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bartorlando Apr 27th, 2006 06:24 PM

Budapest to Vienna to Prague to Dusseldorf
I have a trip that I booked for the first two weeks in August. I got a discount on airline miles if my girlfriend and I fly into Budapest and out of Dusseldorf. We will have 13 nights and 14 days in total.

My goal is to spend the first two nights in Budapest, then two nights in Vienna followed by four nights in Prague, after this I'm kind of lost. I don't really care about seeing Dusseldof and plan on taking a train there on our second to last day to fly out the next. I would rather drive through the Bavaria region of Germany from Prague and possibly stay in Munich.

One of the advantages to my trip is that I am a constant business traveler and have a ton of hotel points to book free nights, primarily at Hilton and Marriott. I'm going to book the four nights in Prague at the Renissance and two nights in Vienna at the Hilton. I also have enough points to cover a night in Dusseldorf and a couple of nights in Munich. Budapest I'll pay for. And I don't mind spending money for a night or two in a cute little "mom and pop Europe" kind of place any where in between.

My trip is pretty ambitious in that I would like to see a lot quickly.

My girlfriend and I enjoy photography, beer, food, art, architecture and comfort.

Where I'm looking for advice is in the following questions:

I'm thinking of taking the train from Budapest to Vienna to Prague and would then like to take a car through Bavaria, and then a train to Dusseldorf. Any idea?

Also, my family is Czech and I wouldn't mind seeing some other parts of Czech. If anybody has any ideas from Vienna I would appreciate it.

Lastly, I know nothing about the Bavarian area and less about Dusseldorf. If anybody could give me guidance here I would surely appreciate it.


bob_brown Apr 27th, 2006 07:01 PM

I think your priorities are in good shape.

Dusseldorf is in a heavily industrialized section of Germany.
I think your time can be spent to better advantage elsewhere, given your starting point.

Bavaria has some pretty mountains in the southern part of the area. Berchtesgaden is very scenic, and is easily reached from Salzburg. There of course the famed castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof east of Munich, and Munich itself is worth a day or two.

If you enjoy art, Munich has several outstanding venues. My two favorites are the Glyptothek and the Alte Pinakothek. The Neue Pinakothek has paintings by the Impressionists.
The Glyptothek has statues and other works of sculpture from Rome and Greece in one building and a vast collection of jewels, pottery, and coins in another building.

The Residenz, home of the Wittlesburg monarchs, is in downtown Munich. It is is worth a look for historical interests.

If you are a car buff, the BMW museum might be of interest.

As for seeing more of the Czech Republic, there is a travel agency named Cedok that might be able to help you find a short tour. Cesky Krumlov is a very scenic and very popular destination for American visitors.

Vienna is a fascinating city that I think is worth more than 2 days.
But you are already tight on time.
In Vienna, I recommend these two premier attractions: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and Schönbrunn Palace.
There are many others, however, but in two days you will exhaust your time before you see all of the big attractions.

I don't think you need 3 whole days in Prague, but one of the days might be spent on a day tour somewhere outside of Prague.

I am sure many others will have quite a few suggestions for you. There are quite a few well traveled people who contribute here and know the region well.

noe847 Apr 27th, 2006 08:15 PM

I'd be tempted to give Vienna another day. Vienna is a great city for art. The Kunsthistorisches museum is one of the world's premiere art museums. The Albertina has some amazing Old Master drawings. The new museum quarter has several museums devoted to modern art. Vienna also has loads of Art Nouveau buildings. The Stephansdom is an absolute must - very large Gothic cathedral in the very center of the city. In the summer, the Schonnbrunn palace and its gardens make a good destination.

Four nights in Prague is gracious plenty. If you stay that long, I'd do a day trip. The Charles bridge (may be under construction by that part of the summer, so won't be the attraction it usually is), the castle, the old town square, the Jewish quarter are the main sights in Prague. You can see a lot with a day on each side of the river.

Munich is warm and fun. We visited during the Christmas markets and our 2 nights weren't enough. The Hotel Opera is lovely and a short walk to the Marienplatz along the posh Maximillianstrasse.

In Bavaria we love Regensburg, which boasts the oldest stone bridge in Europe (Prague's is second oldest).
It has a beautiful old town and a fabulous medieval cathedral. The Insel Sorat hotel is located on an island in the middle of the river and serves the best breakfast we have ever eaten at a hotel. The rooms overlooking the river have an amazing view.

Clifton Apr 27th, 2006 09:07 PM

Just a quick note that the Marriott on the river in Budapest is one of the most highly recommended hotels in town. I generally travel more budget and have a different fav hotel there, but if I had Marriott points, Budapest is one place where I would feel they were put to good use. Great location.

L84SKY Apr 27th, 2006 10:43 PM

The advice you've been given so far it is great. I'll only add that if you like modern art then make time for the Ludwig in Cologne. Dusseldorf is a pretty little city but not much there except the K21/K20 the K21 is supposed to have a large collection of Klee but it was closed when we were there.
If you like modern architecture then the Gerhy Buildings near the river in Dusseldorf are interesting. If you see the Dancing Building by Gerhy while in Prague so you'll have some omparisons.
In Dusseldorf there are 3 seperate bdlgs each with a different skin; one white stucco, another with brick and the other with steel. We had fun photograhing that one.

L84SKY Apr 27th, 2006 10:45 PM

that would be "comparison"

bob_brown Apr 28th, 2006 10:46 AM

Oops. Nobody corrected me. Should have.
Neuschwanstein is WEST of Munich.
Herrenchiemsee is near a town on the rail line from Munich to Salzburg.

Had I not been there, my error might have been in ignorance. As it is, it is due to advancing senility!

The area along the Rhine near Bad Honnef was pretty when I was there years ago.
The cathedral in Köln is well worth a visit.

I am not sure what Bonn is like now that the main part of the government is in Berlin.

With your time constraints, your problem is deciding whether or not to cover a larger area superficially or a smaller area more thoroughly.

hopscotch Apr 28th, 2006 05:22 PM

Bartorlando says "My girlfriend and I enjoy photography, beer, food, art, architecture and comfort."

You seem to be a city boy. On that score I sceond the motion for more time in Vienna. You will also like the coffee houses there, for internal architecture, ambience, and the coffee.

In Budapest do not miss the New York Kavehaus. Kavehaus has some accent marks but it's already Friday and I don't want to find those squiggles tonight.

When you get to Düsseldorf it is best to not spell it the way you did. Without the umlaut it has a different meaning, and not flatering. Second only to Amsterdam in my opinion, Düsseldorf has the best night life in Europe. Did you say beer? Yes you did. The Altstadt is great. Try the Dr. Jazz cafe on a Saturday night.

Prague is stunning but four nights is a bit much if you want to work in your other interests.

Looking out the windows of trains and automobiles gets boring quick. Consider using night trains. They are very comfortable and get you from city center to city center from evening to morning. You save travel time and a hotel bill. The hotel bill does not seem to be an issue for you but the time would be. Night trains are very eficient for seeing a lot of Europe in a hurry.

With your Hilton chits did you consider Dresden? Great location.

bob_brown Apr 28th, 2006 08:07 PM

I sometimes make the mistake of not umlauting correctly when I should know better. Der Dussel, with no ü, means in mild terms goofball or Doofie which is almost universal. I know my son used to refer to some of the guys he knew as a doofus.

bartorlando Apr 29th, 2006 09:30 AM

Thanks for all you're help, I've really gotten some better ideas for the trip in reading all of your posts. I was suprised how quickly and how thorough everyone is.

Here's what I think we're going to do as a result:

Spend 1 night in Budapest at the Hilton Budapest near the castle district, I would love to stay at the Marriott or the Hilton but I can't book award travel at either. There is the Hungary Grand Prix (Formula 1) going on that weekend and rooms are really tough to get in general, let alone expensive. I also assume that will make the city packed. So we're going to cut it down to the day we arrive and the next morning.

Spend 3 nights in Vienna at Hilton Vienna Plaza. Based everyones comments we're going to add a night to Vienna. I don't know much about the layout of Vienna so I'm not sure if the Hilton is in a preferable location. I can stay at any Hilton in the city, so if anyone has a better idea let me know.

Spend 4 nights in Prague. We are going to stay at the Renissance Prague. It looks to be centered in the city, near all the major stuff. There is also a Marriott next to the Renissance that I could also stay at. I really want to spend a good amount of time in Prague and maybe see Cesky Krumlov on the way from Vienna to Prague via train. I don't know if there is a route that has that stop.

Spend 4 nights in Munich. I haven't even check into the hotels in this area yet but there seem to be plent of Marriotts and Hiltons, if anyone can recommend any I would appreciate it. My theory here is that if we based outselves out of Munich I can rent a car for day trips out of the city, and avoid extra fees.

Spend 1 night in Dusseldorf. Fly out the next morning. I found rooms here pretty cheap, I'll probably just pay for one.

I figure I'll do this whole trip with trains between those cities, and rent a car in Munich to explore the mountains and castles and such.

Again my whole plan is to use as many hotel points for staying on this trip. I already got airfare with miles and want to keep the cost of my trip low. As a business traveler I will tell you that Airline and Hotel reward points are worth their most in International locations.

If anybody has any suggestions I really appreciate them.


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