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Budapest, Vienna, Prague--10 nights

Hi everybody!

I'd like some advice on traveling between Budapest (1st), then either Prague or Vienna....we have 10 nights and I wonder which place to give 4 nights to (with two getting 3 nights)

After the 10 days we will be in Salzburg for 7 nights at the International Music Festival. So I figure if I need to see Vienna more, I could take a day trip from Salzburg? (Is it two hours by train?)

Then I will spend 5 nights around the Munich area.

Please comment on the travel to and from Prague. I see that RyanAir doesn't fly there. I wonder about the train from Budapest to Prague, Vienna to Prague.........just need some suggestions. Thanks so much!

Posted by
16893 posts

Train tickets from Budapest to Prague and Prague to Vienna cost about $85 each in 2nd class if you buy them on the spot; no deadline to buy and no requirement to reserve seats. With SparScheine discounts, you can nab some great deals by buying a train ticket at least three days in advance (or preferably earlier) for pre-selected dates and times; seats are limited and refund restrictions apply.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks George.....I read the thread and its full of good comments. I think we will probably travel to Vienna and then go on to Prague, and then fly on to Salzburg. I'll look into train times between Vienna and Prague. I have tx for the Music festival in Salzburg, so that limits me to the 10 days for this leg of the trip. I think we'll have plenty of time to do what we want to do, which is simply immerse ourselves in the culture and see a few landmarks. We are not interested much in museums so that eases that pressure.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks Laura
I will look into the train times between these cities. That will help me decide.

Posted by
17905 posts

Carol, everyone has their preferences. I've been to all three and I found more of interest in Budapest. But that's just me. When I ask the question which is more enjoyable the results are always pretty mixed but most have good to say about all three.

Vienna and Prague have beautiful but fairly tight tourist zones while Budapest is a lot broader. Actually, with the exception of one particular street and a few acres near the castle in Buda there really isn't a tourist zone. It's more like Paris in that regard. The last time I checked train tickets from Budapest to Vienna the cost was 29 euro.

Here is a little more information and some videos, etc. Might help you decide. All three are unique and beautiful places, what ever you decide you will enjoy; and you can always come back. One more thing you might consider is to keep a little flexibility in your schedule. Plan on 4 days in Budapest but if it isn't what lights your fire, move on. Either all the way to Vienna or possibly half way to Gyor and spend a night and see the Archabbey at Pannonhalma. Great town, great Archabbey.

Feel free to write if I can help you with the details and see the Hungary forum for a lot more.

I love this Viking Cruise advert. Almost entirely filmed in Budapest: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7wvw/viking-river-cruises-see-things-differently-

2014 Conde Nast Number One Travel Destination (tied with Florence)
2013 Trip Advisor Top 25 Destinations – Europe
2013 Traveler’s Choice Winner
2013 US News and World Reports top 20 places to visit - world
2013 Conde Nast Traveler: The 10 Best Cities in the World
2013 Lonely Planet Top 10 European Destinations

Sort of an introduction to an impossible language https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI3QwxO_udw
This is sort of funny and a bit strage to see Alice Cooper promoting Budapest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vApAmydLjjo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHr6I4Q5O20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIMyLf7-Apc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lySnQRmQbiM&list=PLaZhKwNKtAw8SI7tIEYZaaeIox_TXv4IB

NYT Article from 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/travel/36-hours-in-budapest.html
NYT Article from 2013: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/travel/wintertime-bargains-in-budapest.html

Posted by
17905 posts

Your escape a day early out of Vienna could be the Bean Shuttle to Cesky. Krumlov for a night. From Prague it could be an extra night in Salzburg. There is almost never a need to be someplace that isn't in tune with what you enjoy. If you do stay in Budapest, since you enjoy music, with some dates I could give you some ideas. Music is very special in Budapest across all class lines and helps to bind the culture.

In Prague keep an awareness. I have seen a couple of articles lately putting it in the top ten pickpocket or petty crime lists. Right up there with Rome and Barcelona. Really surprised me to see. Its probably only a function of the high density of tourists in the rather small tourist zones. EDIT: Carol, if you don't spend that 4th day in Budapest my second choice would be Prague. For me "Aware" means I keep my wallet in my front pocket, smile and have a great time. Still Prague is in some pretty good company with some of my other favorite locations: http://www.pacsafe.com/blog/the-worlds-worst-cities-for-petty-theft/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/01/worst-cities-for-pickpockets_n_746918.html#s148372&title=3_Prague

Posted by
4637 posts

Pickpockets, Prague, Rome and Barcelona: I speak from my personal experience: I was in Rome few times. Every time I was in Metro or bus somebody tried to pickpocket me, fortunately unsuccessfully. In my twenty plus visits to Prague not even once. I heard horror stories about Barcelona pickpockets but have not been there yet. But obviously you have to be careful almost everywhere. I also read and heard stories about Prague crowds, dishonest cab drivers etc. Crowds are in touristy places. Venice certainly has bigger crowds than Prague. I took taxi many times in Prague and had no experience with a dishonest driver. I took taxi once in Budapest and driver tried to be dishonest. One has to be alert everywhere.

Posted by
14507 posts

@ Laura....Thanks for the updated info, on getting a last minuite ticket (the day prior to departure) from Vienna to Budapest. Basically, you're accurate on the amount. I had planned a day trip to Budapest from Vienna on 3 May 2014, came really close to dropping it (not because of the ticket price, which I didn't know of then), was told by the nice young clerk at the OeBB at Westbahnhof that the r/t price was 82 Euro. I was stunned at this increase from 4 years ago, May of 2010, when I did exactly just that, ie buy at the least minute. When I expressed my surprise at such a difference, she told me those prices were no more.. Well, I decided to bite the bullet, charge it, (what else can one do?) and go anyway. I ended up having six hours in BP, close one was spent at lunch, and getting back to Vienna after 21:00. It would have been better had I used my Pass for one of the legs (partially).

Posted by
17905 posts

Fred you are correct. The last time I checked the one way Bpest to Vienna was 29euro when purchased at the station. But that was a while ago. 29euro is about $40US so your RT at $82 is believable. I would be curious what the cost of tickets would be from Bpest to Gyor and then a second ticket Gyor to Vienna. I ask because the intra-Hungary tickets are very reasonable, its the international where they hit you hard.

Ilja; in Budapest the cab drivers that are not affiliated with any major company can be pretty hit and miss. The worst I have heard is overcharging. Late last year some regulation was implemented but it’s anyone’s guess if it is going to make a lot of difference. Best to always call a major company when you need a taxi. My favorite is City Taxi +36 1 211 1111, but there are several other good ones as well. From the airport only use the airport concession company FOTAXI who has a kiosk out on the pickup lane. Avoid the taxi drivers that follow you through the arrival hall at the airport. Fotaxi will give you top notch service at a reasonable rate.

The only other significant scam that intelligent individuals fall into is the porters at the train station. They have been to known to be a little pushy for tips. For now at least pickpocketing is pretty much a rarity. I suspect that it is because successful pickpocketing requires the sort of crush of tourists that you find in places like Rome or under the Eiffel Tower or on the Charles Bridge or Prague Old Town. But that describes some of my favorite places so .........

Posted by
14507 posts

Unfortunately, what was quoted to me by the nice young clerk at OeBB is correct, 82 Euro r/t Vienna-Budapest, not the 26 Euro or something in that range of May 2010, the time of my first trip there. A hefty increase in four years. I've kept both tickets to show the dramatic difference.

Posted by
17905 posts

Sorry Fred, i read it too fast and thought you said $82 ...... Wow! 82€!!! Too much. Wonder if r/t out of Budapest would be cheaper? Two years ago 200€ would get you a r/t flight to Jerusalem, Zurich or Moscow on a major air carrier out of Budapest.

Posted by
8139 posts

I usually agree with James. We recently returned from Budapest, Vienna and Prague. You could easily spend a week in each city as they will all overdose you with tourist sights and museums.
But with your limited time, I would suggest you drop Prague and split the time between Budapest and Vienna.
I found the train rides between the cities to be pretty boring with the trip going through the flat farms in the Danube River bottoms. And the air conditioning was pretty marginal in second class--making the trip borderline miserable.

Posted by
17905 posts

Here is another option for Vienna to Bpest; I know a guide that i think charges $350 to come get you. For a group of 3 that would be woth it and you can stop at Pannonhalma Archabbey or some place else interesting and make a good day of it.

Posted by
1650 posts

I just returned from all those places. My favourites were Budapest and Prague.

I spent 6 nights in Budapest, 4 nights in Vienna, 5 nights in Prague, 1 night in Cesky Krumlov, 1 night in Salzburg, and 3 nights in Munich.

It was easy and very doable to take the train from Budapest to Vienna and then from Vienna to Prague. The trip between Vienna and Prague is a little longer, though--5 hours, if I recall correctly.

One of our best days was our travel day between Prague and Cesky Krumlov. We booked the Lobo Shuttle and paid a little extra to have the driver stop at 2 castles along the way. One was Castle Hluboka-by far the prettiest and most fairy-tale-ish of all the castles/palaces we saw on the exterior (although the interior was clearly decorated by Gaston's family (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast)). The other was Divci Kamen, a ruin near Cesky Krumlov. Seeing it involves a fairly easy hike of about 6-7 km round trip, but it's well worth it, in my opinion. Cesky Krumlov was lovely and well worth the overnight we spent there. It is closer to Salzburg than Vienna is, too, I believe. We stayed overnight at Pension Lobo (with a 10% discount for also using their shuttle), and their driver took us to Salzburg the next day. After Salzburg, we took the train to Munich (it's a short train ride).

(If you do decide to go to Prague and are looking for a hotel recommendation, I absolutely loved the place we stayed--the Hotel Questenberk.)