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Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg

We will have 17 days including flight days, so really 15 days of travel days. We plan on flying into Prague and flying out of Budapest. Our plans so far are 4 nights in Prague, stop in Cresky Krumlov (spend the night?) on to Vienna 3 nights. Is is worth it to go to Salzburg? or should we head to Budapest and visit Krakow,and Bratislava. We wanted to go to Salzburg, but it looks out of the way. We want to see as much as possible, but not feel rushed, we will be riding trains and buses for our transportation. Thanks for the advice.

Posted by
2876 posts

I completely agree with the itinerary suggested by Kelly. I would definitely spend a night in Cesky Krumlov. The only other thing I'd say is that with 17 days this itinerary is easily doable by car. If you want to see as much as possible and not feel rushed, why tie yourself into train & bus schedules?

Posted by
951 posts

It seems that Salzburg is only 2.5-3 hours away from Vienna. Maybe you could make a day trip out of it from Vienna. From Cesky Krumlov, it is only 4.5-5 hours away by train if you wanted to stay a day or 2. After than go on to Vienna. If you leave super early, sometimes these long train rides do not conflict too much with your travels considering things do not open until 10am or so. I considered Krakow for my Budapest/Vienna/Prague trip this past Nov but Krakow is really far out of the way; 7-9 hours by train from Prague & 9 hours from Budapest. All of the times came from the DB website.

So this is what I would do (I am leaving out days spent in city, you can figure that out). Prague to Cesky Krumlov to Salzburg to Vienna to Bratislava to Budapest.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the quick and helpful insight. We had thought of a car, but since most of our time will be spent in cities, we thought it best to deal with the public transportation. We realize that we will miss many small towns, but we can always come back another time. We have never relied on public transportation before, so we are a bit nervous.
At first we were going to go with a tour group, but we are just going to make our own plans, "nothing ventured nothing gained". You have convinced us that we can still see Salzbug, and to stay in Cresky Krumlov, which sounds beautiful.

Posted by
1525 posts

You are correct that you will have no use for a car, and don't want one in cities.

You may have already discovered the Cesky Krumlov transportation problem, or read about it in the RS books; You CAN go into and out of Cesky Krumlov by train, but it is mightily tedious. The trains are slow, require a transfer, and the CK station is a good walk from the center of town. So there are excellent bus alternatives to go Prague to CK;

Cheap, too.

Getting from CK to the cities to the south isn't cheap or simple. You choose from an awful train connection or a shuttle bus to the fast train link at Linz, Austria or shuttle on to Salzburg for extra cost;

In order to fit Salzburg in you will have to backtrack along that same fast train line so it is a bit inefficient, but certainly doable. Salzburg is too nice to do as a day trip.

Here are three options;

1) Omit Salzburg and go; Prague (4), CK (2-one full day, late in, early out), Vienna (4 - with a Melk-Krems Danube daytrip), Budapest (5 seeing Bratislava briefly on the way)

2) Add Krakow, which makes a nice logical loop; Prague (3), CK (2-one full day, late in, early out), Vienna (3 - with a Melk-Krems Danube daytrip), Budapest (4 seeing Bratislava briefly on the way), Krakow (3). Note that here you have many flight options - RT flights from any of these cities or open jaw with any two neighboring cities on this circle.

3) Include Salzburg and omit Krakow; Prague (3), CK (2-one full day, late in, early out), Salzburg (3), Vienna (3 - with a Melk-Krems Danube daytrip), Budapest (4 seeing Bratislava briefly on the way). This follows your original flight plan.

In any case, you will have a fantastic time!

Posted by
4 posts

Thank You Randy, I think we will go for option #3 and skip Krakow. I have looked into ShuttleLob, sounds good, and will now check into the bus option. Thanks for your help. Sue

Posted by
1525 posts

If you have not already, you should find the Rick Steves Viena (Austria) book. In it there is a chapter for the Danube river cruise from Melk (and it's famous abbey) to Krems (cute town). It can also be a fun bike ride. We will be doing this en route from Salzburg to Vienna this coming summer. The itinerary for that day goes something like this (approximate times);

9:00 train departs from Salzburg
11:30 AM arrival in Melk - tour the abbey
2:00 PM -3:10 boat to Dürnstein (stroll & eat)
5:40 PM - 6:00 PM boat to Krems (stroll)
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM train to Vienna

The web site for the boat is:

I always like to break up city to city visits with a rural/village experience whenever possible.

Good Luck

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks again, we love to ride bikes! will look into this. Last year we rode along the Colorado River. Looking forward to our trip this Summer.
Thanks for all your advice.