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Lots of questions about Train Tickets Budapest-Vienna and Vienna-Prague

Lots of questions about Train Tickets Budapest-Vienna and Vienna-Prague

Jan 15th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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Lots of questions about Train Tickets Budapest-Vienna and Vienna-Prague

We'll be flying into Budapest and out of Prague in early March. We'd like to take the train from Budapest to Vienna and then a couple of days later, from Vienna to Prague.

Some questions:

Is there a way I can buy the tickets from Vienna to Prague while still in Budapest or must I wait until we get to Vienna?

Is there any way to buy these tickets online before we go, other than on the overpriced Rail Europe site?

I've looked at the Hungarian rail site and can see times for trip, but not pricing. Is there any way to get this in advance?

Once we're in Budapest, what's the best way to get the train tickets? Go to the train station? Travel agent?

Do either the Budapest or Vienna stations have special lines for travelers who don't speak the local language? (I've seen this in Thailand, not not in Europe).

Kristina is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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check out BETS or www.budgeteuropetravel.com for good info on trains, costs and schedules. They were very helpful to us when we needed to figure out what was cheaper.. a Eurail pass or just buying tickets...
kleroux is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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You can book your tickets by calling the Deutsche Bahn Call Centre and you can have them mailed to you. Dial your country's international access code (011 for the USA and Canada) + 49 1805 - 996633.
TimS is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Kleroux-Thanks. As far as I can tell, point to point tix are better since we only have two trips.

TimS-I've looked at the Deutsche Bahn website and I thought you could only buy German rail tickets from them?
Kristina is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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You can buy tickets using accredit card and a phone if you use Budget Europe Travel Service, phone 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387, site http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/
Or Euraide of Florida, E-mail [email protected], phone 941/480-1555, site http://www.euraide.com/. Stations in Budapest and Vienna stations have no special lines for travellers who don't speak the local language, but many staff wear badges to say they speak English. In early March there is no rush, and you can easily buy your tickets for cash or a credit card half an hour before a train goes. Also, you can in Budapest stations buy your tickets both to Vienna and also from Vienna to Prague, at standard fares with no added fees. A pleasant agency in Budapest is Wagon Lits Carlson, on Dorotteer Ut, round the corner from Gerberís fine coffee house. You pay a few percent more, but you speak English, use a credit card, and book the whole journey.

Ben Haines, London
[email protected]
ben_haines is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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You will be able to buy your tickets in Budapest for the entire journey if you don't want to buy them in advance.

European trains don't book up like US airplane flights. I am assuming you will be in Budapest a couple of days which should give you time to make the purchase.

When you obtain your train information, be sure to note which Budapest station you need. Most of the trains to Vienna, particularly the ones you will want, leave from the Keleti station.

The best site for information that I have found for travel by train in the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary is available from the Austrian rail web site: oebb.at or OEBB.AT

Or if you know the keys, use öbb.at
(Alt - 148 on the numerical key pad produces the ö. The two dots are called an umlaut, but oe is the normal written equivalent.)

I find the site easy to use.

If you use the Austrian site, English captions are available. To find English, look at the top of the screen, above the wide red line, slightly right of middle. There you will see a drop down box for Sprache/Language. Englisch is the second choice.

I suggest you look at the schedule because some of the connections arrive in Vienna at the Südbahnhof, which is the south station, and some arrive at the Westbahnhof, which is the west station. I don't think the station itself makes a big difference, but one station might be more convenient to your hotel than the other.

Almost all the connections requiring no change of trains arrive at the Westbahnhof. I personally had rather take a no change connection rather than fight with my luggage to scramble off the train.

If you opt for a change of trains to arrive at the south station, be ready to get off immediately at the changing point. The train only stops for 1 minute!!!!!!!!!!

That is one reason I would opt for the no change connection even if the South station was closer to my hotel!!

When you enter the names of the cities, you may use Vienna instead of Wien and Prague instead of Praha. The Austrian site recognizes either.

The Austrian rail web site is a double window display. If you will scroll down in the inner window, you can get details on the train itself including intermediate stops.

If you click on the number of the train, the web site will show you every intermediate stop with timings.

Other information is also presented. For example, train EC 24 that leaves Budapest Keleti station at 9:10 has a restaurant car.

I hope you find the Austrian site useful. I routinely ask it about schedules for travel in Austria and that part of Europe.

bob_brown is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Online booking at the bahn.de site is limited to train travel within Germany or to routes that either start or end in Germany. However, you can book other routes over the phone and the tickets will be mailed to you.
TimS is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Thanks everyone so much for the great, detailed responses!

I now feel much better about buying the tickets on arrival and it's nice to know that we can buy our Vienna-Prague portion while still in Budapest.

One thing though, I've checked out all the websites recommended, plus this one which lists Hungarian train times:
and I still can't find any definitive pricing for point to point tickets. I'd really like to find that info online as I'd prefer not to have to call Germany. I just want to be able to compare accurate prices for 1st and 2nd class. I don't want to use "highest possible fare" pricing on the websites which sell rail passes.

Ben-Thanks for the recommendation for the specific travel agent.

Bob-Thanks for the link to the Austrain train website. You're right, it's very user-friendly. I just wish they listed prices!

Why can't they all be like the French SNCF which allowed me to buy discounted fares online and print my own tickets in advance?? In Spain we were able to buy our train tickets before even leaving the Airport terminal in Madrid. Ah well, it's the differences which keep it interesting!
Kristina is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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You can call Germany or Austria for 6 cents a minute using 101 6868 - a "dial around service".

dial 101 6868 1 49 number in Germany or Austria

49 is the country code for Germany.

I have used it this dial around. No strings attached. Just dial it any time.
No funny charges like minimums or monthly fees or connection fees.

bob_brown is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 02:49 AM
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good advice above.
ira is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Yes, great advice.

But am I really unrealistic in thinking there should be a way to find pricing for point to point tickets online?
Kristina is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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>But am I really unrealistic in thinking there should be a way to find pricing for point to point tickets online?

I am afraid you are.

The cross-border tariffs are much more complicated than the domestic ones. There is a huge database of these, accessible to ticket agents but not to general public. Whatever the reason (probably some legal one) - the database is simply not online. That's why you should contact a live ticket agent (by mail or phone). Preferably in Czech Republic, Hungary or Austria - one of the countries you are travelling to.
altamiro is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:00 PM
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I am planning the same trip and a friend who lives in Vienna sent me these rail prices on Saturday. Second class from Vienna to Prague is 44 euro.
Second class Vienna to Budapest is 33 euro. Both can be bought at the station with no trouble in this the off season 15 to 30 mins. before leaving.
Busy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Thanks so much for the reply! At least now I can have a "general" ideal of cost.
Kristina is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:07 PM
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It seems as though nobody at fodors likes these kind of comments but here goes.

Pay a couple extra dollars and get the 1st class cabin (God forbid you travel in comfort).

If you're over the age of 19 you'll appreciate the 1st class car much more. Plus the rail cars in Eastern Europe tend to be a lot older.

I did the same itenary last fall, if I did it again I would just buy the tickets there.

Last time I got ripped off buying the tickets from www.eurorail.com (I think that was it) months in advance. Everyone else that has posted above obviously has much more experience in booking tickets, I'm sure it's good advice.

bartorlando is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Kristina, good thread! I am taking the same trip in June.

The question regarding first class versus second class train service is a good one. When I was in Italy second class on the train was a nightmare but I have heard that in these countries the difference is not as great.

Does anyone know the difference in price and amenities?
InMiami is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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All of this info is very helpful. However, I will be taking the train from Prague to Budapest in early September- it's still a busy time. Can I wait until I arrive in Prague to purchase seats? Has anyone done this train trip? Wondering about 1st vs. 2nd class.
stricky is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 02:45 AM
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Across Europe, first class costs 50 percent more than second. First class seats are wider than second. To see the difference please search under Man in Seat 61Italy. In Italy, where all tickets are cheap, second class becomes crowded, but that does not matter if you have booked your seats. If a train has a restaurant car or buffet car it is open to both classes (except in Britain).
Even in September you can wait till you are in Prague to book seats, but you must book berths a week or two before travel. 3 berth sleeper berths cost 45 euros more than seats, and are a way to save a hotel bill and a long dayís travel.

Ben Haines

ben_haines is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 03:48 PM
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I had similar issues with trains on my trip in November. We did Bratislava-Budapest, Budapest-Vienna, Vienna-Prague, and Prague-Bratislava. I couldn't find a web site in English and the sites I did find seemed to give conflicting timetables. Eventually I just quit and decided to buy tickets as I went, which worked out fine. We would just check the time schedule for the next leg when we arrived in each city and then bought the tickets at the counter in the train station shortly before departure.

I didn't see special lines for travelers who don't speak the language, but we had no problems speaking English.

We actually ended up taking a bus from Vienna to Prague because it was significantly less expensive than the train. Some people are very anti-bus for some reason, but it was perfectly pleasant, so you might want to consider that option. And you can book bus tickets online: http://www.eurolines.com/

I don't recall the exact prices for each trip, but none were over 50 euros and 1 trip (maybe Budapest to Vienna?) was only 12 euros.
Amicita is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Rail Europe offers an Eastern European pass that will work for you! It is currently $187 for adult second class. It is good for any month-long period. It covers all travel between Czech Rep, Austria, and Hungary. You will still need to reserve seats for some of those trains-- but that is only $11.
try raileurope.com
tastravel is offline  

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