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Budapest / Prague Itinerary suggestions

My wife and I are flying into Budapest and out of Prague. We will arrive in Budapest around 6:20 PM on a Monday and will stay for 5 nights. We will have 4 full days for Budapest. Are there any recommended day trips from Budapest? I'm sure there is plenty to do there for 4 days without side trips but we can adjust our plans if needed. Our plan is to go to Prague for 5 more nights and are considering a stop in Vienna for a few hours in transit from Budapest to Prague. Is that doable? Would it be better to skip Vienna and just head straight to Prague? If so, flight vs train suggestions? Here is how the timeline would look:

Day 1 (Sunday) - Depart US (11:20 PM)
Day 2 (Monday) - arrive Budapest early evening, have dinner
Day 3 (Tuesday) - Budapest
Day 4 (Wednesday) - Budapest
Day 5 (Thursday) - Budapest/day trip?
Day 6 (Friday) - Budapest/day trip?
Day 7 (Saturday) - Transit to Prague via Vienna
Day 8 (Sunday) - Prague
Day 9 (Monday) - Prague
Day 10 (Tuesday) - Cesky Krumlov day trip
Day 11 (Wednesday) - Prague/day trip?
Day 12 (Thursday) - Fly home (11:20 AM)

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1123 posts

Hey Steph,

Your itinerary is good. Here are some day trips ideas to fill in on the days you have open.

Day 1 (Sunday) - Depart US (11:20 PM)

Day 2 (Monday) - arrive Budapest early evening, have dinner

Day 3 (Tuesday) - Budapest

Day 4 (Wednesday) - Budapest

Day 5 (Thursday) - Budapest/day trip? Esztergom

Day 6 (Friday) - Budapest/day trip? Eger

Day 7 (Saturday) - Transit to Prague via Vienna

Day 8 (Sunday) - Prague

Day 9 (Monday) - Prague

Day 10 (Tuesday) - Cesky Krumlov day trip

Day 11 (Wednesday) - Prague/day trip? Kutna Hora or Brno

Day 12 (Thursday) - Fly home (11:20 AM)

Steph - Instead of making a stop in Vienna on Day 7 on way to Prague, Why don't you opt to make a stop for a few hours in Bratislava on the way to Prague instead. It's a lovely city.

Posted by
14879 posts

What time of year? Side-trips to small towns are generally best in good weather.

With only four full days in Budapest, I wouldn't be able to drag myself away. I did enjoy Szentendre (short trip on local train, but you have to hop on the subway to get to the outbound train station) and Gyor (80-85 minutes).

If I left Prague it wouldn't be because I had run out of worthwhile sights, but because I couldn't take the Old Town crowds anymore. My choice was to spend time in other parts of the city. I spent a few days in Brno before going to Prague and liked it.

I can't imagine a few hours in Vienna would be worthwhile enough to justify the time lost in Prague. The Vienna stop-off will require you to spend time checking your bags and reclaiming them. You'll also lose time by needing to return to the station 15 minutes or so before the Vienna train departs. And Vienna's not a small town where you can step out of the train station, walk around for 2 or 3 hours and feel as if you've pretty much seen everything.

Posted by
880 posts

We travel September 27-October 8. Thanks for the great advice!

Posted by
14879 posts

Weather odds are pretty good in that case, but I'd still stay as flexible as possible. I ran into some heavy rain (and hail!) in Budapest in early May 2018, then it got very hot. I think Prague's weather tends to be quite similar to Budapest's. Those central European cities can be very hot in the summer and rather cold in the winter. Fall will be moving in around the time you're there, so it could go either way. The big cities have a lot of very interesting indoor attractions, so you won't run out of fun/informative things to do if you end up not taking day-trips.

Posted by
9588 posts

Okay, my two cents.

Vienna isn't on the rail line from Budapest to Prague. So unless you are getting off for the day (not a bad idea), just go direct to Prague. BUT! If you do get off in Vienna it opens the possibility of a late afternoon shuttle to Cesky Krumlov. If you do that, then if time permits, spend the night in Cesky K. The best time to be there is late evening and early morning when the day tourists aren't in town. Take a late morning or early afternoon train (or shuttle) on in to Prague and you have seen it all with no back tracking.

As for Budapest, you have enough time for one short day trip. I would say to take the train to Szentendre for lunch and the 5:30 boat back to Budapest. Otherwise for your short stay, plenty to see and do in Budapest.

Posted by
9588 posts

As for the time of year, about as perfect as you can get. I am there every fall, no matter what. My fav time of the year in the region.