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Itinerary help - Prague/Vienna/Budapest

We are just now in process of putting together a trip for this September. We would like to visit Prague and Budapest - this would be our first time in both places. We also discovered that there is a wonderful music festival in Cesky Krumlov that we'd like to incorporate. We would also go through Vienna as it's a good way to break up long stretches of travel. We've been to Vienna twice before so we'd use it as a base for day trips we've not had the opportunity to take. Here's my outline:

Prague, 5 nights (includes arrival night)
Cesky Krumlov, 2 nights
Vienna, 4 nights (travel day from Cesky Krumlov, and two day trips - Melk and Bratislava)
Budapest, 5 nights (includes travel day from Vienna)
Vienna, 1 night (flight schedules from Budapest to Phoenix are awful, easier to get home from Vienna).

Am I allocating enough time to both Prague and Budapest? We haven't made plane reservations yet so we could probably add or delete a night. I'll read guidebooks to get the highlights, but if you have favorite places to visit please let me know. We are in our 60s, enjoy interesting architecture and wandering around and soaking up the ambience. We like museums to a point and try to be selective. Thanks!

Posted by
4927 posts

Am I allocating enough time to both Prague and Budapest?
Based on my very similar trip this past fall, in which I stayed a similar number of days....I would say that you have:

Prague: enough days to hit the highlights and take 1 side trip (e.g., Terezin, Kutna Hora)
My non-guide-book highlights:
- picnic lunch on a park bench above Prague castle overlooking the city
- tram rides to sightsee along the Vltava

Budapest: enough days to hit most highlights; you may find that you would want 1 additional day if you want to take a side trip (e.g., Szentendre);
My highlights:
Tour of Parliament (book English tour ahead, they will sell out)
Danube cruise at night

Cesky Krumlov: be aware in your planning that much of CK is "closed" on Mondays; the good news is that you will have fewer day-tripping crowds.
My highlight: Baroque Theater tour at Castle

Posted by
4927 posts

there is a wonderful music festival in Cesky Krumlov

Since you mention this interest in music, I'll add some musical programs that were highlights for me.

- evening classical ensemble concert in Klementinum, Mirror Chapel
- The Bartered Bride (opera by Czech Composer Smetana) at the National Theater (wonderful music, colorful costumes and dancing, a nice sample of Czech entertainment)

Hungarian Folk Ensemble and Orchestra at Duna Palota - wonderful Hungarian dancing and unbelievable ensemble playing Hungarian tunes

Posted by
3961 posts

Irene, we are doing a similar itinerary this year, but doing the opposite direction. We are planning 5 nights in Budapest, Vienna 5 nights, CK 2 nights, Prague 6 nights and ending in Amsterdam for 5 nights. We plan day trips as well. Were you referring to the International Music Festival in CK? Do you have dates for this?

Posted by
107 posts

Thanks for the replies. The music festival I found is one of baroque music, info here:

I've also been looking into what's playing at the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Stadtsoper and the opera in Budapest. Lots to do!

Posted by
3961 posts

Thanks Irene. Unfortunately, the CK dates don't coincide with our stay. Also looking at music venues in Budapest, Prague & Vienna.

Posted by
15679 posts

I haven't been to Český Krumlov but most folks here think 1 night is sufficient. 4 full days in Budapest would be the minimum for me. I'd take a night from Český Krumlov and add it to Budapest which has the best food and wine (and probably cheapest) of all. And it has some interesting non-art museums. The Post Office museum has reopened (not what you'd expect from the name), the Holocaust Museum is very well done, the Dohány Street Synagogue, a day up on Buda Hill, a visit to one of the baths, the markets, the Basilica (go for an inexpensive concert), The Ethnographic Museum, the Parliament, Margaret Island on the weekend, day trips to one or two of the towns along the Danube. That's just off the top of my head.

Posted by
613 posts

Too much time in Budapest.

CK is very small. You will quickly exhaust what there is to see if you are not at the festival.