Budapest to Belgrade on the Beograd Sleeper Train

Do you want to explore Eastern Europe with your family or friends on a shoestring budget? How about spending just 15 Euro per person to get from Budapest to Belgrade, including a bed for the night? Would you like to avoid the hassle of crowded European airports? Is seeing more of the beautiful European countryside on a comfortable train appealing to you? If so, look no further than this easy to follow guide to the Budapest to Belgrade Beograd sleeper train. Just the beginning of our five-country Eastern European summer escapade!

The Beginning of a Family Train Adventure

Although very few families consider long train journeys viable with young children, we decided to take a leap in the dark. Two and a half years ago, we exposed our four-year-old son Rafael to challenging bus travel through Mindanao, Philippines. Now it was time to continue his education. Through a succession of grueling Eastern European train journeys, we hoped he would learn to love the experience of watching the world go by and meet some real people too. That’s the beauty of train travel: it’s the way locals travel and you see so much more than flying. Of course, our trip began with a flight too:

British Airways to Budapest

A British Airways special offer had caught our eyes six months ago. Little more than a Ryanair fare secured seats on Britain’s premier airline. Unfortunately, between booking the flight and flying, the new director of BA shifted the vision of the airline. This meant the fun and games began at Heathrow check-in: an extremely rude hostess insisted we check in our carry on luggage because the flight was full. My protests about expensive camera equipment were met with a harsh rebuke: follow her instructions or don’t fly. In addition, BA now charged for food and drinks (sourced via Marks & Spencers). While they boasted this improved their service, eighteen pounds for three waters and a couple of sandwiches seemed like a rip off to me. Thankfully, the flight delivered us on time into Budapest’s airport, where we paid in advance for a taxi straight to the train station.

Budapest Kelati

The friendly taxi driver dropped us behind Budapest’s wonderfully preserved train station, Kelati, about 7pm. Just inside the door lay the ticket machine for international journeys, where I punched in the code for the tickets I had purchased two months previously. After that, with a few hours to kill before departure, we chose Nanjing Kinai, a surprisingly authentic Chinese restaurant near the train station, for dinner. It proved ideal to pass the time and avoid us hitting the dubious streets of Budapest weighed down with Euros and camera gear.

The Beograd

Around 9.30pm Hungarian train workers began to ready the graffiti-laden train sitting on the departure station for Belgrade. It wasn’t the most attractive looking train and the staff weren’t exactly helpful or friendly either. Eventually they called us over to find our beds. As we stepped on board, a foul stench from the toilet engulfed us; no sign of any refreshments either. Clearly this wasn’t going to be an amazing journey. In addition, a local gentleman had got on ahead of us and occupied one of the lower beds of our four berth couchette. Seemed like higher bunks were dangerous for a kid sleeping alone, so we decided to take turns to protect Raf on the bottom bunk and look after our belongings on the top. Therefore, it turned into a sacrificial journey with the sole function of getting us where we needed to go.

Belgrade Arrival

Seven hours later, after a patchy night of sleep, morning light pierced into my exhausted eyes. Oblivious to day light, Rafael and Mirasol slept on while I reveled in the early morning views across green fields and sleepy villages. An hour later the sleepy duo emerged from their sleep in time to shoot some film footage of them in the compartment and hanging out the window. Soon after that the Beograd crawled over a super long bridge, with Belgrade strewn out across the horizon either side of a magnificent river. The first stage in our epic five-part Eastern European journey was over; Podgorica, Montenegro was next!

Follow in our footsteps

– The overnight sleeper train called the Beograd leaves Budapest Keleti at 22:15 and arrives in Belgrade main station at 06:17. The train has a couchette car with 4 and 6 berth compartments.

– It costs just €15 (a permanent offer) plus €8 supplement for a couchette in 6-berth or €10 for a couchette in 4-berth. You get a clean sheet, pillow and blanket for each berth.

– You can buy tickets online at Hungarian Railways and easily collect your tickets in Budapest. Booking opens 60 days ahead.

–If, like we did, you want to go to Montenegro next, a daytime and overnight train connect Belgrade with Podgorica and Bar over one of the most spectacular lines in Europe. The fare is just €24, paid at the station on the day. Change at Podgorica for a bus to Budva or Kotor.

– Two daytime trains are also available, leaving Budapest Keleti at 7.57am and 11.57 am respectively.


  1. This is a great experience for families traveling together. Surely the kids will learn a lot all throughout the journey. About how's life like in other places. As for Raf, he will surely remember this experience as he grow old.

    Derick and I would love to experience overnight sleeper train. Hopefully we can do it in one of our future travels. Looking forward to read more of your travel escapades this summer.

    1. Thanks so much for reading the post Joy. More posts are coming soon about Montenegro and other Eastern European escapades.


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