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Berlin , Prague and Budapest

Hello, Me and my 2 mates are taking a trip to Europe from 21st Dec Europe - 2nd Jan and our itinerary is as follow- Arrive at Budapest on 21st Dec Leave for Prague on 25th Dec Leave for Berlin on 29th Dec Return home on 2nd Jan from Berlin
All three of us are in mid 20s and love to party and drink all night and visit nice cafes , restaurants, museums and historical sites during later afternoons and evening hours. Based on my research , three cities we have picked should offer a lot in terms of nightlife , food , culture and history. However , i was wondering if nightlife scene will still be buzzing because it will be holiday season . Also read at various places that many cafes , restaurants and touristy places shut down because of the holiday season and not so many tourist during that time of the year. Is that true? I understand it will be really cold during that time but would we be able to have a good time given our interests? One last question , is it worth stopping over at Bratislava for a day on our way from Budapest to Prague? Thank you for your responses in advance Alex

Posted by
565 posts

Alex, I've not been to Europe during Christmas but from what I understand, Christmas markets are a huge tourist draw. I highly doubt there will be less places open. You are headed to 2 out of 3 of my favorite cities (Budapest and Berlin). Nightlife in all 3 places is fantastic, but pace yourself! The beer in Budapest is unbelievably cheap and in Prague and Berlin, it's really, really good.
IMO, Bratislava is not worth a stop. Spend as much time as you can in those 3 cities, especially Berlin.

Posted by
27413 posts

are you certain that the transportation you have chosen will be available on Christmas Day and the day after, and New Year's Day?

Posted by
988 posts

If you plan to visit museums and historical sites in the later afternoons, just be aware that you'll have fewer daylight hours over there in December than you do here. I was in Budapest/Vienna between Xmas and New Years in 2010 and my recollection is that it was dusk by 3:30 and dark by 4:30. I'd also visit the websites of the attractions you want to visit to check the operating hours. There were some museums and sites with early closings due to being the off-season and the holidays.

Posted by
655 posts

Alex........Given your interests, I don't think Bratislava will be as good a choice as those you have now. Regarding holiday closings, I suggest that you pick one or two spots in each location and contact them for details.

Posted by
2966 posts

I haven't been to those cities on those dates so my advice is conjecture based on living in Germany. Things do shut down a lot around Christmas time in Europe. That said, people always need to drink, so there will be some nightlife and some restaurants. Plus people who aren't traveling to visit family for the holidays will mostly be off work, so the clubs should still be going strong. Prague is a major tourist city year round so I'd imagine SOME things should be open on and after Christmas. I would really research what historical/cultural sites you want to visit, they should announce closures on their webpage. I doubt almost anything will be open on the 25th proper, some stuff will be closed for a week on either side. Transit should be running, though, people still have to get from point a to point b no matter what holiday is going on. I would reserve in advance for your transit connections if you haven't already. But don't worry, you'll get your party quotient in Berlin quite easily, NYE there is out of control.

Posted by
12749 posts

Hi, You should keep in mind that certain museums are going to be closed over the New Year's should you decide to go to some and that also certain train lines operating under DB don't run.

Posted by
31435 posts

Alex, I've never been in that part of Europe over the Christmas holidays, but that's perhaps NOT the best time of year to "party and drink all night and visit nice cafes , restaurants, museums and historical sites during later afternoons and evening hours". While some facilities and transportation should be operating over the holidays, it's likely that many will be operating on greatly reduced holiday hours, so you may not have facilities to party in until the wee hours of the morning. The weather could also be miserable, with transportation disruptions. Given the main focus of your activities, I'd suggest travelling at another time of the year. Cheers!

Posted by
12 posts

Appreciate all your responses . I guess we will change our travel plan so we leave for Prague on 26th. You guys have mentioned about mostly all restaurants and cafes being closed on 24th and 25th . What about the Christmas market? . Would`nt we be able to find food and stuff to do at Christmas market and or will that also be closed on 24th and 25th? . Also i was wondering is its a good idea to spend Christmas in Budapest . @Ken - Well , Unfortunately this is the only time all three of us can travel . One of my buddy has been to Rio and Buenos Aires during new years and he said it was overly crowded and very expensive so that is out of the question . Besides , all three of us have been wanting to do a euro trip for quite some time . @Ralph - Are you from that state up north ? Alex

Posted by
12040 posts

" Also read at various places that many cafes , restaurants and touristy places shut down because of the holiday season and not so many tourist during that time of the year. Is that true?" Not really. In cities that are well known tourist destinations, there's usually an uptick in visitors between Christmas and New Years. All those visitors have to eat and drink somewhere. "You guys have mentioned about mostly all restaurants and cafes being closed on 24th and 25th . What about the Christmas market? . Would`nt we be able to find food and stuff to do at Christmas market and or will that also be closed on 24th and 25th?" Many restaurants are open on the 24th and 25th, but if they're not affiliated with a hotel, they usually serve a special holiday meal and then shut down early.
I'm not sure about Christmas markets outside of Germany, but in this country, they usually close a day or two before the actual holiday. Don't expect many museums to be open on those days.

Posted by
12 posts

Ralph , Like i mentioned "All three of us are in mid 20s" .C`mon man you can't possibly expect us to be still in college living that infamous frat life.

Posted by
337 posts

" While some facilities and transportation should be operating over the holidays, it's likely that many will be operating on greatly reduced holiday hours" Not really. New Year's Eve is the night where the BVG (Berlin's transport authority) has every train and bus they can find in motion the whole night through.
It's still packed though, because it's the one night in the year where everyone is out all night.

Posted by
2966 posts

Oh geez, Ralph, nightlife doesn't equal "red light district". All the cities they're going to are famous nightlife destinations and so it makes sense that someone his age would want to party a little. Regarding Christmas markets, attractions, etc - Alex, I would do a ton of research before you go so you don't end up disappointed. All this information is on the web, and if you use a browser like Chrome, pages in other languages will be automatically translated for you (not perfectly, but enough to know when something is open). All those cities will have nightlife calenders and such online, so look in advance to see what clubs will be open and having stuff going on. All these cities are big so are more likely to have at least a few things open than say, where I live (Germany's largest cowtown) but you still want be think in advance, for example, if you want to have some beer and snacks in your hotel room - buy it the morning of the 24th (or better yet, the 23rd) because you will have trouble finding open grocery stores starting after noon on the 24th - 26th. Also here's some info about Prague around Christmas:
http://www.myczechrepublic.com/prague/christmas-hours.htm

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks Sarah and everyone! Well maybe Nightlife meant red light district for Ralph when me was my age. Hope you had fun Ralph visiting red light districts back in the day.

Posted by
25 posts

So it seems that Berlin is going to be a great place for 3 partying guys in mid 20's. What a about a family of 5 with 3 girls aged 12,16 and 18? Might we survive? Might we enjoy it? Or will be just be packed, busy and we'll be terrified of being separated?
And then nothing much happening in next few days..... Louise

Posted by
565 posts

Louise-
You and your family will have a great time in Berlin. There is something there for everyone, and it is quite safe. Safe enough that I would let your oldest have some time to herself to explore. There are plenty of cafes and boutiques of interest to teenage girls, especially in Prenzlauer Berg, and they made me wistful for my own slimmer late adolescence.

Posted by
14772 posts

Check with your hotel if anything is open on the 26th. Friends of mine went to Budapest a couple of years ago. Everything closed around midday on the 24th and didn't reopen until the 27th. Prague may be similar.

Posted by
123 posts

It's been a few years since I was in Prague, but remember a lot of drinking and night life. There were groups of guys from all over Europe there for what I guessed were bachelor parties. Prague and Brussels are definitely 2 party cities. I have not been to the others but would imagine they will suit your needs well.

Posted by
2966 posts

yeah two weeks in one city, what a great idea. why are you giving such bizarre advice, james?

Posted by
8064 posts

Daughter and friend just got back from Prague and though they were really excited about going there, ended up disliking it. Of all the towns they visited, they just really didn't enjoy their time in Prague. They said it was though the whole town was a giant tourist trap, and though the architecture was nice, the rest of what they had to put up with detracted from the whole experience. High prices, massive crowds, and unfriendliness means they don't want to go back. They did like Berlin and Budapest though.