When I planned my recent trip to Budapest and Vienna I had to decide how I was going to travel between the two cities and I decided that I would take the train. I looked into the train options and found that there was a Railjet service from Budapest to Vienna at various times throughout the day, taking just two hours and 41 minutes. The price for a one-way ticket was around €30 or €39 for first class. Given the very small difference I booked a ticket in the first class cabin for this journey.
Railjet Service from Budapest to Vienna
I must admit that I did read up the Railjet service on the internet in advance of my trip, for a rough idea of what to expect. I did find out some useful information such as the train almost always departs from Budapest’s Keleti station on platform 9, and located next to platform 9 is a business lounge which first class ticket holders can use. The lounge wasn’t anything special, it consisted of 8 tables, with seating for four people at each table. The facilities in the lounge included a buffet of hot and cold drinks as well as light snacks and it also had its own toilets.
Upon boarding the Railjet service from Budapest to Vienna I initially just took a seat in the first class section, however I quickly realised that many of the seats were actually reserved, so before the train departed I made my way through the coach that I was in and then into the next until I found a seat which was not reserved. The seats were arranged as single seats on one side of the coach and pairs on the other side, facing either forwards or backwards, with a few which were arranged facing each other with tables in the middle. All seats were large leather recliner seats which were very comfortable. At the end of our coach was a small buffet area where you could go to get some food or drink. This area also included a few sets of tables and chairs where you could sit if you needed a change of scenery. If you didn’t fancy visiting the buffet, a member of staff passed through the cabin periodically taking food and drink orders and delivered them to your seat. Alternatively you could order anything from the very extensive menu from your mobile by logging into their web portal.
The trip took 2 hours and 41 minutes to cover a distance of 250km which included numerous stops on the way to Vienna. Other options to reach Vienna from Budapest would be to drive, take a bus, fly or take a river cruise. A river cruise sounds by far the most appealing, but you would need to have a lot of time as the journey takes a week! A flight takes only 45 minutes, but by the time you have travelled to and from the airport and waited for your flight and all the usual airport procedures, it makes flying this short distance quite a chore. Given the choices available I think that the best option for travelling between these two cities is on the train.
My journey was pretty much effortless and the train stations in Budapest and Vienna are quite centrally located so you can take a bus, metro or taxi to and from the stations. I enjoyed the Railjet service from Budapest to Vienna and I would almost certainly use it again if I needed to travel between these cities, or any other cities which Railjet serves in Europe. It was a quick, convenient and effortless was of travelling within Europe, and for the added comfort I would certainly pay the small up-charge to first class again. Considering that there were free drinks available in the lounge at Budapest Kelati station, I would have liked to have seen complimentary hot and cold drinks available on the train at a very minimum, however this was not the case.