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Prague for Christmas, Vienna for New Year's, what to do with 3 extra days in between?

We really need some advice from all of you experienced travelers out there-we will be in Prague Dec 23-28 and want to be in Vienna Dec 31-Jan 3. We just can't decide the best use of the 3 days in between-Budapest is possible or does Salzburg make more sense? The problem is flying out to get home from Salzburg means a night in Munich. We are not savvy about Europe but want to experience as much as we can, but given we only have so much time something has to give. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Reading this forum has been extremely helpful.

Posted by
3392 posts

I suggest you go to Budapest...it's relatively close to both Prague and Vienna and well worth 3 days of your time, minus travel-time of course. Salzburg is on the other side of Austria and is the outlier in your itinerary.

Posted by
7175 posts

If the time is in the middle of your trip then I don't see how the choice affects your departure.
Salzburg, Munich and Budapest would all work, however I would personally choose Krakow in Poland.

Posted by
150 posts

Thanks, due to fight availability (using airline rewards) we had to extend the whole trip so now we are going to do 5 days in Prague, 3 in Vienna including New Years, and end with 3 full days in Budapest. Next up, it's on to finding hotels that accept points, another fun project!

Posted by
18761 posts

If it were me, the time in Prague is a little long. I would cut it down by spending a night in Cesky Krumlov on the way to Vienna. There are relatively inexpensive shuttles (Bean Shuttle is one) that run from Prague to Cesky K. and then to Vienna. Also serves to cut down on a slightly long train trip between Prague and Vienna.

Anytime you are staying three nights or more in a town an apartment can be a good idea. You can usually find a nice place near the sights but one that is still a few minutes back into a neighborhood uncorrupted by tourism. Sort of gives you the best of both worlds.

For me at least it’s all about location. Sometimes I return to the room a few times during the day and I don’t want that to be a half hour each way and I don’t want the trip to be in an underground metro system. In Prague we have stayed at the Hotel Ventana and it was one of the more memorable accommodation experiences we have had. In Vienna I have yet to stay in a reasonably priced hotel I would return to. If it’s a special occasion or just your style the Hotel Imperial is nice. For location I would suggest some place within a few minutes of the intersection of the Kärntner Straße and the Kärntner Ring.

My recommendations in Budapest are over at the Hungary Forum.

In Cesky Krumlov, if that is an idea you are interested in; the Hotel Dvoark, but only for its location.

Posted by
150 posts

Thanks for all your great suggestions, James. We are staying in hotels because we are using Capital One points-we actually tried to book the Ventana but it wasn't on the approved list. The K & K Maria Theresia was so we ended up booking that one (the other one we considered that was approved was the am Parkring. And we also booked the K &K Opera in Budapest. Hopefully these are ok choices, for free how bad could it be :) We are working on getting out of Phx a day earlier but so far no flights are available-if we do then I love your idea of the overnight in Cesky K. Since our very first day in Prague is Christmas Day I think 5 total will be fine-but if we can add a sixth day I would take your advice for sure. I will research the Budapest forum for your itinerary suggestions. We watched a Rick Steves' piece on Budapest last night-we are very happy we included it in our plans.

Posted by
150 posts

wait, I was wrong. the Ventana is in Prague, duh. we booked the hotel maximilian for Prague-should we try to switch? my husband checked and it is available to use our points for either one.

Posted by
18761 posts

I wouldn't worry too much. The Ventana is feet from old town and one of the more memorable hotel experiences we have had. But I don't know anything about the one you booked and it may be equally as well situated and reviewed. I'm all about location when traveling so I would look closely at that.

The K&K in Budapest is an ideal choice. I have stayed there many times and love the area it is in.

Posted by
150 posts

After checking all the reviews on TA and your personal recommendation we decided to book Ventana. Thank you so much for mentioning it!

Posted by
18761 posts

This means if you don't have a good time its my fault? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm There is a fairly decent chance we will be in Budapest at the same time you are. If so wave!!

I think i said this in one of your other posts; stay flexible. If Prague doesn't "speak" to you hop a ride out of town and move on to your next stop. That is simplified by purchasing your train tickets when you arrive. Stay away from the big resellers on the internet.

Posted by
150 posts

Oh yeah, totally going to hold you personally responsible :)
Ok, seriously, I promise not to blame you if anything goes wrong. and will you give you huge props if it goes great. Which I fully expect it will. As a fairly inexperienced traveler, discovering this forum and people like you so willing to give of your time to offer suggestions and thoughts has been awesome.

Posted by
18761 posts

I just love Budapest and enjoy the region as a whole. It’s fun to show it off. If you enjoy it then next time you have visit my favorites: Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. Wonderful lands. I encourage staying flexible because that how we found Budapest a dozen years ago. We make three trips a year now. Almost always Something Else plus Budapest.

If you are going to be in Budapest in the winter then, if you enjoy such things, I encourage the theaters. The opera or the Opperet. I particularly enjoy the Opperet. These things are very much for local consumption unlike some capital cities in the region; and the seat sell out fast so look now if you are interested. My wife just informed me that our winter trip has to be in February this year so we will miss you.

Posted by
150 posts

You have obviously done a serious amount of travelling! I can tell you love Budapest, sorry we'll miss you! I have a bunch of places on my bucket list but I have to admit, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria aren't on them at this time-we haven't been to Rome or Venice yet, or anywhere in Spain, Germany, Netherlands. But you never know! For now we are very excited for this upcoming experience. We do plan on ordering tickets for the Opera soon-and for the symphony in Vienna as well. And we will keep an open mind and do our best to be flexible.
Thanks so much,
Marcia

Posted by
18761 posts

Well, London, Paris and Rome are the mirepoix, the sofrito; even the battuto of travel. You have to do that first. It will add flavor to all the other places you see. Even i agree with that. As for the travels, i created a small business in Budapest that gives me the excuse to go over a few times a year; and helps pay for it. Its been an amazing learning experience.

This is where i would spend my New Year's Eve: http://www.opera.hu/musor/megtekint/a-denever-2015/eloadas-201512312100/ but you have to get the tickets asap. The good seats were gone by the first of September last year.

Posted by
150 posts

Last year at Christmas spent a few days in Amsterdam then took train to Paris. We love love love Paris, been there 3 times. (Actually really liked Amsterdam too) Also been to Tuscany. And Brugges. But that's it so far. So yes, we have a lot more exploring to do. We won't be in Budapest for New Year, instead will be there Jan 2-Jan 6. We got tickets last night for La Boheme at the Opera for Jan 3. And we will attend the symphony in Vienna as well. I feel so much more sophisticated just talking about all these cultural experiences:) Any other must sees in Budapest, given we only have 3 full days?