National rail operator
Facts about Hungary
- Currency: Forint (HUF)
- Timezone: 1+ UTC
- Language: Hungarian
Don’t even think of referring to Hungary as a Balkan country. Nothing irritates Hungarians more. Modern Hungary overflows with Habsburg tradition and sees itself as quintessentially central European. Some older Hungarians hanker after a lost imperial era, but a new dynamic generation of younger Hungarians are straight-talking, entrepreneurial and keen that their country should be centrally involved in European affairs. The European rail network is on their side, for few other countries are as well connected with the rest of Europe.
The national rail operator is Magyar Államvasutak or MÁV for short. It operates most, but by no means all, passenger trains in Hungary. Slip down to Keleti station in Budapest and you might see a sleek red Austrian Railjet leaving for Zurich or passengers climbing aboard Czech or Slovak carriages for an overnight journey to Berlin. There are direct trains from Budapest to a dozen other capital cities across Europe.
Hungary is a natural transit country for so many European journeys. Six trains each day cross the Hungarian-Ukrainian border (in each direction), including a very useful through service from Budapest to Lviv. There are excellent connections south into Serbia and east into Romania. Comfortable EuroCity or Intercity services link Budapest with Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria.
The national network has one major hub in Budapest. Fares for journeys within Hungary are very cheap, but travel times may be slow and some trains may be overcrowded. Tickets for journeys between major cities can be purchased here on Loco2.
Image credits: Pannonhalma, Hungary © Markborbely