information. Do either of you have information about hiring a driver (in this case from Budapest to Vienna) as to cost and reliability. Ideally, we would like to make the transit with possibly a stop at one or two of the towns along the Danube bend.
Again, many thanks for your help!
Something less than 400 euro for 8 hours drive time would be a good estimate. Drive time includes the drivers trip back to Budapest so figure you have 3 hours for sightseeing. You can extend that by taking the commuter train 30 minutes to Szentendre and having him pick you up at that point, then maybe 3 hours at the archabbey at Pannonhalma before going into Vienna. Or an hour each at Gyor and Esztergom. Google Laszlo, Silver Wings. Great guy.
Here, found him: http://www.silverwings.hu/