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Vienna + Budapest

I will be traveling to Vienna and Budapest May 19-28 so will have 9 full days on this trip. I think the plan may be something like
May 19-21 Vienna
May 22 Day trip to Bratislava but stay in Vienna
May 23 - 25 Budapest
May 26 Eger and stay the night
May 27 Budapest
May 28 Fly back to Chicago that morning

In your opinion, would you shorten the stay in either Vienna or Budapest to hit another city in the surrounding area?

Posted by
12839 posts

May 19 is a Saturday so would it be fair to assume that is your departure day? That would make the 20th about noon at best the beginning of your stay in Vienna.

I'm not a big fan of Vienna, but you would need at least 2 full days just to justify the trip. So:

19 depart
20 arrive
21 in Vienna
22 in Vienna
23 Morning train Vienna to Budapest
24 Budapest
25 Budapest
26 Morning train Budapest to Eger
27 Morning train Eger to Budapest
28 Which is a Monday, Return home

If you are arriving in Vienna on the 19th, then the extra day I would suggest spending in Budapest rather than Bratislava. Others might suggest Vienna. Just depends on your taste. You could keep it flexible enough and if you got bored with Vienna head to Budapest a day earlier.

As for Eger, its very good, but look at Pecs too....

Posted by
19475 posts

If you're flying to Vienna from the US or Canada on May 19, you have just two full non-jetlagged days in Vienna and two full plus two partial days in Budapest. I wouldn't plan any additional side trips.

You're staying in Budapest twice. Could you not travel from Vienna to Eger on May 23, then have four nights in a row in Budapest? You could spend a good bit of May 24 in Eger if you need to, but you'd eliminate one hotel change and probably end up with more usable time in Budapest.

Posted by
79 posts

Sorry that wasn't clear, we get to Vienna on the 19th. When traveling to Europe it really only takes me the 1 day to get adjusted. The 5 hour trip from Vienna to Eger didn't sound that appealing so just thought it would be better to do 3 days in Budapest, side trip to Eger (but I'll look up Pecs. Thanks for the suggestion, James), then finish back with a day in Budapest to be close to the airport for 9:30 flight Monday morning (28th). I've just heard mixed things about Vienna so that's why I was considering the 3 days with a day trip to Bratislava while still coming back in the evening to Vienna.

Posted by
4404 posts

Are you aware that you will arrive in Vienna on a long holiday weekend? Monday, May 21 is Whit Monday, a national holiday. Shops are always closed on Sundays in Austria, but will also be closed on Monday as well. Museums and restaurants will be open and transport will operate in a reduced schedule. Many people will be taking long weekend trips over the period you are here.

Posted by
79 posts

I saw that, didn't think it mattered much since, like you mention, most museums and restaurants will be open

Posted by
12839 posts

for the split in Budapest either rent an apartment and keep it the one night you are gone. The convenience of traveling super light to Eger (cause the heavy stuff is in the apt) will cost you $60. Alternatively use a storage locker for the heavy stuff and check in and out and back into a hotel room.

Posted by
4404 posts

I only note the holiday as the sites will likely be busier as people will come to the big city (or leave it) for the long weekend.

I would suggest the day trip to Bratislava occur on May 21 as things will likely be open there.

As for the Vienna timeframe, I would not shorten it at all. Once you factor in jet lag, you will really not even have enough time to cover the highlights. Vienna is lovely in late May. A day at Schonbrunn is a must and the second day can be spent in the center of town. I'd also really advocate for a nice vineyard walk followed by dinner at a heurigen. Life doesn't get any better.

Posted by
14454 posts

It's about 2 hours by train to Eger. Going round-trip from Budapest just adds train time, not to mention the extra hotel change, than going straight from Vienna to Eger. For me, going to a small town between two large ones would be a nice break.

I haven't been to Eger, but I loved my two nights in Pecs a couple months ago.

Posted by
79 posts

Emily, that makes sense now. I thought you meant that people would be leaving Vienna for a long weekend and I didn't see any issue with that :). So it sounds like I should look into doing the 4 nights in Vienna with a possible trip to Bratislava. Then keep the 4 nights in Budapest and think about how to work in a day to Eger. I know a lot of people say to stay the night in Eger since it's about 2 hours away but I'm wondering if it would be easier in the end to just leave early in the morning and come back on one of the later in the evening. I think the main thing would be to see the wine caves for us. That would give us 5 nights in Budapest

Posted by
2145 posts

Since Bratislava is right on the way to Budapest, why not just go on to Budapest from Bratislava? We went from Vienna in a car, had lunch in Bratislava, and went on to Budapest. We probably could have stayed longer, but just stayed about 3-4 hours.

Posted by
12400 posts

Decide on which place to shorten your stay based on your priorities and interests. If you aren't committed to seeing Vienna culturally and historically, then take the time out of the Vienna stay. I would skip Bratislava and choose another town as a day trip, eg, Brno. Arriving on a holiday week-end isn't too bad, I've been in Wien on their holidays in May, pretty dead, deader than on a normal Sunday. My trip for Wien is also planned for those dates indicated above.

Posted by
646 posts

Of the places you are considering, we have only been to Vienna in 2014 when we spent a week there. We fell in love with art museums in Vienna but did not find the city itself very engaging. I would happily spend another three four days there but am not chomping at the bit to go back. Vienna has beautiful buildings on the ring, but I like twisty atmospheric streets rather than grand buildings on broad streets. I wasn't all that thrilled with St. Stephen which is nice but hardly a destination site. Palace tours aren't my favorite either. The military history museum happily consumed us for a morning. As a foodie adventure we loved the Nache Market.

I contrast we loved our week in Prague though in terms of museums it can't compare with Vienna. It was simply a happy scenic place to be with friendly locals, though it lacked great museums. I am planning on going back.

None of this tells you where you should go. Tastes differ. But if it were me I'd have two concentrated museum days in Vienna then head for Budapest.

Posted by
79 posts

If we're doing a train from Vienna to Budapest it's not exactly on the way. I'm sure there are buses we can look up. I think we'll do 3 days in Vienna and 4 in Budapest and have 2 more open to figure out what to do. Probably at least 1 in Eger.

Concerning Prague, I'm actually going to be there prior to Vienna but I am meeting my gf in Vienna on May 19 for the 2nd half of my trip. I'm doing Munich and Prague the week before meeting up with her in Vienna for the dates I've mentioned in this post. My actual trip is Munich-Prague-Vienna-Budapest. Maybe should have mentioned it but really only was trying to figure out the Vienna-Budapest portion. With 2 open days maybe Pecs would be the right choice

Posted by
3 posts

In the event you are in need of a place to stay in Vienna....we stayed at this Airbnb that was smack in the middle of the city! And the "Danube Canal" just steps away!
The hosts were most accommodating and very helpful!!
We didn't get to see the rooftop views as it was very cold & windy.

Uber was wonderful there! The Hop on Hop off was fabulous too! We got a deal for 2 days in Vienna with a night tour and 2 days in Budapest with a night river tour for $108 Euro for the two of us.