Travel Advice

Budapest To Vienna By Train – Onboard The OBB Railjet Business Class

A decent train service is something we British are not really used to. In general, our trains are overcrowded, often delayed and expensive. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a quality train service available for our transfer from Budapest to Vienna.

Also, a decent train service does not involve the frustrations of travelling by plane. No security, less waiting, no bag weight restrictions and most stations are situated in the heart of the city and not a 50 euro taxi ride away.

Railjet Vienna

The Railjet business class carriage

Ticket Price

An economy ticket was €19 per person but needing a bit more comfort we upgraded to the premium business class service. Unlike airlines, the business class is the highest level offered (above first class). The total price for this service was €54 per person.

Departing Budapest

Included with your business class ticket is access to the station’s business lounge although the lounge in Budapest’s Keleti station was quite unremarkable. We were greeted by a stony faced receptionist who scoured our tickets before allowing us entry into an empty room. I think she may have been left over from the cold war days.

We were then joined in the room by colleagues of the woman who simply sat around drinking the free coffee themselves. To finish off this ‘John le Carré’ experience Mrs W was actually told off for putting a small bag of peanuts in her bag. No Food Is To Be Taken Out Of The Lounge, this was pointed out by one of the staff who was sitting around doing nothing but tucking into the complimentary food himself. So not wanting to end up in the Gulag we obeyed the orders. Luckily by this time, we were ready to board the train.

Just to point out that the unspectacular lounge in Budapest was operated by Hungarian MAV and not by the Austrian rail company OBB.

Business class trains

A modern spacious carriage.

The Train

From the outside the train didn’t look different from any other but on boarding the buisness class carriage we were greeted with a clean spacious interior. It had a corridor on one side and an office like partitioned space on the other side. These partitions were quite large and featured no more than 3 reclining seats, each with side table, reading lights and individual power points. There was also free wifi but this proved to be very intermittent and only really good enough for emails.

Inside the Carriage

Large reclining seats inside the business class carriage

Being electric, the train departed very smoothly and exactly on time. There was an extensive menu available, VERY extensive compared to the motley food selection available on UK trains. A very polite, english speaking member of staff soon came around to take our order. He also explained that as a business class customer we had a free drink, yes including alcohol! It seemed rude to say no, so wine and beer it was.

Food

Lunch as cross the border into Austria

When the food arrived it was surprisingly good, the prices were also reasonable compared to UK prices. The attentive staff returned to check everything was OK and to take another drinks order (unfortunately we had to pay for this one).

Arriving In Vienna

Soon we were approaching Vienna, on time, just over 2 and a half hours after leaving Budapest. The journey was comfortable and if you build in the time to get to and from the airport, getting through security and all the associated rigmarole, it was probably quicker than flying.

It was then only a short taxi ride from Vienna train station to our hotel in the centre of Vienna. Arriving early afternoon, refreshed if not slightly too relaxed after the wine.

We would definitely consider using the train when we are next travelling across Europe. It was reasonable, comfortable, quick and you get to see more of the countryside, although the journey between Budapest and Vienna was not particularly picturesque.

What was your experience of travelling by train outside the UK, please share your hints and tips. The journeys don’t have to be just in Europe but also anywhere else in the world.

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  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    November 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    That sounds like an amazing experience. We’ve been to Europe a few times, but I think on our next trip across the ocean we should head even further east. Thanks!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      It may be worth flying East and heading back west on the train, visiting a few of the classic European cities. Most are only a few hours apart by train.

  • Colleen Lanin
    November 15, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I have always wanted to visit this area. If I ever get the chance, I will be taking that train. It looks like so much fun.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Much more relaxing than flying.

  • Jen Rattie
    November 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    That is amazing. I’ve always loved trains. They have a feel about them that you can’t get with any other form of travel. I cannot believe they have massage chairs on that bad boy!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      It did feel exciting travelling across Europe on a train, something about it is more romantic than flying. Those chairs were very relaxing but unfortunately they were just reclining not massaging.

  • Debra
    November 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    What an amazing trip! I’ve always wanted to travel by train like that….not how I take a train to work every day – but in real luxury! What a great way to travel.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Yes we certainly weren’t packed in. If only more trains were like this, unfortunately most UK trains are not!

  • Catherine S
    November 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    The seats look really comfortable on the train. I have never traveled on a train, but I would like to.

  • Pam Wattenbarger
    November 15, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I have always wanted to travel by train somewhere! This looks like a cool experience.

  • Marcie W.
    November 15, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I have heard that taking the train is the easiest and most affordable way to travel around Europe. These business class accommodations seem so much better than I would have imagined.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 16, 2016 at 7:39 am

      They were surprisingly good and on time.

  • Lisa Favre
    November 16, 2016 at 1:44 am

    This train looks magnificent! I would not mind taking it with my husband for a romantic getaway.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 16, 2016 at 7:40 am

      It was good to travel by some other way other than by plane.

  • Our Family World
    November 16, 2016 at 1:44 am

    I’m glad that you had an extraordinary experience! This si such an awesome trip.

  • Reesa Lewandowski
    November 16, 2016 at 2:57 am

    What an amazing trip! My husband drives the train so he would never want to do this LOL. But I’d love to visit this area of Europe!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 16, 2016 at 7:44 am

      He could relax in business class and criticise the standard of Hungarian train driving LOL.

  • Kristin
    November 16, 2016 at 4:31 am

    I have never been out of the US, but I did take a commuter train to and from Manhattan often when I was younger.
    This train looks way nicer than anything I’ve ever been on.

  • Dawn McAlexander
    November 16, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I am so wanting to ride a passenger train some day. It’s a little difficult where we live. The nearest station is about a three hour drive, but we are willing to do it to get to ride one of those things.

  • Toni | BoulderLocavore.com
    November 16, 2016 at 11:25 am

    This train looks comfortable. I had an experience to travel by train and it’s so much fun! I would love to do it again! 😀

  • Ann Bacciaglia
    November 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I have been on a few trains over the years. This train looks very comfortable. I would love to check it out in person.

  • Brianne
    November 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Wow that train looks like an amazing way to travel! Your experience looked like so much fun, I love the photos!

  • Jeanine
    November 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    That looks so roomy and nice! Last train experience I had was pretty awful, that right there I could get used to! Traveling by train is a really great option!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 16, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      It was a nice way to travel. Our trains (UK) are really expensive and very unreliable.

  • Tonya
    November 17, 2016 at 3:35 am

    That train looks amazing! I can’t get over how comfy those seats look. I’ve not been to Europe yet, but my husband and I are thinking about heading over next year. I definitely want to travel by train during our trek.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      November 17, 2016 at 8:26 am

      That service was particularly good but don’t expect that everywhere. They are usually better in mainland Europe rather than in the UK.

  • Melisasource
    November 18, 2016 at 1:54 am

    It sounds like a great time! I have always wanted to travel overseas, hopefully I can at some point.

  • Tonia
    November 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    This train is really nice. I’ve taken two trains in Europe and I would love to travel by train again. This ride looks enjoyable.