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Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

New Zealand
Level Contributor
437 posts
92 reviews
Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Hi

I know this question has been asked before but all the posts are quite old. So I would like to ask it again and get more relevant answers to how things are now.

I originally planned on using Gea Tours as they sounded like the fastest option but on reading more reviews have discovered you cannot rely on leaving at a particular time and can spend hours hanging around for other people so this doesn't seem logical. Also, what's up with the drivers not having licenses to go over the borders? If they do it everyday, why? Again all the posts I have read are a few years old. Have Gea Tours improved their service?

So now, bus or train? I do not want to take night train, so will be travelling during the day. They both seem to take forever. I would prefer the train even though it is an hour longer as I think time would go quicker being able to move around. But my concern is their safety record. I have read the trains are old and not maintained very well ,so are they actually safe to travel on. So, bus or train? Cheers Kiwi

Bratislava, Slovakia
Destination Expert
for Bratislava
Level Contributor
2,699 posts
1. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Trains are absolutely fine - a bit old and dusty but perfectly safe, cheap, and comfortable. Night train is great - why aren't you considering it?

If you take the day train then one small piece of advice. There is a 'problem' now with refugees from Syria and Africa who stay in Belgrade and then take the train to Subotica to try and cross into the EU... so the second class carriages are a lot busier than normal. So arrive early to get a seat, or buy a reservation (not normally needed)

Single ticket to Budapest = 15 euro

Edited: 11 May 2015, 02:43
U.K.
Destination Expert
for Belgrade
Level Contributor
15,231 posts
1 review
2. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

On the license question, welcome to Serbia! All sorts of strange things occur when it comes to legalities and health and safety but for visitors it's pretty safe. Some of the local quirks are what make Belgrade interesting.

Trains are very poor condition and slow, but safe and very cheap.

If concerned go straight to Air Serbia website, they have cheap flights from EUR80 return booked online today, you might pick up a EUR50 flight.

Stoofer

New Zealand
Level Contributor
437 posts
92 reviews
3. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Hi guys. Thank you both for your replies. The night train would be a great option but I have read so many horror stories that's put me off. If I was travelling with my husband I would probably take it but as I am not this time, I didn't want to put myself into a situation where I would be extremely nervous the whole way.

I have also looked at flights but the cheapest I can get is 120 euro one way. Plus I already have several short flights on top of longhaul flights. But I am still considering this option.

The bus comes mid way between the other two options in time frame. I believe its 6 hours as apposed to 8 hrs on the train and 4+ hrs flying by the time you add in 2 hrs checkin and customs at the other end. Are the buses comfortable though? Do they use big touring buses?

I noticed neither if you mentioned Gea tours. I'm guessing they haven't improved their service any. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. Cheers Kiwi

Novi Sad, Serbia
Destination Expert
for Serbia
Level Contributor
855 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Re Gea: I'm participating in another travellers' forum, and still read numerous complaints about their general un-professionalism. On the other hand, I've heard much more positive feedback about Terra Travel ( terratravel.rs/kombi-prevoz/… ), but 1) that still means "spending hours hanging around for other people" and 2) I'm stunned that they don't have English version of the website.

I also think AWBee's advice about the night train is the best, as she used it herself numerous times and thinks those horror stories are way overblown, but it's your decision, of course.

Edited: 11 May 2015, 05:46
New Zealand
Level Contributor
437 posts
92 reviews
5. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Hi. Thanks for the link. I will have a look at it.

Maybe I shouldn't discount the night train totally. It does make the most sense as no day time is lost with travelling. The incidents that you read about. Is it usually just things stolen or do passengers get hurt? Which is the best ticket to buy? A private or shared berth? What precautions can you take and is it still happening often? Cheers Kiwi

U.K.
Destination Expert
for Belgrade
Level Contributor
15,231 posts
1 review
6. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

I'm surprised about that flight price as on Sunday sale today you must be peak time. Gea, as I have no personal experience best I don't comment other than saying they get very mixed reports.

I understand female lone travel concerns on night trains, have to say I believe the horror stories to be OTT but dont blame you for seeking alternatives.

Stoofer

Bratislava, Slovakia
Destination Expert
for Bratislava
Level Contributor
2,699 posts
7. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Kiwi - not sure why night trains attract so many urban myths, but they do. To be honest, a google search will throw up about 3 or 4 negative experiences of this train, which isn't really worth worrying about if you consider that thousands of people take the train every year

For me, night train is the best option. From personal experience (me, friends, girlfriend etc.) I can say that nothing bad has happened, and together I/we have taken it about 20 times...

As I said, ticket is 15 euro, and you pay the attendant 1000 dinar for a couchette berth. (there are no sleepers on this train, even though officially there should be)... potentially you could be sharing with up to 5 people (mixed gender) but in reality it will be something like this: ask the guy if you can be 'female only' (he will say yes) and you might share with 1 or 2 other females, but probably you will be alone in the compartment. Lock the door (can NOT be opened from outside) and sleep soundly. (until the border, at least :D )

You can also just ride in a seat (2 separate female friends did this recently, I did it 2 years ago) but it's better to lie down in a couchette

Second best option would be bus - you have the driver there which can maybe make you feel more secure. But, you have to sit up all night and it's more expensive

GEA tours - no personal experience, but reviews are mixed .

You are right to research and have concerns, but I believe train to be the best option. I don't see how it's any less safe than being in a small van with total strangers (including driver) anyway...

Have fun... train travel is great!

New Zealand
Level Contributor
437 posts
92 reviews
8. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

Thanks everyone for your help. Thinking seriously of taking the night train now. Cheers Kiwi

Bratislava, Slovakia
Destination Expert
for Bratislava
Level Contributor
2,699 posts
9. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

No worries. Feel free to ask any more questions

Lille, France
1 post
10. Re: Belgrade to Budapest, daytime train or bus?

For Belgrade - Budapest trip I can only recommend the night train. This is the only way not to loose 8 hours in a slow train via a depressive landscape. Anyway as there are several connections between the two cities I can only suggest to check out all train and bus connections on the website of the Serbian journey planner Polazak.com: http://www.polazak.com/en/timetable/bus It contains all bus and train timetables in Serbia and it is regularly updated. Have a nice journey!