I was creating my own itinerary exploring eastern Europe and needed to take a train from Budapest, Hungary to Bratislava, Slovakia. Booking a 1st class train at a decent price was a bit more tricky, so I put together a guide that will hopefully be helpful to others planning the same trip. Here’s some tips on how to book your tickets online and where to pick up your tickets.
I usually like to plan ahead on all of my trips and have everything ready before I start exploring. Booking my tickets from Vienna to Budapest was pretty straightforward but booking tickets from Budapest to Bratislava was a bit more tricky since I wanted to get 1st class tickets.
2nd class tickets are obviously cheaper, but 1st class tickets usually aren’t much more. With 1st class tickets, you get a reserved seat, a comfy seat (some with outlets) and free wifi. I feel better with a reserved seat for my peace of mind and I like to have an outlet nearby when the train ride is more than 2 hours.
Budapest to Bratislava tickets start at €9 in 2nd class if you-pre-book with limited availability, no refunds, and no changes. There are no 1st class deals BUT if you book from Budapest to Brno, then you can pre-book your ticket for €29 and just get off at the Bratislava main station.
First, go to the Mav-Group website at and enter the details. You will want to go from Budapest Nyugati [Budapest-Nyugati] to BRNO [Brno hl. n.].
Next, enter additional details and select 1st class seats. If you are purchasing one-way tickets, like I did, you won’t have to enter anything on right-hand side (return journey). There is a timetable at the bottom giving you all the available options.
On the next page, you will select the departure you prefer and hit the “Ticket to the cart” button.
If you have an account, enter your details. If you don’t have an account, click on “Registration” and create a new account.
Finally, you will be taken to the payment page and you will receive your receipt. This receipt is NOT your ticket. Your receipt will have a reference number and you will have to enter that reference number at the kiosk located at the train station to get your real tickets.
A taxi from Budapest’s city center to the Budapest Nyugati station took about 15 minutes and cost $7. I used the Taxify app to call for taxis.
Once you get to the station, look for the yellow kiosks. I made the mistake of going to the blue kiosk first and those are only for domestic trains (traveling within Hungary). The yellow kiosks are for international trains. Once you find the kiosk, enter your reference number and you will get your printed tickets.
There is a big billboard showing all the trains and tracks. Our train was at Track 5 and the first class seats were all the way at the end.
Once we got on the train, everything was groovy. The seats were nice and comfy, there was plenty of room to store our luggage above our seats and we had free wifi. Just to give you an idea of how much room you have overhead, my friend had a pretty large suitcase and it fit fine up there. The wifi is spotty but it works near the urban areas. They also serve food and drinks and a waiter comes by to take your orders.
Throughout the 2.5 hour journey, we were given updates on what station was coming up next on the digital boards. Someone also came by to check our tickets twice, so make sure you have those tickets handy. The second guy that checked our tickets was super kind and gave us free bottles of water.
Once we got to the Bratislava station, we used another taxi app called Hoppin but you can actually use Taxify in Slovakia too. Taxify is more user friendly and I believe is cheaper, at least in our experience. It was $6 to Bratislava’s Old Town from the station using Hoppin but on our way back to the station from Old Town, it was only $3 using Taxify.
So that was my journey from Budapest to Bratislava and I hope these tips will help you out on your journey! Of course, you can just show up at the train station and purchase a ticket there to see what’s available, but if you’re like me and want to have everything set before you go, this is the way to do it.