Bupapest to Prague Cost?
August 20, 2008 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Help me settle a debate. Can anyone give me the cost of a 1st class ticket by train from Budapest to Prague (mid-week)?

A precise number would be cool (recent travel anyone?). However, even a range would be helpful. There appear to be two direct trains to Prague. EC 278 (Jaroslav Hasek) and EC 170.

My travel companion thinks the ticket would cost over $200 a person. I've checked out the Hungarian and Czech train system web sites. I can find the schedules, but they don't list fares. However, I've found some references online that say the cost is between $35 and $70 (USD).

I think he'd prefer to fly (it's $230 and only 1 hour). But, even though the train is 7 hours, my guess it's going to be less of a hassle and a lot cheaper.
posted by robabroad to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rail Europe says $120-160.
posted by ninebelow at 7:10 AM on August 20, 2008

It says here return tickets start at 75 €. This page, however, shows 38 €. If you want to travel really cheap bus could be an option.
posted by A! at 8:35 AM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: In March of this year it was $74 from Prague to Budapest, leaving on Friday afternoon and arriving Friday night, unreserved seat (assuming that the return trip would be comparably priced). The Budapest train station (Keleti) is pretty centrally located, but IIRC correctly the train that goes between Budapest and Prague doesn't go to the main Prague train station, but it's a short & cheap metro ride away. Both the Prague and Budapest airports are on the outskirts so plan for a ~$30 cab ride on both ends or add an hour plus for public transport (bus + metro).

"one hour trip and $230" = the flight alone; factor in the extra hour for arriving early and screening, plus transport times and costs from both airports to the center of the city and you're looking at 3+ hours and $300+ versus 7 hours and under $100.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Took the night train from Prague to Budapest in July 2005. 1st class ticket was less than 100 € at the station if I remember correctly. The beds were comfy and I slept really well.
posted by uandt at 9:45 AM on August 20, 2008

Why first class? I don't know anyone who pays for first class on a European train.

While you might not be able to book a ticket online, call up Deutsche Bahn's British hotline at +44 8718 80 80 66 or e-mail them using their contact form here and ask them to give you a quote for the dates you want - I was able to book tickets with them for prices they couldn't quote online for some reason because they actually had to manually look them up. DB has a huge master schedule of EVERY train in Europe. They mailed me paper tickets, and they got from Frankfurt to California in less than a week!

And since your train would have to go through Vienna, why not try the OEBB (Austrian Rail) website? Check prices for Vienna to Budapest and Vienna to Prague on connecting - or the same! - train and extrapolate.

Finally, The Man in Seat 61, which is the most amazing train website EVER, says 69 euros for second class - and to book by phone, which he explains on the same page. He updates the site all the time.
posted by mdonley at 11:54 AM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

hey, why not spend up and order 1st class on the train - which is going to be a lot less than 200$ anyway and really enjoy the extra space and service. Having the choice between a nice train where you can stand up, walk around have real dinner of your choice served and coach class plane trip where there is hardly room for neither arms or legs I don't doubt my choice, but then again some people think that rushing and being squeezed into a small plane is much more fun than a bit of luxury ;-)
posted by KimG at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2008

And since your train would have to go through Vienna

IIRC it goes through Bratislava but not Vienna, Bratislava's about an hour away from Vienna. There may be different trains.

and my answer above glossed over the "first class" part of your question- my $74 ticket was not 1st class, but had no issues with the accommodations.

instead of hitting the dining car, take advantage of the fact that there are fewer restrictions for bringing stuff on the train and hit up the Great Market Hall in Budapest for food and drinks for the trip.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:45 PM on August 20, 2008

First class is a bit nicer, that's what we get for our clients when they go from Prague to Budapest. I haven't done it myself (took a night train from Prague to Budapest though) so I can't comment about it specifically.

Be VERY careful though! While I don't like to prejudice people against those cities with stories, people boarding those trains (especially first class) are targets for thieves. We've had clients report getting pickpocked (or pushed up against a window / seat while boarding) only to discover that the person squeezing by made off with their wallet.

At that point you've already left though, and filing the report with the police is difficult given that you've left the country.

I second using Rail Europe to price the tickets.
posted by polexa at 10:01 PM on August 20, 2008

I did this same trip second class and paid about $100 (68 euro) round trip second class in the past month. I think it is a bit cheaper if you buy your ticket more than a week in advance.

From what I remember raileurope charges more than you'd have to pay if you bought directly from the train station (although their English is not always very good).
posted by vegetableagony at 4:32 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: Here's what we actually experienced.

We took the 9:30 AM train from Budapest Keleti to Prague Holosevice. It cost around $130 (I think it was around 21,000 HUF) for a one-way first class ticket with a reserved seat. We were traveling on a Wednesday and we really didn't need the reservation.

The train left on time, we had a nice compartment with only one other occupant (another Yank), but the AC really wasn't up to the summer heat. Oh well. Nice trip--tracked the Duna for a while, then passed through Bratislava and Brno.

The only problem we had was when we arrived in Prague. We had trouble getting a taxi to our hotel--no one wanted to take us. I think it was because it was rush hour, it was drizzling and the trip took quite a while. We did make it and had a fine experience with the taxi.

MÁV has an office in Budapest, but it's not on Andrássy út any longer. It's one the north side of Erzsébet tér park (the side closest to Saint Stephen's. It's actually very convenient because all three metro lines converge at Deák Ferenc tér station, which is on the south side of the park. See here.

RailEurope.com quotes this ticket at $171, so we saved about $30 a person by booking in person.

Thanks for all the replies.
posted by robabroad at 8:59 AM on September 17, 2008

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