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Europe Trip (Austria, Czeck Republic, Slovakia, Hungary)

My dates of train travel are as follows. Please recommend how and when can I book my travel at the most economical rates. These are the major travel bookings that I would need.
1. 19th December 2016: Vienna-Salzburg
2. 22nd December 2016: Salzburg-Prague
3. 24th December 2016: Prague-Budapest
4. 28th December 2016: Budapest-Bratislava
5. 30th December 2016: Bratislava-Budapest
6. 2nd January 2017: Budapest-Vienna
Please let me know if you guys are aware as to when the train schedule for the period commencing from 11th December 2016 will be out.

The other minor travel lookouts are mentioned below.
1. Vienna. Airport to Hotel. Obviously the cabs would be expensive. Pls recommend a good means of local travel such as bus or metro/tube. Need to get to the city center. Also recommend a local city travel card for bus / metro / tube / trams(if any).
2. Salzburg. Salzburg to hallstat and return same day. Salzburg to Zell am see return same day.
3. Local travel in Prague
4. Is their a card for train travel in Hungary. I'm aware of the Budapest card. As train travel in Hungary is relatively economical I'm not that worried about this part.
5. Local travel in Bratislava.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
5450 posts

Vienna to Salzburg - book in advance with www.oebb.at for 19 Euro or take the private rail carrier Westbahn from Westbahnhof and buy your tickets on the train for 25.50 Euro. Details here - http://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Vienna.htm#Vienna-Austria

Salzburg to Prague - 19 Euros with OeBB. Here are the details - http://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Salzburg.htm#Salzburg-Prague

Prague to Budapest - 21 Euro; here are the details - http://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/train-from-prague-to-budapest.htm#.V8sHkih96hc

Budapest to Bratislava - See link above.

And this is where you lost me. You should logically continue from Bratislava to Vienna as they are 45 minutes apart rather than go back to Budapest and then to Vienna. Not sure why you planned your trip in this way.

Answers to your other questions -

  1. Vienna airport to your hotel. You say city center, but which hotel? The subway/metro does not go to the airport. Depending on exactly where you say, there are several best options. Please advise.

  2. Salzburg to Hallstatt - search this forum or on Trip Advisor for details as this information has been given many times. To get to Zell Am See, use www.oebb.at for schedules.

The other questions I'll leave to others.

PS - None of the countries you list are in Eastern Europe and locals in these countries can be offended by being called Eastern Europeans.

Posted by
650 posts

Why go to Budapest twice? If you have round trip tickets ro Vienna consider Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna. You have one more full siget seeing day. Better yet fly in Budapest and out Salzburg. Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Salzburg.

Posted by
15684 posts

Jen, I thought of that, but presumably the OP wants to be in Budapest for Christmas and New Year's and is fitting in Bratislava between them.

Posted by
21 posts

Edited the Topic heading. Was not aware that I might offend someone. Had named it because of the Rail pass named after these four countries.

Chani is right. I am fitting Bratislava in the tour. Want to spend my Christmas and New Year in Hungary. As far as the accommodation is concerned, its already been booked. Now I'm only concerned with travel.

The hotel address is Vienna is Grieshofgasse 11, 1120 Wien, Austria.

Thanks.

Posted by
5450 posts

Ok, so your hotel is not in the city center. Glad I asked because I would have sent you in the wrong direction. You should be aware that your hotel is located in a lower/working class neighborhood far from the sights. Fortunately, you will be near a subway station so that you can easily get around. Your restaurant choices will be very limited in the immediate area of your hotel.

So, as for getting from the airport to your hotel, you want to take the S7 train from the airport to Landstrasse/Mitte. From there you will take the U4 subway line in the direction of Hutteldorf, getting off at Längenfeldgasse. From there, it is a 8 minute walk to your hotel. The total journey time is about 45 minutes to an hour.

Posted by
14580 posts

That's a credit to the Hungarians for not being offended by either name. Historically, Hungarians viewed themselves in and of Central Europe, part of the Mitteleuropa concept.

Posted by
18811 posts

Fred, you know i have a business in Bpest and have been traveling here for over a decade. We have very close and dear friends here, and that: "you will offend them" statement is about 95% urban myth and 5% reality (every rule has an exception). Its a fairly Nationalistic country and I bet you would be more offensive if you clinked wine glasses (Fred, thats a research assignment).

And yes, even in Churchill's famous speech that defined the Iron Curtain he referenced Central and Eastern Europe; Hungary presumably being in Central. The whole Eastern Europe that we refer to, and Rick Steves refers to in his tours, is a Cold War creation to give the Enemy a well defined identity. As out dated as it is, no one really seems to care and its good for tourism.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ James...Exactly what I am saying, while nationalistic (Magyar chauvinism was after 1867 something the subject nationalities could not avoid if you happen to be in that part of the Empire), the Hungarians won't let either term offend them, a credit to their tolerance. True, Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech in March 1946 places Budapest in Central Europe. You lost me on the clinking of wine glasses, unless you're referring (facetiously?) to Hungarian revanchism, the yearning for traditional Hungary prior to Trianon. Historically, Churchill is correct.

True story here: About ten years ago I had a conversation with a Hungarian tourist visiting SF and Calif, etc, an educated middle class woman in her mid-forties. I don't remember how the conversation (in German) drifted to former Hungarian lands. She said, "Trianon tut noch weh." (Trianon, ie, the effects of that treaty, still hurts.) That statement surprised me since the event took place in 1920 and after the horrors of WW2 and the Soviet period, this strain of nationalism still prevailed.

Posted by
18811 posts

Trianon is still a destabalizing factor in the region and food for ultra right wing radicalism. I know a couple of Hungarians that insist on referring to Romanian cities by their old Hungarian names. And they don't do it jokingly. These otherwise unobtrusive individuals still have the flame burning.

I Googled around a bit so I would get it right. Found this on the Economist website and it tracks with what i had been told by my friends in Bpest. Now, I dont think many would actually be insulted as the text below implies (I forget and I clink from time to time and have not yet been punished), but it is a sort of nationalist tradition that they are proud of.

This particular idiosyncrasy goes back to 1848 when the Austrians
crushed a national uprising and celebrated the impending execution of
upstart Hungarian leaders with a veritable cacophony of beer glass
clinking. Hungarian nationalists pledged to observe a self-imposed ban
on the practice for 150 years. But almost a decade after the statute
of limitations expired it is still considered deeply insulting.

Posted by
14580 posts

Thanks , James, for the historical reference and information. All I know about the aftermath of 1849 is the punishments and executions meted out even shocked Russian field commanders, whose role tipped the military balance in favour of the Habsburgs. What do you expect when you have close to a quarter of a million troops pouring out of the Carpathians? You get crushed. The scholarly source/authority to read on this episode within the framework of the 1848 revolution in the Empire is Istvan Deak.

Posted by
18811 posts

Fred, last week I uncovered a couple of sights you are going to love the next time you are in Budapest. Two WWII military related, one Jewish pre and post Holocaust related. None of them in any guide book.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ James...thanks very much. I would be very interested in seeing what you described, my curiosity is piqued! Numerous historical sites won't be the general guide book. That's when the esoteric guide books are needed.