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Budapest Train Stations

Hi,
I'm heading to Hungary for nine days in May/June '19. In reading about train travel, I see that there are three train stations in Budapest. How does one find out which station to go to? Can someone please post the links to helpful websites about train travel in and out of Budapest.

And I've read that a great day trip out of Budapest is to go up to Vac, but there are different trains that take different routes and different amounts of time. I suppose if I knew which station to go to, I could ask someone there.
I would appreciate any helpful info on this.

Thank you!

Posted by
8 posts

I just saw the post right before mine shows a very helpful link to public transport in Budapest!

Posted by
3283 posts

The main station is Keleti Pu. I imagine it may depend on where you come from. Keleti Pu is right on the metro so it is easy to get into the center of town. It wasn't obvious to me, where it was, but this was a few years ago. If you go out the front door of the train station and turn to the left and go down stairs, you'll get to the metro. There was a person selling tickets. She didn't speak English, but we were able to communicate fine. I showed her the name and address of my hotel.

Posted by
12117 posts

The last time I was at Keleti was in May 2015. Seeing that ticket office for buying metro tickets (I was riding the new one, M4), I had the feeling if I was in a foreign country at all. All the signs and instruction were in English and only English. I was surprised not to see any signs or instructions in Hungarian.

I wasn't the only one using English, the two Japanese girls I saw on the train were already at the ticket counter when I walked in.

Posted by
4695 posts

All I can say is: get off at the right station, LOL! Because when I first visited Budapest - not my first solo trip to Europe - I wasn't paying attention to the station names and suddenly they announced "Budapest - (some station name)" and I panicked, grabbed my bags, and got off. It happened so quickly - and the train was gone - before I realized I was in at a tiny suburban station in the middle of nowhere! Good grief, what a dumb thing to do!

Fortunately, I kept my head and simply look on the posted train schedule to find the next train headed to Keleti station, which came just a few minutes later. I hopped on, and because we were so close to Keleti, no one checked my ticket. I was only about 20 minutes late - but thank goodness it wasn't the last train of the night!

Posted by
11158 posts

You can find train schedules for all of Europe on the Bahn (German Rail) website http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en, following Rick's tutorial: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/online-schedules

Just put in "Budapest" without the quotes, and you'll see which station your train is arriving at or departing from. You are quite correct, there are three main stations and various other satellite ones.

Or, you can look at the Hungarian Rail website: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en

For Vac, you're probably remembering what I wrote about the trains. There are three trains between Budapest and Vac. One is the express along the Danube river, taking about 25 minutes. One is the local along the Danube, taking about 45 minutes. And one is the local making a loop inland, taking about 90 minutes. On my way there, I thought I was on the 25 minute one, but was actually on the 90 minute one. If you look at the travel time on one of the train websites, you'll be able to find the correct one (I did not have ready internet access during my stay, 10 years ago, or I would have been able to avoid the mistake).

Posted by
698 posts

Andrew H., we did the same thing going to Venice. Were not quite paying enough attention (sleepy), heard Venezia, looked around and absolutely everyone was getting off. With no time to think, my husband got worried, grabbed our bags and got off (I got off, too) - and the train left as I looked around and realized what had just happened. Yep, we got off at Venice Mestre. Waited a few minutes and another train came along, so we got on and finished our trip. Arrived to a vaporetto strike - but that’s another topic. :)

Posted by
4695 posts

I'm sure that was unnerving at the time for you - but at least you were in Mestre! Lots of people speak English there - lots of trains and buses on to Venice. In my case, I was in a deserted suburban train station without any local currency (no obvious ATM nearby). Who knows what I would have done had there been no more trains that day: knocked on doors of locals to find someone who spoke English? That would have been fun.

Posted by
3283 posts

It sounds like things have changed quite a bit in Budapest in the five years since I traveled there. We rarely found anyone that spoke English except at our hotel. I asked the woman at the desk to teach us some Magyar so we at least knew some of the "polite words". She was telling me that any resident that could speak English was able to get a good job in tourism so that was a goal for many.

Posted by
2096 posts

I have used the 3 main stations--Keleti, Nyugati and Kelenfold--and if you are anxious about getting a clerk who isn't as proficient in English, just write out where and when you want to go. I have learned some Hungarian and attempted to use it to buy a ticket to Godollo one trip and the clerk just smiled patiently and replied in perfect English, "You want to go to Godollo, yes?"

Posted by
10985 posts

I've been traveling to and conducting business in Budapest for over a dozen years now. Language isnt an issue. Either the person you are speaking to will know English or the person standing next to them will. Still, since names can be impossible to pronounce, it is best to right down addresses and places you are traveling to. For Vac, tkae the Express train. There are 2 main stations in town, both well connected on the metro lines, which are clean and easy to use. Nyugati also has a tram connection.

Posted by
8 posts

Wow....this is a great forum! so many responses! I did get the website for train travel and looked up Gyor to Budapest and the trains were going to both Deli and Keleti on the same day so I guess you just deal with it when you get there and utilize the metro maps. I'm not at all worried about the language....sounds like that won't be a problem.

Posted by
10985 posts

If you are coming from Gyor then you want to be on the Vienna train that terminates at Keleti. The one that stops at Deli makes a bunch of stops and is slow.

Keketi is in the center of town and very convenient.

Gyor is a great town. See the old part and the archabby nearby at Pannonhalma. If you dont have a hotel yet, look at the Klastrom

Posted by
8 posts

Sweet....thanks! I'm taking the advice from someone on this forum to stop in Sopron on the way to Gyor. And I am already booked at the Klastrom! A friend stayed there three years ago and loved it.

Posted by
16998 posts

Sopron and Gyor are both very pretty, but Gyor has a larger historic area, so factor that into the way you handle that in-transit day.

Posted by
13 posts

Get to the station early. We found it difficult to find an English speaker and for what ever reason we found their machines confusing to use. My wife says to use a bathroom before you get to the station.

Posted by
10985 posts

In Gyor .... naaaaa, the station is a breeze. But 30 min never hurts. And dont skip Pannonhalma. The hotel can arrange transportation. Tell me where you are staying in Budapest and I can tell you how to get there from the station

Posted by
8 posts

James E....I don't understand. I thought you said Pannonhalma was in Gyor and hotel could help with transport but then you ask where we're staying in Budapest and you could tell me how to get there. BTW, I have an airbnb very close to Nyugati train station. What is Pannonhalma anyway? and where is it?

Posted by
10985 posts

Sorry, the communication got muddled.

While you are in Gyor you might want to ask the hotel for transportation to the nearby town of Pannonhalma where you will find a most beautiful and ancient Archabbey. https://bences.hu/lang/en/ Worth the effort.

THEN, when you get to Budapest, if you want some help on getting to your AirBnb from Keleti; it would be a pleasure.

If you are indeed staying near Nyugati, then its half way across town from Keleti. If you have a lot of luggage, I would just call a taxi. I like City Taxi http://www.citytaxi.hu/ They have always been honest, prompt, and pleasant. When you call you will hear a recording in Hungarian, then a recording in English, then someone will come on the line in Hungarian. At that point you say "Good Afternoon" or what ever the time dictates, and they will switch to perfect English.

If you do want to go with public transportation, your options are two:

From Keleti take Metro Line 2 one stop to Blaha Lujza ter. Get off and get on the 4/6 Tram for about 4 stops to Nyugati. Very scenic way to get there. However this tram moves more passengers than any other tram line in Europe and it can be a bid crowded. Option 2, take Metro Line 2 three stops to Deak Ferenc ter and then change to Metro Line 3 and its two stops to Nyugati. Deak Fernec ter is the central hub for the three main metro lines and it can be a bit busy but its an adventure. The Nyugati metro station is sort of to the back of the station and you will have to either walk through the underground (very "interesting"), walk through the station, or walk the street quite a ways to the front of the station.

You could also take the new Metro 4 line a few stops to where it crosses the M3 and then on to Nyugati.

Take a Taxi

Posted by
8 posts

James, It seems easy enough to take Metro 4 then 3 to Nyugati, but then have to find the airbnb. It's just that we'll have our baggage and it will be our first time using the public transport in a new city. I'm just concerned that it will be hard to get a reputable taxi without a working phone. I don't usually have one and have had issues trying to use my verizon overseas. Is there a "taxi stand" at keleti? Is the only way to get a decent taxi by calling it by phone?

Can they help me at the info booth at Keleti? Do you think they would call me a cab?

I may have to talk to Verizon!

Posted by
10985 posts

It's so much easier with a phone. There is a taxi stand, but I would feel better if you called a taxi ... City Taxi... Folks are pretty decent there, try the information office. They would make me proud if they did it for you. At the front of the station, at the bottom of the stairs on the right you will find the office. Trouble is to get your taxi you will have to go back up the stairs and out the doors about midway on the left from the top of the stairs.

Unless the luggage is excessive you shouldn't have much trouble on the M4, it's new and not heavily used. The M3 is generally pretty light too. But then yo have to deal with more stairs at the Nyugati end. Do you have an address for tha AirBnb? Sometimes they are a bit loose wit "near" in the descriptions.

Posted by
3283 posts

Take a look at maps.me app for iphone. You can download the map for Hungary when you have wifi. You can then use your phone without cell service and it will provide you with navigation by car or on foot. You save (or pin) certain locations. You could save the train station and your airbnb location, and the metro stop that you have been told is close. You can then determine the walking distance and then you can determine if it is doable for you. When you are there, use your phone offline like a GPS to go you walking instructions to attractions. I understand being a little tentative about taxis. I am much more comfortable using public transportation, myself, and its much less expensive. If you don't have a lot of luggage, it is so easy to access the metro from the train station.

Posted by
8 posts

OMG Maps.me........outstanding! Why have I never heard of it before! What a great forum.....so active. thanks everyone for so much advice!