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Budapest, Austria and Bucharest itinerary

Budapest, Austria and Bucharest itinerary

Old Feb 4th, 2024, 07:18 AM
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Budapest, Austria and Bucharest itinerary

Hello all, I would like to ask you if my itinerary is OK for about 10-11 days:

On 1st day I will fly from Sofia to Budapest. Will have enough time to do sightseeing in the late afternoon already.

2 nights in Budapest
Passing through Bratislava for several hours for lunch and seeing some of my favorite places from my time living there.
3 nights in Graz
4 nights in Vienna
1 night in Bucharest
Take the train to Sofia.

Maybe Budapest deserves more but I prefer smaller cities like Graz and Bratislava because they're more lax.
Doing Graz first because I will fly out of Vienna, Bratislava or Budapest. What would you change? I can't stay less days in Graz because I have a job interview there.

I wanted to do it as a rail/bus only trip but I don't want to waste much time traveling. My main interest is Austria but I have to fly in Budapest or Bratislava because being on a train after flights calms me after all the airport anxiety so i was like why not see Budapest. I have airport phobia, hate everything about them. Hence why I'd rather fly to Bucharest, do some hours of sightseeing, soend a night there and then get to my home city Sofia by train.

Yhe main aim of my journey aside my job interview is a scoping trip (mixing with locals in supermarkets or buses to see if I can see myself living there), partying in clubs, preferably with German speakers (I am learning German) and just lax strolls photographing the main sights in Budapest and Bucharest. I've already been in Vienna. Bratislava is a must for a few hours for old times' sake. Cheers!

Last edited by tanek; Feb 4th, 2024 at 07:32 AM.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 08:19 AM
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I feel like Bucharest needs more time, but not specifically Bucharest, but Romania as a whole. Itís crazy how much this country can offer, there are many unimaginable views, and itís not so expensive!

Last edited by Jameswilliam787; Feb 4th, 2024 at 08:22 AM.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 09:13 AM
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Yeah, I agree and it requires a separate trip because it has greater distances between the cities than Bulgaria.
BTW, I specifically chose to return through Bucharest than Skopie or Nis as I'd like my first foreign country visited by train from (in this case going to) Bulgaria to be Romania and not any of the others!
As a kid in school I always looked at the top of the Bulgarian map at the Wallachian Plain and wondered what it is like up there and yet I've never been to Romania yet.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 12:10 PM
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I unfortunately can't edit my previois post so here goes:
I wonder what would a more seasoned traveler do?
I though about my itinerary and I saw a huge hole in it!
I'm now thinking of flying directly to my day trip city Bratislava instead of that train detour. The trains from Budapest to Vienna do not pass through Bratislava.

The whole thing of taking a train from Budapest to Bratislava, then a second from Bratislava to Vienna and then a third from Vienna to Graz would make me feel too rushed and like I spent the whole day on the train. If I go directly to Bratislava it will just be a train to Vienna and then the one to Graz and that's it.
So something like this:

1st day fly from Sofia to Bratislava. Lunch and a few hours of sightseeing. Taking the train to Graz (a change in Vienna).

3 nights in Graz
2 nights in Vienna (already been there several times, I just want to check out the clubs)
3 nights in Budapest, ideally fly from there to Bucharest

2 nights in Bucharest
Take the train to Sofia.

Seems more straighforward, nay?

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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 12:42 AM
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Why do you plan to fly if you don't like flights?
There ae tons of traiins between Bucuresti or Craiava and Budapest or Vienna, most of the overnight trains with sleeping cars..
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:59 AM
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Because It saves time and is actually the same price or cheaper to fly as is to use a bus/train. For scoping trips I don't want to waste time anymore.
nd with a fly in I'll have the day trip to Bratislava. I really miss it and would love to taste Treska v majoneze (Cod in mayo) salad by Ryba Zylina and get some bryndzove halusky as well. And those tasty ready-to-eat sandwitches they have in their Billa stores that we don't get here.

I decided to skip Vienna or only sleep there one or two nights as I felt underwhelmed in all my visits and only do Budapest and Graz. I guess I'm not a big city person because of all the big cities I've been to or lived in Sofia, Vienna, Paris, London, Munich, and Athens I only liked Paris. Even Sofia is too crowded and fast-paced for me and it's smaller than the others. Still, I'll give Bucharest and Budapest a chance. From photos at least both Graz and Budapest look more beautiful than Vienna and their old towns are more concentrated so to say.

I will do Bucharest separately by train in March as I don't want to rush and it would be cheaper than flying from Sofia.
I also decided to shuffle things a bit:
1st day fly in to Bratislava, day trip there, arrive in Budapest in late afternoon
3 nights in Budapest
4 nights in Graz
1 or 2 nights in Vienna, just because I'll get on the plane to Nis, Serbia from there.
Take the 3 hour bus to Sofia. Fewer days to have some days off to recover from all the moving around.

Why Nis? I don't hate flying due to flying itself, although being on an airplane is anything but pleasant.
I dislike crowded airports with that anxious, hurried feeling and the waiting more than flying itself. Small airports like those at Nis and even in Bratislava are more lax. You canarrive 35-40 min before your flight and still make it on time. I remember when I flew from Bratislava to Sofia, it was so lax. There are small airports that are also crowded like the one at Memmingen. I'd avoid those as well.
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 12:13 PM
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Ugh, sorry about this but yet another update.
Thanks to neckervd about mentioning the trains through Craiova. I googled a YouTube video and after seeing how nice, clean and yet empty the trains between Vidin and Craiova are I'll combine my Romanian and Austrian/Hungarian trips into one long train trip.
Here's a video of the Vidin to Craiova train that changed my mind:

Looks so nice compared to a cramped bus or even airplane! Find me a plane or bus between Sofia and Romania that's as empty! I'm at a point in my life where I value space and less crowded transport more than speed. And train stations are less anxiety triggering than airports for me. And there's something almost romantic about moving that slow but scenic way across Europe. I'll not only visit Craiova, Graz and the amazing Budapest, but will see the Balkan/Stara Planina mountain along the Iskar river in Bulgaria, the Danube and the Romanian Carpathians. For a huge sections the train actually passes right along the Danube overlooking Serbia: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.7007...8192?entry=ttu The train tracks are down, below the road, closer to the river.

Anyway, this train arrives at Craiova at about 4:00 PM. I suppose those few hours in the later afternoon and early evening will be enough to explore Craiova, anyone been there? I'll skip Bucharest for now as I generally prefer smaller cities and it would extend my trip too much as its in the other direction.
I'll spend the night there and then take a 13-14 hr train to Budapest. I'll just take more vacation days to factor in the train trips but I don't mind as I'd like to see the Carpathians during the day and I can't sleep on trains, so the night train is a no no for me.

I would like to know if anyone has used this train? It departs originally from Bucharest and goes to Budapest in about 16 hours.
It's called the IC 72 Traianus but Google Maps calles it the IR 72 for some reason.
Due to having to sleep in Craiova I'll skip Bratislava and Vienna probably and spend the most nights in Budapest and Graz. Another night in Craiova at the end of my trip before returning to Sofia by train probably. Or if I find it has been too much I'll just fly out of Vienna, Bratislava or Budapest to Sofia. The best thing is that in the end I'll know if long-distance train travel is more my thing than flying or if it's worth it to experience the airport security and crowded plains for much shorter trips.

Last edited by tanek; Feb 16th, 2024 at 12:29 PM.
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 05:59 AM
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Temesvar (arrival 15.15) might also be worth a visit.
You could then go on by IR Bega or by NZ Muntenia.
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 07:56 AM
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I actually saw the hotel and bed and breakfast prices on Google Maps and betwen the 3 main cities on my way to Budapest (Craiova, Timisoara and Arad) Timisoara has the lowest rates.
Some are as low as 30 EUR per night. Craiova prices start from about 55-60 EUR upwards, same for Arad.

Certainly more to see in Timisoara but if I stay there I'll need to get the train to Budapest in the afternoon or at about 12 AM at the soonest. I won't have any hours to do sightseeing on arrival. I'll arrive in Timisoara at 11:45 PM so a late check in and off to sleep. At least that's what Google Maps suggests. It says between Craiova and Timisoara it's all of 6 hours by train.
Would a few hours in the morning be enough to see Timisoara?
Google Maps shows there's a train departing at 12:16 PM from Timisoara arriving in Arad at 2:01 PM, I have to change there to the intrl train to Budapest and it will arrive at Budapest Keleti at 6:50 PM.
Then again the earliest train from Craiova to Budapest departs at 8:17 AM from Craiova and arrives at Keleti at 8:50 PM. It takes a lot of time between Craiova and Timisoara, it's supposed to be at Timisoara at 3:18 PM. Is that correct or just Google Maps giving funny schedules? In that case I might stay at Timisoara / Temesvar.
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 09:07 AM
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It's not forbidden to have a look at the timetable:
Craiova dp 8.45am - Temesvar ar 15.15, direct train
Temesvar dp 7.28am - Budapest ar 12.50, direct train
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 12:25 PM
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Since the aim of my trip are mainly Budapest and Graz and maybe a concert in Vienna I'd like to spend only one night in Romania, so Craiova it is because I'll be able to spend several hours on day 1 before my night there to do sightseeing and mix with locals in public transport and shop in a grocery store as I always do to feel the atmosphere and the vibe of the local people. If I go with Timisoara the train arrives to late to do any sightseeing so I'll need to stay 2 nights which would decrease my nights in Budapest and Graz.
I'm sure Timisoara is amazing but Budapest is more so. 1 night is enough for getting a quick taste of Romania, but I will spend a 2nd night there if I decide to return using a train again.
I love how the train passes right besides what's left from the Roman Trajan's bridge at Drobeta-Turnu Severin and the The Castrum of Drobeta is on the other side of the tracks. One day I might even venture to Băile Herculane, a beautiful spa town, but for now Craiova and seeing Drobeta's ancient Roman relicts in passing will do. As I like plugging little-known places that could benefit from more visitors I'll post photos from a friend here even though I have yet to be there!

Trajan's Bridge with the train tracks


The Castrum of Drobeta


And it's a crime the old baths at Baile Herculane are left in this condition. Empress Sissi used to visit here:

Last edited by tanek; Feb 18th, 2024 at 01:18 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 12:13 PM
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Update: I'll have to postpone any trips in May, not allowed by my work.
And since I want to travel ASAP I decided to take the first week of March off.
I wonder if there are Free walking tours in Bucharest in early March?
Has anyone travelled in March, I don't want to go there only to discover all local guides don't do the tours as lack of tourists?
I know it's not the perfect month for Europe travels except the Mediterranean but I have itchy feet already.
I'll do Hungary and Austria on a separate trip in April. I also wonder if April is good enough for Budapest and Graz or shall I go later in the year like in June or September? For that trip I'll take the bus from Sofia to Budapest to save on time.
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 12:22 PM
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For free tours, maybe check out the local tourist information centers of the places you are considering.
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