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Night train from Budapest to Prague?

I am wondering if it makes sense to take the night train from Budapest to prague, which arrives VERY early in Prague (?6 am) and may not be very restful if there are no reclining seats or if the trip requires vigilance in watching your bags. It would save a nights accommodation (cost) and allow us to get 3 full days in each of those cities, but I don't know if it is potentially worth losing a nights sleep or losing 7 hours of daytime sightseeing by taking a daytime train. Opinions welcome! (note: this would be for 2 women traveling at the end of March) Also, would I need to get tickets in advance for a lower fare ?

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you for your advice! If buying a ticket online, what site do I use? Does one have to use the Hungarian site for departures from there? And, if I there are 2 of us and we pay for a "cabin 3 bed" , is there a high chance there will be no one in the 3rd bed? Which Prague stop is the best to get off at (Praha-Holesovice or Praha hlavni?) Finally, can we get into the city at that early hour on some kind of public transportation and check in bags at least somewhere?
Any suggestions for convenient places to stay for a 3 day visit of Prague also welcome (budget 60-120 euro per night for 2 people, B&B, apt or hotel.
Thanks!

Posted by
4637 posts

If you are in a cabin with 3 beds there is a chance somebody will be there (unless you buy all 3 beds and another ticket for train). Praha hlavni nadrazi is in the center, most people going to Prague get off there. In your case it depends where your hotel is. Praha Holesovice is on the subway line so it is relatively easy to get around, too.

Posted by
37 posts

I read thru all the terms of the ticket purchase on the English Mav-start.hu booking site. Should we do the print ticket at home option or get them from the ticket machine? I am not sure what the deal is on the invoicing. What is the best thing to do? And does one have to select first class if she wants a cabin car (vs couchettes?)

From https://jegyvasarlas.mav-start.hu/eTicketV2/EN/hogyan_vasarolhatok_hpt.html website, with rules to purchase tix on line in english:

Electronic invoice must be selected for Home Printed Tickets paid with bank card. That is why the recording of the proper invoicing data is a precondition of Home Printed Ticket purchase with bank card. If you select I do not request an invoice or I request a printed invoice at this point, you can collect your tickets from the e-Ticket Machines only. For detailed information about invoicing please click here.

Posted by
16764 posts

I once had the lucky experience of booking one bed in a three-bed compartment and not having to share it. However, you'd probably feel more comfortable to book the two-bed compartment, which is cheaper on this route than some others.

Posted by
37 posts

Thanks, worldinbetween!
My final question is about the night trains. The schedules say they arrive at 4:37 am but I also read somewhere that "sometimes they don't make you get off the train till 6:13 am". I don't see an option on the MAV-Start.hu site to select for a train that doesn't end it's trip at 4:37 am. ?? Am I missing something or is that just not on the schedule?
Thanks,
K

Posted by
43 posts

The train departing Budapest (#476) at 20:05 is bound for Prague and then Berlin.

It actually carries 2 sets of carriages, which are split in the night. The carriages for Berlin travel straight through, stopping at Prague at 04:10.

The second set of carriages, for Prague-only, are parked along the way for several hours during the night, providing a more convenient arrival in Prague at 06:44. (Couchettes and a sleeping car are available all year for this option; 2nd class standard seats are only available in the summer, 20.VI-13.IX departing Budapest.)

Posted by
12091 posts

@ Podroznik....thanks for the useful information on the Budapest to Berlin via Prague night train, very good to know. It gives me another option when going to or leaving Budapest. At Berlin Hbf I've often seen the day train going to Budapest keleti pu as the terminus, almost always crowded in the summer.

Posted by
37 posts

HI, I have followed detailed instructions on the maninseatseat61 for trains from Buda to Prague page. It was all great.... UNTIL....on the mav-start.hu page It will not allow me to make any payment or go beyond selecting that I want a private sleeper car for 2 passengers (birthdates written in etc) . When it goes to the summary page, the only things to select is a "back" button, not a payment option. Am I doing something wrong?
There are 2 options in blue boxes, each with a "back" button , The first says:
outward journey: BUDAPEST* - PRAHA*, 2015.02.21 Sleeping car, own compartment

2 persons

The second box (different color blue background) says:
No offer available for the journey with these conditions. For the list of available offers click here.
But there is no list of available offers either, just an orange back button .
???? help??

Posted by
37 posts

this is the message I get regarding international train tickets on the Mav-start.hu site:

"Not all of our international ticket offers are available online. If you do not find a suitable offer, or you have special requirements, please visit one of our international ticket offices located at major railway stations or in downtown of selected cities. "

Is this because I only selected Budapest* and Prague* as departure and arrival stations and not specific stations in those cities?
What station should I pick to depart Budapest? Keleti? I think I arrive to Prague main station.

Posted by
37 posts

thanks, Yes, I did make an account. I emailed the cust service and they finally emailed back and said:

Thank you for your inquiry.

We would like to inform you that due to technical reasons the online booking for the train is not possible.
Please purchase your ticket personally at the international ticket office.

In case you buy your ticket at MAV-START the cheapest price is the SparNight offer for the following price:

Sleeping car

3 person compartment (Tourist)

49/59 €

2 person compartment (Double)

59/69 €

1 person compartment (Single)

99/109 €

Spar Night is a limited offer, exchange or refund of the ticket is not possible.

If SparNight tickets are sold out you can purchase the trip ticket in unlimited amount for 49€, seat reservation is not included. The ticket is valid for a return journey within 4 days (it can be used for a oneway, too). Price of seat reservation for the sleeping car:

So, I don't know what the SPAR sleeping car is, but I am assuming at this point I need to get the ticket when I arrive in Budapest. I assume that would be the keleti train station I need to go to to purchase it. right?

Posted by
1 posts

So the website is confusing... once you click the "tickets and fares" you have to click on the fare price, and then the little orange arrow next to the "open". Only then you pick your time/train and click "add to cart".

Posted by
43 posts

A SparNight ticket is a savings ticket (not a type of railway car!). From the German word "spar" (saving).

SparNight tickets must be purchased in advance (usually no more than 2 days before travel). The savings can be considerable, but the tickets cannot be changed or cancelled. (i.e. no refunds!)

Quantities are also extremely limited.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello! I'm trying to book the same train from Budapest to Prague, on the 16th of August, and i'm facing the same problem too.
Is it because this train is no longer available online and i have to get it at the station?
Would really appreciate your help in clearing my doubts . Thank you. =)

Posted by
10894 posts

Sorry, I don't do night trains and I purchase tickets at the station so I am absolutely no help. But once I did have a question for them and I found them to be very polite and very helpful. So why don't you go straight to the horses mouth. Then post the results for everyone's benefit.

Domestic: 06 (40) 49 49 49
From abroad: +36 1 444 44 99
info@mav-start.hu

Your feedback
comments@mav-start.hu

Posted by
16764 posts

There have been several recent threads in this Travel Forum on the question of booking night trains around the Prague-Budapest-Krakow triangle, so you can look for those discussions.

I've not had much luck when pretending to book international trains through the national railways sites for Czech Rep, Hungary, or Poland. (I've not tried creating profiles or entering credit cards, but just tried to start an international ticket booking.) Therefore my blanket advice is to buy the ticket in a train station or travel agency in that country or a neighboring country. Maybe PolRail is different, maybe it's not, etc., but I'd still plan to buy in Europe for these three night train routes. It has worked fine for us in the past, especially if booking a few days before the scheduled train trip and if you are flexible about the type of compartment you will take.

If you feel that you must have reserved tickets in hand before you go, www.euraide.de can book it for a higher price through German rail and ship it to you for an extra charge. In the past, I'm sure that Rail Europe has sold these, too, but they seem not to have them available this year.

Posted by
1 posts

I just tried to book tickets for the route on the Hungarian rail site. I wanted a 2 person sleeper car. It appears that the Hungarian site, only allows purchase of regular seats, no sleepers or couchettes.

Anyway, I WAS able to book this via the, fairly straight forward Czech site: http://czech-transport.com/index.php?menu_id=papertickets&lang=en

I paid an extra 25E to have the tickets Fedexed to me in advance. The other options were to pick them up in Prague (which makes no sense, since I'll be in Budapest) or they will send to my hotel. I decided the shipping cost is worth it.

Posted by
48 posts

We flew from Budapest to Prague a month ago for about $100/person and the flight was an hour. At this price, it makes no sense to take the long train ride.