We have to travel in this time because it's when my kids are out of school and easier for me to take time off from work. I know summer is the high season in Europe, but since I'm going to arrive June 2 I know I'm at the very beginning of the tourist season. How bad is it then?
It was busy both places in late June or early July of 2016. Saltzburg was not really overrun and only St. Charles Bridge in Prague was wall to wall people and even that only during the late morning to early evening. However, 2016 was an odd year because of the shootings in Paris and the refugees crossing the boarder into Germany. We saw no refugees, but we did notice smaller crowds. Wherever you go in June, it will be busy. But also wherever you go, you won't have to go far from the main tourist sights to find a little quiet.
How bad is a relative term. You are hitting the peak of tourist season so it will be very, very busy. In fact, it might be really crowd but you just deal with it. Hit it early, stay late, take an afternoon nap, look for off site locations and in the end spend your time in lines. Not much you can do about it.
Prague is busy all the year round though early June it will not be quite as busy, best advice I can give is to get out early to see the sites you want especially the castle area as the security queues can be quite long as can the tickets office. Prague is one of these cities that has some great open spaces and also lots of little side streets that are easy to find and gets you away from the crowds.
have a look at this website for lots of great info. Jason also does secret Prague tours which are very good and adjusts them for the age group of the tour , can be done privately too.
I have known Jason for many years long before he became a tour guide.hes has kid the oldest about 20 and the youngest about 10 so he knows Prague and what interests kids.
Kids in Austria will still be in school throughout June, but there are always tourists here. Why just go to cities if crowds are a concern to you? Maybe spend some time in the countryside for some balance.
Well it sounds like there will be at least one more group of tourists adding to the crowds. :)
You can have a great trip no matter what.
The most recent trips (not all) I have been in Vienna have included the first week in June. Expect the tourist/cultural sights to be swamped with tour groups with the tour guide leading his group carrying a flag. You'll see this at Am Graben, Schönbrunn, Stephans Dom, also bus tours lined up at the Hofburg. This year's trip is a bit different, since I'll be there towards the end of May. Bottom line...expect big crowds.
I know I may be in the minority but I never let the possibility of crowds influence my trips, either where to go or when to go. I have learned that if you're locked into certain times to travel because of work, school, or other issues, then just know that you may have to deal with huge crowds and do what can be done to work around them (pre-timed tickets, off-hours, less popular sites or restaurants, etc).
I was in all three of these cities in July, which is almost always more crowded than June, and I managed to avoid the worst of the crowds by doing the most popular sites off-hours and hitting the 'off the beaten path' places mid-day. Sometimes you can't avoid the crowds so you just have to suck it up and go with the flow (of tourists, that is).
We visited Prague in the winter low season, staying at the Green Garland. The Green Garland pricing varies with season with five different rates: http://www.uzv.cz/room-rates-services/
Their most expensive "High Season I" (aside from the premium "Holiday Season") runs from April 16 to June 30 and the month of September. Their "Middle Season" includes the summer months of July and August. The first week of June seems to be putting you in the middle of the tourist "High Season".
Edgar, the stag and hen parties in Prague have almost died out, yeah they are still around but limited to a select number of bars and restaurants and most tourists will never see them as they start out late and go to places most tourists will not visit, finish up a t 3 or 4 am and are in bed till lunch time or later.I am in Prague at various times of the year and often the only time I see stag parties are on the airplane to Prague.
Emily, I specifically want to see Prague and Vienna and Salzburg, so just doing a country trip is not going to be the same. And my asking about how bad the crowds are going to be is not indicative that I'm really worried about it, I just like to research the crap out of anything that I do. I just want to know what to expect. If I could've picked a different time I would've gone in March or April but it's impossible with work and kids in school. And god knows if I'll get the chance to travel to these places anytime soon so crowds or not, I'm going.
I visit Prague since the late 80s, several times a year, and when I was there last October it was horrible. To me the centre of the city has turned into a Potemkin village for tourists, which expect something with Jews and beer. And that's what they get. Oh, and nostalgia, so you see lots of fake new vintage cars which drive tourists through the city. This was new. And because of the tourist hordes several of my favorite sites are now either partly or completely closed or cost money.
The last time I was in Vienna was some years ago, but the city wasn't as touristy and fake as Prague back then. Maybe because locals still live in the centre, or because the city is more expensive and/or attracts different tourists... or simply less tourists, I don't know.
Having said that: if you have never seen Prague before the city is a must and the tourist hordes shouldn't make a difference, simply because it's the best preserved city in Central Europe. But I would recommend to leave th theme park for a day to see real Czechia... which Cesky Krumlov is not, btw... :D
The day of the week also affects how crowded it feels especially here in Prague. On weekends you'll find the Royal Road really humming with people from Republic Square all the way to the Castle but go a block either side and it's relatively quiet. Jewish Quarter, quiet on Saturdays but Sunday/Monday draws a lot of people, not so much mid-week. Castle is busy all week but busier in the mornings than afternoons as the big tour companies want to get their groups in and out before lunch. Restaurants, busy between 12-2 and then again from 6pm but quiet in the middle (same for boat cruises). Just a question knowing where to be and when. I'm here everyday, better June than August. Have a great time.
Jason, do you think it's better to go to the castle first thing in the morning when it opens, or wait until late afternoon (say 2PM)? Will there still be a lot of people there, or if as you say the tour groups are gone, will it be more doable?
I have noticed many crowded sites (such as St. Sulpice in Paris) were relatively peaceful in the late afternoon.
have been in prague all week. really not bad at all.
Hey Todd, remember that the historic buildings close at 5pm but no need to rush because your ticket is valid for two days (date of purchase and following day). Difficult to predict the afternoon because it only takes a few coaches to turn up and it makes a queue by itself but the only places I usually see queues are ST Vitus and the Old Royal Palace and the Castle Standard tour skips those.
Well, I'm in prague now (6/16) and yeah there are crowds. On a teacher's schedule this is my only real time. As a so-called retiree I still work, and I love this town even crowded a bit. It was hot this afternoon, so glad I was out real early this am on tram # 22, Old town.Charley's bridge. Wandering. After an afternoon break out again to the Castle etc. Staying near the Castle is great and public transport is free if you are over 70. There are peacocks in the park. Staying at Pension Pohadka is great. Just so much beauty to see. Barbara