Budapest to Krakow means getting from the bustling Hungarian capital to one of the most exciting cities in Poland. From fun nightlife to hipster cafes, from historical sites to beautiful riversides, both cities are well worth visiting. So, what if you want to see both and would like to travel from Budapest to Krakow? No worries, there are plenty of ways to travel between these cities.
This guide on travelling from Budapest to Krakow will list all available options for getting between the cities. There’s detailed info on trains, buses, and planes. We will also give you a few tips on the best routes if you decide to drive. So, how to get from the steaming thermal baths of the Hungarian capital to the former residence of Polish monarchs?
What’s in this guide to travelling from Budapest to Krakow
- Budapest to Krakow by plane
- Budapest to Krakow by train
- Budapest to Krakow by bus
- Budapest to Krakow by car
Budapest to Krakow by plane
Cost: From 69 PLN
It only takes one hour to get from Budapest to Krakow if you choose the quickest way to travel – the plane. Luckily, it’s often the cheapest way to get from the Hungarian capital to the big K, especially if you travel light. The bad news is that there is only one airline that currently offers direct flights between the cities, and they only fly it seasonally – Ryanair.
The low-cost airline operates flights from Budapest to Krakow, but they only do so until the end of October (2022). At the time of writing, there are no flights scheduled on this route from November onwards. That said, we’d expect them to return in the summer. If that doesn’t happen though, you could fly to Warsaw instead and travel overland to Krakow. You can also get a connecting flight with Austrian, LOT, or Lufthansa.
The cheapest Ryanair flights from Budapest to Krakow start at around 69 PLN. That doesn’t include any baggage beyond a small cabin bag, so you will have to fork out extra if you don’t travel light.
Budapest to Krakow by train
Cost: From €14.99 (≈72 PLN)
The second-best option for travelling from Budapest to Krakow is by railway. It might not be as quick as planes, but you won’t have limits on baggage. Plus, your carbon footprint will be much lower if you decide to ditch air travel. There are two trains a day on this route. The first one leaves in the morning and arrives in Krakow late afternoon. The second one leaves Budapest in the evening and travels overnight.
So, let’s take a look at the details of each of the options.
Budapest to Krakow on a daytime train
Cost: From €14.99 (≈72 PLN)
The quickest train on this route leaves the Hungarian capital at 8.28 in the morning and takes just a little over eight and a half hours to reach Krakow. Apart from being faster than the overnight option, you will benefit from the wonderful views from your windows along the way.
These trains are modern and comfortable. The seats come in an open-plan space or in six-seater compartments with plenty of space and legroom. That’s in second class, which in our opinion is comfy enough not to consider upgrading.
You can buy these tickets online via a Polish or Hungarian website or at the international counters at either of the stations up to 60 days before your planned travel dates. There is a limited number of promotional tickets for €14.99, but those usually sell out quickly. The price usually goes up close to the departure date, so we recommend planning your trip further in advance.
Budapest to Krakow on a sleeper train
Cost: From €14.99 (≈72 PLN)
Another direct train from Budapest to Krakow is an overnight sleeper. The journey is over ten hours long, so it’s far from your fastest option. However, this train will save you money on one night’s accommodation, so it’s worth considering even if the tickets are more expensive.
Apart from standard seats, similar to those on daytime trains, the sleepers come with six or four berth couchettes and pricier three, two or one-person sleeping compartments. The cheapest fares of €14.99 are for the upright seats, but the most budget-friendly sleeping options start at €35 (≈167 PLN).
You can buy these tickets online or in person no sooner than 60 days before the departure. You can choose the class and seat type online, so there is no need to make your way to the station to book your trip. However, we recommend booking these in advance, because promotional tickets are limited.
Budapest to Krakow by bus
Cost: From 89.99 PLN
Trains aren’t your fastest overland way of getting from Budapest to Krakow, though. It’s actually quicker to travel by road, and that includes buses. Travelling by coach can also be cheaper than any other public transport option, especially if you miss the promotional train fares. That said, the cramped Flixbus seats are far from comfortable, especially if you’re tall. The other downside is that the bus stations in Budapest are not in the centre, so you always have to count additional time for getting there.
Flixbus is the only major company operating direct buses from Budapest to Krakow. They run on this route multiple times a day, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding one at a suitable time. That said, we recommend checking how long it takes and the departure and arrival stations beforehand. They’re not always the same.
You can buy tickets online on the Flixbus website, which is very easy to navigate. You can book your trip up to six weeks in advance, and we recommend planning it at least two weeks ahead of the journey to get the best rates. They start at around 89.99 PLN.
Budapest to Krakow by car
Driving is the fastest overland way to travel from Budapest to Krakow, but you should know that it’s not exactly a short journey. The most direct route is over 400 kilometres long. It runs through Slovakia. However, it’s actually a stunning drive with many potential pitstops along the way, so it’s worth splitting up the trip if you’re not in a rush.
The drive takes you through the beautiful Low Tatras National Park and Veľká Fatra National Park, both of which offer fantastic hiking opportunities. You can also take an alternative route across the eastern side of High Tatras. It’s one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Europe.
There is also a third potential route, which is over 600 km but doesn’t take much longer than the shortest way. It runs along faster motorways and express roads, but also right by many interesting cities. Those include Brno, Bratislava and potentially even Vienna.
Is there a direct train from Krakow to Budapest?
Yes, there are two direct trains from Krakow to Budapest. You can either travel on a daytime train that leaves Krakow late morning or on an overnight sleeper, Chopin.
How long is the train journey from Krakow to Budapest?
The fastest train from Krakow to Budapest is a connection via Breclav that takes 8 hours and 30 minutes. However, the most convenient option is a direct train that takes between 8 hours 46 minutes and 9 hours 23 minutes to reach the Hungarian capital.
How long does it take from Krakow to Budapest?
The fastest way to travel from Krakow to Budapest is by plane, which only takes one hour. If you want to travel overland, though, driving is your quickest option. It takes around six hours to reach the Hungarian capital from southern Poland.