I'm in the very early stages of planning a trip to Vienna in August,and thinking I'd take the train to Budapest for a few days and fly home from there, so I was poking around the OBB website to see what the schedules were like.I don't know if it's too soon to buy a ticket or if they're sold out, but there's a lot of "not available". Does anyone have experience with the OBB website, or know if I need to wait til it's closer to travel time or can I just go to the station that day, buy a ticket and go?
August is way too for away to book tickets. 90 days is "kinda" the standard. Plus, there is a European wide schedule adjustment every 6 months, usually mid December and mid June. Don't sweat it. There will be plenty of seats available when you start shopping seriously in June. In the meantime, just check the schedule and prices 60 days from now to get an idea of times and cost, they shouldn't change a whole lot.
As Sam says ,you are a bit early . When you get close to booking ,go to OBB and look for Sparschein tickets . Vienna to Budapest will be 19EU in second class ( very comfortable ) per person ( Vienna Westbahnhof to Budapest Keleti p.u. .) That is a non refundable fare ,time and date specific . We traveled that route this fall from Budapest to Vienna . . Look for Railjet ( express ) trains , three hours ,door to door . Also ,if spending time in Budapest ,be sure to look at James' posts in the " To the East " section of this site . He provides great information about Budapest and more so , his enthusiasm is infectious !!
Here's a thought...Have you considered taking the boat from Vienna to Budapest? The trip down the Danube is beautiful and relaxing.
Thanks to all for the reassurance, I do like to research and plan and figure everything out, sometimes prematurely! And I especially appreciate the suggestion of taking a boat, off I go to check that out...
If you are talking about the hydrofoil from Vienna to Budapest, do some research and read some reviews. By slow boat its going to be a long, long, long trip; but you might enjoy that.
If you have at least 3 full days in Budapest and you still have a day to kill then take the train from Vienna to Gyor. Visit the Archabbey at Panonholma and spend the night in the hotel that was converted from a 18th century convent in the baroque center of the town. Gyor is on the rail line from Vienna to Budapest (almost exactly half way between the two) so this isn't a detour just a layover.