Many travelers have asked me how to travel from Budapest to Zagreb or vice versa. At first glance on the map, the distance of less than 350 km, shouldn’t be a big problem.
I have had the opportunity to travel from Budapest several times and I must admit that none of my trips that was planned from this great metropolis finished the way I planned.
The main reason for that is the fact that Hungarians simply do not want to speak a foreign language, and Budapest public transportation system is not at all simple and adapted to tourists. Sometimes it could be a nightmare of every tourist.
This is only my personal opinion, derived from my personal experience, and does not mean that this applies to all travelers traveling between these two capitals.
The fastest and cheapest way from Budapest to Zagreb
I have been thoroughly searching to figure out the best way to reach Zagreb from Budapest and some of them are the cheapest but not the fastest.
By private or rent a car
If you decide to drive from Budapest, this is the fastest way to reach Zagreb. Regarding the distance of only 345 kilometers (240 Miles) the driving is easy and fast (there are no delays at the border). It will normally take you about 03 and the half hours. On the way you can stop at Lake Balaton.
From Budapest you should turn into via M7 and E65/E71.This route has tolls and the approximate coast are 50.18 € including toll 5.60 €, consumption 34.79 €, road tax 9.79 €. In best conditions without heavy traffic, the travel time can be 03 hours.
Budapest is a huge city where you can easily get lost. The public transportation is rather difficult, so if you want to enjoy your holiday I advice you, rent a car with GPS. The best if you do it in advance and arrange to pick up at the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.
Buses from Budapest to Zagreb
The travel by bus between Hungary’s capital and the Croatian capital of Zagreb takes about 6 hours. There are infrequent buses that transport passengers between the two cities what also depends on the season.
If you are traveling from Budapest to Croatia, Zagreb will be the main junction to all Croatian destinations, specially those along the Adriatic coast (Split, Pula, Zadar, Dubrovnik) as well to nearby Slovenia and Italy.
There are several bus companies that keep connected Budapest to Zagreb. When taking a bus from Budapest it’s useful to explain, from which bus station, buses depart:
- Népliget is a bus station on the M3 line of the Budapest Metro near Groupama Arena, within the 9th District of Budapest. Check where is this bus station!
- This bus station is situated just outside the city center, but it is conveniently connected to the city by the Budapest Metro system.
- You can take Metro Line M3 to reach Népliget bus station, or in alternative, the 103 bus route and tram lines 1 and 1A.
Bus carriers Budapest – Zagreb – Budapest
Volanbusz / Flixbus
One of the most known bus carriers on this line is VOLÁNBUSZ (Eurolines Hungary). This year this carrier has announced that it will not be possible to use their booking online service as a new German company FLIXBUS, takes over the service on this line.
It seems to me good news, as German companies are traditionally for their accuracy and reliability. Anyhow if you keep using above Volanbusz book online engine, the system will redirect you to the website of Flixbus partner where you can buy your ticket.
Flixbus rates on route Budapest to Zagreb and vice-versa, seem to be very convenient with excellent service, including ‘no fees for booking online’, free Wi-Fi on board and 3 pieces of baggage included. Not bad at tall!
Entering on their booking online website, you will find for the moment, two departures from Budapest Népliget bus station to Zagreb and vice-versa. Probably the number of departures will be increased in high season (June to September 2017). All buses to Zagreb are direct!
From Budapest to capital of Croatia, operates another bus carrier Orange Ways, with additional destination. Actually company extends this route, including Ljubljana (Slovenia) as the final destination.
This bus carrier leaves also from Budapest Népliget bus station. According their website, their bus departs at 06:00 AP every day, and reach Zagreb bus station (Autobuski Kolodvor – Avenija Marina Drzica 4) at 11:30 AM. From Zagreb proceeds to Ljubljana, arriving at 01:30 PM.
Ticket prices (one way) are very competitive and range from € 10 to 18 to Zagreb and € 21 to Ljubljana. Two free pieces of luggage are included in price!
The ticket purchase is available personally from their ticket office and sales partners or online from their website. NB: Personally I do not answer for any inaccuracy in connection with this bus carrier!
From Hungarian capital to Croatian Capital by train
This means of transport is the slowest way to reach Zagreb, but more traditional and more romantic. The average travel time between Budapest and Zagreb is 6 hours and 30 minutes minutes.
There is an average of 2 trains a day on this route, what depends of the period of the year. In high season (June-September) are sometimes even more but it’s always necessary to check regularly train schedules.
Trains to Zagreb leaves either from Budapest Keleti station (Address: Dohány utcai Zsinagóga VII. Dohány u. 2-8, Pest Budapest).
This station is the largest among the three stations in Budapest and and is located about 2 miles from Budapest’s city center.You can reach this station by metro lines M2 and M4.
The second railway station is Budapest Southern Railway Station Déli Pályaudvar (find it on the map). Usually from this station leaves early morning train to Zagreb (at 06:05 AM)
In Zagreb all trains arrive on Zagreb train station (Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor), located in the very center (Lower town). Find it on the map!
Flying to Zagreb from Budapest
As far I know, there is no direct flights from Budapest to Zagreb. I have heard that Qatar Airways will commence direct, daily non-stop flights between Budapest and Zagreb, Croatia from May through to the end of October. But I couldn’t find the traces of these flights.