We're thinking of taking the overnight train (sleeper) from Munich to Budapest in early September 2018. We've never been to Germany and Hungary and would like to know if it's difficult to get reservations for a sleeper that time of year and the best stations to travel from and to.
Or you can fly non-stop in 1:10 on Lufthansa
As much as I hate airports and usually opt for the train in most cases, in this case I would definitely fly. There was a time when I was fine with overnight travel, but that train has left the station (pun intended). If you're young and adventurous and don't need a good night's sleep or just want to experience an overnight train in Europe, then go for it. My advice would be to fly - faster and probably cheaper too.
About five years ago, I did a sleeper train at night from Budapest to Prague. It worked well for us. I heard the sleepers sell out and I booked mine in advance. The only hard part was using the Hungarian train website and needing to get a 3 bed compartment for two males and a female. I would think that the websites would be easier to use now, and perhaps you could check both DB and the Hungarian line. My reservation was a little messed up and the conductor and I had a bit of a language barrier, but he was very kind and worked everything out for us. It does save you the cost of the hotel room and the accommodation was fairly decent. I think it was fun to say you've done it. I had a little difficulty sleeping and the next time I would try taking a mild sleep aid. We were provided coffee/tea and pastries (in cellophane) in the am.
oh, and we also thought it was efficient. We didn't waste a day traveling.
"the best stations to travel from and to."
You don't get a choice. The night train starts at Munich Hauptbahnhof (main station) and goes to Budapest Keleti (one of their three main stations). At least on September 4, 2018, it leaves Munich at 23:35 and arrives in Budapest at 9:24.
As you see, the subject of night trains is very divisive. Some love them, others say "never again."
Sleepers certainly can sell out, although I have no particular knowledge of that train. You can book it on the Bahn website (where I got the information about stations and timings): https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml
Another thing to consider is check out time is Noon and check in can be as late as 2pm. So you have to contend with luggage. Most hotels can hold it for you. The times I've done that I've always been a bit nervous as they weren't well secured. If you are using an Apartment Rental the problem is tougher.
In Budapest there is a place called The Lions Locker which is a luggage storage facility and a good place to have breakfast. It's in the heart of District VI near the Opera House which is a good place to start your sight seeing. Easy to reach from Keleti on the metro.
Also a good area in town to find a room.
I try not to take train trips that go overnight or longer than 5 hours-so last Monday I traveled from Budapest to Munich via Lufthansa for about $200 US. Out exploring Munich by 12 noon. I don’t do budget airlines because I can’t deal with their baggage restrictions.
Christa, the budgets like Wizzair arent any more restrictive than any other airline............ except you pay for it. So the advertised $60 rate becomes closer to $100 if you check a bag or have more than an 8 kilo carry on. Ive actually been pretty pleased with Wizzair and they have opened up a huge world I would not otherwise have been able to see.
Just for grins i looked up a Wizzari flight from Budapest to Podgorica (jumping off for one of my favorite places). With a purse the fare is about 7,000 ft, with all the extras including a checked bag (20kg), carry on, seat selection, boarding pass, etc; only 18,000 forints. So thats $26 at the low end and $66 at the high end. I havent had such good luck with Ryanair.
James--I returned yesterday with a staggering 40# checked bag and probably 20# in my carry-on, that is my fear of dealing with budget airlines. The flea market in Budapest was full of goodies, and by now I have a few other things that need to be brought back every trip...
Ha Ha! Good for You! Love it!