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Purchasing train tickets Budapest to Salzburg

I will be visiting Budapest around mid-October. I would like to take a side excursion to another nearby country and am weighing my options, including considerations of the current refugee situation. One confusion I have is that the website for MAV-START lists the round trip fare for Budapest-Salzburg at €137. But the site sells each one-way ticket for €39 which would be €78 both ways. Why are the prices so different?

Also, since the refugees are trying to get to Vienna and Munich, would the route to Salzburg be likely to be affected?

One more question, is the train ride as beautiful as I'm expecting it to be? Or should I just fly?

Thanks for any advice.

Posted by
12564 posts

I don't think it is possible to predict anything involving the trains or the roads right now. Did you see Croatia last night? Three days ago traveling the roads in Croatia was a guaranteed okay thing to do. Today?

For those who read here often you know I enjoy Central Europe and especially Budapest. We come 2.5 times a year so I am always looking for new experiences. We have done Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Rep, etc. This trip, in progress now, was fly into Dubrovnik: a magnificent setting that I am glad I experienced although, like Venice it is a town that has become a museum. Still, for a day and a half it was magnificent. Then overland to the Bay of Kotor. (2 hours and on a road that is well off the refuge route). The Bay is astoundingly beautiful. Even found time for a little fishing. Escaped the tourists by staying in Perast where we dined on the edge of the bay as great sailing ships sailed past. Then on to Kotor the miniature walled city twin of Dubrovnik, that was still a living city. Finally into Titograd for a night before an Air Serbia flight to Belgrade (60 euro). All the road time from Dubrovnik to Titograd amounted to about 4 hours and much of it was with spectacular views and great towns and villages. What a trip! Wish we had gone years earlier. The big surprise was Belgrade. Loved it and returning soon. Then another 60 euro flight to Budapest where I now sit. Of course I can spend the next 10 days here with no chance of boredom.

So think outside the box. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia are all great destinations, cheap to reach by plane.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you James and worldinbetween. I've considered a number of destinations, including Greece, but am trying to keep it relatively inexpensive, and also, as a woman traveling alone I don't want to feel like I'm too many worlds away should something unexpected arise, especially considering the budget. I think I've narrowed it down between Salzburg and Amsterdam, or at least that region. I am interested in history, beaches, and scenic beauty, but not so much in art museums, monuments, or ancient ruins. I absolutely loved Budapest when I was there several months ago. I can get a flight to Amsterdam for €145 (if I act fast - 2 tickets left). A flight to Salzburg would be twice as much. But I thought the train ride might possibly be worth the experience as well, and not only for the scenery. But 11 hours (both ways) is a lot of wasted time otherwise. Still confused as to why the price is so different on the 2 websites. Why would one not just use the cheaper site?

Posted by
16869 posts

OEBB is offering advance discount tickets on trains that they operate. MAV may not have computer access to those deals, so it certainly makes sense to book ahead through OEBB, if you can. International tickets often have different procedures as far as e-ticket or pick-up location options, so confirm how that will work before submitting an order online. When expecting crowds, try to be sure that your tickets include a seat reservation, which probably costs 4 euros more each way. Trains within Austria have not been reduced due to the border issues, only the international crossings. To compare budget flights, see

Posted by
17 posts

Laura, sorry for the slow response, but THANK YOU so much for the info. I have now decided to go to Amsterdam instead, which is where I really originally wanted to go but did not know about the skyscanner website and had not found a reasonable fare. I hadn't noticed that the cheap flight I had originally found had a long layover that was unreasonable. Finally a decision, backed up by a flight reservation. And no concerns about train cancellations. Yay!! Thank you again, and thanks everyone for your input!