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River cruise add on

My husband and I are taking a Viking river cruise in April that ends in Budapest. I would like to add on about 4 days. Is there enough to do in Budapest or should we go to Prague? If we go to Prague, do you recommend flying or the train and how many days for each? Any advice would be helpful!
Kathy

Posted by
16166 posts

I think if James E chimes in, he'll convince that 4 days in Budapest is perfect.

Posted by
6570 posts

We went to Prague and Budapest on the same trip. We also returned to Budapest 4/2017, and prefer it over Prague. With 250 museums, there is plenty to see in Budapest. Most of the population is young and hip.

Posted by
2525 posts

It depends. Many folks would find plenty to see and do as it's a big city with 3M in the metro area. For me, I'd consider maybe one day trip as well to Eger, which I love, or possibly Lake Balaton (never been, but t's on my list). As mentioned, James E. is the expert as does/did own property in Budapest, travels there frequently and deservedly is THE expert on the city.

Posted by
2168 posts

4 days is a great start, that's how many days I had in Budapest in 2014, and have since returned twice more with my 4th trip booked for next May. I liked Prague but it was so much more hectic, and since your cruise ends in Budapest I think that's a sign that you should stay there--you won't be sorry!

Posted by
12794 posts

Geeee, how do i follow that.

I believe that you arrive in the evening and the next morning Viking does an overview tour. Then the next morning they toss you off the boat after breakfast to go catch your flight (which will probable leave before breakfast so you don't even get that) but they call it a "day". So 4 days additional would equate to 5 days in Budapest plus the departure day?.

Five days is pretty near perfect and gives you time to see Szentendre or even the full tour of the Danube Bend; as a day trip if you hire a guide with a car. Eger or Pecs or Gyor or ...., because they would eat two days, would have to be because there is something there that really, really interests you. But its not out of the question. You could stay flexible. If after 2 days in Budapest you still want to go, buy the train ticket and go. I think they run about $15 at the station. Take the name of a couple of hotels with you and make reservations the night before. For Eger i like the Senator Haus, for Pecs i like the Palatinus (for the experience). If you rent an apartment just leave the heavy stuff and take a day pack. The unused night will cost you less than $70 if you choose wisely.

Posted by
4 posts

any suggestions as to where to stay in Budapest? I really appreciate the input! I get the impression you are not big on the Viking cruises but its already done so...my husband gets bored very quickly so museums are not his speed...will that change your opinion on length of stay? Thank you so much!

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you to everyone who has been giving me suggestions! Each are adding value to my thought process and so appreciated! Keep them coming!

Posted by
2168 posts

Everyone will have a different reason for enjoying their stay in Budapest, or, like me, for returning 4 times. I do enjoy the various art museums all over town and Parliament, the Terror House and Dohany Street synagogue for indoor activities, but also just really enjoy exploring this wonderful city on foot (and tram, bus and metro--all very easy to use). My personal things I do on each trip now include spending time on Margit sziget with the storks (island in the Danube just off Parliament), time on Castle Hill, huge flea market fan so the Ecseri piac is a must for me and I like to do a day trip to Szentendre, about 45 minutes away on the local train. I have also visited Godollo to tour the small palace there and another day trip to Tata, the town my mother's family came from. My next trip will include Pecs.

If you're there in April you should be able to catch the Spring Festival at Vorosmarty ter, unique hand-crafted items and wonderful food. https://www.budapestbylocals.com/ This website is helpful for determining what events will be going on in town when you're there.

As for lodging, 3 times I have stayed at Residence Baron near the Great Market, steps from the Danube and a very peaceful and pleasant area. Next trip they didn't have my dates so I'll be more mid-town, near the Oktagon off Andrassy. Most first time visitors will find mid-town to suit their needs perfectly.

Posted by
12794 posts

I have nothing against Viking cruises. Some day i will be on one. I was just amused that on an 8 day cruise, day 8 consisted of breakfast. By the way, most of the flights back to the US depart between 6am and 6:30am.

Your first two nights on the boat on the river will be beautiful, but will be in the heart of a particular view on Budapest. Very heavy with tourist traffic and cruise boat folks. So for the remainder i would suggest you get to a buffer area between tourist and real. If one were to try and find a point equal distance to all the sights it would probably fall very nearly on Deak Ferenc ter; both geographically and in transit time to the points of interest. You will see that Budapest has two loop roads; and inner and an outer. I would choose between the two loop roads and between Andrassy ut and Dob utca. Generally speaking the center half of the zone i described, not too close to Deak Ferenc ter and not too close to the outer loop road. This is the general area of my vacation home and after nearly 15 years I still think i choose well. If you find a hotel or an apartment that interests you, send me the name or the address and maybe i can tell you something about the street or the neighborhood.

Posted by
745 posts

My wife and I are also booked on a Viking River Cruise in April that ends in Budapest. Our cruise is "Passage to Eastern Europe", beginning in Bucharest, Romania - we are arriving, there, three days early as the Viking schedule only briefly covers Bucharest, and we've never been there (Thank you to James E. for the Bucharest hotel recommendation.)
We have been to Budapest, previously, on an Avalon Danube Cruise, which began there and ended in Prague.
Both Prague and Budapest are irresistible. I hope you don't have to choose between them.
We are extending our stay in Budapest for three nights on the Buda side of the river, in a small hotel we saw during our last visit. I think Viking is putting us up at the Sofitel on the Pest side at the end of their tour. We could just extend our stay, there, but we elected a more boutique experience. (RS likes the Atre Hotel on the Buda side across from Parliament.)
If it were my decision, and I had time and funds, I would stay extra days in Budapest and I would also travel to Prague.
The most inconvenient part of travel to Europe is getting there. Once you are there, maximize the locations. I don't know how long is "too long" in either city. My guess - there is no "too long" in either.
In full disclosure, I must admit, I am hopelessly biased when it comes to Budapest. I love it there!

Posted by
12794 posts

Ive stayed in the Art O'tel. Its okay. Get a room facing the river on the 3rd floor or higher so you can see the river and the Parliament over the trees. BUT, if its your first trip to Budapest and you want to maximize the experience, stay in Pest. Save Buda for the next trip. From what i have seen here, next trips are common.

Posted by
4 posts

OMG..Thank you all so much...so many decisions to be made...someone suggested the Marriott Residence apartments as a good place to stay - two bedroom (we are two couples) with two bathrooms and kitchen...anyone stay there before?

Posted by
12794 posts

Marriott has 3 hotels under their name in Budapest. One is on the river front and is in the thickest part of the tourism. The second is also in the thick of things; maybe more so because it is adjacent to the biggest tourist shopping street in Budapest (Vaci utca). I think this is the one you mention. The third is further out in District 8 and not particularly convenient for a first trip to Budapest

If you want an apartment, check out a few AirBnbs, I can help you with locations. For hotels also look at the K&K Opera and Roombach and Hotel Moments for good locations. I love to visit the river front and I even go to Vaci utca once when in town, but both are 3 minutes on metro or 5 minutes on foot from more relaxed areas.