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Prague to Budapest - Train or Flight ?

Hi,

I will be traveling to Europe next month, October 2016 for 10 days.
First City: Berlin ; Stay for 4 days

Take morning train from Berlin to Prague on 5th day.

Second City: Prague; Stay for 3 days

Third city: Budapest; Stay for 2 days

Question: Is it worth taking the train during day (6.5 hours) from Prague to Budapest ? It's a cheaper option compared to flying , but cost aside; would it be better if I take the night train instead from Prague ?

Any suggestions or facts worth sharing , please share.

PS: I believe I should be spending more days in Budapest, but that's how I have planned out this trip so far.

Thanks.

Regards
Rick

Posted by
2353 posts

The Euronight train can be a good option - that depends on how you do on a night train.

Either way I'd train it - you might save 1 or 2 hrs by flying but there is a lot more hassle - getting to/from city center to airports. the pre-flight early arrival at the airport and the lines for security.

Train - walk or bus or metro to station - get on train - get off train walk or bus or metro to hotel

Posted by
15588 posts

If you want more time on the ground, a sleeper is certainly an option, although the night train makes a fair number of stops throughout the night. But looks like you can get a single compartment for about $100 US. Less per person if you have a traveling companion.

Posted by
6543 posts

I've taken that train from Budapest to Prague, and it was one of the old style, dark and slow trains. It wasn't a pleasurable experience.

You can fly on Czech Airlines for 118 Euros or less, and be there in 1 hr. 20 minutes.

Posted by
2353 posts

I've taken that train from Budapest to Prague, and it was one of the old style, dark and slow trains. It wasn't a pleasurable experience.

Not sure how long ago you took that train - we did in 2013 and it was very comfortable. Also a pretty trip across Czechia.

Posted by
11001 posts

Picture the days of departure and arrival with the night Train. Plan them out in some detail. On the departure day you will have to check out by noon and leave your luggage with the hotel desk till departure time. On arrival you will have to leave luggage with the next hotel for maybe 8 hours till checkin time. Figure 30 something hours with out a shower.

I would fly. I would also drop either Berlin or Budapest and return at a later date to do them justice. 2 days in Budapest for me wouldn't be worth the effort to get there from Prague.

Posted by
6068 posts

I'd have to agree with James, and with your own assessment that you need more days for Budapest. With just 10 days stick to Berlin and Prague and save Budapest for when you have more time. I don't mind short stays to get an overview of a place but not if I have to travel a whole day or night to get there. Less travel time and more sightseeing (leisure) time works best for me.

Posted by
4637 posts

I agree with others. 10 days including travel time is not enough for cities like Berlin, Prague, Budapest. It would be too hectic.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi All,

Good Morning.
Thanks a lot everyone for all the valuable suggestions.

As this will be my first ever trip to Europe, and I had made up my mind to cover three countries.
So, knowing the fact that 10 days is not enough (As some of your rightly pointed out), I will go ahead and experience it all.
I want to learn out of this trip, so taking a night train or not spending enough days in a place, will definitely teach me something for my next trip. I wanted to spend almost equal number of days in Berlin and Prague, hence cutting down on my days in Budapest, which I know I may regret. But less of it, will make me want to go there again.
Now, regarding the trip from Prague to Budapest, I have decided to take the morning train (which looks quite comfy to say the least, based on the pictures and videos posted by other fellow travelers). I will reach Budapest by 2.45 PM. I was quite tempted to take the flight, but spending $160 on it doesn't fit my budget at this time.

I will post the updates on my train journey and on my short stay in Budapest.
I appreciate all your help :)

Thanks,

Posted by
12121 posts

Hi,

With only ten days, you have to pick which one to skip...Berlin, Budapest, or Prague. On the means of transport, take the EN night train from Prague to Budapest. In your situation that's what I would do. Praha hl n is a nice modern station.

Posted by
99 posts

Depending on your budget - I'd consider hiring a car service from Prague to Budapest with about a 4 hour stopover in Cesky Krumlov. Just a gorgeous city - well worth spending some time wandering around. My wife and I dd this last December.

Posted by
388 posts

Hi Rick. We used the Student Agency bus for a couple day trips from our base in Prague this past January. Its really cheap as I understand its subsidized by the Czech government. Buses are clean and comfortable. A quick search shows Prague - Budapest somewhere around $26 USD. An 0700 departure gets you in BP at 1415, with 3 stops. The 0500 departure gets you there at 1215.

I wouldn't do it, but if budget is a priority over time on the ground this might appeal to you.

http://studentagencybus.com/en/663_663/RegioJet%20HUNGARY

Edit: On closer examination I see that fare is for RegioJet, booked through Student Agency. Still...

Posted by
4637 posts

Regiojet and Student Agency is the same company. They operate trains and buses. Originally trains were Regiojet and buses Student Agency. Now they are renaming buses Regiojet, too. So you can see yellow buses still with the name Student Agency and also yellow buses with the new name Regiojet. Some trains were getting state subsidy not in Czech Republic but in Slovakia, maybe Hungary. As I am aware buses were not subsidized.

Posted by
12121 posts

@ maverick...As pointed out accurately above, it is a matter of comfort, or rather coping with relative comfort, depending on how you do with night trains. I have no problems with night trains whether it departs at 2000 or 2300 and gets in from 0600 to 0930 the next morning. I know I'll sleep regardless in that core period from midnight to 0530 in the summer. In Oct. at 0530 it'll still be dark unlike in the summer. Doing the night train Prague to BP is a direct shot. You gain a day. After seeing the Czech trains this June, Praha hl n and its layout, I'd take the EN option..

The Czech trains (blue in color) are now all modern, six seat compartments, electronically adapted, etc. They remind of the German trains in the 1970s minus all the tech refurbishing. I would have been interested in riding that old style Czech train again, did that twice ( day ) in July 1973., open windows, no AC, you baked in the heat, the locals put up with it, so did I.

Posted by
4637 posts

Fred, you can still ride old Czech trains once you are off the main rail lines. I must admit I liked them and never baked on them because I opened the window. But few times I baked on the new ones when AC did not work and windows are not openable.

Posted by
12121 posts

True, Ilja..one always had the option of opening the windows. I'm sure you were on trains where the entire coach from one end to the other had all the windows pulled down to the max just to get ventilation and a breeze when it was over 30C ....those were the days.

Posted by
11001 posts

Day Train
8:00 leave hotel
9:00 train leaves station
15:30 train arrives
16:30 you are in your new hotel.
Elapsed time: 8:30

Flight
8:30 leave hotel
11:00 flight leaves
12:00 flight arrives
14:00 you are in your hotel
Elapsed time 5:00

Night Train
11:00 return to hotel from sightseeing and check out
Leave luggage with front desk (do you really trust them?)
23:00 return to hotel again and get your luggage
00:00 train leaves station
08:30 arrive Budapest
09:00 get to hotel and ask them to watch your luggage
Go sight seeing
14:00 return to hotel to check in and clean up after the all night train trip.
Elapsed time running back and forth to hotels 1:50