We are 4 women in our mid-20s traveling to Budapest, Vienna and Prague for 11 nights in early August 2018. Looking for suggestions on places we must-see/experience and areas to potentially avoid. Our plan is 4 nights Budapest, 3 nights Vienna, and 4 nights in Prague with stays in AirBnBs (also open to day-trip excursions and adjustments to that proposed itinerary). We enjoy nightlife, good beer/food, music, and a moderate amount of sightseeing of historical sites/museums. We plan to take trains between each location (not planning to rent a car). When researching flights, we found it was about $200 cheaper to fly into Budapest and depart from Prague. I've heard trains in this direction are more expensive - is this true and would it be better to start in Prague and end in Budapest despite the flights being more expensive for that route? Thanks in advance for all of your help!
I've never heard of the trains being more expensive in one direction than the other. Could be I suppose, but it couldn't be $200 per person more.
I've done the train between Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, and I wouldn't hesitate to start in Budapest and end in Prague if it were that much cheaper, assuming the flights are otherwise about the same (same connection times roughly? no crazy layovers?).
I'd expect rail fares to be the same in both directions, too, but as the cheapest tickets are bought by others, you can get pushed up into a higher fare category. Around holidays, weekends, commuting hours, etc., the bargain tickets get snapped up far in advance, probably mostly by locals. So variations can definitely creep in.
If you get your itinerary finalized early enough to buy your rail tickets soon after they go on sale for your travel dates, the cost should be very reasonable. Just remember that those bargain tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable.
I dont do good with large open ended questions.
Budapest places to avoid. Maybe Vaci utca because of all the tourists (for no good reason, just junk shops), otherwise nothing dangerous in any part of Budapest you will end up in.
What you might like: Google Budapest Ruin Pubs
In Vienna have dinner at the summer food festival at the Rathaus. For your rail tickets, use the man in seat 61 site for info. Buy your tickets from the national rail service website of the country where your journey begins. Do not use Rail Europe for anything.
I visited those cities on a solo trip in July, 2016 and loved all three, but especially Budapest, perhaps because it was the least touristy of the three.
Suggestion in Vienna: have dinner at a heurigen on a nice evening. These are suburban wineries, and on a nice even you can get a simple dinner and a glass (or more) of wine sitting in their outdoor garden and looking up the hill at the vines. It's easy to get there via public transportation.
Suggestions in Budapest:
- Visit some ruin pubs, as mentioned above.
- Some evening, wander across the Liberty Bridge (if it's still pedestrian-only; it was when I was there). Fun vibe, and great place to watch night fall.