Romania Travel

How to Get from Bucharest to Budapest by Plane, Train, Bus & Car

If you want to travel from Romania’s capital to the capital of Hungary, you have various options available with some being better than others. In today’s article, I will cover them all and tell you how to get from Bucharest to Budapest.

The good news is that you have tons of options, from getting a train from Bucharest to Budapest (a very long train ride, though) to getting a bus or car – as well as the fastest way to get there, by plane. We’ll talk about each of these means of transportation below.

Getting From Bucharest to Budapest by Plane

This is by far the fastest means of transportation, with direct flights taking anything between 1.5 hours to close to 2 hours between Bucharest and Budapest. This is also the most expensive way of traveling between the two destinations, but special deals will always pop up.

I am writing this article when the entire world is in lockdown mode, so the prices that I have access to are probably higher than usual, at around 100 Euros per one-way trip. Check the prices for your dates to see how things change.

We have two companies offering flights from Bucharest to Budapest: the Romanian state company Tarom (with three daily flights, each reaching the destination in a bit under 2 hours) and Polish company LOT, flying early in the morning from Bucharest to Budapest.

Here are the schedules (make sure to double check as they can change without notice!):

  • LOT Flight leaving OTP airport at 6AM, reaching destination in 1 hour and 25 minutes.
  • Tarom Flight leaving OTP airport at 7:55AM (1 hour 50 minutes flight time)
  • Tarom Flight leaving OTP airport at 12:55AM (1h50m)
  • Tarom Flight leaving OTP airport at 6:50PM (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. Even more, you can choose one of these top hotels near the Budapest airport for accommodation.

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. However, getting from Bucharest to Budapest by train is pleasant, but really slow. You can check out this page where you can see the schedules, prices and even purchase your ticket online.

IMPORTANT: You will still need a printed ticked, as the Hungarian authorities don’t accept online tickets. So it’s best to purchase your train ticket from the train station (in advance ideally) or travel agencies.

Option 1: Night Train

The trains from Bucharest to Brasov take around 16 hours, so the best bet for you, to see time pass faster, would probably be to take the night train leaving the Bucharest Gara de Nord station at 5:45PM and arriving to Budapest the next day at 8:50.

There are special deals here, starting from 29 Euros for a one way ticket in 2nd class, to 39 Euros for a sleeping cart (and above, depending on the number of beds in the 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 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 5:20AM (arrives at 6:50PM)
  • Bucharest – Budapest train through Brasov leaving at 5:25AM (arrives at 5:50PM)
  • Bucharest – Budapest train through Brasov leaving at 7AM (arrives at 9PM)

Make sure to double check the schedules well in advance, as they might change at any given point without warning.

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 train that takes 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).

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.

Conclusion

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 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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2 Comments

  1. I would love to take a train between Bucharest and Budapest. Flights are all well and good, but l have become a fan of trains, especially here in Spain where the trains are nice. I don’t know about overnight trains though, no matter how nice they are. Flixbus is nice too.

    1. I haven’t been on a night train either, so far… the biggest problem for me is the fact that they always seem to have one extra place (compared to our numbers :D) I really wouldn’t want to spend a night with others… but maybe this is something to try as well sometime in the future.

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