Vienna/Budapest--in March

We will be traveling to Europe for the first time in March of this year. From what we can tell, the weather is still pretty chilly (about 46 degrees F). Has anyone traveled there around this time of year? Is the weather a sight-seeing factor or should it be okay as long as we're suitably dressed? We're not trying to cram in a LOT of back and forth and zooming from one city to another--we'd rather just take our time to experience the culture and scenery of these 2 towns. That said, should we stay in JUST Vienna or JUST Budapest for the entire time? We only have about 8 days there, so we're wondering which city is the best use of our time to spend 6 days--or could we feasibly do both without running ourselves ragged? Thanks!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

Vienna and Budapest are 150 miles apart, and train is the best way to get to each. If possible, fly into one city and out of the other. You should split your time equally. Both have great architecture, music and culture to experience. If going in March, try to go as late in the month as you can. European weather usually breaks about month end into Spring. Study travel guides carefully so you can make quick and efficient usage of your time in each city.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Agreed. Split your time. If not evenly, then advantage slightly to Budapest because your money goes farther and the food is a lot better! Seriously, both cities are great. Budapest is one of my favorites and I can easily find enough to do in both cities to cover 6 days. Dress warmly, but not too warmly. People always forget how much they sweat when they're moving around, and sweat and cold weather are not friends. Personally, I prefer lighter coats with heavier sweaters underneath, plus a hat and gloves. A scarf is only good in the windy winter, otherwise it's just another thing to carry around.

Posted by Bill
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA
43 posts

If you haven't already, really take into consideration where you are staying in both cities to maximize your time. Both cities(especially Vienna) are great walking cities. In Vienna, use St Stephens as kind of a center point and in Budapest stay close to the Danube. More choices on the Pest side but Buda is beautiful. Both are truly great cities and I think you should split time in both. You'll have just enough time to develop the intense desire to back and see more on another trip.

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

I've been to Budapest in March a couple of times. Despite being a little chilly it is one of the driest months and it is a time when the sky gets this brilliant blue. Really an excellent time to visit. If you travel towards the middle to the end of the month the sidewalk cafes will begin to open up. If you are there on the 15th it is a great holiday with lots of outdoor activities, banners, flags, concerts and celebrations. Eight days as a statement can mean a couple of things. You arrive on day 1 and you leave on day 8? Then my personal and biased opinion is that you land in Vienna and take the train (about 3.5 hours) to Budapest the morning of day 4. I found more to do and see in Budapest but others have just the opposite impression. So it's all about who you are and what interests you. No matter what I would do Budapest last and fly home from Budapest on an open jaw ticket. Vienna is a little faster paced and Budapest is a little more laid back and for my taste an easier place to relax and soak it in. I agree that location is a big part of making the visit the best it can be. I disagree a little about it being about the river; and for a 3 or 4 day trip Buda really isn't right at all. Again, it's about preference and taste and to some extent about budget, but if you get a map: Find Andrassy ut. (This is the road that was copied to create the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris – or was it the other way around? I forget). Then along Andrassy ut you will find an octagonal intersection called of all things the Oktogon. Now draw a line from the center of the Oktogon straight down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond until you reach the river. Now find a place that suits your taste and budget within one block above the line or 3 blocks below the line. This is my favorite district in Budapest and it is a good mix of tourism and local. My favorite hotel in this area is the K&K Opera.