From Budapest to Bratislava by train
Last update: May 2022
Are you thinking of visiting Bratislava (or Budapest from Bratislava) by train? Train is probably the best choice as there are more connections during the day, moreover direct trains, so you don't have to worry about catching another train or changing to the wrong one. It's comfortable, fast and you can just relax and enjoy beautiful views along the Danube valley. In this article we have summarised for you the most important information you might need or find interesting when travelling by train from Budapest to Bratislava and vice versa.
Note: Although we mostly use the phrase “ from Vienna to Bratislava” in this article, all the information is of course valid for the opposite direction, i.e. when travelling from Bratislava to Vienna, too.
How far, how long:
distance between Budapest and Bratislava and travel time
The distance between Budapest and Bratislava is 161 kilometers as the crow flies. The average travel time is about 3 hours, nevertheless there are trains which manage the route between these two capitals already in 2h 23 min. It depends on the daytime and particular connection - of course, the direct connections are the fastest.
From Budapest to Bratislava, from Bratislava to Budapest:
by train every two hours
During some days, up to 20 trains run on this route per day (meaning both directions altogether). There are regular connections, which enable you to get from one city to another every two hours (EC trains) with some additional trains e.g. on Friday or similar “busy days”. However, unlike the regular trains, these trains are usually not direct and the departure/arrival train station is Bratislava Petrzalka, in Budapest Keleti or Déli, i.e. not the main stations.
If you need to travel between Budapest and Bratislava during night, there´s one train around 3 a.m. - however, only in the direction Budapest - Bratislava and it's necessary to change. The first direct train from Budapest to Bratislava leaves before 6 am, the last before 8 pm. In the opposite direction from Bratislava to Budapest, the direct trains depart between ca. 6am and 8 pm as well.
For searching for a particular train connection we recommend this searching tool.
Budapest to Bratislava train tickets: how much does it cost?
Train ticket prices differ according to the type of the train, train class, some additional services, whether purchased online and in advance, at railway ticket offices or in self-service ticket machines. In general, we recommend buying a ticket via Slovakia Railway Company (ZZSK) or Hungarian railway company as they offer a special offer - Europa Expres. The average price is about €14 for a one-way standard ticket if purchased online and at least a few days before departure. The sooner a ticket is purchased before the planned trip, the cheaper it is. If you buy a ticket in advance, it can be even €10. If you choose a connection with some transfers, tickets usually cost more and in most cases cannot be bought online. The Budapest Bratislava line is served by OBB trains as well and it's possible to buy tickets online also on their website. Nevertheless, these tickets are much more expensive in comparison to those purchased by ZSSK or MÁV, the Hungarian company. Tickets can be purchased directly at the train stations both in Bratislava and Budapest, of course.
There are also some discounts for children (up to 6 years for free), students, retired persons or for holders of special cards with special offers, or already mentioned programm Europa Expres, in Hungary there´s the START Europe programm, which enables you to travel between particular European countries for lower prices. An overview of all discounts can be found on websites of particular operators.
Do you want to check the price for a particular train in advance? Search for a connection on websites mentioned above and the system shows you the price (of course, you don't have to buy the ticket immediately). Timetable can be found also on this website, but without prices.
Bratislava and Budapest: train stations and how to get there
In Bratislava most trains (or at least those direct) depart from / arrive at Bratislava main train station Hlavna stanica. It's easily accessible by public transport from all parts of the city with a high frequency of buses, trams and trolleybuses. To find a suitable connection there's nothing easier than using Journey Planner on the official Bratislava public transport website.
Do you want to learn more about how the public transport in Bratislava works? We have summarized for you the most important information in this article.
We have also prepared for you separate articles about these transport hubs incl. how to get there or to the city centre.
👉 Bratislava main train station Hlavna stanica
👉 Central bus station Mlynske Nivy
👉 Bratislava Airport
Regarding Nyugati, which is the departure / arrival station for most trains in the direction to Bratislava, it's located in the northwestern part of the city directly connected to the public transportation system by metro (blue line M3), trams and buses as well.
When travelling from Budapest to Bratislava, it's good to take a seat on the left side. The views in Hungary when you pass the Danube valley are really beautiful and you might spot Visegrad with its most famous icon - the ruins of the castle, the seat of medieval Hungarian kings.
Train providers on the route Bratislava - Budapest
Trains between Budapest and Bratislava are operated by already mentioned ZSSK as well as OBB, Austria's national railway company. There are EuroCity trains, Regionalexpress or Railjet Xpress - one of the fastest and most modern trains owned by OBB. In general, as international trains all of them are well equipped and offer a variety of services to make your journey more enjoyable.
As pet- and sports lovers, we know that a possibility to take your “beloveds” with you can be really important when planning a trip, no matter whether it's a dog or a bike. Usually small pets are allowed free of charge when transported closed in a suitable box, dogs without cages can be carried only on lead and muzzled for a half-price ticket. Moreover, animals are in most cases restricted from 1st class, dining or sleeping cars. Assistance dogs are the only exception. Amount of animals per person may be limited too.
Regarding bicycles, they can be carried only on those trains, which are designated for this purpose and marked with bicycle sign in the timetable. In some trains reservation of space for your bike is compulsory in advance.
However, terms and conditions may differ from train to train, so we recommend checking the up-to-date information directly on train providers´website or directly when searching for a particular train connection, it's usually mentioned there.
Travelling from Budapest to Bratislava by train (and vice versa)
Distance: 161 km
Departure/Arrival stations: Bratislava Hlavna stanica / Bratislava Petrzalka - Budapest Nyugati / Keléti / Déli
Travel time: approx. 2:30 (by direct trains)
Direct train: yes
Frequency of train connections: high, during the day every two hours
Timetable: available by ZSR (= Railways of the Slovak Republic) or directly on websites mentioned below, where you can buy a ticket directly
Ticket price: from €10 / €14 (depending on more criterias, e.g. train type, date of purchase or ticket seller)
Ticket purchase: online by Slovak ZSSK, Hungarian MÁV (these two are recommended), Austrian OBB or directly at the railway station
Bratislava Budapest: other transportation options
Do you also want to check other transport options when travelling between these two capitals? Basically, you can get there by bus or car (taxi) as well. Check THIS guide to choose the best one to fit your needs.
Do you have any questions about travelling by bus from Budapest to Bratislava? Do you have your own tip, information that might be useful to other travellers? Or is there anything you would like to tell us? Don´t hesitate to let us know!