We have eight (maybe nine) days for a trip to Budapest and Prague in June. Our basic itinerary is four days in Budapest, one in Vienna (to break up the train ride) and three or four days in Prague. Should we squeeze in Cesky Krumlove in there? If so how? As for our time in Budapest, we definitely want to do the trip to Szentendre and boat ride back. Should we spend another precious day of vacation in Eger or somewhere else? The efficient answer, I'm sure, is to skip Vienna and fly from Budapest to Prague, but we really like train travel and gazing at the countryside.
Just did a Prague/Cesky Krumlov/Hallstatt/Vienna/Budapest trip 3 months ago and loved CK. It is a beautiful, charming town and we were so glad we were there for a night. Small towns like this add such charm and quiet to a busy trip....we saw all we wanted to see in 24 hours and we were using a rental car on this trip. We also took the Wacau Valley route as we drove from Hallstatt to Vienna to see the river and all of the vineyards along it as we drove.....loved that as well!
I'm not clear on how many nights you have altogether. Four nights in Budapest, if that's your arrival point after a transatlantic flight, mean just three full, relatively non-jetlagged, days in that city. That's below the minimum I'd want there, but it depends on your interests. Perhaps you primarily want to walk around out doors and enjoy the architecture and are not planning to see the Parliament, museums, House of Terror, etc. For me, three nights would also be very short for Prague, though the key tourist zones tend to be tourist-clogged, and some folks may find three days is enough of that on one trip.
From my perspective an overnight stop in a huge city like Vienna gains you very little there. Just moving from the train station to you hotel may be more time-consuming than it would be in a small town. Then to get from you hotel to a sightseeing target or two may require more local-transportation time. In this situation, with barely adequate time for two great cities, I'd rather take the 6-1/2 hour train ride straight to Prague. Failing that, I'd consider stopping in Bratislava (where I haven't yet been) or Brno, both smaller cities right on the Budapest-Prague route. Brno has a very attractive historic area.
We too have taken the Budapest/Vienna/Prague trip. We once stopped in Bratislava for a weekend to rest up.
When traveling to great European cities, most are worthy of 4 days' visit By essentially skipping Vienna, you're passing up a jewel--the Music City of Europe.
Your time might be better spent staying 4/4/4 days in these cities and skip staying elsewhere.
(I know some great inexpensive places to stay in Budapest and Vienna if you PM me.)
The definition of time quoted in posts always confuses me. Days, nights, on the ground, with travel time, etc??? So I will make a wild guess and say you are leaving your home on a Saturday and you want to be back home on a Sunday. Thats 9 days.
Probably between noon and 3 pm. Jet lagged? A hot shower and clean clothes usually put me back in the mood for something easy and close to the hotel. ONe of the reasons hotel location is so important to me. I want to be able to walk out the front door and be "in it".
Day 5 FLY TO BUDAPEST.
I really dont think you have time for much else. Will take you 3.5 to 4.5 hours door to door and cost about $125 a ticket.
Its a morning flight so now you have 3/4 day in Budapest.
Spend this day in Buda
Budapest (First half of Pest)
Budapest - Szentendre - Budapest
Budapest (Second half of Pest)
If you have one more day do a day trip out of Prague to Cesky Krumlov or there are a lot of other facinating choices (actually I would spend it in Budapest, but I am biased).
If you have two more days, then take the train from Prague to Vienna, spend the two days, then train on to Budapest.