Budapest, Prague and/or Bucharest ?

Old Sep 16th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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Budapest, Prague and/or Bucharest ?

Trying hard to spend my kids inheritance (with their blessings), by traveling to a lot of places that have been reviewed by many of you. This trip is planned for Aug/Sept, 2019. We want to spend 2-3 weeks visiting Budapest, Prague and possibly Bucharest. I think Bucharest is too far to include in this trip, but I'm open for suggestions. I've searched this site, and found some great info, including a great TR from Amy. What I need to know is how much time should I spend in each city/country ? What is the best means of transportation between each place ? We will likely rent an apartment in each city, from which we plan on walking to attractions
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 04:10 PM
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How much time depends on what you want to see and do, so my suggestion would be to consult some good guidebooks and then decide your priorities, laying them out on a calendar when you are ready.

For transportation options, consult rome2rio.com -- just be sure to click through to the source links, as the main site is not sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules.
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 04:29 PM
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Thanks Kia. We are interested in historical sites, which is why we chose these cities. I suspect there are numerous historical sites, and I have read about most, but it's difficult to determine how much time is necessary as a whole for each city. For example, someone may have been there, and can say you can see most of the sites in a week/ 3 days, etc. If someone on here has been there, hopefully they can give us an idea of how long a tourist needs for each city.
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 04:33 PM
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I think your assumption is mistaken, because people differ in what they consider to be the sites worth seeing and at what pace.
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 04:46 PM
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jeterray, if you have 3 weeks, I think you have time not only to visit the cities but also the countryside or smaller cities/towns as well. I haven't been to Budapest or Bucharest, but I have been to Prague twice. I recommend at least 4 nights in Prague to see what most guidebooks and people would consider the highlights. If you want more time to leisurely stroll around the city, you could add a few more nights.

The last time we were in the Czech Republic, I believe we were there for 10 nights. In addition to spending 4 or 5 nights in Prague, we also spent 2 nights in Cesky Krumlov, 2 nights in Karlovy Vary, and 1 night in Telc. We rented a car to get to all of these places. Some people visit CK as a day trip from Prague, but I personally think it would be too rushed, a very long day, and hectic. Since you have the time, why not overnight in these places and enjoy them more. This way you are there at night when it is quiet and peaceful after the daytrippers have gone.

I can't help you with the other places. If you haven't already done so, I recommend buying some guidebooks.
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 04:53 PM
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I spent 5 nights in Prague with a day trip to Terezin. Could have used a couple of more nights and a day trip to Kunta Hora.

Spent 1night in C. Krumlov, would have preferred 2.

spent 4 nights in Budapest with a day trip to ? Can't remember the name at the moment, it had the marzipan museum? Probably should have skipped it and gone somewhere else.. Could have used another night or two there.
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Old Sep 17th, 2018, 03:14 AM
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I think your assumption is mistaken, too. Just because someone has been to place X and thought it was fine to spend Y days there does not mean I would agree. I often find I need a LOT more time in places than most people think they do. OTOH, we spent 6 nights in Budapest last year, which many people said was a good amount of time there, and I wanted to leave after Day 2. I defy anyone to think there are formulas for these sorts of things. The best you can do is do tons of research and decide what seems right for you and your interests.
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Old Sep 17th, 2018, 06:50 AM
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With 3 weeks and plane connections, Bucharest is not too far.

You might want to take a look at my trip report that involves a Danube river cruise and a stay in Bucharest.

Last edited by Michael; Sep 17th, 2018 at 07:30 AM.
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Old Sep 17th, 2018, 06:57 AM
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I have been to all three, and Bucharest does not compare at all with the other two. Until like StCirq I could easily spend a week in Budapest, but Prague could occupy several days as well, although I found it already too crowded back in 2004. If you want to see a little of Romania I would go south from Budapest to Szeged, which has some lovely Art Nouveau buildings and then over the border to Timisoara.
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Old Sep 17th, 2018, 07:35 AM
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While I agree that people have different interests and likes and dislikes, and they travel at a different pace, I think that most people want to see at least the major highlights when they travel. And some people would like to have additional time to just wander and see "lesser" sights. I know that when I am planning an itinerary, my biggest dilemma is how many nights to spend in each place. I know I want to see the highlights, but IF I have the time, I also like to see hidden gems, lesser-known sites, and have time for wandering around the city/town. So for me it is helpful to have a base from which to start; by that I mean the minimum number of nights to see at least the major sites, and than I build from there. I may add a night or two, or decrease, based on my interests. So if someone is asking the question, "how many nights", I let them know what worked for me, and hope that helps them get a start in planning.

I always use 2 or 3 guidebooks while planning a trip, in addition to getting help from this forum and reading trip reports. I love to read guidebooks! I can't imagine planning a trip without a guidebook. You have all the information you need in one place. And they are fun to read! So I always recommend that people should get a few guidebooks, too, to help determine what they want to see and what works for them.
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Old Sep 18th, 2018, 12:14 PM
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Thanks to all who replied. At this time we will fly into Budapest, spend a week, then river cruise to Vienna. After spending a couple of nights there (been there a couple of times), then travel to Prague. Any recommendations on transport from Vienna to Prague ? We will stay in Prague for a week before flying home. I have mostly used Fodor's tour guidebook. Any recommendations for better guidebooks for the area ?
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Old Sep 18th, 2018, 01:35 PM
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Best means of transport - train for Budapest and Prague for sure - easy to add in Vienna -in between them - for a few days - to Bucharest a long train ride though I think overnight trains available but best fly - once there buses or trains. For lots on trains and booking own tickets online check www.trainline/eu - www.seat61.com - lots on booking discounted tickets; general info trains BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. Lots of easy day trips by train from each city - again if looking to add say Vienna easy to do Salzburg too and then Cesky Krumlov to Prague - say you scrub Bucharest and have time to fill - all easily done by train.
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Old Sep 18th, 2018, 05:20 PM
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For guidebooks: Check some at your local bookstore or library, but IME, the Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, and Michelin Green Guide provide the most information and cover the most places and sites, and so are best for people who are looking for more than just a very few highlights.

As for transportation, let me try again: Consult rome2rio.com -- just be sure to click through to the source links, as the main site is not sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules. And if you have done so, and have not found it useful, I would appreciate it if you would tell us what problems or limitations make you think it isn't a useful source.
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Old Sep 18th, 2018, 11:27 PM
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Me and the cook were in Bucharest a few weeks ago, but just for the day at the tail-end of a wonderful d-i-y trip to Transylvania.

We had been in Bucharest for 2 hours, and were almost turned into mincemeat. We were walking along the pavement, when there was an almighty shreaking of vehicle engines and brakes, then a sickening thud, two 4x4s hit a wall at speed. Two seconds earlier and I wouldn't be typing this now.

The driving isn't for the faint hearted.

That said, Transylvania only had light traffic, and was as green and clean as anywhere we've ever travelled. A wonderful destination.
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Old Sep 19th, 2018, 01:23 AM
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We use michelin and visa guides mostly.

I have not been to Budapest (on my todo list) and dislliked Bucharest. I spent several nights there and tried to spend most of one day, and found myself going back earlier to the airport...
I spent most of my time in taxis in Bucharest at a crawling pace, worst traffic jams I've ever seen (short of India).
Prague, like most posters here, we spent 10 days and could ahve stayed more but had pretty much exhausted it (with some daytrips).
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Old Sep 19th, 2018, 05:25 AM
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I found Bucharest very walkable, but the OP has decided not to go there.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 01:52 PM
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Everybody- Thanks again. I'm looking at travel guides. Hopefully a 2019 updated guide will come out soon. I have noticed that Prague has 2 areas that look like walking tourist friendly -Old Town and City Center. Can anyone recommend one of the areas for people who love history and eating ? Seems there are lots of nice apartments available for a 5 day stay. Same question about Budapest.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 02:43 PM
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I found Old Town and Pest to be the best places for me to stay.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 04:25 PM
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IMO, the information that is most valuable in a guidebook -- things like site descriptions, food (not restaurant) descriptions, an abbreviated set of translations, background info -- don't change much in a span of a few years.
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Old Sep 21st, 2018, 08:10 AM
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Thanks Joann and Kja- I will definitely use at least 1 guidebook. I have usually used Fodor's, mainly because I'm comfortable with the format. However, I don't recall much info on the neighborhoods. A few hotels and restaurants are listed, along with towns nearby. Further, I found the Fodor's guidebook lacking info in the Panama and SE Asia guidebooks. That's why I asked (and got) some recommendations on other guidebooks that may concentrate on Hungry and CR. I really appreciate everyone's input. If you have been there, you usually have impressions on what you enjoy. With this input and some research, I can make the decisions. Thanks again for everyone's impressions/opinions.
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