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8 days in Aus-Hungary-Czech

Hi
I have seen various versions of this itinerary but no definite thread. I am landing in Vienna early june and leaving from vienna with 7 nights and 8 days available. family of 4 with kids 11 and 13 years. Current thought is:
1. Land in vienna and stay overnight with light sightseeing (I have been to vienna before - vienna anchor is mainly due to the flight connections i got)
2. Travel to Prague (by train direct?). Stay there 2 nights with local sight seeing
3. Take a private transfer from prague to Budapest with transit through cesky krumlov or a night train from Prague to budapest to save hotel accommodations for 4 (2 rooms) and tourism time.
4. 3 nights in budapest with local tourism
5. Car or river or train from budapest to vienna
6. one night in vienna with local tourism and fly out late night

Questions:
1) do i just rent a car for the week - with no drop off fee since i start and end in vienna vs. public transport or shuttle/private car service. with 4 ppl in party, cost and convenience might be better by renting but i wanted to avoid the hassle of driving so much
2) best way to transfer between cities specially prague - budapest
3) is it possible to throw in hallstatt? I don't want to just do big cities but also try to see some of the natural beauty along the way. Are there other options in the route?
4) Any thoughts on split of days

We are regular visitors to europe and fairly comfortable moving around as such

Posted by
4637 posts

Your itinerary seems too busy for me. 2 nights in Prague. That's really only one day for sightseeing. 3 nights in Budapest. Those are only 2 days for sightseeing. I would not rent a car. Train. You go mostly from big city to big city. A lot of hassle with driving, parking etc. If you skip Cesky Krumlov you can go from Prague to Budapest by train. About 7 hours. Or you can fly and it will be little shorter but with hassle connected with flying. Hallstatt is very beautiful but I am afraid that this time you don't have time for it. To see and enjoy natural beauty you would need to adjust your itinerary and devote more nights and days to it.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks. Would you suggest to drop Budapest and add Hallstatt and neighboring areas instead (i have been to Salzburg in a previous trip)? That will cut down the Prague to Budapest leg too

Posted by
4637 posts

No. I would not cut Budapest and add Hallstatt instead.

Posted by
613 posts

I'm going to challenge your basic thinking. there are 4 great cities in EU-- Vienna, London (for now), Prague, and Rome. I've spent 11 days in Prague, 15 days in Vienna, 8 days in London, and 10 days in Rome & I feel like I'm just getting started in each of them (also 6 days in Budapest).

In Prague (my top pick), you need at least 1/2 day for Prague Castle, 4 hours to walk the Royal way, most of day for Old Town, half a day for the Jewish Quarter, 1/2 day for Mala Strana, and then it's time for serious sightseeing & museums. You plan 2 night in Prague, but that includes the better part of day one to get there, leaving only one day a bit to see Prague. Don't do it.

You have been to Vienna. What about the rest of the family? How long were you there (if less than two weeks, it wasn't long enough)?

I don't think you can get from Prague to Budapest via Cesky Krumlov in one day

Budapest is not in the same league as Prague & Vienna,so I strongly advise dropping Budapest (your plan smells of the "If It's Tuesday, it Must Be Belgium" syndrome.

Road trip to Hallstatt: Follow the river there the scenic Wachau Valley to Maria Taferl church, the second best work of the great Baroque archetect, Jakob Prandtaure. Then back track 6 miles to the Abbey at Melk, Prandtaure's masterpiece and in my book, the top sight in Europe. On to the Abbey Church just east of Linz where Bruckner is buried. Kids will be bummed out by the hundreds of skeletons stacked up in the church crypt. From Linz go north thru the Vlatavatal, (Moldau Velley) and lessen in classical music-- The Moldau is the second movement in Smetana's Ma Valast to Cesky Krumlov. Return to Linz. Go west along the river to the great Rococo church at Wilherring, then thru the Salzkammergut to Bad Ischl (Emperor's hunting lodge). Go up the mountain to Bad Ausee. Mahler did most of his composing in small shed (still there) on the shore of the first of three secnic lakes that run east of Bad Ausee. Continue south to the right turn for the road than runs along the north side of the mighty Dachstein. take the cable car up to the glacier and ice caves with great views of the Hallstattersee.

By approaching Hallstatt from th south, you can drive into town. The more common northern approach shunts you into a giant parking garage inside the mountain above the town.

From Hallstatt, go south to the base of the mighty Dachstein, turn right & right again to go north on the road parallel to thewest side of the Hallstatersee, then left and left to the Gosausee. Once you see the Gosausee, you will forget about Hallstatt, a third rate scene in comparison. The Gosausee is the most spectacular Alpine lake in the universe, and nobody knows about it except the natives. There is a hotel on the shore and the lake view rooms are well worth the extra charge. The amazing scenic background for the Gosausee is the west side of the mighty Dachstein massif (the south side is the most scenic).

Although I haven't finished the tour, it's time for bed. If you want the rest, do a reply so indicating.

.

Posted by
488 posts

With only 8 days and 2 kids I suggest you limit yourself to 2 cities.
Consider traveling to either Prague (4 hrs) or Budapest (3 hrs) the day you arrive in Vienna. That will save you 1/2 day of packing/unpacking.
Fly between Prague and Budapest to save time.
Return to Vienna the night before just in case there is a rail strike or other problem.
In a perfect world you could return to Vienna the day you fly out but that would be risking it.
Enjoy!

Posted by
432 posts

I agree with Nestor - immediately head to Budapest. Then back for your Vienna visit, then on to Prague. Back to Vienna for departure. C-K would not be advisable as it is not nearly direct. You would train from Prague to C-K, then down to Linz, then back over to Vienna. It would add about 3 hours of train travel if you find good connections. Also, last year the train to Linz from C-K was having track repair and you would want to check if it is scheduled again this year. It was a bus ride for the last hour to Linz!

And don't skip Budapest - it is a brilliant city.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks to all for suggestions. Interesting ideas. REason i was looking at C-K is i found a car service that would take the 4 of us from vienna to Prague and through C-K as a detour....

Posted by
6 posts

Any thoughts on taking the night train from Prague to Budapest to save time and also 2 hotel rooms (4 ppl). Should be a good experience for kids also?
Vs. taking the Ryan air or day train (full day loss)

Posted by
6 posts

Yes on the flight cost but then the two hotel rooms for our family also..

Posted by
432 posts

C-K is a heck of a detour from Vienna to Prague. I like the suggestion of flying from Prague to Budapest or vice-versa. Getting to/from Prague airport is a piece of cake and can be done cheaply and quickly on public transport. Budapest, less so.

Posted by
140 posts

I would recommend sticking to the trains and skipping the rental car. You'll eliminate a lot of hassle and stress, trying to find the exact car rental drop-off point and can use the time spent fussing with car pick-ups/drop-offs doing actual fun things.

Posted by
6 posts

Yes, decided to do trains and one car service between vienna and Prague just to help us also see Cesky Krumkov along the way