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Budapest, Vienna, Prague Itinerary

Looking for feedback on our proposed 13 night itinerary in late July - should I add or remove a day from any of the places, or add in different side trips? We fly into Budapest and out of Prague.
Budapest 3 nights, Eger - 1 night, Bratislava - a few hours on the way from Eger to Vienna, Vienna 3 nights, Cesky Krumlov 2 nights, Prague 4 nights (we are meeting friends in Prague, so would be willing to add a day, but not shorten it)

Thanks!

Posted by
386 posts

Eger is pretty far out of the way between Budapest and Vienna/Bratislava. Is there a particular reason you want to stay there overnight? I think Eger to Bratislava via train/bus is at least a five hour trip one way, with a connection in Budapest. In general, I think most would counsel against one night stays. So my suggestion, for what it's worth, would be do add an extra night to Budapest (I don't think you'll regret having more time there). And if you really want to go to Eger, I believe it is only 1.5 hours by train each way from Budapest, so perhaps you could do it as a day trip instead of an overnight?

If you ditch Eger, consider also going from Budapest directly to Vienna (instead of going through Bratislava), and then visiting Bratislava as a day or partial day trip from Vienna. Especially so if you are taking public transportation between cities, as then you won't have to tote your bags around through Bratislava.

Posted by
12548 posts

You recognize that this is all pretty subjective. But for me.
First I would start in Prague and work the other way. Budapest is pretty laid back and its a good place to unwind on the Danube embankment with a glass of wine after running all over central Europe.

But based on your flow:

  1. Arrive in Budapest on international flight between noon and 4pm. Hire a guide to pick you up at the airport and spend about an hour driving around town on the way to your accommoations near Andrassy ut. Spend the first late afternoon evening walking Andrassy ut and hanging out in sidewalk cafes. There is enough there for a full day, but its close to home so you can go home whenever you get tired.
  2. See 1/3 of Pest
  3. See Buda and another 1/3 of Pest
  4. See final 1/3 of Pest
  5. Morning train to Eger (Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I would spend the time in Budapest maybe with a day trip to Szentendre or Esztergom)
  6. Morning train to Budapest and connection to Vienna (or if you skip Eger, just take the 2.5 hour morning train to Vienna).
  7. Vienna
  8. Vienna
  9. Morning transfer to Cesky Krumlov by Bean or CK Shuttle Service. (Cesky K. is a one night visit in my book. Too crowded. You can minimize it a bit by arriving in midafternoon and leaving the following late morning. This way you avoid some of the day tourists)
  10. Morning transfer to Prague by Bean or Ck Shuttle Service
  11. In Prague
  12. In Prague
  13. In Prague
Posted by
4637 posts

Take one night from C.K., give it to Budapest. And think about Steve suggestions. They are good.

Posted by
4637 posts

In the meantime while I was typing, James posted. Good suggestions, too. If you want to save money you don't need shuttle from Cesky Krumlov to Prague. There are direct connections by bus (many) and one direct connection a day by train (and many with change in Ceske Budejovice. Schedule is here: http://www.idos.cz . You can switch it to English.

Posted by
12548 posts

Steve, Eger is a 2 hour train trip. Then there is the time to and from the stations so figure 3 hours overall x 2 = nearly 6 hours of travel for a day trip. Not impossible, but not real productive either. And the best parts of Eger are the wineries which you need to get out of town to see. Not horrible as a day trip, but Eger is better overnight and 2 nights are better if you are into grapes. Besides if you are one of those people who fall for Budapest you will be back and you can do it then. The number of repeat tourists to Budapest is simply amazing. I've been there a couple of times myself.

There are a number of good day trips out of Budapest. My favorite to recommend to first time visitors is still Szentendre. 30 minute commuter train there and this great 45 minute boat ride back --- entering Budapest on the river with the Parliament rising before you is spectacular.

If i wanted an overnight on the way to Vienna it would be Gyor and the Archabbey at Pannonhalma. Exactly half way between Budapest and Vienna on the same track as the Budapest - Vienna train. Adds zero time to the trip to Vienna as far as train time so you have more time for Gyor's old downtown and for the Archabbey/Winery. People talk a lot about Melk, and it is interesting, but by and large its just a big museum. Pannonahlma is still very much functioning as it was originally intended to and that adds another layer to the experience.

Posted by
1878 posts

I think starting in Budapest is a good plan, more of a gentle introduction. Prague is likely to be an absolute zoo in July. I would tend to stay Eger as a day trip even though it's a long one. Three nights is not much in Budapest, with the first day being very jetlagged. Sopron is worth considering for a stop in between Budapest and Vienna, you can have a good one night stay there and it's more on the way. I would not cut back CK, you need a full day there. Sounds like four nights in Prague is a hard requirement, otherwise I would say you could have a nice visit staying only three nights. But on the other hand, the crowds may slow you down so an extra day is not a bad idea.

Posted by
4637 posts

Four nights in Prague is good because first day (at least) you will have jet lag.

Posted by
12548 posts

Ilja, he is starting in Budapest, not Prague.

He will start off slow and finish in the summer chaos of Prague; may G-d have mercy on his soul.

Lets all go out tonight and have a drink to remember him by!

Posted by
2163 posts

James--you are so right, Budapest is the loveliest and most welcoming place to end a trip. I visited Prague after spending 8 peaceful, relaxing and yet pleasantly busy days in Poland and ended up smack dab in utter mayhem and that was at the end of May.

Posted by
4637 posts

Yes, James, you are right. I must have overlooked it. It seems that almost everybody is complaining about mayhem crowds in Prague. I go there often and don't have that experience. Maybe because I go to places which have propensity to be crowded in correct time - early morning. Prague center is no more crowded than for example Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Cesky Krumlov, Rothenburg, Brugges, etc.

Posted by
12548 posts

Ilja, that was sarcasm, right? There's a list i wouldn't want to do all in one trip. But to be fair Prague can be beautiful in the morning before the tourists wake up.

Posted by
4637 posts

James, to be fair Prague is not only Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, the Castle, the same way as Budapest is not only Vaci utca.

Posted by
12548 posts

Ilja, I love Prague. Unfortunately on a first trip you want to see all those tourist areas first (cause it's that good). Day 4 and on gets you out of the typical and then you get to see another layer of the city that is pretty facinating.