We will fly into Budapest, after spending a few days in London and fly out of Prague 10 days later. We were planning on taking the bus, orangeways, from Budapest to Krakow but now it seems the schedule does not work for us. There is no bus on the day we want to travel. There is a night train but would it be too much to go to Bratislava, spend an afternoon and catch the night train from there to Krakow? It seems to be around the same amount of time. Is one train better than the other? Is the Hydrofoil worth it from Budapest to Bratislava on the Danube? Would there be enough time to see Bratislava in the morning, spend an afternoon in Vienna and catch the train from Vienna to Krakow? What we have planned is 3 nights in Budapest and catch the night train on the 4th night. One night in Krakow with a night train on our 2nd night and then three nights in Prague. This whole trip is centered around going to Auschwitz. We are thinking about catching the night train from Auschwitz to Prague. Is there enough to to there before we catch the late train or would it be better to go back to Krakow? These are lots of questions and we do have Rick's Eastern Europe book to help.
Hi Tommy, May I just suggest spending a bit more time in Krakow itself? It's beautiful and charming, and well worth more than one night. Plus, if your whole trip is centered on going to Auschwitz, there are related sites in Krakow that are, in their way, almost as sobering and moving. In addition to the Kazimierz neighborhood which is the traditional Jewish area of Krakow (and now an energetic, trendy area), there's the Plaszow district where the ghetto was set up during the war. Plaszow is also the site of the concentration camp that was depicted during the first part of the movie "Schindler's List". There's not much to see, but it is actually all the more haunting because of that. You could also see Oskar Schindler's factory. When I was there, it was still a working factory, but has since become a museum. As for Auschwitz (Oswiecim in Polish) the town, there is little else to see or do.
Hi Tommy, Just to elaborate a bit more on Penny's reply, the Oskar Schindler museum is pretty amazing. I was there in September and have to say that I was really impressed. I thought it was going to be more of a small museum about Schindler. But it was huge and all about Jewish life in Krakow leading up to and including the Holocaust. I spent close to 3 hours there, but it is a bit tricky to find. I would have to agree with Penny that Krakow is a beautiful city itself. The town of Auschwitz is actually about an hour and a half away from Krakow by bus. As I recall, taking the train from Krakow to O?wi?cim to get to Auschwitz is a bit complicated as the city is quite small. You can take an overnight train from Vienna to Krakow to say time, however. Hope this helps.
You can take hydrofoil to Bratislava. First half of the way is pretty scenic. Catch the night train to Krakow from there. Bratislava Downtown is pretty small so you can get some feeling of it in less than a day. To do travel to Bratislava, sightsee in the morning then travel to Vienna and sightsee in the afternoon is not realistic. You can catch the night train from Auschwitz to Prague but that leaves almost at midnight. It would probably be better to go back to Krakow.