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Aug 14: Reykjavik, Munich, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Hamburg

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May 19th, 2014, 01:11 PM
  #1
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Aug 14: Reykjavik, Munich, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Hamburg

Thanks in advance for your help! I know I have a lot of information here, but I'd appreciate input on any or all of it!

We will be two mid-twenties females traveling by train in August 2014. I'd really appreciate any comments, suggestions, or pointers (including helpful sites other Seat61 and Bahn.com) on the trip, the trains between the locations, good (yet reasonably priced) hotels, and anything about the locations themselves. We are trying to keep costs down while enjoying the trip.

Do people think it is worth it to purchase a Bahn card (we are <26)? I've been trying to figure it out and would appreciate your comments.

Our rough itinerary (hoping to book trains and hotels this weekend/next week as they become available) is:

Aug 16-18: Fly into Reykjavik, Iceland, using the IcelandAir stopover program. Staying downtown in Reykjavik, then flying out in the morning of August 18th.

Aug 18: fly into MUC around 1PM, then go downtown/check into hotel. Stay for a day in Munich.

Aug 19: Overnight train to Budapest.

Aug 20: Arrive in Budapest in the morning, stay for about three days.

Aug 22: Leave in the afternoon for Vienna. (Does anyone have hotel recommendations for Vienna? I've been having a tough time finding a reasonably priced hotel in a decent location (would prefer to walk to sites).)

August 25: Leave Vienna mid-morning for Bratislava (about an hour away). Then leave that night for Prague (four hours by train). Stay in Prague, where our friend lives, for three days.

August 28-29: Train from Prague to Hamburg.


That's the sketch of our trip. As I said, I'd appreciate any comments on the itinerary (I know it's fast paced, but we've traveled like this before and enjoyed it - and there are many places we'd like to see!). I'd also appreciate any recommendations for trains along this route, though I'm obviously also looking through the forums for these as well!

Thanks in advance!
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May 19th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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(including helpful sites other Seat61 and Bahn.com>

I love www.seat61.com and also www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com for European rail sights that are info-full and not just ads.

If you are under 26 you can get the Eurail Youthpass - a 2nd class pass and if you do the Eurail Select Pass you can chose any four countries for it to be valid in - like Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary and this lets you hop on any train anytime in those countries with very few exceptions.

Fully flexible tickets often cost a ton of money and you are taking some rather long trips so it may pay off - actually may not be much more than a string of discounted and restricted on changes and refunding tickets and again complete flexibility.
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May 19th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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Railpasses cover the basic rail fare for overnight trains but not the optional sleeping accommodations, which range from regular seats at no cost (not available on hotel trains - so not sure if this is an option on that train) to couchettes - 6 people in a unisex compartment - strangers with strangers to private single, double and triple and at times quad compartments that cost much much more - again the pass only pays for the train fare itself not the sleeping extra charges.
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May 19th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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When I had calculated it out previously, the Eurail Youthpass did not make sense. However, I need to calculate that again with the recent changes we made to the itinerary. After reading your comment, I decided to check again and a brief calculation suggests that it will save us money, though I believe that we have to still pay for reservations (and sleepers). Thanks so much for the reminder!

Thanks also, PalanQ, for those site suggestions. I've used ricksteves.com before but not in depth and so I'll definitely spend time on both of those!
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May 20th, 2014, 06:58 AM
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I believe that we have to still pay for reservations (and sleepers)>

There are no surcharges or mandatory seat reservations on trains previewed in your OP - and if a railpass is even a bit more than discounted tickets keep in mind that flexibility can be priceless - I like just getting up and leisurely heading for the train station - not having to be there at a certain time for a set train on which you have to book tickets weeks or months in advance and risk forfeiting your ticket if you miss that train.

In some countries there are surcharges but not on the trains I see you taking.
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May 20th, 2014, 07:07 AM
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Take a look at the KEX hostel in Reykjavik. Great atmosphere including music. There are thermal pools within walking distance for just a few $, though you may be too young for those.
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May 20th, 2014, 09:47 AM
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And the meaning of "reasonably priced" in dollars and cents is ____?
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May 20th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Yes reasonably priced means many different things to different folks.
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May 20th, 2014, 07:36 PM
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Thanks, PalenQ - I must have misread the information about reservations. Yes, I agree that if the difference in price is minimal, it is worth the flexibility! Being flexible definitely saves a lot of stress about arriving on time!

colduphere - I actually found a place in Reykjavik recently, but I'm definitely looking at the thermal pools. We don't know if we'll ever be back in Reykjavik, so we definitely want to go! Do you have any recommendations for specific ones? I am thinking that going to one in Reykjavik will be a nicer (and less costly) time that Blue Lagoon.

BigRuss - Sorry for the ambiguity. I think that reasonably priced depends on the city a lot, but I'm hoping to average around (or under - ha!) $100/night for the trip. I'm pretty good at finding good deals, though, so this helps the averages. Further, we can use travel points and sometime splurge on a very nice (yet good deal) hotel so that we still feel relaxed and enjoy the trip! At the same time, if I can stay in a nice hotel for $50/night but it is going to cost me a lot in train fare and time to get to and from any major sights (downtown, Old Town, and any famous/must-sees are what we'll likely gravitate towards), that's not worth it. On the other hand, while I'd like to avoid paying a ton for a place that I only sleep and store my bags, I know that Vienna is expensive and so finding a place within walking distance of or within the First District for $130/night would be reasonable. I've found some decent options in Reykjavik, Munich (which ended up being most expensive so far!), Budapest, and Vienna which average to $120 per night (We did a lot of hotel research last night!). I'm expecting Prague to be a bit below $100/night (based on research thus far), so I think we'll end up around my goal.

On another forum, someone recommended rerouting to go: Munich, Salzberg (addition), Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague. Does anyone on here think this is better or worse? The poster's logic is that we'll be doubling back the way we have it now (though I feel like we're going to recover ground no matter how we do it) and this new route will save train time. I'm going to research the price and time of this route in the morning to compare them, but I'd be interested in what anyone has to say about the order from their experience!
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May 21st, 2014, 04:49 AM
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Landla we went to the link below at the recommendation of our hiking guide. He was not a fan of the Blue Lagoon saying only tourists go there and pay a high price for doing so:

http://www.likealocalguide.com/reykj...turbaejarlaug/

It is not fancy but easy walking distance from most hotels and very cheap.
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May 21st, 2014, 06:10 AM
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Thanks, colduphere - that is exactly what I was hoping to find. I've been looking at some in downtown Reykjavik but had not come across this one previously.
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May 21st, 2014, 02:08 PM
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http://www.loftleidirhotelreykjavik.com/

Years ago Icelandair had a hotel called Loftleidir or a spelling close to that - they still have a hotel now named something else. Anyway they at one time gave good deals on stopover packages - are these still around?
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May 21st, 2014, 08:00 PM
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I would make this change with at tweak... I would go Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Prague... And I would overnight in Bratislava. Booking.com has had very good deals on Bratislava hotels and it breaks up that one long train ride (the Budapest to Prague train stops in Bratislava).
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May 22nd, 2014, 06:48 AM
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I did Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna - just one hour away by train - one less packing up and relocating to do and I think Bratislava at most for most tourists - one day there will be enough. Consider doing as a day trip from Vienna and take the overnight train Budapest to Prague - I think there is one.
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May 22nd, 2014, 08:50 AM
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If you do it as a day trip, it is better by bus. But sure, of course it can be a day trip.

I would personally come in later in the day, spend the night and have dinner, and leave the next AM for Prague.

Of course, either works. it only depends how much someone wants to break up the longer trip from Budapest to Prague.
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May 22nd, 2014, 11:44 AM
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If you do it as a day trip, it is better by bus. But sure, of course it can be a day trip.>

Why> Trains take one hour - some go right to the old main station smack in the center of town, right by the old royal palace area.

You can also take a hydrofoil on the Danube right to the town center.

Why had it 'better be by bus'? Curious - train was great for me!
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May 22nd, 2014, 06:19 PM
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I always take the Blaguss into the old town square... It takes about the same time and dumps you into old town vs. the main train station - not my favorite "Welcome to Bratislava".

We never went by boat. It was just a bt restrictive time wise. Of course if you want to ride the Danube, I would much rather do this leg than all the way to Budapest. The boat is just not my thing.

We are off to Bratislava tomorrow for a night. Since there is a microbrew there that my husband loves, he is always game for a night.
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May 23rd, 2014, 06:55 AM
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dumps you into old town vs. the main train station ->

perplexed as the main train station is in the old town - at least the one I saw. Or are you talking about the more remote station across the Danube - a small station that however has more trains, hourly about, to Bratislava but there are several trains a day to the main station smack in the town center from Vienna as well.

buses are probably great not saying that but trains are viable as well.
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May 23rd, 2014, 07:29 AM
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No, not talking about Petrazalka... The main station is outside of the Old Town... Maybe a 10 or 15 minute walk to Michaels Gate. Not far, just gross!!

The Blaguss bus ( not the Slovak bus) drops you right in old town on the square.

Try it next time, Pal... And let me know !

The trains run every 30 minutes alternating between the 2 stations in Bratislava ( so hourly at any given station). So yes, very regular.
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May 23rd, 2014, 07:32 AM
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Oh, and let us know when you do, Pal. My husband is a Michigander, he will buy you a beer. Growing up on Stroh 's, he likes the Slovak pilsners...
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