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Mother daughter trip to Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Budapest,

Travelling for the first time, mother and daughter trip. My mom is a nervous traveller, not adventurous at all. Therefore, I will be in charge of the trip at all times. We are both at a healthy age to travel. I am considering to book an independant trip with pre arranged travel and hotel accommodations between each place. I need some help on the easiest way to travel in between, bus or train?? As I will be guiding my mother along. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated! I have also considered hiring private car transfers (best trips), altho they are quite expensive compared to the train and bus rides. Any other companies that can be suggested for travel? We will need english speaking transfers. Can private transfers be arranged cheaper if we did it at each hotel?

Here is what I am thinking:

3 nights prague, ... Hotel Agnes?
2 nights cesky krumlov ...
3 nights Vienna - day trip Danube boat cruise & Melk Abbey Tour .. K & T Boardinghouse?
4 nights Budapest ... Hotel Victoria?

I was also considering one night in Salzburg and decreasing a night in Vienna. Need some suggestions on charming boutique hotels in each city, possibly even B & B's.


Posted by
505 posts

I can't help with the transportation question, but for what it's worth: Cesky Krumlov, while unique and charming, can be enjoyed in 1 day. You might want to consider shifting one of your 2 days to either Vienna or Prague. (We were very pleased with our (1-night) hotel in CK: Hotel Garni MYŠÍ DÍRA ( Also, I believe day-trip bus tours to CK are available from Prague; this might enable you to eliminate a hotel switch from the itinerary. Finally, it's a tough choice, but I think I'd save Salzburg for a return trip and spend more time in Vienna, especially with your cruise and Melk visits consuming a day or two.

Posted by
608 posts

I haven't been to most of these places yet, but am currently researching them for a trip this fall. I have found that the train between Vienna and Budapest seems quite inexpensive and simple. I am considering doing a combination of trains and private transfers. I found a different company called Daytrip that also does door-to-door transfers in Europe, and let's you add some sightseeing stops along the way. I compared it to Best Trips and Daytrip looks less expensive. I cannot vouch for them, however, as I haven't used them and haven't found anyone that has, although they have good reviews on TripAdvisor. Happy planning! Sounds like a great trip!

Posted by
504 posts

You definitely will save money by doing the planning yourself instead of a tour, but the tour would give you peace of mind by not having to plan trips, meals, attractions and not waiting in line for tickets. RS always has suggestions for good guides in each city. In Prague we used Lida Janska to book a modern place although it was on the third floor with no elevator. You can travel from Prague to Cesky Krumlov by shuttle or on Student Bus. It is convenient and relaxing. The bus drops you at the bus terminal which is a 10 minute walk from the center of town. We stayed at Pension Kozak (420724017258) which was great and the host served a great breakfast. We walked to the B&B on cobble stones but I'm not sure if there is some transport that can drop you there. From CK to Vienna the easiest mode of travel would be a shuttle. Some of them pick you up and drop you at your hotel. You can do train but it will require you to transfer trains at a couple of stations. Vienna to Budapest is an easy train ride. A taxi can drop you off at your hotel for convenience instead of taking the metro and walking to your hotel. Have fun!

Posted by
5 posts

I did consider staying in Prague and doing a day trip to CK. It would make things easier for transfers inbetween Prague and Vienna.

I like the idea of private transfers if we can find decent prices. Thanks for the website tip! I will check out Day trips as well.

I can change our itinerary to one night in CK or eliminate and add another night in Vienna??

4 Nights Prague
1 Night CK or add another night to ?
3 Nights Vienna
4 Nights Budapest

Any day trip suggestions from each destination?
We love the idea of visiting small quant old towns, castles, churches, wineries,
Authentic places to eat?

Posted by
1492 posts

You need private transfers for CK, only. For all other destinations there are inexpensive express trains available.

I would decrease the number of nights for Prague and Budapest by one each, adding them to Vienna. You will need the time if you want to go to Melk and Wachau valley, and for a day trip to Salzburg.

I would leave Prague early in the morning, go to CK by shuttle, spend the day there, and continue in the late afternoon with another shuttle to Vienna.

Posted by
4637 posts

I would leave your itinerary as you have it. You need four nights in Prague. That gives you three full days. Prague is your first destination and some jet lag is unavoidable. For a day trip consider Kutna Hora (another medieval town one hour from Prague) or one of these castles: Karlstejn, Krivoklat, Konopiste. I cannot recommend Cesky Krumlov as a day trip. Too far from Prague for that. Besides it is crowded in the season. When day crowds leave it's much better. It also looks different at night. Very magic and fairy tale. You can take shuttle from Prague to C.K. but if you don't want to spend too much go by bus. It takes about three hours. Or one direct train a day. Many with change in Ceske Budejovice. It is possible to go by public transport from C.K. to Vienna. If you want to save time (and money) go by shuttle to Linz and then by train to Vienna. 3 nights in Vienna = 2 full days it's not much. But you don't want to take from Prague or Budapest and you don't want to skip C.K. So you will need to move fast in Vienna. Prague and Budapest are real eye candies (Prague a little bit more). Fantastic views across the river of the castles and hills in both. Prague in addition has two medieval neighborhoods. Vienna is grandiose but lacks those views. Many charming boutique hotels in all of your destinations. In Prague I stayed U Prince and Betlem Club. In Vienna in Pension Nossek. C.K. hotel Konvice. In Budapest some pension. The name of it no more in my memory. In Salzburg hotel Elefant. But it looks like you won't have time for it this trip. Next time. Less is sometimes more.

Posted by
2320 posts

I think your revised itinerary is just right--I haven't been to CK but as others say, do a private transfer from Prague to CK, spend the night, then private transfer to Vienna. Easy just under 3 hr train trip from Vienna to Budapest, even 1st class is quite affordable at about $40 US, though 2nd is fine.

Prague I spent 4 days and needed that time, had considered a day trip to Kutna Hora or Terezin but really used it all wandering the lovely town and across the Charles Bridge for Mala Strana and castle exploring. I stayed at the lovely Iron Gate Hotel on Michalska, steps from the main square.

Vienna is a favorite, have been there twice now and loved the Le Meridien and Hotel Am Stephansplatz. Spent 6 days and did day trips to Melk Abbey/Wachau via the train and boat, also to Salzburg. I'd choose Melk only as it is an easy 3/4 day trip, whereas Salzburg really deserves more than a day trip.

Budapest is my most favorite place on earth and I'll be back for the 4th time in May. 4 nights is a great start--you can easily fill that time in Budapest itself, plenty to do, or take a day trip via the HEV suburban train to Szentendre, a charming little artist's colony along the Danube about 45 minutes away. I usually arrive around 11, poke around for a couple of hours, have lunch and I love the Margit Kovacs museum--she was Hungary's first important female ceramacist and her works are delightful, head back to Budapest around 3 or 4. On Fridays they have a street fair going on. The first 3 visits I stayed at the Residence Baron off Fovam ter, near the Great Market Hall and the Danube, this upcoming trip I am staying more mid-town at Hotel Medosz.

Posted by
10 posts

I'm doing something similar with my mom as well. I decided to do it all myself. Our itinerary is the following:
3 nights in Prague
travel to Salzburg by shuttle with about 4 hour stop in Cesky Krumlov to look around. I wasn't planning on stopping here, but we are using and their Prague-Salzburg shuttle stops at CK so we are going to take advantage. It'll be two nights in Salzburg and then the last 3 in Vienna. You might want to consider doing the Prague Cesky Salzburg shuttle and staying two nights in Salzburg as opposed to Cesky Krumlov. We are taking a beautiful Lakes Salzkammergut Tour or something such in Salzburg and I know my mom is going to love it. From Salzburg to Vienna we are taking the Westbahn. It's only 26 euros to Vienna.
P.S. When are you travelling? We are going the first week in June.
Good luck and have fun!

Posted by
5 posts

I'm loving all the ideas so far. I'm considering to spend 4 Nights In Prague, take a shuttle to CK and spend one night. Then take the shuttle to Vienna. That will give us 3 Nights in Vienna, which I know is tight. Then 4 Nights in Budapest.

Second option, is to spend 3 Nights in Prague, take the shuttle to Salzburg stopping into CK for a few hours of sightseeing on the way, 2 Nights in Salzburg, 3 Nights in Vienna, and 4 Nights in Budapest.

Is it worth taking the detour to Salzburg over spending a night in CK???

The second option looks like a much busier itinerary, and I'm concerned about the pace being too fast. I feel like I'm leaning towards one night CK then off to Vienna.

Any suggestions on day trips in each place?

Posted by
1492 posts

Cesky Krumlov is very scenic, but in my opinion Salzburg and Vienna are superior hotspots of culture and history.

If you want to save money (and time) go from CK to Linz with the private shuttle, and take from there an express train to either Salzburg or Vienna.

Posted by
4690 posts

I think you are leaning a bit too heavy on the Rick Steves' guide, as evidenced in your choice of hotel in Vienna. With only 3 nights, there is absolutely no reason to stay outside of the city center. There are many other lovely and affordable hotels around.

"We love the idea of visiting small quant old towns, castles, churches, wineries" - this is interesting as it seems you are spending all of your time in large cities. Aside from your trip to the Wachau Valley, you will be hustling and bustling your whole trip. Perhaps you want to re-think what you are doing?

Posted by
5476 posts

You have been getting good advice. Having used Rick Steves recommended car service (long ago) for a daytrip to CK, I would suggest that you are fixating too much on the cost. It will likely be higher through the hotel. The question is whether you really want to see CK, or whether your mother will ever get another chance at (one of many) attractive medieval towns in Europe. The private transfer is expensive because it is far and public transit options are poor. It also makes sense (for those with the cash) when ending up in Austria.

CK was a must for me, but it is not a must for everyone. The fact that you are considering a single night in Salzburg (which makes sense geographically), where we stayed 3 nights, including a touristy bus tour, suggests that you don't have enough, er ... , firmly formed desires. Think about why you chose these destinations, and what day trips (make more plans than you will have time to do, in case of closures or hitches alongbthe way) you plan. That will also give you a better feel for "packed" days. Tell us if you have Rick's book.

Edit: I am not of the (often expressed here) view that X place (today, CK) "must be seen after the daytrippers leave." Since the car service is likely to be cheaper if you just spend four to six hours in CK than if you make them DRIVE BACK to CK to take you to Vienna or Salzburg (!), I would consider not spending the night there. It is a very picturesque place, but I don't think you must spend the night. I would skip the Chateau/Palace tour (which I thought was a bit of a dump), but see the Baroque Theater if you can get a ticket.

If your mother has no interest in classical music, marionettes, World War II, or Julie Andrews movies, maybe you should skip Salzburg? Like Prague, Vienna has unlimited things to see and do.

Posted by
5 posts

I do not have Rick's book! This will be my first trip travelling to Europe. I would love to have more days than 12, but it's not going to be possible. The maximum I could possibly take would be 14 days. So I'm trying to put together the best overall itinerary I can that will give us an amazing experience of this area.

I thought it would be a great idea to ask for opinion of other travellers, to see how to put together our trip. Although I am trying to keep it cost effective, I am also quite open to adding in small gems to visit outside of the tourist trap. Cost effective is not my main priority.

As my mother is quite a nervous traveller, my goal is to have pre arranged transportation between each place, whether its a train, or shuttle. I'm open to either, as long as its easy.

I would love to hear your suggestions regarding accommodations in Vienna.

Posted by
2320 posts

I gave hotel names (all were charming boutiques) in my previous post and so have a few others, so what I suggest is going online--I like Expedia, personally, haven't selected a disappointing place yet out of 12 so I use them at least for research--and searching for places in the various cities that suit your budget and lodging preferences--I travel solo and prefer a fairly nice hotel experience with a good-sized room, 24 hr front desk, A/C in warmer months, close to public transit, and breakfast if possible. Much as I love Rick's guidance otherwise, I do not follow his lodging recommendations.

Posted by
5 posts

All such great advice! It's so hard to make decisions when I would like to visit them all!

I think I am going to stick with my original plan altering it slightly.

4 Nights Prague
Hotel - Iron Gate Hotel or Hotel Agnes
-day tour to Kutna Hora and/or possibly Terezin

1 Night in CK
Hotel - Dovark Hotel or Hotel Konvice or Pension Kozark
-take shuttle to Vienna

4 Nights in Vienna
Hotel - Le Meridan, Hotel AM Stephanszlate
-day trip, Train ride to Melk, Tour Melk Abbey, boat ride down Danube to Krems, train back to Vienna

4 Nights in Budapest
Hotel - K and K Opera House or Hotel Victoria
-day trip to Pecs
-day trip to Godolla Palace
-day trip to Esztergum

As much as I would like to add in Salzburg, I would have to consider taking a night away from CK and Vienna.

Instead take a shuttle from Prague, visit CK for 3 hours then continue on to the shuttle to Salzburg.
2 Nights in Salzburg. Then spend 3 nights in Vienna. I'm still considering this, as I may not get the chance to return to this area again!

Posted by
2320 posts

I visited Godollo from Budapest and found it to be quite a lovely little palace experience (though it's the 2nd largest Baroque castle in the world)--not overwhelming, but full of lots of interesting things to see and if you develop an interest in Vienna for things to do with Franz Josef and his adored queen Sissi it's a nice add-on to visit the palace as she truly loved the Hungarian people and spent a lot of time at Godollo. It was very easy to take the HEV suburban train #8 there, maybe a 30 minute ride and the castle is right across from the station. I spent about 3 hours there, would have explored more but had to get back to Budapest for a show at the Operettszinhaz. I hope to visit Pecs on my upcoming trip, it's about 3 hours south of Budapest by train.

That's another recommendation for you if you and your mom like light comedic musicals--check out the offerings at for your dates. Gorgeous old theatre, absolutely delightful show and the prices are incredibly cheap for the quality of the performance. There are supertitles in English--though the crowd is mainly Hungarians as I didn't see many others looking up at the translation.

Posted by
8774 posts

We used CK Shuttle ( to go from Prague - CK and from CK - Vienna. I booked it well in advance. The drivers spoke English. We only spent one night in CK. We left Prague reasonably early in the day and had most of a day in CK. We chose the door to door option with the shuttle and thought it was reasonably priced and easy. We rented an apartment in Prague. In Vienna we did stay at KT Boardinghouse after receiving a recommendation from a friend. It was a good price and the location was walkable to some places and near a U-Bahn stop if you want to go further.

You and your mother should do fine. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1 posts

so glad I found this post. I'm taking my daughters to Budpest, Vienna and PRague in May. We only have 8 days. I was thinking

land wed. a 9am in Budapest
Fri later afternoon train to Vienna
Monday early morning train to Prauge
Wed. night fly back to Budapest for flight home on Thursday.

That gives us 3 days in Budapest
2 full days and 3 night in Vienna
2 1/2 days in Prague

I was planning on taking the train to melk an then the boat to Krems and train bak to vienna one day.

If I was to cut a day from prague or budapest to add one more to vienna which would you chose?

Posted by
2320 posts

Cathy—you really should consider open jaw, fly into Budapest, train to Vienna, whichever transport suits to Prague and home from there. Really, with 8 days I’d do 4 each in Budapest and Vienna and leave Prague for another trip as it needs a minimum of 4 days.