Trip itineraries option quesions /Germany & Austria or Eastern Europe

Planning for our May '13 vacation. Departing May 9th and returning May 19. We cannot change that as our vacations are set at work. I enjoy photography (landscapes and old buildings/churches are my love), history, "old things", churches and food. We are down to 2 possible trips. They are: Option #1 Munich Innsbruck Salzburg Vienna Option 2 Prague
Budapest Vienna I have talked to no people who have been to any of these destinations. For those who have been to these cities, I am solicting comments. I want to firm up the reservations with-in the next 2 weeks. Thank you!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11632 posts

I've only been to Vienna in your "Option @". For your "Option #1", If you depart on the 9th you will arrive jet-lagged on the 10th. Departing on the 19th, you will only have full days for sightseeing on the 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 = 8 days. You will lose half a day moving between city stays each time you move. Have you been to Europe previously? Munich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna are reasonably compactly positioned relative to each other, with Innsbruck the outlier. The other 3 are all in a straight line. Can you fly open-jaws, in Munich and out Vienna or reverse? Munich - would meet all your stated requirements Innsbruck - I'm not really keen on Innsbruck, has landscapes (Alps,and the cliff up to Seefeld - which we do like), old buildings/churches are a bit fewer with a lot of post war brutalist and concrete architecture, history? - yes but maybe less than the other 3, "old things" - more modern, churches? - didn't notice special ones, and food? Didn't notice anything special other than lovely goulash and dinners up the hill in Seefeld. Salzburg - would meet all your stated requirements Vienna - would meet all your stated requirements

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

I like both options, with Nigel's tweak to option 1 - not that Innsbruck isn't worth visiting (I wouldn't know) but 4 destinations in 10 days (including arrival/departure dates) is too much. You could spend your entire trip in just Munich and Vienna, but Salzburg is a natural and worthy stop inbetween. But trip 2 is fantastic too, although a little further apart wrt to travel times. Really comes down to what feels more interesting to you - even though some people consider Vienna "Eastern Europe", trip #1 is German German German (in the sense that Austria is a "German" nation culturally). Option 2 offers more diversity of cultures and a more exotic feel to people from North America, but all are great destinations and great trips!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3248 posts

I have been to all the locations and think either option would be a great trip given your interests...but I am also a professional photographer and if I had to choose either option based on that I would say it's still a tossup... just depends on what you like. I had been to Prague & Budapest a few times, but last year paired it with Vienna, and it was a nice mix, however I was a bit tired of all big city stuff by the end even though we did go to Melk Abbey and a boat cruise in Budapest. All three of those cities are beautiful. I do however like the mix of Salzburg as it is a smaller and more manageable. What about an option of Prague, Budapest and Krakow?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21426 posts

Wally, Given your interests and considering all factors, I also tend to agree with Nigel in that Option #1 would be a better choice. I'd skip Innsbruck and substitute at least a day trip to Hallstatt, which is an incredible location for photography (IMO) and has a couple of great old Churches. This Photo is one example. The places in Option #2 are certainly also worthwhile, but the transportation between locations there will take longer. With such a VERY short time frame of only nine days "on the ground", I'd suggest minimizing travel times between locations as much as possible. Based on the dates you posted, it appears you have 11 days total, but two days will be required for travel to and from Europe. Photography is also one of my main pursuits while travelling. Happy travels and happy shooting!

Posted by James E.
3230 posts

if you are looking for some excellent clean and polished European cities, then option one. If you are looking for a greater mix of style, age and spotless to rustic I suggest option two.

Posted by bronwen
maplewood, new jersey, usa
775 posts

I would modify #1 and add Nurnberg and Bamberg. For what the worth you have plenty of time to visit four places. Past April we visited Wurzburg, Bakberg, Nurnberg, Salzberg (Berchesgaten) and Munich. And that was 7 nights with a twelve year old. We are "get up and go" people. The only city we didn't seeuch of was Munich - it was rainy and Good Friday - not much open. I lived Jurnberg and Bamberg. Great places to photograph! Never been to Budapest but we visited Prague and then on to Krakow a few years back. Both great but, for us, 4 nights in Prague was too much.

Posted by Arn
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
215 posts

My wife and I have been to all these locations several times with the exception of Budapest. I believe Vienna is the best place given your interests and am happy to see it is on both options. It then becomes a matter of personal taste and I like Option #2 better. Prague just offers more than the German/Austrian cities of #1. If
you do choose Option #1 like others I would skip Innsbruck.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3917 posts

Hi, I'd choose Option #1, dropping Innsbruck, if you're pressed for time.

Posted by Wally
34 posts

Ralph- I use a Canon 60D and love it! I know Trafalgar Tours has an Imperial Europe Tour that goes to: Munich 1 night Prague 2 nights Budapest 2 nights Vienna 2 nights Salzburg 1 night
Munich 1 night I really hate 1 night stays but it sounds like Innsbruck is a 50/50 proposition. Is that a better tour despite the 1 night stops?

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

I've been too all the cities. Drop Innsbruck. Prague and Budapest are similar to me, so pick one. I personally prefer Budapest as a town, but for photography I think you'd enjoy Prague better. You could do Munich, Salzburg, Prague, Vienna, then take a plane hopper back to Munich to catch your return flight if you can't change your tickets to in-one city out-another city. If that's too quick, just do Munich, Salzburg, Prague.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
470 posts

Hi Wally, I've been to all but Prague! I know I've been to Innsbruck, because I've ticked it off, but I can't think of a single reason for sending you there, so I suggest you skip it. If you like history, churches and old buildings then Vienna is going to impress you, it is after all the former capital of a major empire. We spent 3 days there and it just was not enough! Of the others I think I take the Prague option for two reason, one I have not been there and two it is more of a contrast to the Germanic culture of Munich or Salzburg etc... Jim

Posted by LaRae
494 posts

I wouldn't miss Prague for any of the other cities listed. I would skip Innsbruck and Budapest. I would fly into Munich and out of Prague. Been to Prague 4 times and can't wait to go back. Vienna twice and would love to go again. Salzburg was wonderful, lake district as daytrip a must, would love to go back. Budapest was my least favorite.
Innsbruck doesn't compare to any of the others.