Night Train Travel in Eastern Europe

My husband and I and another couple are planning a trip to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Krakow in late May into June. We were thinking of taking a night train from Budapest to Krakow or vice versa. How safe is it and is it recommended? I heard some horror stories about traveling on the night trains in Eastern Europe. Any advice would be of great help to us. Thanks!

Posted by Dina
Staten Island, NY
10 posts

Thanks Tom, I appreciate the advice. Two more questions "How are the prices on taking the night train and did you book at the station or online in advance?

Posted by Tom
Easley, SC, USA
268 posts

Dina I took the night train Krakow-Budapest last April. I had no trouble. With two of you one stays in the compartment while the other toddles off down the hall to ... I didn't have that advantage traveling solo but it didn't matter I took night trains thru much of Eastern Europe with no issues. I did find that beyond Budapest the equipment was older and not as fancy as Western Europe but it all worked right. I always had a clean pair of sheets and a blanket and always felt safe. Pvt me for more if u want to.

Posted by Randy
Minneapolis, MN, USA
1506 posts

We did two of those legs in 2010. Budapest-Krakow and two nights later Krakow-Prague. Both trains and couchettes were basic, but adequate. But this was July, it was hot, and there was no AC, so the window had to be open and it was loud. That made sleeping a challenge. Each train is also prone to making frequent long stops in the middle of the night because these cities are really not that far apart. That can disrupt sleep as well. Bring lots of water with you. At least in 2010, it was impossible to book these trains from the US. We booked the departure as soon as we arrived in the city. This seemed pretty standard. No security issues to worry about, really - at least none that would differ from any train anywhere else.

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
740 posts

i typically buy rail tickets in the local rain station. the clerks there speak English so it's really easy. in budapest train station there is a travel info office can help you figure out which train to take (it's located upstairs), and once they figure out which train you want, you can go downstairs to get tickets (i recall the international window is downstairs). the night trains are pretty safe. the border police probably will wake you up when crossing, but otherwise they close the doors so you can sleep through. you may or may not be able to all stay in the same compartment though, so make sure you have all valuables on you even when you're sleeping. thieves may take stuff right before trains arriving at any stop.