considering this agenda flying into either Berlin or Budapest and training to the opposite end this fall. europeandestinations.com lets me set up any itinerary and prices it fairly easy. any advice on recommended number of nights per destination (or other en route cities) I should visit instead? thanks
We spent 5 days in Berlin and found lots to do, we took the train to Dresden and stopped for the day on our way to Prague where we spent 3 nights. On a separate trip we spend 4 nights in Budapest. It depends on how much time you have but I'd suggest:
*5 nights in Berlin, *1-2 nights in Dresden, *3 nights in Prague, and *3-4 nights in Budapest.
It sounds like a great trip!
This is a great, easy trip to do.
I'd spend AT LEAST four nights in Berlin. Remember, you'll be jetlagged so the first day will be challenging. Berlin is my favorite city in Europe (hands down), with TONS to do.
I spent two nights in Dresden a few years ago. I don't think its worth any more than one night, and if you're really pressed for time, you may want to do it as a day trip (early morning train from Berlin, get off, late afternoon train Dresden-Prague).
Prague is great, but 3 nights is enough. You'll get crushed by tourists, so its best to see it, power sightsee, and get out.
Budapest, 3 or 4 nights. Nice city. Big and spread out, lots to do, fewer crowds.
Note that if you know exactly when you want to leave Berlin, Berlin-Dresden-Prague tickets are available on Deutsche Bahn's website with advanced purchase discounts.
Dresden itself is probably only a single night stop, based on your schedule. But if you allocated more, you could take a day trip to nearby Gorlitz, once the capital of Silesia, which is still not very touristed. It's a work in progress, with lots of 18th century buildings being rehabbed into cafes, shops, and restaurants. You can compare what is happening on the German side with the twin town of Zgorzelec on the Polish side of the river--same architecture, but the buildings there are mostly used as cigarette shops and currency exchange places. See it all now before the bus tours arrive in the next few years and it gets loved to death.
You might also think about a day trip to Kutna Hora from Prague for the unforgettable ossuary chapel there. Cesky Krumlov is just about doable as a day trip, but that involves about a half day total in transit and the town is overrun by tourists. It's one of the most beautiful places in central Europe, but it does get far more tourism than it can handle.
Budapest is wonderful but hard on the feet--distances are considerable between the places you want to visit, so extra time is helpful there. A good day trip by train is to nearby Szentendre, a lovely town known for its folk art galleries. Don't miss the Margie Kovacs gallery--my husband still talks about her charming and imaginative sculptures years later.