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Budapest, Vienna, Prague October

We fly from our home town to Budapest Oct. 22 arriving October 23 at 1:45pm. Looking at staying at Courtyard City Center (we have Marriott points) for 2 nights. Take the train later in the day (October 25) from Budapest to Vienna (should we fly?) stay at another Marriott Courtyard Prater/Meese again for 2 nights. Then Prague on October 27 for 3 nights. On October 30 we fly early morning to Rome to embark on a Transatlantic cruise and relax. Is this itinerary too much for the Budapest, Vienna, Prague days. How would you plan it?
What is the best way to transfer from the Budapest airport to our hotel? Also transfers from train stations to our hotel in each city and transfer from Rome airport to cruise port? What site do we use to book train reservations?
Thanks so much for suggestions.

Posted by
16581 posts

You are not allowing nearly enough time in each of those great cities. You are allowing about 1.5 days in Budapest, 1 day in Vienna and 2 days in Prague. All three have much lovely architecture to enjoy as well as a great many worthwhile sights.

I wouldn't even be happy splitting seven nights between two of them, but some others would do that. I'd rather stay in one place and plan a couple of possible day-trips, in case I ran out of things to do.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, three places = too many, two = doable, one = relaxing.

"What site do we use to book train reservations?" - The website of the company running the trains.
See these webpages for details about these routes, both have a "how to buy tickets" section:
Budapest - Vienna: https://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Budapest.htm#Budapest-Austria
Vienna - Prague: https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/prague-to-vienna-by-train.htm

Posted by
1371 posts

My initial reaction was to suggest Budapest and Vienna, because they are so easily connected by train. Leave Prague for another visit.

It appears you may have already visited some/all of these during an earlier trip? Was there something in each city you particularly wanted to go back to see? I'd suggest choosing your two favorites for a return trip, perhaps with some day trips that you didn't have time for the first time.

Posted by
20 posts

We actually haven't been to any of the cities. We were supposed to go in 2017 and I got sick and we had to cancel. Since we're going on the cruise we thought we would be able to see these places prior to the cruise.

Posted by
10673 posts

Budapest Oct. 22 arriving October 23 at 1:45pm. Looking at staying at
Courtyard City Center (we have Marriott points) for 2 nights. Take the
train later in the day (October 25) from Budapest to Vienna (should we
fly?)

Courtyard City Center oddly enough, isnt in the City Center. Plan on a lot of time on the M2 underground and the 4/6 Tram. Not good for such a short trip. There is a Marriott down on the river too and for what is essentially a one day trip, that is what I would do.

Its a 3 hour train ride to Vienna, there are no direct flights.

But since you mentioned flying; what I would do is spend more time in Budapest and fly from Budapest to Prague, skipping Vienna altogether. That flight is about $115 and takes 1.5 hours.

Best way to get to the train station in Budapest? From that Marriott you are staying at the M2 metro is close and it goes to Keleti, the station that connects to Vienna. From the Marriott on the river, take a taxi for about $10.

Posted by
154 posts

While all 3 cities are great, I think I would do just 2. You have 6 full days "on the ground". Someone suggested flying from Budapest to Prague but I would take the train. About 3 hours Budapest to Vienna then about 4 hours Vienna to Prague. Take an early train and spend a few hours in Vienna before continuing on.

Posted by
20 posts

Ok all you helpful people...We changed our dates so we have 2 extra days. Flying from US to Budapest Oct 19 arriving Oct 20. Now would you suggest 3 days in each location? Where are the places you love to stay in each of the cities?

Posted by
13904 posts

Consider that you'll be jetlagged the day you arrive and that may carry over to the next day as well. Even with an additional 2 days, I'd still limit it to 2 cities. There is a great deal to see and do in each of them. I would probably choose Prague and Budapest and fly between them. Have you been to Rome? Have you considered spending a day or two in Italy before the cruise?

It's hard to know what will work best for you without knowing what your European travel history is. Some people handle jetlag better than others. Some like a fast-paced trip, just getting an overview of each place. Some are more efficient at packing/unpacking and getting oriented to new surroundings: a new language (signage, basic phrases), new transportation systems to learn (buying, then validating tickets, recognizing the bus/tram stops), and a different currency in each place.

Posted by
16581 posts

I agree with Chani but must admit that I'm a week-in-Prague/week-in-Budapest kind of person. I'm much more worried about perhaps not having time for something important to me than about postponing a city until the next trip. I've postponed Paris twice, but I haven't left too many cities thinking, "I'll have to come back to see the rest of my target list."

Posted by
1371 posts

I'll give a slightly different perspective, given your additional days. On my first visit to Prague, Vienna, Budapest (and Krakow) I hadn't been to that area of Europe and didn't know what would appeal to me most. I called it my "sampler" visit. With 4 nights in each city, I hit my "top sites."

I have since been back to Prague, which fit nicely into another loop trip. I enjoyed Krakow so much that I went to Wroclaw on another trip where it logically connected, and have planned a Poland-only trip this fall. I'll go back to Vienna and Budapest after the Budapest opera house is re-opened, because I love seeing ballet in world class venues.

If this is your first visit to all those places, and with those additional days, I think you could do a marvelous sampler spin through your top cities. You never know which city will draw you back for another visit, to see more of the city or more of that country.

Posted by
1371 posts

Where are the places you love to stay in each of the cities?
If I'm in a city for a short number of days, I want to be close in so that I'm not spending vacation time "commuting."

Budapest - I stayed at the K&K Hotel Opera. It's not as expensive as some of the hotels along the river, but it's not cheap either. Fantastic breakfast spread and wonderful service, very helpful with sightseeing arrangements.

Vienna - I stayed in 2 places, both chosen for location.
Motel One Vienna-staatsoper (there are multiple of this chain in Vienna, this one is one block from the opera house)
- this chain is inexpensive and no-frills. The location is the draw.

Pension Suzanne - also near the opera house, this is a small place with a lovely breakfast. A 1 minute walk from the Opera House, around the other side from Motel One and therefore a bit nearer St Stephen's Cathedral, by 5 minutes or so.

In Prague - I'll leave others to recommend a place, because the Motel One I've stayed in twice, while inexpensive and conveniently located near a grocery store and ATM, is about a 15 minute walk from the center.

Posted by
154 posts

OK, now you have 8 full days. I would do 3 days Budapest, 3 days Prague with one day in Vienna. Take the train from Budapest to arrive in Vienna around 8-9 am (leaving around 5-6 am). Spend the day walking around and have a great lunch, maybe see a museum or two. Then take the train to Prague arriving around 9 pm (leaving around 4:30 pm). That will give you 7-8 hours and as Vienna center is small you could see a lot. With the 8th day I would go to Rome and enjoy a day there before the cruise. Or take the train Budapest to Vienna late on the 3rd day of your Budapest stay, spend that night and the next in Vienna then late on the 2nd day in Vienna train up to Prague.

Train tickets can be as low as $20/person 2nd class. I wouldn't pay for 1st class as they are short trips.

Posted by
10673 posts
  1. Arrive Budapest (K&K or something else along lower Andrassy ut. Let me know what you find and maybe I know something about them. Several good choices - or the Marriott on the river but not as good for a longer stay)
  2. Budapest
  3. Budapest
  4. Budapest
  5. Budapest to Vienna by train (haven’t yet stayed in a hotel in Vienna I liked so someone else will have to help with that)
  6. Vienna
  7. Vienna
  8. Vienna to Prague by train (Hotel Ventana. A bit pricey but the quality and the location is worth it)
  9. Prague
  10. Prague
  11. Prague to Rome