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Berlin/Prague/Vienna/Budapest .. which one to drop?

Berlin/Prague/Vienna/Budapest .. which one to drop?

Old Dec 8th, 2004, 09:12 PM
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Berlin/Prague/Vienna/Budapest .. which one to drop?

I'm going to Europe in 2 wks next July and I plan on visiting 3 countries during those 2 weeks with Prague being my main destination.

Right now I am debating on these two options: (1) Berlin-Prague-Vienna or (2) Prague-Vienna-Budapest. I have a friend in Berlin, which initially drew me to want to visit Berlin, and I have seen some beautiful pics of Berlin as well.

However, I am not convinced that I want to drop Budapest. Yet, I dont want to squeeze all 4 countries in the 2 weeks period, because I know that I wouldn't be getting a good feel of each country and I've never visited any of them.

I will be travelling alone, and am interested in exploring the local cultures, historic sites, trying out the local ethnic cuisine, and probably doing some souvenirs shopping. I am interested to hear the opinions from all of seasoned travellers on this board!
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 05:22 AM
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Vienna is the least interesting city out of the ones you're considering. Consider Berlin, Prague and Budapest. Then take a day trip to Vienna from Budapest - about 2 hours one-way).
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Hi h2,

My Lady Wife and I liked Prague.

How about 4 days each in Berlin-Prague-Vienna and an overnight to Budapest?
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 05:58 AM
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I really liked Vienna, but I agree with a previous poster that it's the least interesting of the cities you're considering.

Maybe you can try Vienna on another trip, and include Bratislava on that trip as well.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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Hello H2babe,

>>>>>>am interested in exploring the local cultures, historic sites, trying out the local ethnic cuisine, and probably doing some souvenirs shopping<<<<<<

If you really mean what you say, even 3 destinations in 2 weeks is too much. To accomplish your goal, you need to have enough time to visit not only the target city but its hinterland with associated countryside and smaller towns.

Since Prague was originally was your main destination, and you're attracted to Berlin because you have a friend there and you've seen beautiful pictures of the place, I would suggest you concentrate on Prague, Berlin and their surroundings.

Then you could apply the same treatment to Vienna and Budapest on a future trip.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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I like Judy's idea! Vienna and Budapest together - plus Bratislava.

But I'll still plug Bratislava, as it's less than 2 hours from Vienna. (I don't think you need a lot of time there, though.)
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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OK, I'll approach it this way: why do you want to go to Budapest???

I would definitely keep Berlin and Prague..both VERY different and both IMO well-worth several days.

Berlin is now a city that is racing away from the WW II era as fast as it possibly can; lots of steel and glass but also lots of interesting neighborhoods, the nearby palaces in Potsdam, Europe's largest department store, nightlife ranging from mild to wild, important museums, Checkpoint Charlie, etc., et.c

Prague...like stepping back into the Middle Ages; baroque and gilt for days; beautiful exteriors on buildings, etc.

I like Budapest too but you honestly haven't said much that makes me think you'll like it more than Vienna or less.
If you want palaces along with an "imperial" feel then Vienna is the city. If you want something more like Prague then Budapest might be better.

Tough decision; plan wisely and, ultimately, go with your gut. We aren't you and never gonna be; don't take someone ELSE's trip!
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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Personally, I would do Vienna, Prague and Budapest together. From a cultural/historical perspective they are linked, whereas Berlin is very different. Also remember that Berlin is a vibrant, modern city, with not as many (if any!)charming historical buildings & neigborhoods to see (if that is what you like).

Budapest is lovely, so I wouldn't drop it from your plans. Even just a day there from Vienna via train is worthwhile. I was able to do Budapest as a day-trip from Vienna, and even had enough time for a visit to a lovely thermal spa (bring your bathingsuit).
I would have to disagree with one of the other posters above: Bratislava is not in the same league as these other cities.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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I have never been to Budapest, but unless you feel that you need more than six daysin Berlin (because your friend is there), I think you can do this all, at the expense of cutting Vienna to 1 1/2 or 2 days.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Another piece of advice. Prague is heavily touristed. I would recommend you make your Prague hotel reservations well in advance, as soon as you've figured out your itinerary and made your airline reservations. This is all the more true if you want to stay in one of the two central districts (Staré Mesto or Malá Strana) and if you want to find moderately priced accommodation.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Initially, this was my tentative plan (I excluded the travel days):

Day 1: US to Berlin
Day 2-4: Berlin (3d)
Day 5: Berlin to Prague
Day 6-8: Prague (3d)
Day 9: Prague to Vienna
Day 10-12: Vienna (3d)
Day 13: Vienna to Budapest
Day 14: Budapest (1d)
Day 15: Fly back to US

Intrepid- From what I have heard and read: Vienna, in comparison, to Budapest, would be a lot less friendly, more expensive, and might not be as "interesting" as Budapest. It's also a very long stretch, from Berlin all the way to Budapest taking a train ride from one country to the next.

If I would like 3 countries that have constrast feelings from each other, it sounds like I need to drop Budapest. And again, thanks everyone for the replies. I know that this is a tough question because it's very subjective. I'm open to more inputs.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 08:08 PM
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Hello H2babe,

If you want to confine this trip to cities, then I think the itinerary you've outlined is good.

Something you could consider doing is travelling from one city to another in the evenings, so as not to encroach on your sight seeing time during the day.

I have not looked into the Berlin to Prague train schedule, but there is a train that leaves Prague at about 18:00 and gets into Vienna about 22:30. Similarly there is a train that leaves Vienna at about 17:45 that gets into Budapest at about 21:00.

Just a thought.

Perhaps you already know websites on which you can look up train timetables. In case not, here is one of them:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Judy, thanks for the tip on travelling in the evenings, and the website and no I dont have that info yet. I have been collecting ideas on hotels, attractions, restaurants, etc but havent started my research on the transportation. I'm sure that I will be posting more questions in the future to get my itinerary finalized.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 09:27 PM
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Hi H2babe,

Glad the previous info seemed useful to you. There were a few additional things I had meant to say.

To my taste, the Fodors' "Destination" section is very helpful with respect to Prague and Vienna. My husband and I used the suggestions to very good effect.

I consider the Fodors' "Destination" section to be unhelpful when it comes to Budapest. It recommends a walking tour of a part of Budapest that I do not believe should be the highest priority for someone who has only one or two days in the city.

So, since Fodors does not appear to provide a list of Budapest must sees with which I agree, I'll provide my own list here:

* Citadel, at night -- provides a magnificent view of the lit up bridges across the Danube and of the whole city

* Tour of the Houses of Parliament -- absolutely splendid

* A walk around Margaret Island -- delightful

* Since you've expressed an interest in souvenir shopping, you probably would enjoy the Vasarcsarnok [central market hall] at Fövám tér [Fövám Square]. It's a huge building with many stalls. The ones on the ground floor sell food. I'd never imagined that there were so many different kinds of paprika or salami. The stalls on the mezzanine level sell hand crafts (embroidery, etc.).

Another point, before I forget. Here is a thread in which I explained the layout of Budapest, for the purposes of finding centrally located accommodation:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34545385

I have not been to Berlin, so cannot comment on the validity of the suggestions in Fodors' "Destination" section on that city.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 10:22 PM
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Wow .. thanks Judy for the info on Budapest. I printed that out and filed it in my travel notes. I might end up staying an extra night in Budapest, and go home a day later .. or cut Vienna to 2 days instead of 3.
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