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Krakow to Budapest Train: Things to Know & Useful Tips

    The Krakow to Budapest train is a popular choice among travelers seeking to explore two of Eastern Europe’s most vibrant cities. Krakow, situated in southern Poland, is renowned for its rich history and breathtaking architecture, including wonderfully preserved medieval squares, churches, and castles. On the other hand, Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is famous for its thermal baths, picturesque views of the Danube River, fascinating palaces displaying ancient imperial splendor, and the fabulous Parliament Building, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

    Taking the train from Krakow to Budapest is a convenient and comfortable way to travel between these captivating destinations. Not only does the train offer beautiful views of the countryside, but it also provides a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Trains run on a regular schedule with tickets available at affordable prices. This makes the train a popular and budget-friendly option for travelers who want to easily and hassle-free travel between the two cities. Whether you’re touring Europe on an Interrail or Eurail train journey, embarking on a backpacking trip, or simply hopping from one city to another, the Krakow to Budapest train is a favorite among both locals and tourists.

    Having traveled this route numerous times, I would like to provide you with some practical advice to help you better plan your trip. This includes information on timetables, tickets and prices. You will also find useful tips on navigating the areas around the Krakow and Budapest railway stations, as well as recommendations on accommodations and must-see attractions.

    Krakow to Budapest Train: Things to Know Before You Go

    The train from Krakow to Budapest is a popular and scenic way to travel between these vibrant cities. It takes you from Southern Poland to North-Western Hungary, crossing the beautiful landscapes of Central Europe, including fertile plains and mountainous terrains. However, it’s important to note that there are no fast train lines that run directly from north to south through Slovakia. Instead, the journey often involves passing through Bratislava and Vienna, which significantly increases travel time.

    Typically, the train ride from Krakow to Budapest takes around 9-10 hours, with few departures per day. However, most of these options require at least one transfer, and some involve multiple changes, making the journey inconvenient and tiresome. My advice is to opt for the few direct trains available (at least one during the day and one at night). Alternatively, you can consider trains with a single change in Břeclav (Czech Republic) or with two changes, the first in Katowice and the second in Břeclav. Avoid solutions with multiple changes unless necessary.

    The train departs from Kraków Główny, the main railway station in the city center, and arrives at Budapest Nyugati station. Some trains also make a stop at Budapest East Station, known as Budapest Keleti, which is the city’s main railway hub. Both stations are centrally located and well-connected to the public transport network. Moreover, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the monumental 19th-century architecture of the Budapest train stations.

    Budapest Nyugati Train Station Krakow to Budapest Train

    During the journey, the train passes through picturesque countryside, skimming the Carpathian Mountains, and traversing plains, forests, as well as several small towns and villages. If you have the time, such as when backpacking through Europe, you might consider breaking up the trip into several days. You can hop off at intermediate stops and explore lesser-known destinations. In such cases, an alternative option could be taking a direct FlixBus from Krakow to Budapest, which also offers scenic routes through the mountainous landscapes of Slovakia.

    One of the main advantages of choosing the Krakow to Budapest train is its convenience. Departing from Krakow’s central station, it’s easily accessible from the city center. The train arrives at Budapest’s main train station, situated in the heart of the city. This means that you can effortlessly reach your final destination without the need for additional transportation.

    Direct Trains from Krakow to Budapest

    The direct train from Krakow to Budapest is a popular and convenient way to travel between these two beautiful cities. The journey takes between 9 and 10 hours, and there are primarily two options available:

    • Day train from Krakow to BudapestIC114 (approximately 9.00 hours)
    • Night train from Krakow to BudapestIC407 (approximately 9.50 hours)

    The day train offers picturesque views of the landscape along the way, but the night train is my preferred option. It departs from Krakow late in the evening and arrives in Budapest in the morning, allowing you more time to explore the city. The night train also provides a great way to save on accommodation costs, as you can sleep during the journey and arrive in Budapest refreshed and ready to explore.

    However, it’s worth noting that fares can vary, so the night train may not always be the best option for backpackers. The ticket for the night train could cost more than that of a fast FlixBus or a day train, and hostels in Budapest are generally cheaper, as are hostels near the Krakow train station.

    The daytime train primarily offers second-class seats and is an IC (Intercity) train of the EuroCity class. These fast and comfortable trains are designed for long-distance connections in Europe. The train also includes a dining car and onboard services.

    The night train from Krakow to Budapest offers a range of compartment and couchette options to suit different budgets and preferences. Compartment tickets provide private sleeping quarters with bunk beds and lockable doors, while couchette tickets offer shared sleeping quarters with bunk beds in an open-plan carriage. Both options come with blankets and pillows.

    Additionally, the night train from Krakow to Budapest provides various onboard services to enhance the journey’s comfort. These include a restaurant car with a selection of meals and drinks, as well as a bar car where travelers can purchase snacks and beverages. The trains are also equipped with toilets and luggage storage areas. In the morning, passengers on the night train from Krakow to Budapest can enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee or tea and a snack before arriving in Budapest. This is a great way to start the day and prepare for a day of exploring the city.

    The night train from Krakow to Budapest is an overnight IC (Intercity) train of the EuroNight class, which specializes in long-distance night travel. The train is divided into two parts and forms the renowned IC407 Chopin direct train from Warsaw to Vienna. It is important to ensure you are seated in the correct section, as the train splits into two parts at Břeclav. One part continues to Vienna, while the other, marked as EuroNight 407/477 (EN 407/477), continues to Budapest. This division occurs in the middle of the night, so find your assigned seat and rest peacefully.

    Both the departure and arrival stations offer a range of services and facilities to further enhance travelers’ convenience. These include ticket offices, luggage storage, and food and drink outlets.

    From Krakow to Katowice and from Katowice to Budapest via Břeclav

    In addition to direct trains, there are also train options from Kraków to Břeclav, where you can change to Budapest. Most routes pass through Katowice and require an additional change in this vibrant Polish city, which can be easily reached by affordable regional and state trains.

    There are numerous regional trains available from Krakow to Katowice, as well as some more comfortable and faster Intercity trains operated by the Polish State Railways (PKP). The journey takes approximately 4 hours on an Intercity train. These trains are modern and comfortable, equipped with amenities such as air conditioning and on-board food and beverage service.

    From Katowice, you can catch a train to Budapest via Břeclav, which is serviced by the Czech Railways (ČD). The journey from Katowice to Břeclav takes around 2 hours, and the train continues on to Budapest, resulting in a total travel time of approximately 6 hours. The trains operating on this route are EuroCity trains, which are high-speed international services that operate throughout Europe.

    The EuroCity trains are well-equipped with amenities such as power outlets and a dining car. Traveling by train offers a convenient and comfortable way to explore the region and the connections between Krakow, Katowice, and Budapest, make easy to visit multiple cities on a single trip.

    Train from Krakow to Budapest – Timetable

    As we have just seen, there are several options for traveling from Krakow to Budapest by train, including a night train. To find out about all the possible connections, given the frequent timetable changes due to works on the railway and other factors, you should inquire at the local stations. However, I will provide you with the timetables of the main connections, which are recommended for being faster and easier, with fewer changes.

    • The train from Kraków to BudapestIC – EuroCity EC114 – departs from Kraków Główny station at 10:43 and arrives at Budapest Nyugati station at 19:49;
    • The night train from Kraków to BudapestIC EuroNight EN407/477 – departs from Kraków Główny station at 22:40 and arrives at Budapest Nyugati station at 08:29 the following morning. This train offers sleeper compartments as well as seating options;
    • The night train in the opposite direction (night train from Budapest to Krakow) departs from Budapest Nyugati at 19:29 and arrives at Kraków Główny at 05:51.

    Alternatively, you can take a train with a change in Katowice. There are several trains a day, including both regional and intercity trains, to Katowice. From there, you can take a direct train to Budapest or a train to Břeclav, from where further trains to Budapest are available. The direct train from Katowice to Budapest leaves at 11:28 and arrives at Budapest Nyugati at 19:49.

    It is important to note that train schedules are subject to change, so it is always a good idea to double-check the timetable before your journey. You can purchase tickets in advance online or at the station. It is also recommended to book ahead, especially during peak travel seasons, as trains can fill up quickly.

    Train from Krakow to Budapest – Tickets and Prices

    Train tickets from Krakow to Budapest can be purchased at the ticket office or online using services such as PolRail, Trainline or Rail Ninja. Buying tickets online can be convenient as it allows you to purchase tickets from your phone or computer, and it’s also often possible to find discounted fares.

    The average price for a one-way ticket from Krakow to Budapest on a regular train in standard class ranges from €40-50 to over €130, depending on the season. Ticket prices for night trains range between €50-130 for seats in second class (seats, not couchettes), and €150 for a 3-bed couchette. By purchasing online, you can also find much better rates, but it is better to book in advance.

    Please note that the prices of trains from Krakow to Budapest have increased dramatically in recent years. If budget is your priority, it is advisable to opt for the cheap and quick solutions offered by FlixBus. There are dozens of direct buses a day from Krakow to Budapest, including some advantageous overnight bus options, with journey times around 6-7 hours and prices starting from €27.

    Those traveling with an Interrail or Eurail pass can ride these trains for free, as they are included in the pass. However, please ensure that your pass is a Global one, as a pass valid only for Poland does not allow travel to or from other countries. Reservations on Polish intercity trains are always required and may require a small supplement (approx. 51 PLN or 10-12 €). Reservations must be made at the ticket offices in the station.

    Best Places to Stay near Krakow Train Station

    Krakow Railway Station (Kraków Główny) is located right in the heart of the city, making it a major transportation hub and conveniently close to the main attractions of the old town. Several excellent, modern hotels are situated around the station, catering to both business and leisure travelers.

    The top choices in the area include the Mercure Krakow Stare Miasto, the Vienna House by Wyndham Andel’s Cracow, and the Sky Hotel Kraków. Additionally, the PURO Kraków Stare Miasto offers sophisticated design and spacious, modern, and comfortable rooms. These options are all located across from the train station, alongside a large shopping mall that features a variety of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and affordable dining options.

    If you prefer to stay a short distance away, close to the old town, you can consider two other excellent hotels: the elegant Hotel Polonia and the Hotel Europejski. Alternatively, the Browar Lubicz Residence provides exceptional self-catering apartments.

    For budget-conscious travelers, the best hostels near Krakow train station are the Greg&Tom Party Hostel, the City Express Hostel, and the Greg&Tom Beer House Hostel.

    ☞ Check out our guide to the best Hotels Near the Krakow Train Station

    Best Places to Stay near Budapest Train Station

    Budapest Nyugati Station serves as a convenient starting point for exploring the city, with excellent connectivity to the metro system that spans across the city center. While the hotels near the station primarily cater to business travelers, there are still excellent options available. Moreover, if you prefer walking, the main attractions of the city center are within easy reach.

    Among the best hotels near Budapest Nyugati train station, you will find the Crowne Plaza Budapest, offering a blend of modernity and style. The T62 Hotel stands out with its contemporary design and elegance, while the Mystery Hotel Budapest provides a fabulous and sophisticated experience. Additionally, the NH Budapest City and Cotton House Hotel Budapest are also highly recommended, with the latter featuring beautiful vintage-style interiors. Another notable option is the Radisson Blu Béke Hotel.

    The fabulous interiors of the 5-star Mystery Hotel Budapest, one of the best hotels near Budapest Train Station.

    If you’re willing to venture a bit further, there are two other excellent hotels worth considering. The Cortile Hotel, an upscale adults-only establishment, boasts a stunning terrace and swimming pool. Alternatively, the luxurious Hotel Oktogon Haggenmacher, situated in one of Budapest’s prominent squares, offers an exceptional experience.

    For budget-conscious travelers seeking affordable accommodation, the hostels in the area may be a bit disappointing. However, I have identified a couple of clean, safe and cheap places located within a 5-minute walk. The Avenue Hostel, known for its modern and peaceful atmosphere, is an excellent choice. Just across the street, you’ll find Pal’s Mini Hostel, another highly regarded option, particularly popular among solo travelers and young couples. Both establishments are conveniently situated along Andrássy út, one of Budapest’s most captivating avenues, arguably the most beautiful.

    Top 5 Things to Do in Budapest

    • A must-do in Budapest: Don’t miss the chance to participate in one of the Budapest Free Tours, a pleasant walk through the main attractions accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide who speaks English, Spanish, or Italian. Make sure to join the Historic Budapest Free Tour, which provides an in-depth exploration of the city’s fascinating history and its most significant landmarks.
    • Experience an unforgettable river cruise along the Danube: Another must-do activity in Budapest is embarking on a scenic cruise along the Danube River, offering breathtaking views of the city and its iconic landmarks. Set sail during sunset or in the evening to witness the truly magical and romantic panorama of the city. For an enhanced experience, consider indulging in a dinner cruise accompanied by traditional music and local delicacies.
    • Experience the charm of the Buda Castle District: Nestled on the western bank of the Danube River, this historic neighborhood is a treasure trove of cultural wonders. At its heart lies the Buda Castle, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site that captivates visitors with its grandeur. Explore the castle complex, which encompasses the Royal Palace, the National Gallery, and the Hungarian National Library, along with various museums and churches. Don’t miss the opportunity to ascend the Fisherman’s Bastion, a terrace that rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
    • Indulge in the rejuvenating thermal baths: Budapest’s renowned thermal baths have been cherished by both locals and tourists for centuries. Immerse yourself in the opulence of the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, the largest and most enchanting in the city. Here, you can luxuriate in a range of thermal pools, saunas, and even enjoy invigorating massage services. For a more historic experience, the Rudas Thermal Bath, dating back to the 16th century, offers a delightful blend of indoor and outdoor pools, culminating in a rooftop Jacuzzi that treats you to splendid vistas of the Danube and the city skyline.
    • Embark on a gastronomic adventure at the Great Market Hall: Situated in the heart of the city, the Great Market Hall beckons those eager to explore Hungarian culinary delights and immerse themselves in local culture. Wander through its vibrant stalls, brimming with an array of local produce, meats, cheeses, and spices. The aromas and flavors will entice you to sample traditional Hungarian dishes such as the iconic goulash and the mouthwatering lángos. As you wander, be sure to visit the street food vendors and restaurants for an authentic taste of Hungary.
    • Marvel at the Hungarian Parliament Building: Gracefully positioned on the banks of the Danube, the Hungarian Parliament Building stands as an epitome of architectural grandeur and a symbol of the city. Dating back to the late 19th century, this magnificent structure is home to the National Assembly of Hungary. Take advantage of the guided tours, which unveil the historic halls and chambers of the parliament, providing a glimpse into the nation’s political history.
    • Take a leisurely stroll along Andrássy Avenue: Delight in the charm of Andrássy Avenue, a captivating tree-lined boulevard that meanders through the city center, linking it to the scenic City Park. The avenue boasts a multitude of notable landmarks, including the resplendent Hungarian State Opera House and the evocative House of Terror Museum. Alongside these cultural gems, you’ll discover an array of upscale shops and restaurants. Allow yourself to be captivated by the city’s cultural and architectural wonders as you meander along this elegant promenade.

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