a VirtualTourist member from Cambridge
Can anyone advise the easiest way to transfer from Budapest to Balaton? Would coach or train be better? Any idea of the cost of the transfer or where I can find train or coach timetables?
Trains are faster, and you already have a website for schedules from another VYer. When we were there last summer the service was quite frequent, but the coaches themselves were older and unair-conditioned. If any of your party qualifies for discounted fares (student, over 65, veteran, etc.), there are loads of concessionary rates, which you can find on the schedule. People over 65 can ride trains free in Hungary provided they travel second class.
If you want to see a bit more, renting a car for a day (or 2) is also a good option. We booked (at Hertz) when we arrived at the airport, had the car delivered at our hotel a few days later and dropped it off at the airport on departure. Very convenient, though public transport is of course cheaper!
Have a nice trip!
We took a train to Szekesfehervar, about an hour's ride away from Budapest and toured the area without having to drive in Budapest. It can be hard to find parking in the city.
If you're on the southern side the trains run almost along side the water so you get a tremendous journey with great views. Not all services stop at all the stations so you need to check. Fiona
You'll find trains easier to use than buses, and train frequencies are much better. I recommend taking IC (InterCity) trains, they are air-conditioned and MUCH cleaner than the old carriages most local and express trains forward. You need a seat reservation and an IC supplementary ticket, you can get these at the station at any ticket desk. There are railway lines all around the lake, the Budapest-Szekesfehervar-Siofok-Nagykanizsa line on the south shore, Szekesfehervar-Balatonfured-Tapolca on the north shore and two shorter lines connecting these at the eastern and western ends of the lake, the latter one serving the town of Keszthely.
MAV Hungarian State Railways www.elvira.hu
Volan Association (coaches) www.menetrendek.hu/cgi-bin/menetrend/html.cgi
Kapos Volan (local buses in south shore towns)www.kaposvolan.hu/fooldal/menetrend/helyi.php
Zala Volan (Keszthely local buses)
Balaton Volan (Balatonfured local buses)
Somlo Volan (Tapolca local buses)