Visit Budapest from London

Budapest from London

How to get to Budapest from London? What is the cheapest or the quickest way? Read and find out more including useful tips.

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If you have decided to come to Budapest from London, the only question is the how. There are several options for how you can access the capital of Hungary from London, depending on how adventurous you are, how urgent it is to get to Budapest and how much money you have for this project. We have collected all the advantages and disadvantages including useful tips for you.

The quickest option – air travel

BUDAPEST FROM LONDON BY PLANE
Budapest from London by airplane

It is undoubtedly the quickest way to get to Budapest from London, if you hop on a plane flying from the many airports of London to the Budapest Airport. The net time of the flight is roughly 2 hours and 35 mins, but if you want to calculate the gross time spent on flying to Budapest from London you must add the waiting time at the airport and the length of time of transportation to the airport and back to the time spent in the air.

If we calculate with 2 hours waiting time, with 1,5 hours getting to the airport (but obviously you must take into consideration how far the airport is from your own home) and another 2 hours getting to the city from the BUD airport (including picking up your luggage, changing money, getting to downtown Budapest etc.), the total time spent on travelling to Budapest takes you about 8 hours.

Now let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of taking a flight from London to Budapest.

  • Total time: ~8 hours
  • Flight time: 2 h 35 m
  • Best tourist class price : 100 € /person / return
BUD Airport
BUD Airport

ADVANTAGES

  1. The biggest advantage ever is that air travel is unquestionably the fastest way to get to your destination
  2. You can get cheaper tickets if you book your tickets way ahead of time (2-3 months prior to your planned date)
  3. You can comfortably read or work on a laptop onboard
  4. You can shop in the duty-free shop
  5. Plane crashes are extremely rare, it is very safe to fly
  6. You can easily sleep on a plane, just bring a neck pillow with you
  7. You can buy snacks and drinks onboard as well

DISADVANTAGES

  1. The tickets can get horribly expensive if you need them last-minute or you want to come to Budapest in high season (May-October)
  2. You will need to go through the process of checking in and boarding
  3. The number and the weight of your luggage are limited
  4. You cannot take water with you to the territory of the airport waiting area, you will have to buy a bottle in the duty-free shop
  5. The legroom space has been reduced to the minimum, prepare yourself to feel like a sardine by the end of your flight
  6. It can be quite cold onboard
  7. You cannot freely walk around in the aisle and you will be asked to sit tight while taking off and landing
Useful tips
  • Check in online
  • Make sure you do not have any sharp objects or too much liquid in your luggage and bag (lotions, liquid medicine etc. needs to be packed separately in a plastic bag)
  • Have some snacks in your bag
  • The airplanes are air-conditioned, which means you might want to take some warm clothes or a light scarf with you onboard if you tend to be cold a lot
  • Take a neck pillow with you
  • Have earphones in your bag
  • Fully charge your gadgets before you take them onboard
  • Check the time difference (+1 hour compared to UK time)

The most romantic option – railways

Train to Budapest
Train to Budapest

Although travelling to Budapest from London by train is neither the cheapest nor the quickest option, it is still worth giving it a go, if you want to enjoy one of the oldest ways of travelling. It is romantic, adventurous and you can actually see the country that you are travelling through. You probably remember the anticipation when you boarded the train as a kid, and if you try hard, you can feel the same excitement when you sit down in your purchased seat and look out of the window. Who knows what awaits you at your final destination.
I know it is super appealing and you can’t wait to book your tickets, but before you do so, keep in mind that there is NO direct train from London to Budapest. Most likely you will be travelling by Eurostar, TGV and Budapest sleeping-car too.

The average journey time by train between London and Budapest is 24 hours.

  • Total time: 24 hours
  • Best 2nd class price: 190 € /person / return
  • Best 1st class price: 370 € /person / return
Train from inside
Train from inside

ADVANTAGES

  1. You can have almost as many pieces of luggage as you want
  2. You can use your time productively, you can read, write or just stare at the landscape passing by
  3. You can stand up and stretch your legs and walk along the carriage corridor and you won’t be asked to sit tight and fasten your seatbelt
  4. In more modern trains there are sockets for chargers
  5. If you go for a night train, you can comfortably sleep through the journey in your cabin
  6. In terms of accidents railways are the safest form of transport ever
  7. You can eat and drink in the dining car of your train (check first if your selected train has got a dining car)
  8. You can buy your tickets online

DISADVANTAGES

  1. There is NO direct train from London to Budapest, you need to change roughly 2/3 times (in Paris, Munich etc.)
  2. It takes a lot more time than flying
  3. It is usually the second most expensive way of transport after driving a car
  4. You have to share your space with strangers
  5. There are public toilets only
Sleeping cabin
Sleeping cabin
Useful tips
  • Chose to travel during the evening time, since this is the most comfortable option, especially if you are travelling for long hours on end
  • Buy your tickets online to avoid queuing
  • Check different options when you select your tickets, there could be a huge difference in price
  • You may need to store your luggage far away from your seat, make sure you check on them from time to time
  • Check the number of your carriage and seat before boarding. It can be very unpleasant when it turns out that you are sitting in somebody else’s seat
  • Bring a pillow neck with you
  • Do not exchange money at the railway station and never use a nameless ATM when you arrive in Budapest. (worst rates ever). You can easily get ripped off. You can buy public transportation tickets at the railway station with a credit card. Find your accommodation first and exchange money later
  • There are two main train stations in Budapest, where your train might go to: Nyugati Railway Station and Keleti Railway Station
  • Do not judge Budapest based on your first encounter with the city, the surrounding of the train stations are not the most idyllic
  • Check the time difference (+1 hour compared to UK time)

The most challenging option – coaches

BUDAPEST FROM LONDON BY BUS
Budapest from London by bus

If for some reason you do not wish to fly and you find railways too expensive, you still have a third option how you can cover the 1722 km between Budapest and London. You can easily book your ticket online and then simply board your bus at the Victoria station in downtown London (or wherever the pick-up point is) take your seat and enjoy the 24-hour ride through many countries (e.g.: France, Germany, Austria). You will even shortly go on a “boat trip” as well when you cross the English Channel by a ferry. There will be several refreshment stops where you can get off the bus to use the toilet, refresh yourself and buy a sandwich.

  • Total time: 24 hours
  • Best price: 100 € /person / return

ADVANTAGES

  1. You may get very cheap tickets if you book in advance and you are flexible in terms of dates
  2. You can use your time productively, you can read, write or just stare at the landscape passing by
  3. You can have more pieces of luggage free of charge compared to travelling by plane
  4. You can see the landscape
  5. You can eat and drink anything that you take onboard with you and can also buy refreshments at the stops
  6. You can buy your tickets online
  7. You can cross the English Channel on a huge ferry, which is fun

DISADVANTAGES

  1. It takes a lot of time
  2. You have to share your space with strangers, especially if you do not know the person sitting next to you
  3. The use of the toilet is limited
  4. The bus stops every 4 hours only
  5. The legroom space has been reduced to the minimum, you will experience some discomfort at some point of the journey
  6. You cannot move around freely, you are not allowed to stand up
  7. You may struggle sleeping on a moving bus
Budapest and the coaches
Budapest and the coaches
Useful tips
  • Think about what you will need onboard and prepare a smaller bag with all the necessities, because the drivers are not very keen on opening the luggage compartment
  • Have a scarf with you if your throat is sensible to air-conditioning
  • Pack a pillow neck and a light blanket for more comfort
  • Have hand sanitizer and moist tissues in your bag. You will be allowed to leave the bus only every 4 hours
  • Have plenty of snacks, sandwiches and water onboard
  • Don’t forget to fully charge your gadgets and take an extra power bank with you if you want to listen to music or watch an offline movie
  • You will be crossing many countries where you can buy refreshments, make sure you have an international credit card on you or take euros and pounds with you
  • Check the exact location of your accommodation beforehand in case your battery dies by the time of arrival
  • Check the time difference (+1 hour compared to UK time)

The most flexible option – car

BUDAPEST FROM LONDON BY CAR
Budapest from London by car

If you are in no rush and you would like to take as many things with you as possible on your way to Budapest from London, plus you want to take advantage of having a car in Budapest, it seems like an ideal option. What you need is a reliable car, one or two divers and a little sense of adventure since you will need to drive on the right-hand side once you have left the UK. You can easily cover the ~1700 km within 17-18 hours thanks to the Chunnel, the underwater tunnel which links Calais and Folkestone together by a 39 km long tunnel (~30 mins).

Recommended route: London – Dunkirk / Calais – Dover / Folkestone – Bruges – Brussel – Aachen – Frankfurt – Nuremberg – Passau – Wien – Budapest

  • Total time: 19 hours (including several stops)
  • Best price: 320-350 € /car / one way
Important note

In Budapest, they drive on the RIGHT-HAND SIDE of the road NOT the left! Be careful and look both ways when crossing the road.

ADVANTAGES

  1. You can plan your journey according to your needs
  2. You can stop whenever you feel like it
  3. You do not have to share your space with a stranger
  4. You may have as many pieces of luggage as you want
  5. You can cross the English Channel on a huge ferry or via the Channel Tunnel (called Chunnel) on a train

DISADVANTAGES

  1. It is very tiring and time-consuming
  2. You will have to thoroughly prepare the car trip
  3. It is probably the most expensive way of travel for ONE person only
  4. It can be boring driving 17 hours on your own
  5. You may get stuck in unexpected traffic jams
  6. Car accidents are the most likely to happen out of the 4 means of transport
Useful tips
  • Book your Eurotunnel or ferry ticket online: eurotunnel link
  • Always check the Highway Code of the different countries on your way to Budapest. There might be different speed limits and you do not want to end up with a speeding ticket
  • Check and buy the road tolls beforehand, online if possible
  • Be ready to present a valid car insurance should they stop you
  • Do stop on a regular basis to stretch your leg and avoid sleepiness
  • Make sure you have plenty of fuel all the time
  • Share your car and the cost of travelling to save money

Summary

Taking every detail into consideration, it is up to you to decide which means of transportation you go for. Whatever you chose, I can promise you that the destination is worth the unpleasantness of travelling long distances. Budapest is a gorgeous, buzzing city with a lot to offer, you will definitely want to come back once you have visited.

Before you decided on your preferred vehicle, check out Budapest weather as well to be on the safe side. If you are interested in the methods of getting to the city from the airport, we recommend reading this article about the Budapest airport transfer choices.

More interesting and useful tips

Parking Budapest – check out our article on this topic to avoid fines and find the best parking spots, even for free.

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