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How many days in Budapest vs Prague?

Hello. We are going to Prague and Budapest in November. We will be there 11/18-11/26. How many days would you recommend to stay in Prague vs Budapest? I was thinking 4 and 4, but some recommend 5 and 3. We are interested in seeing as much as we can in Prague and the surrounding areas (castles). What type of itinerary would you suggest it being November (possibly raining?). We are not into pubs or clubs, so mostly historical sites, nice restaurants, plus the theater ( I am hoping at least 2 nights) and the night river cruise. Also, we will be arriving to Budapest via a train from Prague. What is the best way to get to our hotel and what is the best way to get to the airport from our hotel?
Thank you in advance.

Posted by
4637 posts

I already answered your identical question under Czech Republic.

Posted by
489 posts

Well, you are lucky! Two beautiful cities with so much to see. We spent 3 in Prague... not enough for sure. We have now been to Budapest twice but for 2 days the first time and 3 days the second... I still want to go back. If you have never ever been to either (I'm guessing not) then I think I would do the 5 and 3. But you will be very busy in Budapest. The Parliament building has tours in English, but you must book those online early. Do the Budapest Opera house tour... amazing. Of course you'll go to the fisherman's bastillon, and a river evening cruise.
IMO, best way to get from hotel to airport is taxi (the day before have your hotel call and request a taxi... we had to leave hotel at an hour no one wants to be awake.) I think our taxi driver was trying to set a new land speed record...and had to wait for the counters to open up, then security was a breeze and waited for the posting of the gate (many places to grab breakfast in the airport). We did this in June. Weather is another matter... be ready for more than rain. We were in both places in October of 2014 and wore hats, scarves and gloves. Layers, layers, layers.

Posted by
123 posts

Ilja and tgreen Thank you both!
Tgreen, not afraid of the cold. Originally from Ukraine :) Went to England last year during the same time and loved the cold! Thanks again for your inputs!

Posted by
8234 posts

Both are great pub/beer towns. I suggest taking the Free Walking Tour where the guides work for tips. We took their Pub Crawl Tour that night where they'll take you to reasonably priced restaurants and beer halls.
Have you considered visiting either Prague or Budapest and spending time in other great adjacent cities you may not be visiting? The two cities are just so much alike in many ways. We visited both cities on a trip that also included Bratislava and Vienna--both great cities.
We found Budapest to be much more reasonably priced and the people perhaps a little more congenial than Prague. Budapest is also an incredible museum town with something like 200 museums. The opera and classical music programs in Budapest are really, really inexpensive. We've been to most major European cities, and Budapest is now one of our favorite places.
We were not that thrilled with the train rides between the cities in April as the coaches were pretty hot--and filled with sweatty soccer teams. I'm good for just about 3 1/2 hrs. on the train--otherwise I'm flying a budget air carrier.
I'd be taking the underground to my hotel in Budapest in the center city. Hotels can often have a driver take you to the airport, or you can arrange a shuttle pick you up at the hotel.

Posted by
18734 posts

Not a bad time to travel. The Christmas market opens in Budapest in mid November and the theaters are alive.

Personally I would do 3 in Prague and 5 in Budapest, but that’s just my preference. I guess to be fair an even division makes more sense. AND, if you allow yourself a little flexibility when you get bored in Prague you can always hop the train a day earlier. Its November and I doubt you will have problems getting a room a day early in Budapest.

Friday, 11/18 Arrive Prague from the states. Pooped out.
Saturday 19 See Prague
Sunday 20 See Prague
Monday 21 See Prague
Tuesday 22 Early morning Train (much better PLANE) to Budapest
Wednesday 23 Budapest
Thursday 24 Budapest
Friday 25 Budapest
Saturday 26 Depart

Yes, go to the theater in Prague. Then do the same in Budapest. Compare the two experiences and let me know which seemed less touristy and more authentic.

Prague is more “perfect” in most ways. Budapest is more “authentic” in most ways.

Prague has wonderfully well-defined tourist zones that you go and visit. Budapest is more about experiencing and less about visiting.

Prague = Beer,
Budapest = Wine

Now, if you really want to see the castles of the Czech countryside in November, then maybe you should think about skipping Budapest and just staying in the Czech Republic. OR, cut a night from Prague and spend it in Cesky Krumlov, then head on down to Budapest.

Posted by
44 posts

We just got back from an April trip, and spent 5 days in Budapest (including the jet-lagged first day) and 4 days in Prague. Loved both cities, although if I had to pick my favorite I think it would be Budapest. That time was ample for all we wanted to do, including an excursion out of town for each place--but we could have filled up many more days I'm sure. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
15673 posts

Consider flying to save a little time, it's a long train ride.

Posted by
4 posts

Yes - i would say 5 and 3 is probably better. Both cities have lots of things to see, but Prague is the one i like better. Many sightseeing options and get some time to enjoy the local beer. Be sure to visit one of the traditional bars where you can experience the real local culture. Trains are pretty good and you will see the countryside. Sure flying would kill a day as well.
Take a river boat tour when you get to Budapest - it is worth the cost

Posted by
123 posts

Thank you, everyone. We've decided to bypass Cesky Krumlov and visit Konopiste, Kutna Hora, and Karlstejn castles that are nearby instead. And yes, we are flying to Budapest.

Posted by
3392 posts

I've been to all three of these places and I think you'll be happy you went to them...if you are limited on time I would rank them in the order from most interesting to least interesting...
1) Konopiste - amazing example of a late 1800s castle from the Hapsburg era...the Archduke had quite a hobby of hunting and killed thousands of animals, all of which he had mounted and labeled and hung from almost every surface inside of the building. I've never seen anywhere quite like it! Watch the movie The Illusionist before you go...much of it was filmed there. They even keep a bear in the moat which is common at many Czech castles and fortresses still. There is a deer park you pass on the walk up to the castle.
2) Karlstejn - another very beautiful castle with a chapel that is not to be missed. It's a bit of a hike up a very touristy street and then up a fairly steep path but the views are beautiful and the castle is interesting.
3) Kutna Hora is nice but it wasn't my favorite town in the Czech Republic. The main church is beautiful and it has a nice aspect with vineyards coming down from the hill on which the town sits but, other than that, it's a fairly typical Czech village.

Posted by
123 posts

Thank you so much for such a detailed account! I loved the "Illusionist" so would be awesome to see it. Kutna Hora is a must since my hubby really wanted to see the church. So the only one I am wondering about now is Karlstejn, because my mom might have a hard time walking up the hill...
Thank you.

Posted by
11 posts


I was about to post the same question and saw this! What did you decide? My husband and I are thinking of planning an 8/9 day trip and don't know how to divide up the time! Can't wait to hear how your trip is...


Posted by
123 posts

Hello Nicole,
We decided to to stay 4.5 days im Prague and 4 days in Budapest. As far as Cesky Krumlov, we chose not to stay there overnight. We might not actually go there as it will be a whole day trip. But if we end up having some time, then we will do a day tour with a group. We will rent a car for 2 days and go to the 3K cities: Kanopiste, Kuna Hotra, and Karlstejn, and another day to Terezin. Then we will fly to Budapest and home from there 😊
I will post after my trip.

Posted by
18734 posts

We will rent a car for 2 days and go to the 3K cities: Kanopiste, Kuna
Hotra, and Karlstejn, and another day to Terezin.

That is within your 4.5 days in Prague? Do you have any days outside of Budapest planned?

Posted by
123 posts

Yes, James E. We arrive Friday at 2:30 and staying at the hotel in Old Town.
Evening: We will familiarize ourselves with the Old Town neighborhood.
Day 1. Old Town and Jewish quarters
Day 2. Nove Mesto and the Bridge
Day 3. 3 Ks
Day 4. Terezin and free walking.
Day 5. Leaving for Budapest at 12. Arrive at 2:30
Day 5. Exploring the area around our hotel in Budapest.
Day 6, 7, 8. Exploring Budapest.
Day 9. Flying home.

No, I havent looked into where to go outside of Budapest. I knkw that there is so much to see and we want to go to the Opera and possibly Operetta once, and do the Danube cruise, so, we will play it by ear. Do you have any suggestions?

Posted by
18734 posts

Tell me which hotel and maybe I can give you some ideas around the hotel for the first day.

I'm in Budapest through Monday. When I get home I will send you some do it yourself city tours. You can easily spend enough time in the city to not need to go outside, and in November the choices outside of Budapest are somewhat limited.

Posted by
123 posts

Oh cool. Thank you.
In Budapest we will be staying at Cosmo City Hotel. I know one thing we will be doing for sure is going to the Xmas bazaar 😊