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Prague to Budapest

After hours of searching, I'm just lost. We're travelling with five adults from Prague to Budapest in early July/14. Is the train the best option? Should we do a night train, or spend a day on the train? Our ideal plan would be to spend some time in Prague, bus to Cesky Krumlov for a night, return to Prague by bus, and then head to Budapest. If this is not a wise itinerary, please feel free to let me know! What's the most foolproof way to book this kind of travel? We've visited 7 European countries, and are pretty seasoned, but we've never used the train system in Europe, and this is making me nervous!!
Donna

Posted by
12320 posts

Donna, a lot of this comes down to style, preference and taste. When we visited Cesky Krumlov a few years ago we hired a car. "Hired a car" in the American sense; with a driver. You know for 5 people that might not cost more than the bus. We spent the night and we were glad we did. First the town is worth that much time and second the town is nicest early in the morning before the tourist busses arrive and again late in the afternoon when the tourist busses have left. We stayed at the Hotel Dvoark with a great view from a balcony of the castle. Write me and I will give you the link to the photos. We did 2 days in Prague, the trip via a castle to Cesky Krumlov and then back to Prague via another castle (so all the drive time produced more great stuff to see) and then 2 more days in Prague. Then the train to Vienna and then the train to Budapest. Day trains both. The intent was to spend 4 days in Vienna but we found we didn't enjoy Vienna as much as some/most/many do so we packed up early and headed for Budapest. Turned out to be a wise decision as we have since made Budapest sort of a second home. I have never done it or even looked it up but I believe there are busses between Cesky Krumlov and Vienna and if that is the case then that's an option. See Vienna a day and then hop the train to Budapest (about 3 hours). The trains in Central Europe aren't particularly fast but they are clean, generally well maintained and comfortable; and very easy to figure out. Check these guys out: http://www.beanshuttle.com/en/booking/ And there are others.

Posted by
12320 posts

You also might ask Andrew ILLES if he goes that far. I have know Andrew for a decade and he's a great guide, decent person and a real gentleman.
but he might be a little pricy for this sort of thing http://www.guideinbudapest.com/ when you get to the Budapest end of the planning let me know if I can help.

Posted by
4637 posts

There are many options to get to Budapest. You can go from Prague to C.K. by bus or by train with change in Ceske Budejovice. Or you can go by shuttle (it's door to door and it won't be much more expensive than public transport because there are five of you). Then you can go back to Prague. Then you can fly or go by train or bus (about 7 hours). Or go from C.K. to Linz (bus, train or shuttle) and from Linz take a direct train to Budapest. There are many. Or take a shuttle from C.K. all the way to Budapest. Train system in Europe is much better than here. Trains are plentiful and you can buy ticket at the station just before you go. Sometimes (but not always) you can get ticket cheaper when you book ahead. You can find information about shuttle on google (prices etc). The best information about train timetables are on Deutsche Bahn website. Just click on Favorite Links at the top of this page. Plenty of information how to travel independently in Europe.

Posted by
2 posts

Hello Rick Steve,

I tried getting tickets online for Dec 30th going from Prague to Budapest. It seems like all the e-tickets are sold out. Do you think I can go to the station and buy tickets that same day? I know Dec 30th is probably a very busy day but I'm afraid to wait until that day and not got seats. I'm traveling with my husband and 3 kids. I'm now considering renting a car but we really don't want to drive especially not knowing how the weather and roads will be during that time. Thank you very much for any information you can provide.
Diana

Posted by
4637 posts

You can buy your tickets once you get to Prague just few days ahead. Of course you can also buy ticket just before you go. Personally I go to the station ahead, without luggage and I also have time even if there is a line there. It would be very unlikely that seats would be sold out. There are many trains. Also a lot of people take their chance and don't buy seats then if it's full they have to stand. Few trains have mandatory buying of seats but in most trains it's up to you. If you want to sit together it's a good idea to buy seats. It does not cost that much. Everybody has to pay for general ticket which is good for any train going to your destination that day and you have also option to buy seats which are obviously good just for your particular train. To travel by train between cities is much easier and cheaper than by car especially if you rent in one country and return in another.