Austria and Prague

Aug 10th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Austria and Prague

We will be visiting Salzburg (3days), Vienna (3 days) and Prague for 2 days at the end of September/beginning of October. We have a loose itinerary planned for Salzburg and Vienna so far, and nothing planned for Prague other than the hotel.
We will be flying into Munich and immediately taking the train to Salzburg staying at Pension Katrin. We plan on exploring the old town first afternoon, then heading to Werfen to see the ice caves and Hohenwerfen. The following day we would like to take in some good hiking or possibly an adventure activity such as horseback riding or paragliding, we are open to renting a car this day if necessary.

We will then train to Vienna staying at San Souci Wien (Got a great deal on this new hotel!). We want to explore Schonbrunn Palace, see the Spanish Riding School morning practice and experience the wonderful cafe culture and restaurants. We also want to take a day trip to Melk an bike along the Danube and visit some wineries along the way.

We then want to take the train to Prague, staying at the Merchants Yard hotel in the old town. With realistically only 1.5 days in Prague we have no solid plans other than exploring the old town and the castle.

Looking for advice on our current plans or any possible activities to try to include such as concerts, walking tours or food/wine/beer activities. We are an active couple in our mid 30s, we like active days but like to enjoy the activities we choose to do rather than try to see every site. Also I'd love any advice on crafts, food/spirits and jewelry unique to the areas for souvenirs. Asa always any advice is appreciated.
brmsimmons is offline  
Aug 10th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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To clarify our Salzburg plans we plan to visit the ice caves and Hohenwerfen the day after our arrival.
brmsimmons is offline  
Aug 10th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Much as I love Prague (and I prefer it to Vienna) I would drop it from your itinerary and actually see some of Vienna.

To me, a first trip ti Vienna should be at least 3 days (4 night) and the same for Prague - to really get any sort of feel for either city.

So - if you can't add days I would simplify the trip.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 10th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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Flights and hotels are already booked, this was based on an open jaw flight into Munich and out of Prague that was priced several hundred dollars lower per person than any other roundtrip or open jaw possibilities in the area. We decided not to include Munich due to the crowds and hotel expense of Octoberfest. We are more looking for recommendations on sites or activities in each area. Again not trying to cram everything in, we realize we are just getting a taste of each area and figured if we want to explore more deeply we can always go back.
brmsimmons is offline  
Aug 10th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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Just got back from Prague, where I spent five leisurely days. There is an endless stream of things to do. We liked the modern art museum, the tour of the Jewish sites, the Municipal House, etc., etc. I liked Strahov Monastery (visit the library). Sternberg Palace (art) and Schwarzenberg Palace (art). We of course visited the whole castle complex and Old Town square. Both areas are very, very touristy but still worth seeing in my opinion.

I enjoyed meals at La Degustation (upscale Michelin-starred place), Lokal, Ambiente Pizza Nuova for when I was tired of Czech food. Also made a few trips to the farmer's market near Namesti Republiky. I am sure I am not spelling that correctly. Anyway, we popped over a few times for provisions for our apartment as well as sausages, wine tasting, etc.

Sternberg, Schwarzenberg, Veletrzni and other museums are all part of the National Gallery.

We stayed in Josefov, which feels a little less hectic than right in the Old Town Square area. Enjoy the beautiful buildings on Parizska street. Later I was in a hotel in Mala Strana, which was also fun. I'm a runner so took jogs in Letenska and Petrin parks. Nice way to see the city wake up.

Have fun! Prague can feel like a drunken tourist haven, but it is very easy to get away from that element and enjoy all the city has to offer.
Leely2 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2013, 11:43 PM
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this link will give you some ideas of itinaries for Prague and you can adjuct them to suit,the whole website has lots of great info.
Leely2 mentions letna park,it is one of may favourite place in the city,if the weather is nice go for an evening stroll there and have a beer in the huge Beer garden there ,lovely views for there. Havansky pavillion gives the best views from up there and you can have a drink or a meal in there, abit more expensive than other place but you pay for the view and it is the BEST in the city.
unclegus is offline  
Aug 11th, 2013, 07:48 AM
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I think your itinerary is fine and I wouldn't have recommended you drop Prague for more time in Vienna, anyway. I've visited lots of cities for only a couple days, it is always worth it to me to see new places. I completely disagree with the idea that you should never visit any major city unless you can be there for 3-4 days.
Christina is online now  
Aug 11th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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With limited time in Prague I would focus on:

Castle complex and golden lane
Jewish historic area
Head for the town hall to research

1)All the possible music opportunities - from the opera to concerts scheduled in a bunch of different venues, including churches, to clubs and even impromptu street corner concerts

2) walking tours of a variety of different neighborhoods - groups are often very small (we were 7) and they are often led by someone from the university - who can provide really unique insights
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 11th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions thus far! Unclegus-the Prague website is great and the view from Hanavsky pavilion looks great!
brmsimmons is offline  
Aug 11th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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Recently in Salzburg, I took the 1 hr bus to St Gilgen/Wolfgang Lake area for some light hiking, but there were lots of options with nice hills, long distance views to the mountains, and possibilities to combine with gondola and/or cog train.
Kay2 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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Hi brmsimmons,
We stayed in Zell am See and Hallstatt last year for a week and found a lot of adventurous things to do. We absolutely love this area.

The Ice Cave and Hohenwerfen were great to do in one day. If I were you I might start with the Ice Cave. The cave opens earlier than the Castle so that is why I would do the cave first.

Plan to get there when the visitor center opens at 8am. You need to allow an 1-1.5 hrs minimum from the time you leave the hwy and head up the mountain until you arrive at the cave entrance. You will drive up to the visitor center (10 min), hike to the tram (min 20-30 min) take tram (10 min) and then hike up to the entrance (min 20-30 min).

The website says it takes 20 minutes for each of the hikes but it took us more like 30-40 minutes for each leg. The views are absolutely stunning so you will want to take your time along the way. Photography is not allowed in the cave but you will probably want to take your camera for pics of the views.

When you arrive at the cave entrance you will need to wait for your group to enter. Every fifth person or so is given a little lantern to light the way and you all walk single file on a boardwalk through the cave. You will climb I think 500 or so stairs (in sections) throughout the cave.

The cave is absolutely stunning inside. Unbelievable. Worth every step.

After the cave you can head back down the mountain to Hohenwerfen. We really loved this castle. The weapon displays were fascinating. Be sure to not miss the Falconry show. In Sept/Oct it is at 11:15 and 3:15.

Another fun day we spent was at the Krimmel Wasserfall near Zell am See. It is a beautiful hike up along the waterfall. You can go as far as you like. Gorgeous views. After the falls we headed over to the Sigmund-Thun Klamm (gorge) and walked along the narrow walkways paralleling the gorge. We really enjoyed it. Very unique experience. If you cannot make it over to the Sigmund-Thun Klamm there is another one named the Liechtenstein Klamm closer to Werfen.

If you have not planned to visit a Salt Cave then that is also something you might like to do. It is very interesting. We went to the one in Hallstatt but there is one closer to Salzburg.

We all fell in love with this area on our trip last year and plan to return to spend more time there.

Here are some links: (Sigmund Thun Klamm)
michele_d is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Thanks for all the info Michelle, the Krimml waterfall and both gorges look lovely!

My next question pertains to intercity travel, just want to make sure I've got the best options

For Munich to Salzburg we plan to get a Bayern Card upon arrival (29E for 2)

For Salzburg to Vienna will prepurchase train tickets through for 19E ea

and for Vienna to Prague will take Westbus for 22E ea

Any opinions or advice?
brmsimmons is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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brmsimmons, watch the prices on OBB--that price could be a SparScheine (savings) ticket and could rise without warning. If that happens, look at Westbahn. A one-way ticket is always Euro25.

I live in Vienna and personally, for your planned holiday, I would allow only two full days in Vienna, and 2.5/3 full days in Prague. Schonbrunn, certainly; Spanish Riding School, only if you really must. Of your proposed itinerary, I would spend the second day either on a trip to Melk or on a hike in the vineyards above Vienna.
fourfortravel is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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iris1745 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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P.S. Everyone had different opinions, but for me Prague is a don't miss.
iris1745 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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just checked where you are staying in prague, you will be a very short distance from the beer Museum Pub,30 different beers to try including fruit flavoured ones and even a chocolate beer.
warning though it can get very smoky in here at nightitme.
unclegus is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2013, 08:15 AM
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I'm excited to be leaving in a few days for my trip! I'll be sure to write a trip report when I get back
brmsimmons is offline  
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