With the higher cost of air travel to Europe, many travelers feel they need to make the most use of their time overseas by seeing as much as they can during their trip. While low-cost airlines make travel between European nations more affordable, the costs can quickly add up. Thankfully, there are cheaper alternatives to air travel throughout Europe. In fact, you can travel between 3 iconic European cities for less than $30 by using rail service rather than flying. You can travel from Vienna to Budapest and Budapest to Prague for a grand total of $28.20.
How To Do It
By taking advantage of traveling by train rather than an airplane, you can see Vienna, Budapest, and Prague for less than the cost of one budget airline ticket. Using RegioJet, fares from to Budapest, Hungary, to Vienna, Austria, were chosen for July 26th. A week in Budapest was assumed, and fares from Vienna, Austria, to Prague, Czech Republic, were selected for August 2nd.
Train Ride From Budapest to Vienna
Trip Time: 2.5 hours
Train Ride From Vienna to Prague
Trip Time: 5 hours
Total Cost: $22.24
Benefits Over Flying
- Cost. The most obvious benefit to train travel vs. flying is the cost. For less than $30, you can travel between 3 major European cities. That is less than a single airplane ticket cost between just two of these destinations.
- Comfort. Adjustable seats with headrests and ample legroom, electrical outlets for devices, and free Wi-Fi are all standard comforts aboard a RegioJet train.
- Flexibility. RegioJet, and many other train lines, allow you to cancel your trip up to 15 minutes before your scheduled departure. If plans change, it isn’t difficult to cancel as it would be for an airline ticket. Even if it were, you wouldn’t be out much money anyway.
Why These Cities?
Vienna, Budapest, and Prague are some of Europe’s most well-known tourist destinations. Each offers a unique experience for travelers interested in expanding their horizons, and their proximity makes them ideal destinations to group together in one trip. At the end of the visit to Prague, you could take a train back to Budapest for another night or two before flying home. Alternatively, you could book a one-way ticket to Budapest from your origin city ($550 from JFK at the time of writing) and then a one-way ticket home out of Prague ($918 to JFK at the time of writing).
Why It’s Worth A Visit: Travelers love Budapest for its rich history, world-renowned Turkish Baths and Spas, vibrant nightlife, and delicious food.
- The Szechenyi Spa Baths are a luxurious, calming atmosphere by day, and an electronic music-fueled, unlimited alcohol party at night.
- Buda Castle is a 13th-century palace that holds the Castle Museum, the Hungarian National Art Gallery, and the National Széchenyi Library. If delving into the culture is what you’re after, this is the place to do it.
Why It’s Worth A Visit: Incredible food, beautiful architecture, and a music scene that has spanned generations all make this city a wonderful place to visit.
- Schönbrunn Palace is the most popular tourist attraction in the city and welcomes approximately 8 million visitors annually.
- Travelers enjoy exploring the historic center of Vienna, as it hosts captivating Baroque castles, grand buildings, and beautiful parks.
- Vienna was recently named as one of the top 5 European destinations where you can get the best bang for your buck.
Prague, Czech Republic
Why It’s Worth A Visit: This city is filled with history, stunning buildings, art, and fantastic scenery. There is so much to do and see; visitors come back to this city over and over again.
- Charles Bridge was once one of Prague’s most important bridges, and it remains a highly visited symbol of the city. It is, however, a known hotspot for pickpockets.
- Prague Castle welcomed more than 8.5 million visitors in 2019 and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.
Travelers are finding new and interesting ways to combat the rising costs of travel and record-high inflation. These low-cost train rides are just another example of how you can still travel the world without sacrificing your wallet.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories