Budapest, Prague and Vienna travel

Old May 26th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Budapest, Prague and Vienna travel

We are planning a trip to these countries in the beginning of September. We are trying to decide if we should go on a tour our plan our own travel. Does anyone have an itinerary that they would suggest. How long in each country? Should we fly to each city or do the train?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated as well as hotels and not to miss sites.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:06 PM
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The places you mention are cities, not countries. Do you just want to see these 3 cities or do you want to see more? How much time do you have to do this trip?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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I did those three cities in September 2005, by train, self-guided. I am a seasoned train traveler and found the trains easy enough (though I was so complacent I got off at the wrong train station in Budapest - doh! - should have written down the actual station name). Doing it again, I'd most certainly do it the same way - but I was alone. if you are going as a group it gets cheaper to rent a car. I probably wouldn't fly, can't see how it would save you all that much time, what with airport security and shuttles to the airports and all.

Pick up a Rick Steves Eastern Europe book and see what appeals to you about each city/country and go from there. I loved Prague, found Budapest challenging but very interesting, was not excited about Vienna (but many others love Vienna). Going back, I'd love to see Prague again and maybe Budepest. Prague is just a fun city to wander around and absorb everything. Whatever you put on your agenda, be sure to put some "wander around and do nothing" time in there.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:18 PM
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At this time we want to see these 3 cities and possibly Saltzburg. We are planning 2 weeks.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 08:03 PM
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My wife and I made the "tri-city" trip in July 2006. We flew into Budapest (five nights, four days), travled by rail to Prague (six nights, five days), and, finally, by rail to Vienna (six nights, five days). The longer rail trip was about five hours, from Budapest to Prague (but not unpleasant), the shorter (about 3.5) from Prague to Vienna. We found good things to see in each of the three cities. Budapest gave us a nice walking tour along Andrassy, which generally runs southwest to northeast through the center of Pest, with a bit of strudel and iced coffee on the way and great swimming in the public baths at the northeast end. The great indoor Central Market was also an enjoyable attraction.

Prague is generally very charming (I'd suggest a compass to supplement your maps and help decipher travels along some of the streets which are inclined to change their names with some frequency). A wonderful tour of the Jewish Quarter; a performance (they happen every day, I think) of Dvorak's New World Symphony and Smetana's Ma Vlast at the Munipal House, an impressive musical venue with five concert halls); Wenceslas Square; the Mucha Museum and the Communist Museum; and, of course, Pilsner Urquell and the real Budweiser fresh and cold at the source were highlights.

Vienna seems(and the Viennese I'm sure would be offended by this) to be the San Francisco of Central Europe: sophisticated, arty, and full of gustatory wonders. We particularly enjoyed the "The Third Man" tour (for film buffs like us), the Prater amusement Park with the Die Riesenrad (the large wheel) ferris wheel that plays a part in The Third Man, and our side trip (about an hour) by train from a downtown underground station to Baden where we took in an Austrian tradition, the performance of an operetta (fine singing, dancing and humor that transcended language differences) in Baden's Kurpark.

I am a bit of a World War II, and its pre- and post-war eras so these three cities offered many cultural and historic connections.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 10:21 PM
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A little correction of the final sentence, above: I am a bit of a World War II student, amateur variety
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Old May 27th, 2009, 04:28 AM
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Hi; We did this 'independant' tour that was very nice. You can pick the level of hotels. All train tickets between cities are arranged. Includes half day tours of each city. Breakfast daily. www.tradescotours.com/tours/budapest_express.php Dick
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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Hi, I just visited Vienna and Budapest less than 1 month ago. We were there for 13 days (including travel days), and could easily have spent more time in both. Therefore, 2 weeks for these 3 cities may be a bit rushed, but I guess it depends on your interests. I love art museums so I can easily spend 2 weeks in Vienna alone for those.

Train travel is very easy between Vienna and Budapest. You may want to check out my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...pring-2009.cfm
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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Have visited those 3 cities several times each and they will easily take up 2 weeks between then (plus travel between). By adding a couple of days to Salzburg you're making quite a crowded itinerary.

I would do it independstly - but then that's all I ever do. There's no reason not to, since all the cities have very well-developed tourist infrastructures and English is very widely spoken.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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Thank you all for your very helpful advice and websites. I do agree with nytraveler that I would rather do it independently but I was concerned about how widely English was spoken. For those of you that have gone can you please provide me with suggestions for hotels, sights not to miss and restaurant suggestions.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:10 AM
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Hi; In Prague, our hotel was www.hotel-pariz.cz/ and in a good location. In Vienna this hotel is in a great location, just behind St. Stephen's Cathedral, perhaps 100 yards from the old town square. . www.kvu.at/ In Vienna there are nice hotels within walking distance from the train station. Our first trip there, it was very easy getting off the train and walking to the hotel. Dick
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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bookmarking
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Old May 28th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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Agree with nytraveler, adding in Salzburg would crowd an otherwise not too hectic plan to do the three cities in two weeks.

I did the same trip with three friends about 5 years ago. Budapest-Vienna-Prague in that order or reverse, minimizes the train travel which is easy in any case. You can certainly do the arrangements yourself.

We were gone 15 days so actually spent 4 days in Budapest, 5 in Vienna and 4 in Prague. I felt we shorted Prague a bit because on day 1 we didn't arrive from Vienna until around 3:00 in the afternoon.

We hired private guides for a day and half day respectively in Budapest and Prague, which were excellent investments in time and funds as they gave us such a good grounding and we saw things we wouldn't have been likely to see on our own. While in Vienna we spent a day touring Melk followed by a boat trip on the Danube, through the Wachau Valley, to Durnstein.

We're moving house and I just came across all the photos and scrapbook materials, still disassembled, from that trip. One of the best two weeks I've spent in Europe. Do check out yk's trip report, excellent recommendations and generally "good stuff."

We went slightly upscale on hotels (AH, points) staying at the Hilton Buda, the Hotel Konig von Ungaren in Vienna and the InterContinental in Prague. I recommend all of them, particularly for their excellent locations, but the Viennese hotel was very special because it was, well, so Viennese.

Happy to help with other questions and wishing you a great trip.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 12:29 PM
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I second iris1745's recommendation for the Hotel Pariz in Prague. Not only is an exquisite example of art nouveau decor the buffet breakfast is by far the greatest treat I've ever experienced, including my own home (well, especially including my own home). I don't know how close our Vienna hotel was from the railway station--we just grabbed a taxi when we emerged from the Prague-Vienna train, but we stayed at the--believe it or don't--Hotel Austria, a nice, quiet (on a cul de sac) *** hotel within a couple streets of the Schwedenplatz underground station and the Danube canal near the northern inner ring road, and about four or five streets north of St. Stephensplatz.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 10:09 PM
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For a hotel in Prague, I would highly recommend Residence Retezova. It's less expensive than the Hotel Pariz and you get an apartment on a quiet street near the Charles Bridge in Old Town. Next door (and connected to the small hotel lobby) is a wonderful cafe with the best coffee I've ever tasted! If you like music, you can buy tickets online for a symphony performance at Dvorak Hall. We were there last September, and went on opening night. They put up a large screen and xtra chairs outside the hall for people who don't have tickets. I wish they did that here in San Francisco! I also recommend a tour of the old Jewish quarter with Wittman Tours.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 05:25 PM
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I'll also recommend the Wittman Tours for the Jewish Quarter.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Last year we were in Prague and Budapest. We had apartments which for us is the only way to go. In Prague we stayed in Mala Strana in a small flat between the US and German Embassies. Super location and quiet too. The website is www.arcadiaresidence.com. In Budapest we stayed on the Pest side (where all the action is) in a beautiful apartment owned by an American. The website for that is http://budapestvacationrentals.com.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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hi mohun,

we are booked into the austria in Vienna for our 4 night stay in 2 weeks' time. Good choice?

we are planning to spend most of our time in central Vienna, with a trip out to Schonbrun and grinzing/doebling. have you got an yother ideas /tips to pass on?

regards, ann
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 04:53 AM
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Hi; Take a 'day' trip' on the Danube to Melk and Krems. I think you take a tour bus first to Krems and then a cruise boat to Melk. All part of a package 'tour' given by a number of companies. Dick
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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hi, iris, thanks for the tip, if it was meant for me!

in fact, once we leave Vienna, we are going to drive to the Salzkammergut via Melk and Krems. so I've planned to spend our precious 3 1/2 days in vienna doing other stuff.

nice idea though!

regards, ann
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