My husband and I will be traveling with family members who will fly home from Vienna in early May. We have a few more days and were considering heading into the Czech Rep. and flying home from Prague. Are there any special considerations we should be aware of going between the two countries? We prefer smaller towns to larger cities, so are there any along the train route which might be fun to stay in?
No border control between Austria and Czech Republic. They of course have different languages (German for A. and Czech for C.R.) and different currencies (Euro in A., Czech Crown /koruna/ in C.R.). Things in C.R. are cheaper than in Austria. Especially transportation and food in restaurants. Beer, too. I don't know how much time you have but there are plenty of possibilities: you can go from Vienna to Linz by train and from there by shuttle to Cesky Krumlov. Train takes too long and includes a change. Depending how much time you have on the way to Prague you can stop in Ceske Budejovice. Historical midsize town with large beautiful square, nice almost medieval streets in the center, big beerhall Masne Kramy. Original Budweiser brewery, you can go for a tour. German name of C.B. is Budweis. IMHO the beer tastes much better than the one from St.Louis. Very close to C.B. is chateau Hluboka somewhat resembling Windsor. Farther toward Prague is Tabor founded by religious rebels Hussites in 1420. They were protestants about 100 years before Luther. Then on the way to Prague there is chateau Konopiste (or castle or something in between). Or you could go to Breclav (first stop in C.R.). All trains from Vienna to Prague or Warszaw stop there, there is also local train from Vienna to Breclav. There you change trains and go to Valtice. There is a nice chateau there. In one wing of the chateau there is a hotel Hubertus. In the cellars of the chateau there is a so called salon of wine.
http://www.salonvin.cz . You can switch the website to English. About 4 miles from there is a chateau Lednice- more attractive, with tropical greenhouse and in Lednice park is also a minaret. Lednice and Valtice are connected by a park; it all belongs to UNESCO Heritage Area. Nice bicycle ride from Valtice to Lednice or vice versa. Easy to get to nearby Mikulov. Another option would be to get off Prague train in Brno (about 400 thousand people so not exactly a small town) but it's pleasantly untouristy with a charming center. What to see: castle Spilberk, St.Peter Cathedral, depending on time you can get by tram to the Brno Lake and then go by a public transportation boat to castle Veveri. Or in the city you can visit a museum in the abbey where a founder of genetics Johann Gregor Mendel did his experiments. Famous Austerlitz battlefield is very close to Brno. You can get there by city bus. There is a museum and the Cairn of Peace there. Or twenty kilometres north of Brno there are one of the best caves in C.R. Punkva caves with underground river and lake. The caves connect to the deepest abyss in C.R. called Macocha (stepmother). On the way from Brno to Prague you can stop in Kutna Hora. Silver mines, ossuary, Cathedral of Santa Barbara. Few trains from Brno go via K.H., otherwise you have to change trains in Kolin. If you haven't been to Prague you should leave at least three days for it. I would recommend you Rick Steves book: Prague & the Czech Republic. You can read more about some towns I mentioned.