Zürich / Zurich to Budapest by train

How to take the rail journey from Zurich to Budapest

It's possible to take a direct train when travelling during the day from Zurich to the Hungarian capital.
There's no hiding the fact that it's a long ride, but the spectacular scenery on the first half of the journey will make the time fly by.

Though due to the distance you can also opt to travel through the night, though note that Nightjet trains do not operate this service.



Option 1: travelling by day

Travel Information

The daytime train to Budapest is usually scheduled to depart from Zurich Hb station daily at 10:40.

Final Destination: Budapest

The train also calls at: Wien, Gyor and Budapest-Kelenfold

Departing from Zurich:

This train will depart from the street level platforms/tracks at Zurich HB - gleis 3 - 18.

Arriving in Budapest:

These trains call at Budapest-Kelenfold station around 10 mins before arriving at Budapest-Keleti.

If the end point of your journey in Budapest is on Metro Line 4, or has an easy connection from Line 4, then leave the train at Kelenfold station and transfer to the Metro there.
Not only will your journey be quicker overall, the Metro transfer at Kelenfold is much easier, than at particularly if you have luggage.

1 x train per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings* open: 180 days ahead of the travel date

Tickets for this journey can be ordered online on SBB, but you will not be making the actual booking yourself.

Click the 'Book Online Offer now' button on the SBB Hungary page and you will fill out a form giving details of your intended journey - and a member of the SBB Travel team will reply by email with details of your booking.
Supersaver tickets should be less than €60, so confirm (if need be) that you are being offered a Supersaver ticket.

You will have to register on SBB before you submit the ticket request form, so you may as well do this first and then start the booking process.

Reservations are highly recommended for this journey, they're not compulsory so seats won't be assigned when booking tickets (rail pass users take note!)

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
OBB from €31.90

OBB Guide

OBB is the national rail operator and its booking service offers journeys by express trains within Austria, as well as international journeys which don't involve making a connection outside of Austria.

It pays off to book online, as the discounted 'Sparscheine' tickets are only ever made available on the website, and when making international journeys to and from Austria, these Sparscheine tickets tend to be cheaper.
OBB can offer particularly good value for money when travelling with children on international rail journeys, but something to watch out for when travelling between Austria and Germany on daytime trains, is that reservations are an optional extra; but if you book 1st class tickets with the Germany railways website DB, the reservations are complimentary.

OBB often takes a unique approach to its booking path, but a key thing to keep in mind is that the first price you will see for any journey is that of a Second Class seat.
The costs of upgrading to first class, a reservation, or a sleeping cabin etc, is then added to this price.


SBB Guide

SBB is the main national rail operator in Switzerland, but tickets for journeys by the other significant operators including BLS and SOB can be be booked on the SBB website.

SBB also sells tickets for journeys to many destinations which involve a combination of SBB trains and services provided by the many independent operators who serve the Alpine resort towns.
However, if you will be making a long-distance return day trip, look out for he possibility of SaverDay passes being cheaper than tickets.

Though if you download the SBB app, booking tickets on SBB's mobile services can be simper than using the website.
Also watch out for the fact that booking international tickets can be comparatively quirky.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake viewsLandscape (Hills / Mountains)

Journey description:

Step on board one of Europe's most epic rail journeys, with amazing views of two Swiss lakes AND a passage through the stunning Arlberg Pass.

Sit on the left (when facing the direction) of travel) on departure from Zurich for the best views.

Within 10 minutes of departing from Zurich there are a series of stunning views of not one, but two lakes, the Zurichsee...

...and then the Wallensee.

...can both be seen from the left of the train.

The best of the views as the train travels through the Arlberg pass will be over on the right, but the train will reverse direction on departure from Buchs.

Between Buchs and Feldkirch the train will travel through Liechtenstein, then after departure from Bludenz, the train threads through the stunning Arlberg Pass - though in summer the trees can get in the way.

In the pass, the best and most spectacular views of the entire journey are over on the right; even on a grey day.

But after St.Anton the best of the views are over on the left...

... with a particular highlight of the journey being the descent to Landeck station.

These trains used to take a more scenic route after departure from Innsbruck, but now between there and Worgl, they take a faster route which is mainly in tunnels.
Though by Kufstein they travel right by the River Inn.

The final half of the journey on from Salzburg is pleasant, but not particularly scenic, though east of Linz is the fastest part of the route.