My husband and I will take a side trip after visiting friends in London to either Amsterdam, Berlin or Prague. We are having a hard time deciding our destination! The trip will be in January 2014 and this part of it will last 3-4 days. We enjoy history, people watching and good food/drink. Which destination do you recommend?
Hello Sarah. I can not decide that for you. I will say Amsterdam is my least favorite of those three cities. Prague has much more charm than Berlin.
And in Prague you can walk nearly everywhere. Did you read about Prague in the book "Rick Steves' EASTERN EUROPE" ? Try to find, in a public Library, the DVD that includes Rudy Maxa's video travelogue of Prague and Budapest. The title of that DVD is "Europe to the max. Romantic Germany and beyond". And, I like Rudy Maxa's video travelogue of Berlin, more than Rick Steves' video travelogue of Berlin.
Berlin has far better gastronomic offering than the other two cities you mentioned. And it has no shortage of historic sites to fill a whole month either.
I have been to all three once. If I were to return to any, I would go back to Amsterdam, then Berlin, with Prague being the last place i would return to. I liked them all but there was something about Amsterdam that I really liked. Maybe because there is so much in a small package.
All are excellent choices and each is completely different. Amsterdam is the easiest and probably cheapest to get to from London. If you buy Eurostar tickets when they go onsale (3 or 4 months ahead), you can get a real bargain and you don't have the expense (or use the time) to get to/from airports. The train stations are right in the city and you only need to be there about 45 minutes before departure and you have your luggage with you when you get off in the heart of Amsterdam. Berlin has the best assortment and number of indoors places to visit. January weather is more likely suit indoor than outdoor activities in any these cities. I think much of the charm of Prague is only apparent on sunny days, so I would save that for a better time of year.
A lot of history in all three cities. You can watch a lot of people (although somewhat fewer in January) in all of them, too. Good food and drink is obviously subjective but in all three cities you can find cuisine you like. If you would go after domestic then IMHO it goes 1.Prague, 2.Berlin, 3.Amsterdam. Beer: excellent in Prague and Berlin but in Prague substantially cheaper. IMHO Prague is the most picturesque out of these three cities. My answer to your question is Prague.
Good comments above. My opinion is Berlin, Amsterdam and Prague, in that order.
Funny how different people have different preferences. Berlin is a big city, not necessarily the most charming but certainly the most to do of the three - some of the top museums in the world as well as food and nightlife. You will need all of 3-4 days to get a taste. Prague is a great looking medieval city, has great beer and many Brits like to go there for stag parties. Amsterdam has nice canals and architecture, as well as coffee shops and the red light district, plus some museums that I consider average by European standards. Each is worth at least one visit. Of the three I like Berlin most and Amsterdam least (because it's dirty in a way that is unusual in northern Europe and I'm not really into either drugs or the sex industry). In January, however, I'd choose Amsterdam. All three will have short days and winter weather. Winter weather in Amsterdam is dominated by rain rather than the snow and ice you should expect in Berlin or Prague.
Keep in mind that everyone's perspective of a place will differ based on personal experience, which could be good or bad. It is like the blind men describing an elephant; the poor guy describing the tail at an inopportune moment would forever after describe the elephant as his least favorite animal. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, but I cannot campare it to Berlin and Prague. I have never been to either and would not go out of my way to get there now. Maybe someday. I would venture, however, that they each have areas that are like the elephant's tail. Amersterdam does, as does London, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Florence, etc. In Amsterdam, the elephant's tail is the area between Dam Square and Central Terminal, which is also the area most new visitors see first. A few interesting and historic sites are there, mixed among a lot of tacky souvenir shops and dirty eateries that haven't been attractive since the '50s, as well as a red light district not all that different from other cities near their train stations. Stay there and mix in a dose of bad weather, and you could hate the place forever. The canal area and the museum district, however, are like the more appealing parts of the elephant( Editing a few days later: Or Paris or London). Spend a few days there in good weather, and you may never want to leave.
In January I would choose Prague, simply because it's the only time of the year when the cathedral doesn't feel like a busy train station, you can actually see the Charles bridge, the Jewish cemetery is a cemetery again and not a tourist hotspot, you don't get pinched like a sardine on the Royal Road... and you actually see a few real Czechs in the old town. And 3-4 days are perfect for Prague, and maybe a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, which is also far more enjoyable without tourist hordes.
I've not been to Amsterdam, but Berlin is my favorite city I've ever been to. However, since you are spending a lot of time in London, I'd suggest the other cities for a different perspective. Berlin is similar to London in the respect that it is a huge city with gigantic museums, modern architecture, ethnic food from all corners of the earth, and pulsating nightlife. Plus, it is cold as he** there. I'm from Chicago. I don't get cold easily, but my 4 days in Berlin this past March were some of the coldest I've experienced. Save Berlin for its own weeklong vacation in May or September.
They're all great, amazing and unique. Amsterdam is the most expensive of them, Prague is in the middle and Berlin is cheapest. Maybe that can help make a decisiion. For flights from London to either one check with Momondo.com or Swoodoo.com
Interesting comment, Andreas. I was in all three cities and agree that Amsterdam is the most expensive. But almost everything what I bought or saw was cheaper in Prague than in Berlin with few exceptions like restaurants and some stores around Old Town Square in Prague. Otherwise public transport, beer, groceries, restaurant meals and most accommodation are cheaper in Prague.