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Trains in Central Europe - suggestions?

Travel Forums Europe Trains in Central Europe - suggestions?

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1. Posted by EllieMae (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

Does anyone have any suggestions on best way to get from Italy to Budapest and then from Budapest to Prague. I am used to traveling with a Eurail pass in Western Europe, but seeing as everything is cheaper in Hungary and the Czech Republic, I thought buying tickets on the spot in those countries would be cheaper. However, my travel buddy said they might run us $100/person.

Does anyone have any experience taking the train in those countries? What would you suggest? Also, are there websites that can provide prices for train tickets??

Thanks!!

~ Ellie

2. Posted by farleyUL (Full Member 125 posts) 10y

Ellie,

I can't much help you having only been to London myself, but my friend and I are planning on traveling throughout Europe next summer using the Eurail pass and I'm just wondering how your experience with it was. Did you feel that it was money well spent and were you able to get out of the big cities and into the countryside with it or were you fairly restricted as far as in-country travel? Thanks for any help and good luck!

Aaron

3. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

where in italy are u leaving from? If ur in Rome or the south u may want to check out http://www.skyeurope.com

they fly cheap from Italia to Budapest.

If ur in Venice or Trieste - there are deals u can get for cheap train tickets.
Last summer i travelled FROM to Budapest to Venice via Trieste for about 50$!! good deal considering the distance.

and YES only buy ur tickets on the spot in east euro - Budapest to Prague is 8 hour train ride for a decent price - although i did this route in 2001 - i dont think it was expensive.

4. Posted by EllieMae (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

JEFF - Thanks so much for the skyeurope.com suggestion! It's totally brilliant - I think we're flying Rome to Budapest for 14 euro. And thanks for your Budapest insight and confirming my thoughts on trains in Eastern Europe.

AARON - If you plan on staying in Western Europe, definitely do the Eurail pass. That's how i traveled both times i was there, and it's great because the headache of having to buy tickets is taken care of, AND it's worth the price. I suggest you figure out your itinerary beforehand, so you know if you should get an unlimited pass or only a certain number of days.
DO beware, however, that some trains (particularly the high-speed and overnight trains) require a reservation which will run you about 3-4 euro (might be more for overnight). The train system in western europe is great and access to the countryside is quite easy by train.

5. Posted by farleyUL (Full Member 125 posts) 10y

Ellie, from what I can tell, if you need any info about Eastern Europe, then Jeff is your man. Thanks for the info about the rail system in Western Europe, I had no idea about the reservations...how do they work? Do you just contact the station and put your name in and maybe like a credit card number or something to reserve? And how long ahead do you have to reserve? Definitey very comforting that countryside access is fairly easy, as well. I guess a few of the main ones we were concerned about was getting up into the mountains and being able to get off in the Alps and see the smaller mountain towns, going to the south of France, seeing some castles in Germany, etc. Good to hear that you got such a great deal on the plane, though!

6. Posted by thinson (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y

DO not buy passes for Hungary or Czech Rep. The tickets in Eastern Europe tend to be a lot cheaper then what people pay for the passes. A guy I was traveling with wished he would have never bought a Eurail pass because you never know when taking a bus or other forms of transportation are easier and less expensive, plus the tickets we bought equated out to be less then his pass. As for us we ended up taking a bus from Budapest to Prague.

7. Posted by EllieMae (Budding Member 23 posts) 10y

Thinson, thanks for the info! Good stuff! How long did the bus from Budapest to Prague take you?

Aaron, first check if you'll be using local trains or the high-speed trains (like the TGV in France). The local trains don't need reservations. But if you're taking a train from Paris to Belgium, for example, there is a good chance it'll be the TGV or the Belgian version of it.

What you should do is, once you arrive in Paris for example, and you figure out you wanna go to Brugge in Belgium, you need to go to the train station a few days before and they have a reservation office - so you go there, take a number, and then let the lady know which train you want to get on and how many of you. She will DEFINITELY need to see your Eurail passes (both you and your friend) and maybe your passports. Then you'll pay her the 3 euro/pop on the spot, and she'll give you a thing that looks like a legit ticket, but it'll say "RESERVATION ONLY, ASK FOR EURAIL PASS" Obviously, you'll need both the pass and the reservation ticket to get on the train. ALSO be sure to confirm that she is giving you economy class reservations. I am pretty sure that you can't travel in 1st class with a eurail pass, but it never hurts to confirm that.

For overnight trains, you'll have to do the same thing, and the reservation will cost you extra.

In terms of seeing the countryside - you will obviously have to change trains, so if you're goign to the Alps, you can take a TGV train from Paris to Lyon or Grenoble, and then transfer to a local train that will take you to Chamonix-Mont Blanc for example. Same with southern France. As for Germany, I strongly recommend taking a boat down the Rhine to see the castles. You can check out the web for different options, but on a nice day, it's an unforgettable experience.

Wow, talk about my 2 cents. More like 2 bucks. Hope it's helpful!

8. Posted by farleyUL (Full Member 125 posts) 10y

I'll take your 2 bucks and then some...any information we can get is greatly appreciated and will be duly noted. I was unclear as to whether or not you could use the Eurail pass to take local trains within the country or if you were restricted to taking trains that went from country to country, so thanks very much for clearing that up. Do you think it would be a better idea to forget the whole train idea and fly place to place or buy tickets as needed then? Good luck!

9. Posted by amanecer (Respected Member 203 posts) 10y

hy ellie, you can fly with skyeurope also from Bologna, Milano, naples, venice;
from Rome to budapest you can also check: http://wizzair.com/it/index.shtml

from milan, rome and venice to prague:
http://www.smartwings.net/en/

that a very useful web site to check the train routes all over Europe
http://www.bahn.de/p/view/international/englisch/international_guests.shtml

It's run by German railways, but is very detailed also in internation routes

I went from Lubiana to Maribor Budapest (around 10 hours..) with an Intercity train (I suppose the faster available). The train was coming from Venice.

10. Posted by Americano (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

Can't help you with Hungary or Czech, but it you want to catch a train from Vienna to Warsaw or anywhere in Poland, PKP (The Polish National Rail System) has a good website that shows you schedules and all information in English.

http://rozklad.pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en?