Monday, August 14, 2017

Guide to Taking the Prague to Budapest Night Train- EN477

If you are traveling to Eastern Europe, you're likely to visit both Prague and Budapest! Going between the cities is easy by train and there's even an option of an overnight train! There's a daily train leaving the Prague station around midnight and arriving at Budapest around 7am. This is a great way to save time and money! I'll be sharing essential information for taking the overnight train EN477 including where to leave your luggage, where to eat, how to find the cheapest tickets, and how to book a compartment.

Left Luggage

You will probably check out of your hotel during the day and it's no fun carrying all your luggage around! The train station has a good left luggage service that is reasonably priced! To find it, first find the Sephora in the train station, then look for the blue sign at the end of the hallway in this picture.

You'll want to follow the "luggage bag" icon by turning left at the end of the hall way.

At the end, you'll see a window on the left side that has the luggage icon. The cost for most pieces of luggage is 2.5 Euro  for the day which is a great price for the convenience of leaving it at the train station. We dropped ours off around noon after checking out and came back to pick it up before they closed at 11pm.

Where to Eat

We got to the train station round 10pm and most fast food stands were already closed. However, don't worry, there's a grocery store that is open till 11pm! Go here instead of any of the convenience stores for a much better selection and much better prices!

You can find it under the escalators just below the main atrium in the train station.

Boarding the Train

When you buy your tickets, you'll choose a bed in a compartment. Near the Sephora in the train station, there are a few benches and next to it is a display that shows what the compartment order is. So for your reference, I took a photo of what the train compartments order is.

Check the departure board at the train station to see what platform to go to. It's a pretty quick walk (~2 mins) to the platform from the main waiting area. There's no additional security so you can actually show up pretty last minute to the train station if necessary. Here's what the platform looked like at 11:30pm waiting to board the train. I was a bit unsure when we first went on the safety of the station at night, but I'm happy to report I didn't feel uneasy at any time. There was always lots of people around and the station and the platform were well lit.

One thing I didn't know was that the train made many stops along the way to Budapest. I thought it was a non-stop train, but you can see in the photo below that there are quite a few stops along the way. Luckily Prague to Budapest is end to end so you don't need to worry about over sleeping your stop!

The Room

The actual room was very small and a bit hard to fit three people to be honest. It also took a bit of lifting to get all our luggage up in the overhead compartments. They prepared an essentials bag that included a tooth brush, tooth paste, and slippers which was nice! I would recommend that you change and take off your makeup in the train station, as there just isn't very much room to move around once you are on the train!

The mattress is pretty thin but all the bedding was in good condition. I sleep easily so I had no issues with sleeping on the ride. However, if you are a light sleeper you may find it difficult to fall asleep first. Also, the movement of the train at first made me feel a bit nauseous but then my body got used to it. 

Each compartment has one bathroom but there surprisingly wasn't too much of a wait except at the beginning when everyone was boarding. Inside your room you have a sink and mirror. Once everyone's settled in, the conductor will come by and check your tickets and ask for your breakfast order. Coffee/tea is included and you'll also get some bread with butter/jam! The conductor will also wake you up an hour before you arrive at the station which is a nice added touch.

How to Book Tickets
Now the important part, how to find the cheapest tickets! If you are booking a few weeks in advance, the cost of the ticket should only be $40 EUR each. If you're paying more, you are likely buying from a reseller at full cost tickets. The best way to buy them is directly through the Czech Railway System.

You can search the site in English, but to buy it, you need to goon their Old e-shop and everything is in Czech. Once you have found the dates you want, go to this link to purchase your tickets. My experience is based on the 2nd class (Trida 2) tickets. This is the best resource for everything related to tickets! Follow these steps and make sure you aren't booking tickets that are $100+ EUR

How the pricing works is that there's a price to reserve your spot on the train, and then there's extra fees to reserve your "bed". I would recommend to just reserve your bed to have ease of mind and it's not that much extra. In total, our reservation for 3 people was 87 EUR while the "bed" reservation was 42 EUR. This comes to 43 EUR per person.

Overall, it was a very fun adventure although not as comfortable as I imagined! The whole experience felt safe and it was not an issue to take a train late at night. It's an amazing way to save time traveling between the cities so I would definitely recommend doing this if you are willing to

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