Budapest, or add Prague also??

Old Feb 28th, 2011, 11:53 AM
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Budapest, or add Prague also??

I have always gotten great advice from this forum so am hoping you can help now.
My 30 year old daughter and I are planning to fly from New York for a week's vacation in Eastern Europe in early May - we'll arrive on a Saturday evening and depart the following Saturday.
My question is should we stay in Budapest only, or fly into Prague and spend two days or so and then fly to Budapest? We travel a moderate amount and each are anxious to see much of the world, and yet still get a really good experience. Neither of us has been to Eastern Europe.
Also, any advice on moderately priced, well located, local places to stay would be great.
Thanks very much!!
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 12:40 PM
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I would choose Budapest and Vienna; easier travel between the two.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/4186910508/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7622927111169/
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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We spent 4 nights in Prague and 5 in Budapest this past Sept. Three nights Prague & 4 nights Budapest would be fine also. Not sure there is enough to do & see for 7 nights in Budapest for most people. In Budapest we stayed at the Kapital Inn & loved it. It is on the 4th floor, but Albert (the host) will carry your bags up & down the stairs for you (but he won't carry you). Excellent location in old Pest.
www.kapitalinn.com.

In Prague we stayed at the Hotel Hastal in one of their best rooms - which is the room with a balcony (see their web site). Excellent location, just the "right" distance from all the action.
http://www.hotelhastalprague.com

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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This is where we stayed in Budapest:

http://www.bellevuebudapest.com/inde...en&faz=1&aaz=0
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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I would add Prague or Vienna instead of spending the entire time in Budapest. I enjoyed Budapest, but am glad I didn't spend all my time there. I found Prague enchanting, and the variety of architecture there is amazing (Prague was not bombed in WWII). I like Vienna as well, although it has a more grand, imperial feel to me. It just depends on your preference.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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Hi Michael.
Thanks for the advice and the absolutely gorgeous pictures.
Actually Vienna is not an option since I've been there and really want to see new places. So, a couple of questions -
1. If you had to choose between Prague and Budapest, for the most different experience from the rest of Europe, an intro to Eastern Europe and a fun and interesting time, which of the two would you chose?
2. The flight from Prague is just over an hour. Do you think we could do both cities in six days - not counting travel to and from the US?
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Basically, you have six days because your arrival day is shot. You shouldn't try to do both -- Budapest should have enough to keep you occupied for 4 days or more so the question becomes where would you like to go and what would you like to see?

Because you've never been to Central Europe, why not go somewhere unique to most Americans -- Transylvania. If you get a rental apartment in Budapest for a week, you can do an overnight trip to Transylvania and tour Romanian castle country from Brasov -- http://www.romaniatourism.com/castles.html
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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I liked Budapest a lot. Maybe some of it was that my expectations were lower, but I like a lot of it was that it felt like more of a real eastern European city, whereas Prague felt more westernized (and more like a tourist destination). Based on the criteria you listed i would probably pick Budapest.

I think you could probably do both cities in 6 days but it all depends on how you like to travel (and don't underestimate the time it takes to get to and from the airport). Even two full days in each city would probably give you the bare highlights (say a day at the castles and a day in the city).

You might also want to consider what day trips are available from each-- I think there is a trip up the Danube to a scenic town from Budapest that a lot of people recommend if time permits, and I seem to remember Prague has some popular day trips too.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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>>1. If you had to choose between Prague and Budapest, for the most different experience from the rest of Europe, an intro to Eastern Europe and a fun and interesting time, which of the two would you chose?>2. The flight from Prague is just over an hour. Do you think we could do both cities in six days - not counting travel to and from the US?
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Just to clarify, we will have six full days, not counting travel days to and from New York.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 09:09 AM
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Well, seems the only person I convinced to go to Romania is me (haven't been yet) . . . but Stu is right.

After the Velvet Revolution, Prague was invaded by hordes of Americans and Brits who (1) helped its economy, (2) helped bridge the gap between it and Western Europe. Plus, the Czechs are Slavic people like the Russians so they were not mistreated by the Soviets to the extent that the non-Slavic Magyars were. Thus, Budapest still bears more scars from Communism, and Nazism (only Poland had more Jews killed by the Nazis, and the Holocaust really only reached Hungary in 1944), than Prague.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 09:16 AM
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include Prague if you can. Six days to" explore" a city( other than Paris, Rome, Berlin , London) is rather long time.IMO


Prague is beautiful and easy to see in 3 nights.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 12:00 PM
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I agree with danon. I haven't been to Budapest, but I've been to Prague twice & LOVE it. My daughter who studied in Prague, also traveled to Budapest, which she enjoyed, but she prefers Prague to Budapest. So I recommend visiting both cities.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:14 PM
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Thanks so much to everyone for the great advice...... and now I could use just a little more advice! We've got our plane tickets and this is our itinerary:

Fri 4/29 - Fly from NYC leaving 6:20 pm
Sat 4/30 - Arrive at Prague airport 11:20 am - a little
walking around in late afternoon and evening
Sun 5/1 and Monday 5/2 - in Prague
Tuesday 5/3 - Travel to Budapest, with two choices for
travel, either fly Prague to Budapest OR hire
driver from Mike's Chauffeur Service
(recommended in Rick Steves guidebook) to drive
us to Cesky Krunlov and Linz then on to Budapest
- total driving time most of the day (10 hrs?)
Wed, Thurs, Fri - in Budapest
Saturday - fly out of Budapest to return to NYC

I'm especially interested in hearing thoughts on flying vs. driving to Budapest and getting a chance to see some of the countryside. I'm also looking for ideas for how to spend our three full days in Budapest.
Thanks again!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:22 PM
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I'm also looking for ideas for how to spend our three full days in Budapest.

Guidebooks such as Fodor's might be useful. There's lots to see by just wandering around:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7623003638578/
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:29 PM
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if you can afford a driver, sounds like a great way to see the country side!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:45 PM
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Last September we spent about 8 days driving from Prague, to Cesky Krunlov, to Passau Germany, to Melk Austria, to Sopron Hungary, to Budapest. The countryside was only "OK" - compared to other places we've visited in Europe (we spend about 2 months there most every year). I would not want to embark on a 10 hour drive. I assume 1 or all the passengers will sit in the back seat - how much can you see from there???

I would fly.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:48 PM
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>>I'm also looking for ideas for how to spend our three full days in Budapest.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:49 PM
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www.inyourpocket.com

That should fill up your days in Prague and Budapest.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 01:07 PM
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The driver sounds like a great idea. I haven't been to Linz, but I loved Cesky Krumlov.

A guidebook is a good idea, but here are a few things I recommend:

In Budapest I stayed in the Castle District and enjoyed walking around the quaint streets. I loved the old, tiny pastry shop, Ruszwurm Cukrászda, famous for its delicious krémes (www.ruszwurm.hu, located at Szentháromság u. 7). The pastry was so good I went back for another one the next day, even photographing it before my first bite.

Climb the tower of St. Stephen's Basilica (you can opt to go part of the way via elevator) for wonderful views of Buda. (You will get wonderful views of Pest from the Castle and the Fishermen's Bastion.)

I liked taking a taxi to the top of Gellért Hill and then walking down, past the monument to St. Gellért. You could walk up, but it would be a bit of a hike.

You might consider taking an evening cruise, with or without dinner, on the Danube. The buildings and bridges are beautifully lit.
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