We have a river cruise scheduled for June 2015. The cruise begins in Prague, then bus to the Danube. Before joining the tour in Prague, I would like to fly from LAX to an interesting city in Germany or Austria, then travel to Prague by train or plane. Any suggestions on where to visit?
You could either go to Munich--or Vienna. It's a toss up.
They're both great large European cities, and you can easily get to Prague from either city by train. Both also have good airports to fly into from the U.S.
I've been to Munich 6-7 times over the years, and am getting ready in April to go back to Vienna for the third time--on the way to Prague.
If you are flying from LAX directly to Germany, you're in luck. Air Berlin leaves from LAX direct to Berlin Tegel. From Berlin Hbf. (Main station) it's 4+ hrs to Prague. I wish that were the case from SFO instead of going to Düsseldorf.
How about Dresden? It's just 2 hours away from Prague. The old town of Dresden was completely destroyed in WW2 and only partly rebuilt, but you can still easily spend weeks there without getting bored. Some ideas:
- visit world-class museums like the Green Vaults, the Turkish Chamber or the Old Masters. Pic of the Turkish Chamber
- see the recosntructed old town with Zwinger, Frauenkirche or the castle. Pic of the Zwinger
- discover lovely suburbs like Loschwitz or Blasewitz, with castles, meadows, hills, a funicular railway etc. Pic from Dresdens balcony
- see vineyards and wine villages in the surroundings and taste the rare Saxon wines. Pic of wine village in Radebeul
- explore Saxon Switzerland, which are wonderful picturesque mountains. Pic of the Bastei bridge
- see Königstein fortress, one of the biggest fortesses in Europe. Pic of Königstein fortress
- do a boat tour with the fleet of nostalgic paddle steamers to nearby attractions like Meissen or Pillnitz palace. Paddle steamer in front of Pillnitz palace | Pic of Meissens castle
- discover the Ore mountains, Germanys Christmas country, on a day trip to Seiffen, a village with nothing but Christmas shops. Pic of random Christmas shop in Seiffen
- see perfectly preserved towns in the surroundings, like Bautzen, Freiberg or Görlitz, the latter being one of the best preserved towns in Europe. Pic of Bautzens fortifications | Random pic of Görlitz
- drive a Trabi. Pic of a Trabi
I think if you can fly from L.A. directly to Berlin your choice is clear. Berlin is the capital, the largest city in Germany and one of the most interesting if not the most interesting city in Germany. In addition it has frequent direct train connection to Prague taking 4 h 41 minutes. Vienna is certainly most interesting city in Austria but I assume that by doing Danube cruise you will go there by boat.
Thanks Martin for your pictures. They're just great. Dresden has often been overlooked by travelers that don't realize it was maybe the most beautiful of all European cities architecturally prior to WWII.
We have relatives were from there, and they were the last Germans getting on the last ship leaving Hamburg for New York City. They came into Ellis Island on Thanksgiving Day, 1939 to begin new lives.
Here's another vote for Berlin. It's a wonderful contemporary city with great history as well. I visited back in the day and more recently and both visits were wonderful.
While you are in Berlin, the nearest day trips are Potsdam, Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Leipzig. The last two you take the ICE train from Berlin Hbf. direct. All three places are culturally and historically interesting.
Thank you all for your thoughts!