Central Europe in 2 weeks

Jan 13th, 2011, 05:34 AM
  #1  
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Central Europe in 2 weeks

Hello everyone. My husband and I are planning a trip to Central Europe this April (leaving March 30th and returning April 14th). We are just wondering if anyone has some tips/suggestions on where are some great places to see in Germany. We have relatives in Vienna so will be staying there for a bit and travelling around. So far we were thinking of flying into Berlin, then making our way south through Germany, then on to Austria, head to Budapest for a couple nights and then to Prague for a couple nights, heading back to Vienna to our relatives and maybe stop at Bratislava for a day trip, ultimately flying back to Canada from Vienna. Any thoughts?? Thanks for anyone who responds.
Rthomson is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 05:36 AM
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I should add that we are interested in seeing castles and historic monuments, but also just to experience the culture of each place, enjoy the food, markets, etc.
Rthomson is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 08:27 AM
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How do you plan to travel. Although distances are relatively small compared to the U.S., it takes time to go from one place to the other. If you really want to see Prague and Budapest, I suggest take the train from Berlin to Dresden and then Prague and then Vienna. From Vienna you could go to Budapest. You might want to consider an open-jaw ticket arriving in Berlin and leaving from Budapest.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7623230920764/
Michael is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:11 AM
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Sounds like a lot for two weeks. Either lengthen the trip, or cut destinations if you really want to experience the area.

That said, you're likely better off going from Germany to Prague to Budapest (long trip here -- 7-10 hours depending on the train or bus you take, consider a short and potentially cheap flight, a google search of discount european airlines should do the trick) then to Vienna for the family. Bratislava is a day trip from Vienna -- it's an hour away and really small.

Last check, Prague, Budapest and Bratislava all have castles. So does Karlstejn, which is less than an hour from Prague. A list of Central Bohemian castles (within about 90 min of Prague) is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...entral_Bohemia

Think more about what you want to see. Czechs and Hungarians had very different experiences with communism, Nazism, the Holocaust, medieval history, etc.
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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Don't try to cram too much into your trip. Two weeks is not *that* much. If you have relatives in Vienna then stay there for a week and do day trips from there to Bratislava and the Wachau (Danube valley upstream).

Start the trip in Berlin, go by train via Dresden to Prague and then to Vienna. Unfortunately you won't have time to do Dresden and region justice as you are planning to see Berlin AND Prague. Btw, I'd scratch Budapest from the list, it's too much IMO.

There are plenty of castles around Dresden, btw. See this website:
http://www.schloesserland-sachsen.de/en/home/

I.
Ingo is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:18 AM
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I think you are planning to do a lot in 2 weeks. For example I think these cities deserve this time.

Budapest: 4 days
Berlin 3-4 days
Vienna: 3-4 days
Prague 3 days

That doesn't include any daytrips or transportation between locations. With Vienna a must I would stick to Austria and 1 or maybe 2 other countries. When I travel I do a maximum of 1 country per week unless I've already been there.

If you want to keep your flights the same consider Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and end in Vienna.
lindy27 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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How much you cover depends on your travel style. When we were younger, in 1975, we picked up a car in Munich, drove through parts of the Danube valley and up to Prague, from which we went to the far end of Slovakia, and then down to Hungary including Budapest, and finally returned the car in Vienna (no drop-off fees and no VAT on the rental). All this in 21 days, and we have fond memories of the trip. Search in my sets and you will find the photographs of that trip.
Michael is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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Are you going by car or by train or by a combo of both? Renting a car in one country and returning it another can be so so expensive so check on that if motoring. If going by train then IMO check out the Eastern European railpass, good in Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. the efficacy of course depends on how many train trips you will take but the pass generally presents the option of just showing up at a station and hopping any train anytime. For loads on rail travel in Eastern (Central) Europe check out these info-laden sites: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. A railpass again is not always the best ticket to ride so compare ordinary fares from the official web sites of the countries involved.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 10:34 AM
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"Budapest: 4 days
Berlin 3-4 days
Vienna: 3-4 days
Prague 3 days"

Berlin is a very big city with some of the best museums in Europe.
Budapest - not so much.
danon is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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I would stop in Dresden if only to see the Green Vault.
Michael is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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Personally, I think the moppy-headed guy on PBS is pretty mediocre for Central Europe and if you want information on any of the cities that used to reside behind the Iron Curtain, www.inyourpocket.com is a great resource.

That said, renting a car in Germany and driving into Prague may be prohibited by your rental company. Prague is as notorious for car thievery as Barcelona is for petty street crime. And it will cost you an arm and a leg to pick up a car in country #1 and return it in country #2 even to the same company (Hertz, Europcar, etc).
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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I said Budapest for 4 days because it is more spread out and your time can't be used as efficiently. I also can't read any of the language so everything takes me longer.

Berlin would get 4 days for me if somebody plans on seeing Potsdam. We had 3 days and saw what we wanted within the city (including multiple museums) but didn't make it to Potsdam.

I would also recommend traveling by train with the locations you plan on visiting.
lindy27 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Thank you everyone for all your informative responses. My husband and I have a flexible schedule. We haven't decided and a single mode of transportation yet but were looking into travelling by train, possibly by car in some places. We were wondering if the following sounds like a good idea: arrive Berline for ? nights, then train, +/- rent a car and drive through Germany south to Munich (if we rent a car we would drop it off here), then train into Austria to Vienna and day trip from there to Bratislava, also maybe to Salzburg, then head to Budapest for 2-3 nights, then to Prague for a few nights and then train back to Vienna to fly out. I know it sounds like a lot but are energetic to see a lot as we don't have the opportunity to travel very often. Thanks again.
Rthomson is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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We aren't set on Budapest by the way, just thought if we had time we might include it. If the trip through Germany will take a lot of our time then we may just do as suggested and travel from Berlin to Dresden and on to Prague for a few nights, then on to either Budapest or straight to Vienna and see if we have time to get to Budapest. We are pretty open as to where to go (except our flight path). Lots to think about still, obviously. We certainly are enjoying all the planning and research!
Rthomson is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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I stick to my recommendation Berlin-Dresden-Prague etc. by train. I don't think via Munich (and driving) is a good idea. If you are keen on seeing Budapest you could do this even as a day trip from Vienna, just like Bratislava. But going from Vienna to Prague would be backtracking of the worst kind.
Ingo is online now  
Jan 14th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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then train into Austria to Vienna and day trip from there to Bratislava, also maybe to Salzburg, then head to Budapest for 2-3 nights, then to Prague for a few nights and then train back to Vienna to fly out

well this much train travel IMO makes the European East Railpass a no-brainer and IMO the train is the way to go if staying mainly in large cities where cars can be a liability as much of the city centers are off limits to private vehicles, parking can be problematic - many hotels may not even offer it or charge a lot if they do, etc.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 14th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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what Ingo said. you will see a lot more if you stop still for longer, and certainly a week would not be too long in Vienna if you are doing day trips as well as seeing the city itself.

as you are not that keen on museums, personally I would leave Berlin this trip as you are going to Vienna, and from Vienna, i would go to Munich to see the scenery and castles in that area, from there to Prague, and back to Vienna.

in 14 days, that should be more than enough.
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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5 days within 1 month

1st class p.p. $304 2nd class $209
Extra rail days (5 max.) $34 $29

These are current prices for Eastern European Railpass - so for first class travel, which for the average tourist I always strongly recommend for more relaxed and luxurious travel you can get a base of 5 days of travel in all those countries at $60/day or about 45 euros a day and you can virtually hop any train just by showing up - and extra days above the 5 base are just $34/day or about 25 euros a day for first class travel! Unlimited travel for a calendar day and if taking an overnight train it is still just one day on the pass due to the 7pm rule - board the overnight train after 7pm and the next day is your unlimited travel day.

Or in 2nd class 5 days are $209 or about $42/day or aboout 30 euros a day - with extra days above the base 5 days just $29/day or about 22 euros a day.

Compare these with ordinary prices and see why, for anyone taking several train trips in these countries I say this pass is a great bargain.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:05 AM
  #19  
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Thanks again for more input, that railpass definitely sounds like the right ticket, as we don't want to do any driving/rental vehicle. We already have our flights booked and set to fly into Berlin and out of Vienna, so that is not flexible. We are thinking of staying in Berlin for 3 nights, Dresden for 1 night, Prague for 3 nights, Budapest for 2 nights and then to Vienna for 5 nights, from there we will do a day trip to Salzburg, and a day trip to Bratislava. Hopefully it all makes sense. We are getting more and more excited as we get our planning underway. I really do appreciate all the input everyone, thanks again.
Rthomson is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Hello again, just wondering if anyone has some recommendations for hotels in Berlin that are reasonably priced, around $100-$150/night, in a good area for new tourists or near the train station?? Thanks.
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