Aside from the Railjet trains to and from Austria, most of the international trains from and to Hungary have a retro-aura; as Hungary has no high speed rail connections.
But don't let that put you off, these trains can be comparatively spacious and comfortable and many of them have been recently refurbished.
As a result travelling by train to and from Hungary can be a more memorable experience, than being sealed inside a high speed train and being whizzed across a border.
Most of the trains which travel from Hungary to Austria take one of three routes, with the majority inevitably taking the route which links to Budapest to Wien/Vienna in less than 2hr 45min
the route from Gyor through Hegyeshalom
This is the border crossing used by all but one of the long-distance express trains which travel from Hungary to Austria and beyond, as it is the route which connects the Austrian and Hungarian capitals.
The four train services which come this way are:
(1) Railjets which take this route; Budapest – Gyor – Wien/Vienna – St Polten – Linz – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich
Connect in Munich for ICE trains to multiple destinations including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Koln/Cologne, Nurnberg and Stuttgart.
One Railjet per day follows this route as far as Salzburg and then from there takes this route; Innsbruck > Feldkirch > Buchs > Zurich providing an option for travelling by day by train from Hungary to Switzerland.
(2) During the day in the hours when no Railjet to Wien/Vienna is scheduled, Hungarian IC/EC trains, which are in effect Hungarian InterCity trains, which are similar to the Railjets also take the Budapest – Wien/Vienna route.
The morning departure is the overnight train from Buccuresti, which conveys seats for daytime use..
One of these trains to Wien/Vienna has commenced its journey at Cluj Napoca in Romania and makes calls at cities in eastern Hungary including Püspökladány and Szolnok.
Another of these trains makes an early morning departure from Debrecen and also calls in Szolnok.
(3) A couple of regional REX trains per day travel from Gyor to Wien/Vienna.
(4) The overnight trains from Budapest to Munchen/Munich and Zurich come this way.
However, these trains travel through Austria in the middle of the night, though the train to Zurich does make a morning call in Feldkirch.
the route from Sopron
On Monday – Friday hourly regional trains depart Sopron for Wiener-Neustadt and the journey between the two cities only takes around 40mins; though less frequent trains take this route at weekends.
Sopron is served by frequent trains from Szombathely and Wiener Neustadt has frequent trains to Wien/Vienna, as well as trains heading south to Bruck an der Mur, Graz and Klagenfurt.
the route from Szentgotthard
A new daily IC train departs Budapest-Keleti at 16:15 and takes a Budapest - Gyor - Szombathely - Szentgotthard - Graz route; the train will be heading to Ljubljana
Also up to seven local trains per day from the Hungarian border town, Szentgotthard travel to Graz.
Szentgotthard is served by trains from Szombathely.
A year round daily EC/IC train, which is named the 'Agram-Topart' takes this route; Budapest Deli station → Slofok → Fonyod → Gyekenyes → Zagreb.
Slofok and Fonyod are resort towns on Lake Balaton.
Note that it leaves from Deli station in Budapest, which is served by line M2 of the Budapest Metro, the red line; it's usual departure time is 15:35.
From the first Sunday in June to the second Sunday in September there is an additional daily train which leaves Budapest at 06:23.
At the height of summer on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday evenings an overnight sleeper train named the 'Adria' departs from Keleti station in Budapest at 18:45 and heads for Split on the Adriatic Coast, where it is due to arrive just after 08:45.
It also call in Zagreb at around shortly before 00:30, so provides an additional daily rail connection from the Hungarian capital to the Croatian capital.
The long-distance trains from Hungary to Romania take two routes.
(1) the route via Biharkeresztes
The trains which take this border crossing are travelling from Hungary into the Transylvania region of Romania; though according to the European Rail Timetable, the schedules of these trains will subject to alteration when travelling before November 6th.
The four daily train services which come this way are:
(2) the route via Curtici to Arad
The trains on this route depart from Keleti station in Budapest every other, in the odd hours;
All timings are taken from the usual scheduled timetable:
There are two overnight trains which travel on this route from Budapest to Brasov and on to Bucuresti/Bucharest.
1: The 15:10 departure from Budapest is a train named the 'Muntenia' and it is scheduled to arrive at Bucuresti Nord station in the Romanian capital at 08:06; in time for connections on to eastern Romania.
This train conveys seats and couchettes, but no sleeping cabins are available.
The summer only (June 5th - October 5th) 'Bosphorus Express' train from Bucuresti/Bucharest to Istanbul is scheduled to depart from the Romanian capital at 10:55.
So this 'Muntenia' service offers the best connection for a Budapest to Istanbul journey.
2: The 19:10 departure from Budapest is scheduled to arrive at Bucuresti Nord station in the Romanian capital at 11:50; in time for connections on to eastern Romania.
This train is named the 'Ister' and it conveys seats, couchettes and both 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins
Note that a third option for an overnight journey from the Hungarian to the Romanian capitals is 'Dacia' train which takes a different route (see above), it also conveys seats, couchettes and both 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins,.
It is typically scheduled to depart from Budapest-Keleti at 22:45 and it is scheduled to arrive in Bucuresti Nord station at 17:13.
Two EC trains* per day and an overnight train used travel on a Budapest-Keleti – Subotica – Novi Sad – Beograd/Belgrade route, but the the route is being completely reconstructed, so direct trains won't be available until 2024 (at the earliest).
The section of the route between Novi Sad and Beograd/Belgrade has reopened, but the reaching Novi Sad from Budapest, is for the time being extremely awkward.
Particularly as the alternative route, which involves taking trains to Zagreb from Budapest and then connecting in Zagreb for Beograd, is also unavailable, due to yet more works on a railway route in Serbia.
According to the European Train Timetable; the current typical schedule is:
*One of these EC trains USUALLY commences its journey in Wien/Vienna and also calls at Gyor, but this service has also been suspended.
The trains from Hungary to Slovakia and beyond primarily take one of two routes.
(1) the route via Szob and on to Bratislava
Only daytime and overnight express trains travel on this route over the border from Hungary to Slovakia, there aren't any local trains that come this way.
Most of these trains then travel cross Slovakia and head on to Czechia, Germany and Poland.
The daytime trains are:
(1) The Budapest → Vac → Szob → Bratislava → Bréclav → Brno → Pardubice → Praha/Prague is taken by 6 x trains per day.
Though the 'Hungaria' train which travels on beyond Praha to Decin - Dresden - Berlin, has been suspended until Sept 1st due to works on the railway in Czechia
(2) Budapest → Vac → Szob → Bratislava → Bréclav → Ostrava → Katowice → Warsazawa.
And this daily EC train has had its journey extended, so that it now travels beyond Warszawa/Warsaw to Terespol on the border with a Berlarus.
The overnight trains on this route are:
(1) A Nightjet service from Budapest to Berlin via Wroclaw. Until Sept 1st this is now the only direct train from Hungary to Germany
(2) The Euronight train from Budapest to Warszawa.
(3) The Euronight train from Budapest to Praha/Prague.
These trains now also depart from [Nyugati station station in Budapest and not Keleti station.
(2) the route via Hidasnemeti to Kosice
Seven IC trains per day take a Budapest → Fuzesabony → Miskolc → Kosice route.
They depart from Budapest Keleti station every every two hours and the journey time is around 2hr 30min.
Trains now take two different routes from Budapest to Ljubljana; and beyond.
the route via Hodos
One EC/IC train per day departs Deli station in Budapest for Ljubljana, it typically leaves the Hungarian capital at 09:00 and arrives in Ljubljana at 16:35.
This train is named 'the Citadella' and it also calls at Ormoz and Zidani-Most.
In the summer months there is also an overnight train on this route from Budapest to Koper and Rijeka which calls at Ljubljana.
It is named the 'Istra' and conveys 2nd class seats, couchettes and sleeping cabins; it departs Deli station at 20:35 and is due to arrive in the Slovenian capital at around 06:30.
the route via Graz in Austria
A relatively new direct train has been introduced on a Budapest → Szombathely → Graz → Maribor → Zidani-Most → Ljubljana route; so Maribor now has a direct train from Budapest
It typically departs from Keleti station in Budapest daily at 16:15, but it isn't scheduled to arrive in Ljubljana until shortly before 01:00.
For the time being a train named the 'Hortobagy' that conbeys sleeping cabins is still typically scheduled to depart from Budpaest-Keleti station at 19:40.
It travels overnight to Lviv where it is scheduled to arrive at 10:14 and then travels on to Kyiv/Kiev during the day, arriving in the Ukrainian capital at 17:22.
The option for departing from Budapest in the morning involves taking the 07:23 train from Nyugati station in Budapest as it travels over the border to terminate in Mukachev0.
Though the train on to Lviv, which also conveys sleeping cars to Kviv/Kiev, is scheduled to leave Mukachevo more than 2hrs 30mins after the train from Budapest will have arrived there.
According to the European Rail Timetable, this onward connection from Mukachevo is still available.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.