10 days Prague, Vienna, Budapest: Solo Travel Recos

Hi All - while I've traveled abroad through work and with friends, I'm doing my first solo trip in 2 weeks. Planning 2.5 days in Prague, 2.5 in Vienna, maybe 1/2 day stop in Bratislava, then 4 days Budapest. Have stays set in each city, but not planning rigid day by day schedule because I like exploring on my own - with help of Rick's guide book. I'm thinking perhaps one organized tour/activity per city. Also like combining food tastings/experiences as a way to frame time (eg., test 3 spots with a certain food of region, a cooking class, going to one restaurant with great reviews, etc.) I'm looking for recommendations on following: - Anyone tried/heard about "Taste of Prague" - great reviews on TripAdvisor, but hoping to find another source. - Any recos on food/drink tours/activities in these cities? - Arrival Prague: best to pre-arrange transfer from airport? Concerned about all I've read about taxi situation and arriving solo. Any particular transport? - Trains: I'm planning trains in between cities. From reading, it appears I'll be able to get my tickets when I'm there, just go to the stations? Also, any advice if it's ok to leave luggage in train station in Bratislava - I've read it's relatively easy/safe?
- Any other advice/recos/resources that come to mind? Thanks!

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Sounds like you're going to have a great time! I highly recommend the restaurants on Raday utca (pretty much all of them) for the best food in Central Europe. Plenty more than goulash-try buttery goose liver or a flavorful halasz for something different. Be sure to bring your swimsuit for the baths! Honestly, taking the bus to the train in Prague is super, super easy and the cheapest way to get into the city. I can't remember the exact details but it's in Rick's Prague guide, and less walking than you might think. Food in Prague: I am NOT a fan of Czech food. It's very bland and very heavy-the kind of stuff that soaks up a lot of beer efficiently. Fortunately, there are plenty of ethnic restaurants if you get sick of pork knuckle and cheap cuts of fried meat. A very good Indian restaurant sits behind the Tyn Church. How a country does beer so well and food so poorly is beyond me. The trains cannot sell out; if there are no seats, you just stand. The trains can fill VERY quickly on weekends and holidays, so if you travel on those days, you might want to pay extra for a seat reservation. IMO, Bratislava is not worth a stop. Spend more time in Vienna.
PM me if you have any other questions!

Posted by James
Frisco
1803 posts

I'm looking for recommendations on following: - Anyone tried/heard about "Taste of Prague" - great reviews on TripAdvisor, but hoping to find another source. Just try to get as far away from the tourist zones as possible if you want real Czech food. - Any recos on food/drink tours/activities in these cities? I've got a couple of lists I'd be happy to share. One is a list of restaurants that have received some sort of recognition or award. The other list is some of my favorite places close to the zone I spend most of my time in when in Budapest. I will PM the link. The Rick Steves guide has a lot of choices and many overlap what I like. - Arrival Prague: best to pre-arrange transfer from airport? Concerned about all I've read about taxi situation and arriving solo. Any particular transport? Sorry, cant help - Trains: I'm planning trains in between cities. From reading, it appears I'll be able to get my tickets when I'm there, just go to the stations? Also, any advice if it's ok to leave luggage in train station in Bratislava - I've read it's relatively easy/safe? I've been to the area dozens of times and have never made it to Bratislava. Mainly because I never heard particularly good reviews relative to a lot of other places. When you arrive by train in Budapest you either walk or take the metro to your digs or you CALL a cab on your cell phone. What you do not do is get in one of the cabs outside the train station. My preference would be City Taxi but there are a lot of good cab companies. Just never get in a car with no company name and phone number on the door. You wont get hurt but you will pay too way too much.
- Any other advice/recos/resources that come to mind? For Budapest I have a lot of recommendations.

Posted by James
Frisco
1803 posts

Best neighborhood to stay in: Two blocks one side or the other of Andrassy ut from the Oktogon to the River (by way of an imaginary line once Andrassy ut ends). Best All Around Private Guide: Adrew ILLES Best quirky tours: Beyond Budapest Sightseeing; The Juice of District VIII and the Hospital in the Rock Best Neighborhood to hang out and wander: Between the lower end of Andrassy ut and Dob utca. Best Taxi: City Taxi Best mid range tourist hotel: K&K Opera Best high end hotel: Le Meridian Best all around accommodations: not a hotel Best evening activity (any age): Opera house or the Operett Theater or the Wine Bar at the corner of Vasvari Pal utca and Kiraly utca Best evening activity (if you feel young): Any Ruin Pub Best place to visit once and then avoid: Vaci utca
Best market: any of them. I will think of more

Posted by JP
San Francisco, California, United States
2 posts

Emily and James - many thanks for your travel advice and messages! I may reach out via PM for more questions.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
914 posts

I traveled to Prague solo. There's an easy airport shuttle (Cedaz) that puts you on V Celnici Street, about 50 meters from Námestí Republiky Square. It's 120 czk one way. Buy tickets before exiting the terminal at the Cedaz/AAA Radio taxi desk. Contrary to others, I enjoyed Czech food, if only because I've never had it anywhere else. I liked the funky lunch counter feel of Ceska Kuchyne (Havelska 23). Ambiente Lokal (Dlouha 33) had excellent beer and upscale bar food. The Lokal chain is all over Prague. I concur the food at Indian Jewel (Tyn 6) is quite good. Klasterni Pivovar (the monastery brewery in the Castle Quarter) has great dark beer. People rave about the Prague New Sandeman's "free" tour. I didn't take it but did a day tour to Kutna Hora with them instead (you don't really have time for that in only 2.5 days). Personally, I loved the behind the scenes tour of the Municipal House (usually one per day in the afternoon) - I am a big art deco fan and it's a masterpiece. Don't miss Mucha windows at the St. Vitus Cathedral - stunning. As for Budapest - go to the Szechenyi Baths. Follow the instructions in Rick's book and you won't be disappointed. It was the very best thing I did in Budapest.

Posted by Linda
Vashon Island, WA, USA
1 posts

I prearranged transport from the train station in Prague to my hotel and it worked out great. I used the company www.prague-airport-transfers.com.uk. I made the arrangements online a day before my departure from Vienna and immediately received a response re: how much it would cost ($20.00 US) and where the driver would be waiting for me. I'm going to use them again to take me to the airport in a couple of days.