Budapest to Vienna

The Hungarian and Austrian capitals are both two of my highest recommendations for places to see in Europe. If you have more than a few days to spend in either, then taking a day trip from one to the next takes only a couple of hours. Vienna is one of the continent’s most architecturally decorative cities, and visiting just for the day is really nothing short of magical. Budapest has so much to do, especially if you’re after a cheaper trip. Drinks are cheap, hotels are reasonable and there’s a tram network that can get you around the city at a really affordable price.


In my opinion the train is the easiest and cheapest way to make this journey, but only if you book your tickets in advance. I’ve made the return journey once and one way once, and on the occasion of the one way we never booked until the day which cost us €33 each. If booked even two weeks in advance, you can get one way tickets from €8 in 2nd class, but prices do rise throughout the summer. The journey takes around two and a half to three hours, so I’d recommend taking one around 7am if you’re visiting Vienna just for the day. You will also need to take your passport as patrol agents board the train between the borders. Look up prices on The Trainline, here.


The bus does take slightly longer than the train, at three and a half hours, but can cost significantly less in the summer. Coaches are also a great way of travelling as they’re well air conditioned, you have a guaranteed place for your luggage and will have an assigned seat once you board. If you’re travelling in the peak months for Interrailing, I’d recommend the bus for sure. You can book buses with FlixBus from £5.99 each way on their website.


Even though you can fly between the two cities in under an hour, direct flights are astronomical in price, starting at £150 one way. As well as the cost, the time getting to the airport from the city centres and back again means flying really doesn’t save you any time. If you’re flying to other bordering countries, like Slovakia or Romania, I would recommend flying as direct transport links are more difficult to come by.

Private Car

With online comparison websites like AutoEurope, you can book cars from £13 a day (plus a deposit and of course petrol). The three hour journey requires a border crossing, but means you can stop along the way and be free of any time constraints. I would only recommend hiring a car if there’s more than two of you travelling, as that’s what makes the most sense in terms of budgeting.

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