International travel information

Short information on travel conditions

So many countries, so many trains, fares and reductions. The staff of MÁV-START will help you find your way: read this information and get to know the travel conditions of the European railways. If you need further assistance, we will choose the best price and best route for you, and let you know about the rules. Call MÁVDIREKT at +36 (1) 3 49 49 49 or go to one of our international ticketing points.

To be able to choose the best offer, you will have to think about your whole journey. It is worth your while to obtain detailed information before departure, because in different countries there are different offers for different routes.

To be able to find the best price, you will have to know:

  • the destination,
  • the number of passengers,
  • the age of the passengers,
  • the time and date of the journey.

Different offers have been developed for those travelling all over in one country or for those travelling all over Europe, and one-time return journeys also have different prices.

It is good to know that sometimes it is cheaper to buy a ticket for the return journey than for just an outward journey. One has to be aware that for some trains seat reservation is mandatory. And there are routes for which it is only worth buying a ticket for the given train, given date, given seat. Any passenger travelling with a different type of ticket should pay extra fare.

Is it so very complicated? Well, it is a somewhat rainbow rich diversity. Just like Europe itself. So many railways, so many different customs.

The information below will help you to get to know the world of European railways.

1. If you only want to embark on a return journey, buy a return ticket for a given destination

A return ticket is worth buying for those who make a journey to a given location and return, and do not plan any other journey. (Passengers wishing to roam in Europe or in the vicinity of the given destination, should find out about our rail passes.)

It is good to know that the following are also international return journeys,

  • if the outward and return journeys take place on different routes,
  • if the return journey does not start from the destination, but from another station
  • if the passenger does not return to the station where he departed from.

For example, the following are international return journeys:

Outward journey: Budapest – Stúrovo – Bratislava

Return journey: Kosice – Hidasnémeti – Budapest

1. 1. Return ticket price reductions on the railways of Central-Eastern Europe

MÁV-START has agreed with several railway companies of Central and Eastern Europe that a big discount from the normal international ticket price is given in the case of a return journey. (Example: one can make a return journey to Romania with a 50% discount.)

Distance based tariff

These ticket prices are calculated in terms of the distance between the departure station in Hungary and the destination abroad via a given route. It is important to know that the ticket is not valid via a different route.

The distance based tariffs are available in the Standard International Passenger Tariffs (TCV) books.

We provide several reductions. Discover the old towns of Krakow and Prague, take a trip to Kosice. Transylvania and the Croat beaches are waiting for you. You can make a journey to the following countries with big return ticket discounts:

Slovakia, the Chech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia.

1. 2. One way low price offers

The world of railways in Europe is very varied. The normal international tariffs determined by the railway companies are often relatively high, therefore they offer lower prices for flexible passengers. These are valid only for a given train, and they are offered – as long as the limited number of tickets are still available.

Market price

Railways use several price levels for the same connection to meet passenger needs. This is the system of market prices. Eg, the given price may depend on the date of booking too.

Global price

The unit price called global price in railway parlance includes both the ticket and reservation for a given train. A reservation does not only mean a seat as such: it can also mean a berth to lie on and a comfortable bed on a night train. The global price does not clearly depend on the distance covered. The global prices are not always fix prices, for a given route tickets can be sold at several price levels depending on demand, meaning that the global price can be market price too.

Market price in Hungary: SparSchiene, Europa Spezial, Smart Price

It is often the case that railways in Europe offer such tickets which are worth booking well in advance as long as stocks are available. In the case of the these tickets refund, exchange is often not allowed, and the ticket is only valid for a train departing on the given day, at the given time, on a given route and for the given seat. The issued ticket contains all this info. Such tickets are also available for trains departing from Hungary. The sooner you make your booking, the more likely you can get one of the cheapest tickets.

Seat reservation

In Hungary all international ticket offices are connected to the international seat reservation system.

European global prices

You can travel on the night trains of our Austrian partner, ÖBB from Vienna to Italy and Germany and further, for example to France. The French railways also offers global prices. The Austrian and French railways use several tariff levels for these trains, the early birds can pick up the cheapest seats.

2. All over the continent

For international travel we offer several passes. These can be used – within a given period - for an unlimited number of journeys. Eg, with InterRail One Country pass a whole country can be roamed. With InterRail Global pass you can roam almost the whole of Europe for 22 days. InterRail is worth buying if you are planning to make at least one trip as well in the target country. It is good to know that on trains with market prices and global prices passengers with a pass are charged an extra fee. Normally a supplementary ticket shall be purchased in advance. This is mainly the case on night trains with global price and on high-speed trains. Seat reservation is mandatory for some trains. For example, on the French TGV trains (depending on the covered section) between 3 and 22 € shall be paid for the supplementary ticket. More detailed information can be requested from the given railway company or is available in the InterRail tariff.

3. Using the night trains

It is worth making your journey at night: in the morning you can enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Alpine peaks, or perhaps your train is already winding its way through the Carpathians. In the sleeping cars you can find wide and comfortable beds, the compartments are equipped with a wash basin, sometimes with a shower. The couchettes have practical, fold-down beds. On the EuroNight and other branded trains the staff serves breakfast. The train takes you straight into the heart of the city. Eg. in Munich you only have to cross the street next the main station, and you can start your window shopping among the luxury shops of the Bavarian capital.

Sleeping car
We offer three kinds of sleeping car accommodation: single, double, and triple (tourist). The compartments of the sleeping car are completely closed, no one can look in from the corridor. The beds are above each other. The third, uppermost bed is only comfortable for a small passenger. There is a wash basin in all compartments. Bed linen and drinking water are available for all passengers. The conductor of the sleeping car makes the beds for the passengers, he converts the seats to beds. There is also a buffet in the sleeping car: cold drinks and snacks are served for the passengers. The sleeping cars are operated by different companies, so the condition of the vehicles and the services offered are also different. Eg, Hungarian cars go to Munich, whereas the sleeping cars of the Czech railway go to Prague.

We offer two kinds of couchettes: with four and with six berths. The couchettes have glass walls, but curtains can be drawn on the side of the corridor too. The design of the fold-up bed is such that during the day the compartment can offer comfortable seats. A small pillow, sheet and a blanket are provided for all passengers. The conductor of the couchette converts the seats to beds in the evening.

Direct car
In international traffic the night trains feature direct cars. In practice this mean that certain cars are uncoupled from the given train at a given station, and are coupled to another train that takes them to another destination. So the passengers do not have to change trains.

4. Children

Children can travel free until the age of four. In some countries this concession it is available until the age of six (eg.: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary). Children under 12 pay half price. In some countries this age limit is higher (eg. the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia).

5. Animals

Animals can only be transported if no passenger objects to them. Dogs can be taken for 50% of the adult fee, wearing a muzzle. Other small pets can be taken in a cage or other suitable receptacle, free of charge. The animals cannot cause any harm, cannot soil the environment, cannot disturb the journey with their smell and noise.

6. Groups

Group concession can be granted if the fare is paid for at least six passengers This concession varies from country to country. Ask for information at the ticket offices.

7. Bicycle

Bicycles can only be taken on international trains marked in the timetable as such. Normally it is mandatory to book a seat.

8. Blind people and their escorts, persons in a wheelchair and their escorts

Blind passengers and their escorts can travel free of charge in the case of distance based tariff. They may receive a different concession on trains with market prices. Only tickets valid for direct international return journeys can be issued based on a special card.

The prices given in euro shall always be paid in HUF with the rate of exchange determined by MÁV. The information provided here shall be considered summary information, giving the most important information for passengers. Detailed and accurate, authentic information on the regulation of international tariffs can be found in the Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail(COTIF), and in its annex, the International Conditions of Sale (CIV), (Act LXXVII of 2006).

It is on the basis of these provisions and rules that Common Passenger’s Tariff (TCV) books, and their special annexes are applied in international practice, which can be seen in our international ticket offices. The international ticket offices of the railway company provide information on other tariffs and agreements defining international tariffs.