Budapest/Vienna and/or Salzburg

Thinking about this Itinerary for early November 2013...I would like too much time for just these two cities? Should I add Salzburg? Any other suggestions? Day 1 Fly into Budapest Day 2-3 Budapest with possible daytrip somewhere Day 4 Budapest Daytrip (Need suggestions) Day 5 Train to Vienna Day 6-8 Vienna Day 9 Daytrip Melk Day 10 Daytrip Bratislava Day 11
Fly Home

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
422 posts

Hi Robby, Since you'll be going in early November, the hydrofoil won't be running. It also looks like the river cruises around Melk quit running the end of October. This doesn't mean you can't still go, but a boat won't be an option. We're going to Europe in November too and I'm finding that some of the awesome ideas that people suggest aren't valid this time of year. If you decide to go to Salzburg, use the Westbahn train service - it's 25 euro and you can just buy the ticket on the train. Supposedly the Alp scenery from Vienna to Salzburg is gorgeous - I can't wait to see it firsthand!

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1183 posts

Makes sense to me, enough time to see a lot in the two great cities, plus side trips. You could easily spend the whole time in the two cities. I'd say Melk is a worthwhile day trip from Vienna if you like over-the-top Baroque. Bratislava is nice but another day in either Budapest or Vienna might be more rewarding. Sound of Music fans like Salzburg, me not so much. Unless you've very into SOM etc., I wouldn't try to squeeze it into this itinerary, you have plenty already. I'm sure the Budapest-Vienna train is easy and interesting, but you might consider a Danube hydrofoil instead: I didn't take this boat, but went up the river on a longer cruise and really enjoyed the scenery (including Bratislava, you could eyeball it on the fast boat and decide about returning later). NOTE: You might get more responses if you repeat your post on the "To the East" board. That's where you'll find more info on the places you're going.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4737 posts

You really want to be on the go, I see. Vienna and Budapest are large cities with enough to keep a first time visitor busy for 4-5 days. Your planned 1-2 days in each (once you subtract your planned daytrips) is hardly "too much time." Of course, if you don't like them, you can also leave for day trips or side trips. I would allot your nights evenly to each, and you can then see once you are there if you want daytrips or not. You could also schedule Bratislava as a stop (daytime or overnight) between Vienna and Budapest, as it's between the two. As for day trips from Budapest, Rick's favorite is Eger, although he admits it's a bit far for a single day (I did it as an overnight). I preferred Pecs to Eger (3 hours each way from Budapest, so I also saw it as an overnight). The classic daytrip from Budapest is Szentendre, but I preferred Vac (not covered in Rick's book; I found it in the excellent Frommer's Budapest). Szentendre is nice enough, but very crowded with visitors; I had Vac all to myself, and it was lovely and very interesting (just wait till you see the mummies under the main square!) As for a purely personal opinion, I loved Budapest, and didn't care for Vienna. I've never been to Salzburg, so I can't comment.

Posted by Emily
358 posts

That looks like a good itinerary. I agree with the others that there is so much to do in both cities that all the side trips are only necessary if you really want them to be. I could easily spend all 11 days split between Budapest and Vienna, and still find things to do, but if side trips are your bag, go for it.
I would not add Salzburg on top of the trips you already have planned.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
5411 posts

Salzburg is a beauty. However it's a distance from Vienna and you already have a busy schedule, so I don't know if it's wise to add it to your trip. Full disclosure: I have never seen the movie The Sound of Music and never will. I hate musicals. However my wife dragged me to the Sound of Music tour and I consider that tour the biggest waste of my money and time. Salzburg, nevertheless is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.

Posted by James E.
3243 posts

You might want to check the weather averages. November tends to be cold and wet in Central Europe. Not terrible but less of a hindrance when doing city events as opposed to the great outdoors. In Budapest your trip isn't long enough for an overnight stay other than the Gyor stop I suggested. Eger is really worth the trip, but in better weather. Better weather can mean warmer and less wet or it can mean late December under a blanket of snow. The towns of the Danube Bend mentioned elsewhere are also great in good weather; although you might enjoy the 30 minute commuter train to Szentendre and back.

Posted by Bill
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA
47 posts

Hi Robby, My wife and I did Budapest and Vienna back in 2007. When in Vienna we booked an overnight in Salzburg and loved that city. Also in Budapest we booked a tour that took us to three beautiful old Hungarian towns up the Danube; Visegrad, Esztergom, and Szentendre. All three fascinating and full of history and done in a day. Also, make sre and leave a day to explore old Buda. Our trip was 11 days as well. Merry Christmas.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2740 posts

I spotted a consolidator the other day with all inclusive packaged trips to Budapest, Vienna and Prague for very reasonable prices--including train passes. You can customize such trips thru them. See

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
798 posts

Roberto: The Sound of Music isn't just a "musical", it's the true story of the Baron von Trapp and his family who gave up title, estate, fortune and almost their lives to escape the Nazis after the Anschluss of 1938.
They eventually ended up in Vermont where they ran an Inn and toured as the Von Trapp Family singers.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1474 posts

And, the Sound of Music tour takes you through the Salzkammergut region of Austria which has absolutely breakthtaking views of the alps. Yes, it's a bit commercialized, however, unless you are driving, you wouldn't be able to see all that the tour offers. I, personally, think you would enjoy Salzburg in that it would be a nice change from the larger cities you are visiting. The scenery is gorgeous.

Posted by Robby
Dallas, Ga, USA
12 posts

Thanks for all the advice...we just got back from Berlin, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Dresden, and Prague November 2-16. We probably will do this trip the first two weeks of November 2013. This would be our first trip so these cities. We probably will skip Salzburg this trip. Will probably spend two full days in Budapest with a daytrip somewhere. Still undecided about Bratislava may spend an extra day in Vienna? Are there any other interesting Daytrips from Vienna?

Posted by James E.
3243 posts

Robby: What was your favorite thing about Prague? Your least favorite thing? Gyor is an interesting day trip from Vienna (1.5 hours on the train).
Gyor is an interesting day trip from Budapest (1.5 hours n the train).

Posted by Heather
Royal Oak, MI, USA
52 posts

I would not bother with Bratislava if you can spend some extra time in Pecs. I'm not a Sound of Music fan, so Salzburg is off my list. I'd push further if you have the extra time and maybe consider the castles like Neuschwanstein should you be committed to staying in the area.

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
798 posts

I don't understand why some people think Salzburg is only about the Sound of Music??

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11650 posts

I'm not a Sound of Music fan, so Salzburg is off my list. Is that all that you think is there? We have been to Salzburg many times and haven't done S-O-M things once. The beautiful city and beautiful area do just fine despite, not because of, S-O-M.

Posted by Bill
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA
47 posts

We did Salzburg as an overnight from Vienna and found time to take a bus tour through the Salzkammergut(hope I'm saying/spelling that right) and it was absolutely one of the best memories of the whole Vienna-Budapest trip. If you're going in November not sure how it would be but keep Salzburg in your plans if possible. You won't be sorry.