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Budapest and Prague

We are in our 70's and would like to visit these two cities. We are planning a 3-week trip. Is there enough to do/see in each city if we spend 10-11 days in each city? What are the most likely sidetrips? We want to fly into Budapest and return from Prague.

Posted by
174 posts

We did much the same trip but put Vienna in the middle. In retrospect, I'd have stayed longer in Vienna (four or five days) and one fewer in Prague, where we stayed five days. Maybe we were just tired out by that time (also in our 70s). If you're in Prague, take a day trip to Czesky Krumlov (sp?), which I understand is wonderful and we missed it because we heard of the possibility too late. We did like Budapest for the five days we were there, but I'd be dubious about more. We took a Danube cruise that was mildly entertaining; good lunch and a restful way to spend the day. And who ever thought of seeing waterskiing on the Danube? Food: we had excellent food in Budapest on the Restaurant street, fairly good food in Vienna though we searched in vain for one of Rick's choices, and didn't do too well in Prague. (One of Rick's recommended restaurants in Prague served sweetened whipped cream on top of my steak, and the famous dumplings tasted like undercooked Wonder Bread.) We enjoyed the trip very much, but it was a lot to do. And, as my husband said, "Three different monetary systems, three different languages that we don't speak."

Posted by
126 posts

I love how everybody helps. Unfortunately, we just did Vienna for a week last year. We ended of GAS tour there and stayed extra days. This trip is planned for Aug 5-Aug 27. That is when we can get frequent flyer tickets. We will definitely be renting an apartment in each city. We like art, architecture, people watching and trying new foods. We have tried to do RS itineraries, but found it takes twice as long. Thanks for the all the information.

Posted by
5706 posts

We're heading that route shortly. These are absolutely great cities to visit.

After seeing Budapest, we're taking a train to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.

A hydrofoil will deposit us in downtown Vienna in 1 hr. 15 minutes from Bratislava.

Then we'll take a train into Prague. Another option would be to take a mini-bus shuttle thru Cesky Krumlov and up to Prague.

There's plenty to do in these cities. You could also catch a train into Berlin or southwest to Munich from Prague if time permitted.

Posted by
8565 posts

Sandy, if you go to Budapest first and then to Prague you will find yourself right in the middle of the Sziget Festival in Budapest. That could be a good thing or not such a good thing. The festival runs from 5 to 12 August. From VisitBudapest.travel; “Sziget Festival is one of the largest music festivals in the world and certainly the best party-filled week of the year in Hungary. Around 400,000 people come every August to the 'Sziget' for a week of music and entertainment. The organizers teamed up to present the hottest concerts of the day featuring well known international artists, the cream of Hungarian bands and rising stars.”

Following that running from 17 to 20 August is the Festival of Folk Arts at Buda Castle. Here you can see some of the best arts and crafts from the region. Nice event.

Then comes the biggest national holiday in Hungary on the 20th of August which is St. Stephens Day. Usually there are fireworks over the Danube. I haven’t been there for this yet, but I understand its pretty spectacular.

Finally on the 25th of August through the 1st of September is one of my favorites, the Jewish Summer Festival. With that in mind I edited my suggestion (and erased it from the earlier post)

ONE Here is a pretty nice tour of the region skipping Vienna. It takes you from the crowds of Prague to one of the loveliest medieval towns in central Europe and then through the mountains of Slovakia, the wine regions of Hungary and finally Budapest (of course you can do it in reverse). Its not too active and its not expensive other than the hotel in Štrbské Pleso; but even that will be a bargain since August if off season. But do remember outside of the mountains of Slovakia this is August in Central Europe and it can get hot.

Aug 5 Leave the US
6 Arrive Prague. Hotel Ventana
7 Prague; I will let someone else determine what you do in the Prague area.
8 Prague
9 Prague
10 Prague to Cesky Krumlov with a stop at Karlstejn Castel by tour guide; or direct to Cesky Krumlov by CK Shuttle. Stay at the Hotel Dvoark in Cesky Krumlov and try and get the suite with the balcony view of the castle.
11 Cesky Krumlov
12 Cesky Krumlov to Bratislava, Slovakia by CK Shuttle
13 Bratislava
14 Bratislava to Liptovský Mikuláš by train and then to Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras in Štrbské Pleso by hotel car.
15 Štrbské Pleso
16 Štrbské Pleso to Poprad by hotel car and then continue on train to Kosice
17 Kosice
18 Kosice to Eger, Hungary by train. Hotel Senator Haz
19 Eger
20 Eger to Budapest by train. Fireworks over the Danube
21 Budapest: Vaci utca to the Market Hall
22 Budapest: Andrassy ut corridor, House of Terror, Bath Houses, Spinoza's Café has a Klezmer Concert followed by a typical Hungarian Jewish meal on Friday evenings.
23 Budapest: Parliament, Antiques, Margaret Island
24 Budapest: Museum Day. Many to choose from including WWII, Cold War, Fine Arts, Roman excavations. Another option is a tour of Obuda; or both.
24 Budapest: Tour of District VIII palaces, Jewish History and possibly the main cemetary (wonderful crypts and monuments in a beautiful park; odd but worth it) And then the fireworks show over the Danube
25 Budapest: Jewish Ghetto, Jewish Festival
26 Budapest: Special interest day (WWII, Cold War, Jewish, Roman, Museums, Monuments, Shopping) and winding down
27 Budapest to the US

TWO Or you can do the “HUB” approach with some nice day trips and maybe one or two over night trips.

See the following post

Posted by
8565 posts

Option TWO: Using Prague and Budapest as Hubs for seeing the immediate area.

August 5: Depart US
6; Arrive Prague. Rent an apartment
7: Prague; I will let someone else suggest what you do in the Prague area but it could include a day or overnight trip to Cesky Krumlov one of a couple spa towns or castles in the area. The Czech countryside is beautiful.
8: Prague
9: Prague
10 Prague

11 Prague
12 Prague
13 Prague to Budapest by Train; get an apartment (about $75 a night will get you a really nice place in the perfect part of town). You are going against the traffic from the Sziget Festival so the train ticket should be no problem.
14 Budapest: Vaci utca to the Great Market
15 Budapest: Andrassy Corridor / Bath House / City Park / Opera Tour (sorry there are no performances in August). Spinoza's Café has a Klezmer Concert followed by a typical Hungarian Jewish meal on Friday evenings. Pretty enjoyable experience. Often there are older Jews that left Hungary decades earlier in the audience and it can be pretty special to share the experience with them. On one trip an elderly lady sitting near me looked at me with a smile and asked if I ever thought so many Jews would come together in once place in Budapest. I looked around and asked her, "what do Jews look like?" She laughed and began describing me. I laughed and noted that Jews must look a lot like Baptists. We laughed, hugged and sang. Pretty neat night.
16 Day trip to the three cities of the Danube Bend ending with a taxi boat ride back into Budapest from Szentendre

17 Budapest: Buda and the Castle District and the Folk Arts Festival
18 Budapest: Parliament / Antiques / Margaret Island
19 Budapest: Museum Day. Many to choose from including WWII, Cold War, Fine Arts, Roman excavations. Another option is a tour of Obuda; or both.
20 Budapest: Tour of District VIII palaces, Jewish History and possibly the main cemetary (wonderful crypts and monuments in a beautiful park; odd but worth it) And then the fireworks show over the Danube
21 Budapest to Eger by Train. Hotel Senator Haz in the main square under the fortress.
22 Eger: Wine country Tour
23 Train from Eger back to Budapest
24 Day trip to Gyor and the Archabbey at Pannonhalma. Actually I know a good guide that could pick you up in Eger on the 23rd and take you to Gyor for the night then back to Budapest. Would be a great trip.
25 Jewish Festival and Jewish Ghetto District

26 Budapest: Special interest day (WWII, Cold War, Jewish, Roman, Museums, Monuments, Shopping) and winding down
27 Return to the U.S.

Posted by
8565 posts

Yet another thing to consider is using the advantage of being in either Prague or Budapest to do something off the wall. From Budapest a non-stop return trip ticket to extremes like Moscow, Istanbul and Jerusalem is about $300 and 2 to 3 flight hours.

Finally, where to stay in Budapest. In my mind and after traveling to Budapest several times a year for a decade now there is only one zone for the first time visitor. Go to Google maps or similar and look for Andrassy ut (street) and an intersection/metro-stop named the OKTOGON. Now draw a line from the Oktogon down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond until you reach the River. Now stay one or two blocks above that line or two or three blocks below that line. This put you on Andrasy ut which is fabulous, a few blocks from the old Jewish Ghetto, on the historic M1 metro line that will give you access to most every corner of Budapest with only one change; and it just a charming part of town to wander day or evening.

Its August so make sure where ever you stay it has Air Conditioning, and not those little boxes with hoses that stick out of the window..............REAL Air Conditioning!!!! It gets "WARM" in both Prague and Budapest.