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Train or plane getting to Budapest from Prague - please advise

I realize this might be subjective - but would appreciate any advice. Here is the background for context:

There are 3 of us traveling between Prague and Budapest. We first thought flying would be the best choice- and on our specific date of travel (in early July). The only non stop options are CSA or Ryanair. Having never flown either airline we were learning towards CSA - only because Ryannair seems to have a reputation for lots of fees - but CSA has checked bag fees also.
Because of weight restrictions on European flights, we would have to check our bag (which is a perfectly fine carry-on/ overhead getting to and from the United States),

What would be a relatively inexpensive flight would cost a lot more - which is why we are almost convinced that even with the 6:30 train travel time, that might be the better option (for the 3 of us).

Adding in the time to get to and from the airport in Prague and Budapest, getting through security, waiting for our bags, etc the long travel time by train doesn't seem so long once you measure it against airport logistics.

We would also like to arrive in Budapest mid afternoon/early evening so we do have a few train options. Lastly, our only experience with European train travel has been (high speed trains) in Italy, from Amsterdam to Paris, etc. It seems that (given the time) it might be a different experience. and hopefully the 6:30 hours doesn't seem like an eternity.

We are viewing this as part of our vacation, so were thinking might as well do it (or at least consider) first class and make it a fun train trip- city center to city center.

(the night train is not an option)

Does train look like the best option? Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.

Posted by
15573 posts

Looks like you can get 3 2nd class tickets for equivalent of $100 US, or $150 for 1st class. The direct EC trains have a restaurant car with tasty Czech beer. Current notes to expect a 15 minute delay due to track work in the Prague area.
https://www.cd.cz/en/eshop/

You are correct that given time to/from airports, security checks, waiting for board and waiting for luggage will turn a 1 hour flight into a 4 hour process. Trains are much more relaxing, and like I said, the restaurant car can be like a rolling pub at times.

Posted by
169 posts

We are convinced to go by train. Just having some language issues on the cd.cz website.
Just wondering if I could get some guidance before ticketing - just to make sure this is correct:

1, We are opting to go with first class likely on July 2. Either train EC275 or EC 277

When you get to the seat selection part (even though we have selected first class) it displays all the carriages of the train. There is only one labeled "1. trida" - everything else is "2.trida". But it all seems to be live, that we could select seats anywhere - but we only want first class. (There is also an auto select feature - but is it better to select your own seats?)

  1. There is a red warning labeled "restrictions on the route) but when you click the link it doesn't display in English.
    Just wondering - without putting the whole page in google translate- what these warnings are and if there is anything to be concerned about.

  2. Rates are different between the 2 trains - but there is no dropdown to display in dollars - I can do the conversion in google:

This is what the display looks like we (just haven't added seats) - does this look correct?

Praha hl.n.Budapest-Nyugati pu
Dep. 2.7.2019 Tue / 07:50
6:30 EC 275 Metropolitan
Tickets 7440 CZK

For payment 7440 CZK

Again, thanks for all the help.

Posted by
15573 posts

Yes, I saw that note earlier. Basically it says that due to track work in the Prague area, train could run 15 minutes late.

7440 CZK is about $325 US. I think if you look at a later or earlier train you might get a better price. There is only 1 1st class car on the train. If you click on details of the train, you will see a graphic of the train make up.

PS I see the 5:50 train is 2763 CZK and the 11:50 train is 3026 CZK. Significant savings!

Posted by
169 posts

OK, thanks. We might just make the earlier train, just in case there are even more delays.

As for the display of the train cars, I just thought if you selected first class - it would only display the first class seats/cars - not the entire train. It seems you could click anywhere in any part of the train.

Finally, once we select the seats, I'm hoping there's an option to print out the tickets.

Posted by
15573 posts

Seat61 says you can print at home.

To buy tickets starting in Prague...
...use the Czech Railways (CD) website www.cd.cz, see my tips for using it. You print your own ticket on A4 paper, although U.S. Letter size is fine. The cheap advance-purchase fares with no refunds and no changes are called First Minute.
Tip: If you don't see green buttons with prices on in the search results, only Check price - By email then booking isn't really open yet, just wait. You only need to book a few weeks ahead to get cheap prices, not months and months.
Tip: Only one name & passport number is needed to support one print-at-home ticket, even if that ticket covers several people.
Tip: Do not buy tickets anywhere else, as no other website can sell CD's cheap fares for this route. Don't buy tickets starting in Prague at the Hungarian Railways (MAV) website, as tickets have to be collected in Hungary from a MAV ticket machine at a MAV station.
Tip: If going to Bratislava, check times & prices for the several daily competing RegioJet trains at www.regiojet.com.

https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/prague-to-budapest-by-train.htm#How_to_buy_tickets