This review details EuroCity train EC 172 “Hungaria” which links Budapest with Bratislava (Slovakia), Brno and Prague (Czech Republic) and Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg (Germany).
Hungary to Slovakia and the Czech Republic
After a short but great night of sleep at the T62 Hotel, I simply walked across the road to reach Budapest Nyugati station from where I would continue my trip.
This morning I would take the EuroCity train “Hungaria”, which links Hungary’s capital with Bratislava in Slovakia, Brno and Prague in the Czech Republic and Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg in Germany.
On the outbound journey from Budapest to Prague, Berlin and Hamburg the Hungaria is listed in the timetables as EuroCity train EC 172, while on the return it has train number EC 173.
As the name of this train implies, the Hungaria is operated by the national railways of Hungary (MÁV) and consists of Hungarian rolling stock.
Although the Hungaria EuroCity train only runs once a day, there are also multiple Czech Railways (ČD) operated “Metropolitan” EuroCity trains departing Budapest each day, although these only run as far as Prague.
Although not as imposing as Keleti station, Budapest’s other main railway terminal, Nyugati is still an absolutely wonderful train station to depart from.
Budapest Nyugati Pályaudvar – often abbreviated as Budapest Nyugati Pu in timetables and search engines – simply means “western station” and is the departure point of a lot of Hungarian domestic trains as well as services towards Bratislava, Brno, Prague and Berlin.
I always love departing from a Hungarian train station.
The train announcement sounds and the Hungarian station jingles alone are magical.
Nyugati station facilities
The terminus station of Budapest Nyugati has all the facilities you might need, as you will find ticket offices, left luggage lockers, ATMs and small kiosks and shops selling food and drinks.
It may also be the only place in the world where I would recommend you to visit the McDonald’s and McCafé, as they are both located in a grand historic hall directly to the right when you enter the station building.
Platforms 10, 11, 12 and 13 are the ones located directly underneath the beautiful train shed.
However, the Hungaria EuroCity train usually departs from platform 7, 8 or 9 – but always double check this on the departures board on your day of travel.
You can reach platforms 1 to 9 by simply walking approximately 200 metres along platform 10 until you see these tracks on your left-hand side.
On the day when I travelled, the Hungaria was already ready for boarding some 20 minutes before departure on platform 7.
Inside the Hungaria train
The Hungaria train has carriages with compartments as well as open-plan saloon cars for both 2nd and 1st class.
Both 1st and 2nd class compartments feature 6 seats, while seating in the open-plan saloon cars is two abreast at either side of the aisle in second class and 1+2 in first class.
First class has slightly more comfortable seats, but only in the open-plan saloon carriages you will also profit from more personal space.
There are power sockets at each seat irrespective of travel class and carriage type, although the Hungaria train doesn’t have WiFi internet.
Seat reservation (between €3 and €6) is optional but is recommended if you travel at peak holiday times.
The Hungaria EuroCity train also features a proper MÁV dining car which is well-worth seeking out for some drinks or freshly cooked food during the long trip from Budapest to Prague and Berlin.
Book your ticket
It’s always best to compare prices between these websites as they can differ depending on travel date, destination and how many days in advance you book your ticket.
As with most other trains in Central Europe, there are cheaper advance purchase fares available, so if you have your travel dates fixed by all means book it as far out as you can.
However, tickets cannot sell out and you can always buy the full fare on the day of departure at the station.
I booked my 2nd class ticket from Budapest to Brno online at the Czech Railways website a week before departure and paid €21 for it.
At 7.40am on the dot, the Hungaria EuroCity train departed from Budapest Nyugati station on its long journey towards the north-west.
Although first class was quite full, the second class carriages had plenty of empty seats on the late October day when I travelled so I was quite happy that I didn’t pay the extra few euros for the optional seat reservation.
Instead of taking a seat in one of the second class carriages I headed straight to the dining car of the Hungaria train and ordered some breakfast.
While I watched the train pass through the Budapest suburbs, coffee and orange juice were brought out to my table and the on-board chef started cooking my breakfast in the kitchen.
As the train approached the town of Dunakeszi just outside of Budapest, breakfast was finally brought to my table.
I had ordered some fried eggs with ham for breakfast, which was served with a bread basket.
The breakfast in the restaurant wagon of the Hungaria train was tasty and at €7.50 with coffee and orange juice included in the price it certainly was affordable too.
The Hungaria EuroCity train makes a few stops in Hungary before it reaches the border with Slovakia, with the city of Vác being the most important one.
However, only a handful of people disembarked or entered the train.
Apart from four other passengers sitting at a table together, the dining car was rather empty this morning.
Despite most tables in the dining car of the Hungaria EuroCity train being unoccupied, there was still some kind of a party atmosphere in the restaurant wagon.
The four passengers – seemingly two couples going on a trip together – decided to order multiple rounds of beers as well as a bottle of Hungarian sparkling wine with their breakfast.
It wasn’t a hard choice to follow suit and order a beer myself despite it still being early in the morning.
The Hungaria EuroCity train has quite an extensive drinks menu, which includes both draught beer (Gösser) as well as a dozen or so other beers from bottle or can.
With a beer in my hand and the lovely views from the window over the foggy Hungarian countryside, I was really beginning to like this trip.
After the station of Nagymaros-Visegrád, the Hungaria EuroCity train traverses one of the most scenic stretches of railway line on its long journey between Budapest, Prague and Berlin.
At this point, the railway line almost runs directly along the mighty Danube river.
Make sure you are seated on the left-hand side of the train for the best views over the Danube if travelling north.
Unfortunately, the dining car temporarily closed when the train crossed the Hungarian-Slovak border.
Due to Slovakia’s COVID restriction at the time of travelling (autumn 2021) the sale of food and drinks on Slovak soil was temporarily banned, which meant that the dining car could only reopen once the train would reach the Czech border.
When the train halted at Štúrovo – the first major stop in Slovakia – I left the dining car and took an empty seat in the second class carriage.
At Štúrovo, the railway line leaves the Danube behind and runs inland through relatively flat and boring fields and farmland.
Before reaching the Slovak capital of Bratislava, the Hungaria also halts at the important railway junction of Nové Zámky.
At 10am on the dot, the Hungaria EuroCity train arrived at the central station of Slovakia’s capital Bratislava.
It’s an important stop and quite some passengers disembarked at Bratislava, with even more people taking their place and boarding the train.
Into the Czech Republic
After Bratislava, the Hungaria EuroCity train halts at Kuty before crossing the Slovak-Czech border.
Just before the train reached the first Czech station of Břeclav, I returned to the dining car to grab an early lunch.
To my surprise the dining car was almost completely full already and I was lucky to find an empty table.
I told the waiter that I had to leave the train in 40 minutes when we would reach Brno and asked him whether it would be enough time to cook my food.
He reassured me that it would be fine, so I ordered some food and a small bottle of Hungarian Korona wine, which was certainly tasty.
Halfway between Breclav and Brno, my food was finally brought to my table.
I had ordered a Hungarian dining car classic for lunch: The beef goulash stew with dumplings.
The food was again delicious and enjoyed the lively vibe in the MÁV restaurant wagon as we approached the city of Brno.
For the food and wine combined I paid €12.90.
Arrival in Brno
At 11.35am, the Hungaria EuroCity train arrived on time in Brno.
Make sure you sit on the left-hand side of the train as it arrives in Brno as you can enjoy some great views of the city’s skyline, which is dominated by the hilltop Špilberk Castle and the towering Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.
Although I was looking forward to explore Brno, I felt a bit sad having to leave this great train as I would have loved to stay on board until Prague or Berlin.
Towards Prague and Berlin
Although I got off the train in Brno, the Hungaria EuroCity train still has a long way to travel before it reaches its other main stops of Prague, Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg.
If you stay on board, you still have the best of the journey to look forward to.
The scenery between Brno and Prague is quite pretty as you will travel between rolling hills and forests.
However, the best is to come between Prague and Dresden when the train traverses the gorgeous Elbe river gorge – make sure you sit on the right-hand side for this stretch when going north.
In the German capital, the Hungaria EuroCity train halts at the underground platforms of Berlin Hbf.
Although on the day when I travelled the Hungaria EuroCity train was cut back to just Budapest-Berlin, it normally travels on towards Hamburg Hbf, with the terminus station of Hamburg Altona being its final stop in the evening hours.
A trip on the Hungaria EuroCity train which links Budapest with Bratislava, Brno, Prague, Berlin and Hamburg is one of Europe’s most epic railway journeys.
This Hungarian train does not only connect many of Central Europe’s most important cities such as Budapest, Bratislava and Prague, but does so with a lot of passenger comfort.
The Hungaria EuroCity train features comfortable seats in both compartments and open-plan saloon cars, as well as a proper dining car where you can enjoy freshly cooked meals.
Indeed, there are few things better than having a drink and some tasty food in the restaurant wagon while admiring the fine views from the window as the train rides along big European rivers such as the Danube and Elbe.
Whether you use the Hungaria EuroCity train on a long journey between Budapest and Berlin or for a shorter hop between Bratislava, Brno and Prague, you will certainly enjoy this iconic European train.
Trip report index
This ‘Trains, Planes, Beer and Tapas: A Trip to Prague and Madrid’ trip report consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Ryanair Bucharest to Chania (Boeing 737-800)
2. A Rainy Chania Stopover
3. Ryanair Hell: My Bad Chania to Budapest Flight Experience
4. Review: T62 Hotel, Budapest, Hungary
5. Review: EuroCity Train “Hungaria” Budapest to Brno (current chapter)
6. A Walk Through the Historic Old Town Centre of Brno
7. Review: EuroCity Train “Metropolitan” Brno to Prague
8. Review: K+K Hotel Central, A Prague Art Nouveau Delight
9. Beer Boozing in Prague: Sampling Some Czech Brews
10. Praha Hlavní Nádraží – Prague’s Stunning Art Nouveau Station
11. Review: Leo Express Train Prague to Olomouc
12. Olomouc Guide: Baroque and Belle Epoque Beauty
13. Review: RegioJet Train Olomouc to Prague
14. Review: Erste Premier Lounge Prague Airport
15. Review: Air France HOP Business Class Embraer 170
16. Review: Air France Schengen Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
17. Review: Air France Business Class Paris CDG to Madrid (Airbus A220)
18. A Madrid Tapas Crawl: Bar Hopping in Spain’s Capital
19. Review: Ibis Madrid Aeropuerto Barajas
20. Review: Puerta de Alcala VIP Lounge Madrid Airport
21. Review: Air Europa Economy Class Madrid to Milan (Boeing 787)
22. How To Transfer Between Milan Malpensa and Bergamo Airport