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Prague or Budapest with 11 & 13 year old ?

We will be doing our 1st trip as a family to Europe next Spring. Planning on Italy, Switzerland & Austria. We would like to spend a few days further East after Vienna , but not sure what would be best with the ages of our kids. Prague? Budapest? Any pro's or cons to either city?
Thanks in advance for tips & pointers!

Posted by Suki
New York
2408 posts

Vienna to Budapest is an easy dirext train ride between the two. Both cities offer a lot but with all your traveling, Budapest would be easier.

Posted by Joanne
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
127 posts

How many days do you have in each location? We had six nights in Rome and it was just enough. We've visited Switzerland for several weeks and still haven't seen many areas. We're visiting Prague and Budapest in a few weeks, have three nights in prague and six in Budapest and I was barely able to fit in the sights we'd like to visit.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
4812 posts

Will you be returning to Vienna after this visit? Or will you be heading home or somewhere else directly from there. I ask because if you are flying out after these days, one of the airports or airline options may be better than the other, so all other things being equal that could be a decider.

I've not traveled with kids to these cities, but they are both large cities with lots to see and do that I'm sure would appeal to them. Before deciding maybe you could have them read some guidebooks themselves and see what interests them in each city. Depending on how early in the spring you're going, Budapest might be just a tad warmer than Prague but not in a huge way that would affect sightseeing.

Posted by Jamie OP
CA
5 posts

Thanks so much for reading my post and responding . :)

Nancy - We would not be returning to Vienna . This would be our last destination ( Prague/Budapest) and we would be flying home from there. So.... that does have me wondering about the airport quality / airline selection ?
We will be traveling for the month of May . Budapest may be warmer in May?

Joanne - This is what we are thinking of doing :
Begin in Rome - 4 nights
Florence - 1-2 nights
Cinque Terre - 3 nights ( Montorosso)
Switzerland - we have friends that live in the Berner Oberland and will be staying with them for 7-8 days.
Austria - Zell Am See - 2-3 nights
Hallstatt - 2 nights
Vienna - 3 nights
And then finish up with 2-3 nights in Prague or Budapest.
Trying to minimize 1 night stays & hotel bouncing since the kids will be with us.
Thanks again for all your tips and advice!

Posted by Allison
50 posts

Both are great, although I agree with Sufi that Budapest will be a lot easier to get to from Vienna, and that gives it an edge in this scenario. I've been to both cities, but only to Budapest with a kid - my cousin, when she was 13. We were there around Easter, and she really enjoyed going to the Easter markets. She also enjoyed the Great Market Hall and the flea market in City Park - which, I just learned via google search, as been permanently closed for a year and a half. So there's that. Of the other places we visited, I think the Opera House and the Hospital on the Rocks were the biggest hits.

What things are your kids interested in? Do they enjoy art and museums? Before you go, you might want to look into some (age appropriate, of course) books about Budapest and Hungary in the 20th century, to give the places you visit more meaning.

It sounds like a wonderful trip!

Posted by Robbie
Puyallup, WA
58 posts

Very nice Itinerary. A couple of suggestions though -

First, Make it 2 nights in Florence. There is a lot to see there and that gives you a full day plus whatever. I remember the Galileo science museum which kids would love. And, of course, get advance tickets to the Uffizi and the Accademia if you plan to go there. Another suggestion for active kids is to taxi or bus up to Piazza Michelangelo and walk back down through Porto San Miniato (city gate) and back across the river via Ponte Vecchio (golden bridge). Might take an hour or two - interesting walk if you have the time.

Second - Vienna. Air connections are better from Vienna. Also, again, there is a heck of a lot to see and do in Vienna and you will have been moving about quite a bit. So, you might consider just staying there. Alternatively, think about a stop in Salzburg. Another possibility to consider is a stop at the Mauthausen Concentration camp. A very educational experience for kids. We saw lots of Austrian and German school groups when we were there.If you go there be sure to see the books of remembrance in the basement of the museum. Rick's Vienna book covers how to get there very thoroughly and also covers Salzburg.

Enjoy your trip, Robbie

Posted by Joanne
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
127 posts

Your itinerary looks wonderful! We haven't been to Prague or Budapest yet. Perhaps you could instead find a smaller location and explore a bit since 2 days isn't very long. Maybe Cesky Krumlov or Telc in CR and then flyout of Prague? Just a thought.

Posted by James E.
USA
8026 posts

I’ve been taking my kids to Budapest since they were about that age (they are all through college now). They always enjoyed it. The boat rides, the bath houses, the zoo, the parks, the puppet theater, the great majestic old buildings, the train rides, funicular, ferris wheel, etc. This is about the best site i have found yet for family events in Budapest

https://trip101.com/article/family-fun-20-things-to-do-in-budapest-with-kids

I’ve done just about all of it and it’s been fun for the old guy too.... Ive been to Prague too, and i think you and the kids will enjoy Budapest a lot more. Fewer crowds of tourists and fewer drunks.

With 2 or 3 nights, choose from the list (from another post):

Five nights in Budapest doesn't leave much more time than maybe a day trip. Vac is great for the second day trip, but for the first (and the only) I think you would get more out of Szentendre. Pecs, Eger, etc, a bit far for a day trip.

1st day, FIRST NIGHT: If you are coming from Salzburg you probably aren't reaching Budapest till mid-afternoon (unless you like to get up really early). With four kids, between checking in and getting settled down, maybe its possible that you only have some part of the early evening to explore Budapest. I would suggest staying up on Andrassy ut someplace as it's great for wandering around with the kids and there is plenty to see and do for a family trip. Couple of decent Pizza places on Andrassy ut. Also some good burgers just behind Andrassy ut. Maybe the kids would like the Miniversium? (on Andrassy ut)

2nd day, SECOND NIGHT: Okay this day is a full day. Lets say you do Buda and a small part of Pest. Maybe go to the Circus in the evening (at the end of Andrassy ut).

3rd day, THIRD NIGHT: Maybe a Day trip to Szentendre and ride the boat back. Kids should like that. Maybe the Széchenyi Baths in the evening (at the end of Andrassy ut)

4th day, FOURTH NIGHT: The other third of Pest and maybe a picnic and running around on Margaret Island. (Andrassy ut to the 4/6 Tram - 3 stops). Possibly the Puppet Theater in the evening (on Andrassy ut)

5th day, FIFTH NIGHT: The final third of Pest and boats on City Lake (on Andrassy ut)

Posted by Jamie OP
CA
5 posts

Robbie - That is great advice. I completely forgot about the Galileo museum in Florence. I know our kids would love that. I think we will consider 2 nights in Florence since you mentioned this.

Also , the ease of flight connections are a big motivating factor for us. If Vienna is easier in that respect then maybe just add a couple days in Austria. I will read up on Salzburg and consider a stop there as well.

Sounds like our family will need to plan an Eastern Europe trip after this one. :) Too much to see and do in just one trip.
So glad I posted my question here , great ideas on this forum. Thanks a bunch !

Jamie

Posted by Robbie
Puyallup, WA
58 posts

Glad I could be of help. Salzburg is a nice stop, almost as scenic as Hallstadt. Please do look at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. It is more or less between Hallstadt or Salzburg and Vienna. Not exactly a "fun" experience but something that should be passed on to the next generation in my opinion.

The more we have traveled the more we have gotten away from the standard American approach of flitting about exhausting ourselves trying to see everything in one trip. We often run into Brits and Aussies and Kiwi's who seem to take a more relaxed approach to travel than we typically do. Of course in their countries they have those month long work leave policies.

All that to say take your time and do things in some depth and then plan another trip to see Eastern Europe.

Posted by Robbie
Puyallup, WA
58 posts

Forgot to mention but last time we were in Vienna (Sept 2016) we were able to fly nonstop to NYC on Austrian Air with a convenient late morning departure. From Budapest or Prague I think you would have to change planes somewhere else in Europe. Things change though so check it all out.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
993 posts

Yes, Mauthausen is a good stop. With 11 and 13 YO kids, they would be able to do it, but a little preparation is good. It is a very interesting camp and has many signs about the persons kept there. It is much better preserved than some other camps. But like I say a little preparation would be good. I first visited a camp when I was 7 or 8 when we lived in Germany in 1957. It was very interesting to me. I did not find the experience terrifying. Rather, I was confused as to why. That's a good thing - we need to ask "Why did this happen?"

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
9517 posts

For your flights, if you tell us where you are flying from, people can give more help.

A great trick that I learned on this forum: to find nonstop flights from an airport, look at that airport's Wikipedia page.

Assuming the "CA" in your profile means California, there are seasonal nonstops from Vienna to LAX. Otherwise, from Vienna, Prague, or Budapest, you'll have to make at least one change. Given that, no one of them should be less convenient than the others.

If you want to change in North America, there are flights from Vienna to Dulles, JFK, Newark, and Toronto. There are flights from Budapest to Toronto, O'Hare, JFK, and seasonally to Philadelphia. And there are flights from Prague seasonally to Toronto, Philadelphia, and JFK. Many of these are not daily.

If you change in Europe, which is usually preferred by those on the west coast anyway, you have a gazillion options (or, as the Rough Guides never tire of saying, "you're spoiled for choice").