Prague-Budapest-Vienna by rail?

Hi - we are a mother/daughter arriving in Prague the evening of 4/22 and flying out of Prague the evening of 4/30. We would like to see Prague, Budapest, and Vienna - I am thinking the most affordable way to get around is the Central Europe Triangle Pass, for $157 pp. Is this trip too ambitious? Is this rail pass a good idea? Thank you!

Posted by Emily
399 posts

Cheryl, While these cities are close to each other, I think 3 is too many for your short trip. I'd pick one of the other two, or Berlin instead.
I usually just buy tickets at the station right before the train is scheduled to depart. Usually doesn't cost me more than 45 euro.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
975 posts

Probably too ambitious. You arrive late on the 22nd, so that day is essentially used up with travel/jet lag. That leaves 7.5 days (4/23-29, and part of the 30th) before you leave Prague. Consider you'll use up time getting between cities. Train travel time (on non-stop trains) for Prague - Vienna is 4.5 hours; Vienna-Budapest 3 hours; Budapest-Prague 7 hours. Don't know if the pass lets you take non-stop trains, so you may have much longer travel times. Personally, if you are determined to see multiple big cities, I'd probably pick Prague/Vienna, possibly stopping for an overnight in ?eský Krumlov on the way. Plot your train options here

Posted by James E.
3518 posts

23 see prague 24 see prague 25 train to Vienna (4.75 hours) 26 see Vienna 27 see Vienna 28 train to Budapest (3.5 hours)
29 see Budapest 30 ooops. You are one day and an open jaw ticket short of doing the trip. Prague to Budapest is sort of a long train trip and i dont think there are any direct flights between the two, so since you have already got you plane tickets I would say see Prague and then take the train to Vienna for a few days. You might also check if there is a direct flight from Vienna back to Prague that works with you already booked flight out of Prague. Oh, and purchasing the train tickets once you arrive will probably be less expensive. For instance i think the train Vienna to Budapest is under 30 euro and the train from Prague to Vienna isnt too much more.

Posted by Ilja
2040 posts

I would say Prague and Vienna are doable in your time frame. Unfortunately there is no nonstop train between Prague and Vienna as CL is suggesting. Train takes about 4 and half hours with few stops. Don't fly, it would take longer than train. Flight itself is about one hour, add two hours for check in and also time to get to and from the airport and you clearly see that train is faster.

Posted by James E.
3518 posts

We may be confusing "Non Stop" with "Direct" and there are Direct trains from Prague to Vienna. The best train time between Vienna and Prague is about 4:45 and will cost about $100. A non stop flight from Vienna to Prague will take about 55 minutes but it can be expensive if not booked well in advance. Arrive two hours early + one hour flight + airport transfers at both ends (1 hour each) and the air flight is 5 hours. The train with 1 hour early arrival (not that you would have to but if you are the least bit uncomfortable it's not a bad idea) + 4.75 hour ride + train station transfers at each end (30 minutes each) and the train is a 6.75 hour trip. The other thing would be to look at the schedules to see which one fits your needs. Personally I would rather deal with the train, but it really isn't faster on this particular journey. My order of preference for the three cities (this will start a fire storm) is Budapest, Prague then Vienna. Personally I would spend one night in Vienna just to break the trip to Budapest. But that's just my preference. Your real problem amounts to being one day short and a missing open jaw ticket. With just one extra day and that open jaw ticket you get to see all three cities. Tell your boss you need an extra day and pay the penalty to change the ticket and you will get a lot more out of the trip.

Posted by cheryl
gaylord, mn, usa
8 posts

Thanks for all the great input! Call me crazy - but I thought we would start in Prague - then overnight train to Budapest; Vienna if time. And after all your thoughts, we may not have time. Why are there so many suggestions that the route be Prague, then Vienna, then Budapest? Am I missing something? Thank you!

Posted by James E.
3518 posts

Cheryl, the Prague, Vienna to Budapest is because they line up that way. But you have an interesting idea. I didnt know there was an overnight train. Make sure it is DIRECT otherwise you arent going to get any sleep. Actually even if it is direct I wouldn't get any sleep. So, 22 Arrive Prague 23 Prague 24 Prague and then the overnight to Budapest 25 Budapest 26 Budapest 27 Budapest to Vienna 28 Vienna 29 Vienna to Prague or see below
30 Or if there is a train early enough to make the connection at the aiport in Prauge? Then fly out. Naaaa, you still need another day and an open jaw or at least an extra day.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
284 posts

Hi, Three lovely cities, not enough time. I suggest you look at the book, Prague Walks. These are great walking tours that take you to places the tour books ignore such a Sts. Peter and Paul cemetery which is filled with not only the famous but with beautiful works of sculpture. Once you look at the walking tours in this book consider staying in the Prague region alone. Two day trips if you must move about could be Czesky Krumlov and Konopiste. As for Czesky Krumov, I am sure there would be a bus down there and probably even back in one day. This is a mini-Prague that is a photo-op at every turn. And visiting Konopiste Castle is a short train ride south of Prague. This castle was the home of the Arch-Duke Francis Ferdinand as he waited 50 years to inherit the throne. The castle has the 'I-will-be-back-tonight' look. No other castle I have visited gave that impression.
wayne iNWI

Posted by Deanna
Canton, GA, usa
235 posts

Having done that trip before, but flying open jaw...into Prague out of Budapest, I will say you still would want an extra day or two! Another suggestion would be Prague and Vienna with a day/night into the Wachau region outside of Vienna. This would give you two fabulous cities and charming towns/villages along the Danube! It's only an hour from Vienna, so you could even do a day trip. I'm taking my daughter to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in June. We have 10 days scheduled and have both been there before, and I still feel a bit rushed! Good luck with the planning :-))