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Budapest or Zagreb for 2 weeks?

We are spending 2 weeks in Salzburg and then want to spend 2 weeks in either Budapest or Zagreb for 2 weeks before moving onto Verona for 2 weeks. We like to try to live like a local for a short period of time using mostly Airbnb, etc. Love shopping at local markets and getting to know our neighborhood. My husband speaks a fair amount of German.
We've been to Budapest for a long weekend when we lived in London.

Would appreciate your helpful advice and friendly opinions.

Posted by
2651 posts

I've been to Zagreb and I'm one of the proponents of it on this site, where it often gets a mixed review. But it is, indeed, an interesting city and not too touristed. Having said that, though, I think if I had to pick between the two cities for a 2 week stay it would have to be Budapest as there's just a lot more to do there.

Posted by
27453 posts

I, too, am a Zagreb fan, and I haven't been to Budapest since the gray days of 1972. Zagreb has a lot of nice museums as well as a charming old town, and I think I'd be good there for close to a week. But two weeks sounds like a long time in Zagreb to me. I've never researched day-trip possibilities from that city. The Plitvice Lakes National Park doesn't work well as a day-trip since you really need to be there the night before your visit to beat the crowds onto the walkways the next morning. The train schedule to Ljubljana isn't tourist-friendly. [Edited to add: Bus options are more frequent. See]

So I'd choose Budapest. James E has mentioned several possible side trips from Budapest.

Posted by
18871 posts

It always knows to have some dates or at least the time of the year. I can, and do, spend two week jaunts in Budapest a few times a year. Have yet to get bored. BUT, if it’s a vacation it might be better to do a little broader exploring. One thing to keep in mind is that if you plan it correctly you can catch a discount airline to Venice or Milan (a short hop from Verona) for $45 to $75 one way, nonstop. That can make the trip a little easier.

So, what to do? Get a good rate on an apartment with a 2 week rental. Figure as little as $60 a night in a nice place in a prime location.

It’s pretty easy to fill up 7 days in Budapest. But you ought to think about some interesting day trips and at least one overnight trip and one two night trip; all keeping your apartment as a base.

Include in your two weeks:
7 days, nothing but Budapest. I can give you some ideas on how to break up the city in a way to enjoy being part of it while you see most of it. PM a real email address and I have some info I use when we have guests.

2 day trips = 2 days ( by train to: Gyor or Kecskemét or Szentendre or Vac or the full Danube Bend tour or Godollo or drive a Tank or go Spelunking or …. Depends on what lights your fire)

1 overnight trip = 2 days (by train to Lake Balaton – Tihany, or Pecs or Eger or Gyor or Kecskemét )

1 two night trip = 3 days (by train to Lake Balaton or Pecs including wine country or Eger including wine country; or a discount airline, non-stop, under $90 to: Kiev, Bucharest, Târgu Mureș, Timisoara, Belgrade to name a few options with flight times of less than 2 hours);f=BUD;t=r-Europe-0x46ed8886cfadda85%253A0x72ef99e6b3fcf079;d=2017-05-13;r=2017-05-16;tt=o;s=0;mc=m Just keep changing the dates till you hit on something interesting. Concentrate on the nonstop discount airlines and figure with light luggage $45 to $85 and 1 to 1.5 hours each way. Look for special events to attend. We went for Independence Day in the Kiev this year. Amazing trip.

Posted by
39 posts

thank you James E. We will be arriving in Munich on Jan 14 and spending 2 nights there so we'd arrive on the 16th for 2 weeks. My husband is a music teacher so we love going to the opera, symphony, ballet, etc. We are not on vacation. We are retired and seeing the world 3 months at a time. Usually we stay in one place for a month, but for this trip decided to move every 2 weeks. We're planning on time in Verona, Salzburg and Zurich as well.

Posted by
4637 posts

Budapest or Zagreb for two weeks? The choice is clear: Budapest.

Posted by
18871 posts

We are not on vacation. We are retired and seeing the world 3 months
at a time. Usually we stay in one place for a month, but for this trip
decided to move every 2 weeks. We're planning on time in Verona,
Salzburg and Zurich as well.

Sounds like a vacation to me.

We are going to be in Budapest on the 4th, but we are leaving on the 10th of January. I had a friend ask the other day if they could come out and join us, I suggested it wasn’t the most exciting time to be anyplace in Europe unless you were into skiing …. Or music and theater. The only special event after New Year is: which last year was in early February, but this year isn’t until February 23 – 28 (always ends on Fat Tuesday).

However, if you enjoy good music, good theater, good wine and good food; you will enjoy Budapest.

Because of the time of year the location of your accommodations is going to be really important. After you get your accommodations tied down I can send you a list of restaurants and some ideas of what to see and do.

Here are some of my favorite music venues. You need to book immediately (or as soon as the January program is published) to get good seats and if you want to live like a local, you need good seats.

Hungarian State Opera: Make sure the performance is in the State Opera House and not the Erkel Theater (the Erkel is nice, but its not what you are going to Budapest for)

Budapest Operett Theater: Here you want one the first four boxes to the right and left of center. These are the vip boxes and you get invited to the Parlor at intermission to be very local with some very locals…… January program should be up first of December.

Liszt Academy of Music: some of the most memorable performance in Budapest in a stunning venue. January not listed yet.

Opus Jazz Club: gourmet food and jazz. Outstanding. Some performances in January are up, but watch for more.

Budapest Jazz Club: Hungarians love their jazz. January program will be out at the end of November.

Palace of Art: A modern venue, but beautiful and it draws some very good performances.

Spinoza Café has a Klezmer Concert on Friday nights. Worth seeing. and like a lot of restaurants in Budapest, has music every night. VakVarju is one of my favorite for that.

Posted by
14580 posts

"Seeing the world three months at a time, moving every two weeks."....outstanding, almost ideal in getting around, tracking the sights, and having ample down time. I wish I had that flexibility of being on the road for three months.