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by train to and from Budapest/Hungary

A guide to travelling by train in Hungary

An introduction to train travel in Hungary, Hungarian trains, buying rail tickets in Hungary and using rail passes in Hungary inc Eurail, InterRail passes.

More information for Hungarian trains, trains to and from Hungary and rail tickets in Hungary is available on the links to the left.

Arrived here from the Start Your Journey Page?

1 - Next click the trains link to the left.

2 - Next click the tickets link to the left.

3 - (optional) - next click the name of the city that you will be travelling to/from (if its listed)

4 - If you've clicked a city go back to the tickets link, you should now know all you need to know before making a booking.

National Rail Operator

State Rail Operator = MAV (we haven't provided a link to its website as its fairly incomprehensible if you're not Hungarian

Train Travel Words/Phrases

We admit we used Google Translate for these, if they're wrong please contact us and we'll correct them

  • Train = vonat
  • Station = palyaudvar; vasútállomás
  • Track/Platform = platform
  • Ticket = vonatjegy
  • Single Ticket = Egyetlen vonatjegy
  • Return Ticket = vissza vonatjegy
  • 1st class = elsorendu
  • 2nd class = másodosztály
  • Ticket/Booking desk = jegypénztár/jegyiroda
  • Information Desk = információs pult
  • Left Luggage office = csomagmegorzo
  • Arrival = érkezés/befutás
  • Departure = vonat indulási
  • Timetable = menetrend
  • Reservation = jegyelovételt
  • Destination = rendeltetési
  • Fridays only = pénteken csak a
  • Saturday only = szombaton csak a
  • Sunday only = vasárnap csak a
  • Weekend only = csak hétvégén
  • Not Saturday = Nem szombat
  • Not Sunday = Nem vasárnap
  • Not weekend = Nem hétvége
  • Public Holiay = állami ünnep

Travel By Train in Hungary on public holidays

Public Holidays in 2013 = March 15th/31st; April 1st; May 1st/19th/20th; Aug 20th; Oct 23rd; Nov 1st; Dec 25th/26th.

On public holidays many train services will not operate, particularly services that usually only operate on specific days of the week such as Mon-Fri. Though Hungarian train schedules tend to be altered less on public holidays in comparison to other countries in Europe

If you're planning to travel by train on a public holiday double check in advance that you're train service will be available.
It can be a good idea to make the effort to reserve seats around holidays as trains will be particularly busy.
In Hungary this usually means opting to travel by IC train.

Travelling by train in Hungary summary

Hungary has one of the simplest rail systems in Europe. The only domestic trains on which supplements are payable are the IC trains that operate the fastest services on the routes that radiate across the country to/from Budapest.

International EC trains also provide a higher than usual percentage of the trains between cities in Hungary, and as they operate to similar schedules to IC trains, the supplements that are charged for travel on IC trains are also payable on EC trains for travel between destinations in Hungary.

Reservations are compulsory for travel on IC and EC trains (for domestic journeys within Hungary), and is recommended for passengers making international journeys in 2nd class on EC trains.

If you want to avoid the supplements and the need to reserve seats on the IC/EC trains, slower, alternative trains are available on all routes taken by IC/EC trains.
However, many of these trains are 2nd class only, all seats can be taken at the busiest times of day and the majority of these slower trains aren’t air-conditioned.
In contrast IC trains are faster, guarantee a seat and many are air-conditioned, so rail pass holders shouldn’t rush to avoid IC trains, particularly in the summer months.

The only trains in Hungary that have any on board catering facilities are some of the EC trains, so you need to buy food and drink prior to boarding the train in Hungary and take it on to the train with you.

Discounted Tickets

A feature of travelling by train in Hungary is the plethora of discounts that are available for certain criteria such as youths, families and senior citizens, that are a legacy of when the state rail system was operated under the communist system.
It can be worth taking the time to check the ‘Hungarian Tickets’ page on to see if you meet the criteria, international visitors to Hungary also qualify for these discounts.