My wife and I will be visiting our daughter in February. She will be on a month long break from school then. We plan to spend 4 days in Vienna, but are pondering where else to go. Would it make sense to travel to Bratislava - Budapest - Krakow - and return to Vienna, with or without a side trip in Brno? Or Bratislava - Budapest - Ljubljana - return? Or even to stretch over to western Austria & Switzerland? My daughter will be studying in Leipzig next year, so I would take in Prague & Berlin then. Any help would be appreciated, including Pension recommendations, etc. Thanks
As I said - my reply is under Austria.
Yes thanks. Also hoping for recommendations about Budapest.
Salzburg is also a must-see in my opinion. It's one of my favorite cities, especially the old town area by the fortress.
If you read the previous topics under Hungary I think you will have a good start which might lead to specific questions.
In general I would do:
1 Depart Us
2 Arrive Vienna
5 Bean Shuttle to Cesky Krumlov
6 Bean Shuttle to Prague
9 Czech Air to Budapest $150 +/-
14 Train to Vienna
16 Fly home.
(Using all the weekends, 2 weeks off work is 16 days)
You said February. Then if you can plan it so you can see this I would skip a day someplace else to go http://www.mohacsibusojaras.hu/. We had a lot of fun. This is also theater season if that interests you.
Of the cities you listed I'd try to include Budapest and even better it's easily accessible via train and not far from Vienna. It's a good compare/contrast with Vienna because it shares similarities and common history under the Hapsburg empire but it's by no means a carbon copy. It's very much it's own city: the people, culture and food are different, tracing back to the Magyars of Central Asia, the leftover threads of Communism are still (benignly) visible and the vibe is different. The natural spring water baths are also a distinctive treat that sets Budapest apart (don't worry about being out of shape, that certainly doesn't stop the locals from enjoying it). Budapest highlights the Danube River very well with its bridges, which make for a nice picturesque background (Prague also shares this feature). Our sampling size was small but we enjoyed Hungarian wines the most out of the three cities of Vienna, Prague, Budapest. Bottom line we had a lot of fun in Budapest and look forward to a return visit. Assuming it's your first visit to that part of Europe, Prague is also appealing but you said it's earmarked for a later trip.
"...because it shares similarities and common history...." How true. Evidence of this is seen in the one common feature both in Vienna and Budapest: the statue of Prinz Eugen, the Habsburgs' most victorious commander. In Budapest he is in front of the National Gallery, which used to be the Habsburg Royal Palace on Castle Hill. In Vienna Prinz Eugen is in front of the Hofburg.
Let's not forget that Budapest was under Ottoman Empire for over hundred years. At that time Bratislava was capital of Hungary. It was called in German Pressburg and in Hungarian Poszony. It got its Slovak name after WWI. You can still see some Orient features in todays Budapest. Baths, food etc.
I missed the part about saving Prague. Its February so I would concentrate on larger cities with culture that continues on through the winter. Do your four days in Vienna, then take a discount airline to a location that has some February attraction; then fly on to Budapest on another discount air carrier.
I haven’t been to Krakow, Brno or Bratislava or Ljubljana. I am in the region 2 or 3 times a year but they just haven’t drawn me yet. Personally I would save them for better weather. But that’s just me.
One idea might be Vienna to Istanbul then Istanbul to Budapest. I just picked a few random days in February on Google Flights and it looks to be about $160 total for both legs.
Another idea, would be fly into Vienna, do your time, train to Budapest and do your time, then do a discount carrier to a place like maybe Riga, Paris, Tel Aviv, etc; all under $100; then fly home. Budapest seems to have more discount connections than does Vienna. If you find yourself in the region during carnival, then Cologne might be the place to go. Nonstop from Budapest is under $100. Then you go Cologne to home the states.
The weather may be a consideration in Feb, but if it is not, I would suggest going to Brno, which I found as a day trip on this past trip a month ago quite worth it, so much that I'll be devoting more time to the place on the next trip, not merely historically as a province capital but the location and its proximity.
We spent a few weeks this past February in the region:
Here are some ideas
These were taken this past February in Budapest: https://1drv.ms/i/s!Ai7Zk-szxfTJg8soCGeOTyAhG592qg and https://1drv.ms/i/s!Ai7Zk-szxfTJg8tAikoTbEyA08EKLw and