If you want to travel from Bucharest to Budapest, you have various options available, from a train ride to buses, a flight to Hungary’s capital or driving.
In today’s article, I will cover all options and tell you how to get from Bucharest to Budapest easily.
With plenty of options to choose from, I think that your final decision depends on two important factors: how much money you’d like to spend (or save) and how much time are you ready to spend traveling from one place to the other.
Let’s check out the options below!
Getting From Bucharest to Budapest by Train
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I really love riding the train. But taking one from Bucharest to Budapest is really slow. Like around 16 hours slow.
Ticket price: ~€41 for one adult, one way, 2nd class
Duration: around 16 hours
You can buy tickets online
Sure, it’s a pleasant ride and you can even opt for a sleeper cart, but if you really want to get there faster, there are better options (and I am talking about them below).
Now, the good news when taking the train from Bucharest to Budapest is that you have plenty of options daily – and all are direct routes! We’re going to check the best ones below.
Option 1: Night Train
Since you have to spend so much time in the train, it makes sense to opt for a sleeper cart for your trip from Bucharest to Budapest.
You have two direct night trains and I am listing them below (make sure to double check departure times and details!)
1. Night train leaving the Bucharest Gara de Nord Train Station at 6:25 PM and arriving in the Budapest Keleti Station at 8:50 AM (the next day)
This train is the fastest option when it comes to all trains: just 15 hours and 25 minutes.
2. Night train leaving Bucharest at 9:46 PM and arriving in Budapest at 12:50 PM (the next day)
Prices on these trains vary, from around €40 for a 2nd class ticket, to €55 – €143 for a sleeper cart (depending on the number of passengers in the cart, cheapest being the one with 6 beds and the most expensive – the single cart).
Option 2: Day Trains
You have various options here, either through Brasov or Timisoara and then all the way to Budapest.
If you choose the day trains, I recommend getting from Bucharest to Timisoara first, spending a day or two there (read my impressions of Timisoara) and then move on to Budapest to reduce the total travel time.
You can also do it in one go if you wish, on the following routes, taking also around 16 hours:
- Bucharest – Budapest train through Timisoara leaving at 5:40AM (arrives at 8:50PM)
- Bucharest – Budapest train through Brasov leaving at 2:50PM (arrives at 5:20AM the next day – also with sleeper carts)
You can check out this page where you can see the schedules, prices and even purchase your ticket online.
Getting From Bucharest to Budapest by Plane
This is by far the fastest means of transportation, with direct flights taking around 2 hours between Bucharest and Budapest.
This is also the most expensive way of traveling between the two destinations (as long as you don’t compare the prices to sleeper cart prices), but special deals will always pop up, so you might get better deals.
At the moment of writing the article, it’s just the Romanian state company Tarom that’s offering flights from Bucharest to Budapest, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Prices for a one trip are around 185 Euros (in 2020, prices were almost half!) and you can find out more on the company’s website here.
Usually, the plane leaves at 11:55 AM from the Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP) or at 1:15PM, and the flight takes 1h50m
You have solid options throughout the day here and if you want to go really fast to your destination, getting a plane is definitely your best choice.
Getting From Bucharest to Budapest by Bus
Out of all the options available, I would say that taking a bus from Bucharest to Budapest is the worst: it usually takes the longest to get to the destinations (since there are a ton of stops along the way).
While in the bus, you don’t have the comfort offered by trains, nor you get there fast enough for it not to matter (as it is the case of plane travel).
But you do have various options for getting from Bucharest to Budapest by bus, with prices around 40 Euros per person for a one way ticket.
FlixBus has a direct bus that need 17 hours and 30 minutes to reach Budapest, leaving at 3:45AM.
There are other options available as well, with various companies offering bus rides from Bucharest to Budapest.
You can check these options here (but have in mind that you should add 1 hour to the time listed on the website, as it doesn’t take into account the time zone difference between the two countries).
However, the ones that are not Flixbus are more expensive (but you do get better departing times – your choice on what works best).
I am sure that there are even more options for bus rides to Budapest, available if you do some digging on Google. But you still have tons above anyway.
Getting From Bucharest to Budapest by Car
If you prefer to drive, you have this option as well, but I don’t think it’s a good one unless you own the vehicle.
There are ride sharing options in Romania, though, with BlaBlaCar being the most popular.
Using this app, you can find somebody going from Bucharest to Budapest, who is willing to take you with them for an agreed fee.
You don’t have guarantees that you will find a car for your dates, though, so probably it’s best to try ride sharing only as a last resort option.
Fortunately, there are tons of options available if you want to get from Bucharest to Budapest.
If you want to get there as fast as possible, the plane is the best option (although the most expensive unless you score a special deal).
The train is the second best option here, but be prepared for a really long ride which will usually get to the destination with some delay as well.
Buses can be a hit or miss: some are promising to get you there a bit faster than trains do, but you don’t have the comfort offered by trains where you can at least rise and stretch your legs a bit if you need to move.
But in the end, it’s up for you to decide which is the best option for you. And while you consider the Pros and Cons of all options, why not check out my article about Budapest vs Bucharest?
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