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How much time to spend in Budapest, ?

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We’re planning our first trip to Eastern Europe in Sept of next year. We’ve probably spent several years (total) in Western Europe – about 1 ¾ yrs in France, 4 months Italy, 3 months England, etc.

Our itinerary so far looks something like this:

- Fly SFO to Prague
- 4 nights/3 ½ days in Prague
- Pick up car, drive south visiting Kunta Hora, & Konopiste Castle. Visit & sleep in Cesky Krumlov
- Visit Telc & perhaps Trebon (by car) mid-day when day-trippers invade Cesky Krumlov. Sleep Cesky Krumlov
- Passau, Germany – 2 nights, visiting Berghausen Castle during the day.
- Drive to Melk, Austria & stay 4 nights, enjoying the Danube & visiting many castles & villages in the immediate area. We have visited Vienna & Salzburg several times on previous trips – but we’ve never explored the countryside around there.
- Drive to Sopron, Hungary & stay 1 night
- Drive towards Budapest & visit the Danube Bend on the way.
- Dump the car in Budapest & stay 5 nights/4 ½ days. Visit Pecs as a day-tip by train. Visit Eger as a day-trip by train.
- Fly from Budapest back to SFO

My concern is Budapest. We will have 2 full days there, plus 3 early evenings. None of these days are Sunday or Monday. Is this enough time to explore Budapest??

What we like to do:
- Admire the architecture of the city
- We do not visit museums with only paintings.
- We love to visit castles and interiors of old buildings. From the Michelin Green Guide, we have chosen 7 museums/houses that we want to visit. We may be able to visit 1 of them on the days we do a day trips to elsewhere.
- We never have a sit-down lunch. We use that time to visit the sites. A sandwich on-the-run is our style.
- Evenings are reserved for dinner, although a cruise on the Danube might be something we would enjoy.
- “over touristy” things like trinket shops & poor street performers do not interest us.

Do you think we have planned enough time in Budapest??

As a reference, we spent 3 nights/2 ½ days in Vienna (Incl. a visit to Schonbrunne) and that was plenty. 1 ½ days in Brugges (no museums with paintings), 3 days in Amsterdam (no museums with paintings), 1 full day in Lyon. Paris, London, & Rome are not in the same league, I assume.

Also, what is the countryside like around Budapest, other than to the Danube Bend? Should we allocate another day to visit the countryside by car? There doesn’t seem to be many Michelin “green” roads on my map, and the Green Guide only has a small driving itinerary described. We’ve seen almost all of France and a lot of Italy & England by car. We spent 5 days in Switzerland this year. Will I find something around Budapest as scenic as Tuscany, Provence, Alsace, Pays Basque, Dordogne, Languedoc, Cotswalds, Scotland, Dolmites, French Alps, etc??? Is the Danube Bend really a “must see”. We’ve visited the Loire in Germany several times, and we’ve been under-whelmed – but we love the Mosel.

Stu Dudley

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