Central Europe itinerary

Sep 30th, 2014, 05:21 PM
  #1  
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Central Europe itinerary

Change of plan!

I asked on this forum about a Scandinavian honeymoon but, after receiving lots of advices on forums and by our friends, we decided against it. We will go there in a few year, when we have a bigger budget. My fiancé chose Central Europe as alternative and we are trying to build an itinerary for our 21 days trip.

So far we absolutely want to see Berlin, Prague and Vienna. We have a 6-7k budget (excluding airfares) and plan to travel mostly by train. This is a possible itinerary:

Berlin 5 days
Dresden 1 day
Prague 4 days
Bohemia 2 days (with Cezky Krumlov)
Salzburg 2 days
Hallstatt or Melk 1 day
Vienna 3 days
Budapest 3 days

What do you think?
What would you change of this itinerary? Please feel free to give us your suggestions!
labossanova is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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You haven't allowed for any travel time between locations so you'll be cutting short each day on your itinerary. For instance, if you have 5 days in Berlin then you will have less than a day in Dresden as the train journey is 2 hours and you need to allow time on each end to get to and from the train stations. You'll wind up with a half day in Dresden.

The same for the rest of your itinerary.

I would give Dresden more than a day. I just spent 5 days there and would suggest at least 2 full days, depending on your interests.

Cut out Bohemia and Budapest. Although I enjoyed Budapest it's a bit removed from the rest of your itinerary and will add more travel time.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 05:31 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for your advice!
Somebody told me not to skip Bohemia because of the castles...

I was initially reluctant on Budapest because I thought the itinerary Berlin-Prague-Vienna-Salzburg made more sense but it just seems soooo pretty at night But you are right, the travel times hurts.
labossanova is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 05:59 PM
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Everyone will give you different advice. What you need to do is figure out what you want to see in each place and plan the travel time between them. You can't keep this itinerary unless you add another 3 or 4 days for travel time.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 06:18 PM
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I would definitely drop Budapest for this trip. and add days to Vienna. there are a lot of museums and things to see and do in Vienna.

Melk is fine for visiting the abbey, but you can do this as a day trip from Vienna..go by train to the Abbey, take a tour, and then you can take a boat ride on the Danube, and get off at one of the stops or go to Krems, visit there and take the train back to Vienna. Having to move your things and check into a new place is time consuming and leaves less time for sight seeing or just relaxing.

Salzburg is a few hours by train to or from Vienna. If you want to stay in Halstatt you can get there from Vienna or Salzburg.

for information about travel options and length of the journey the website Rome2rio.com is helpful
you may also be able to find cheap airfares between some of the cities in Europe which will cut down on travel time and give you more time in each place
maxima is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 06:26 PM
  #6  
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Would you rather cut Budapest... or the German leg of that itinerary?

What if we keep Berlin for an all-german trip and keep Budapest?

thanks maxima for the Melk and Danube suggestions. We will look into that!
labossanova is offline  
Sep 30th, 2014, 10:52 PM
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Prague-Vienna-Budapest is the classic Habsburg "triple ticket" and, with days trips from each base, could fill your itinerary at a moderate pace.

For example, while based in Prague you might consider renting a car to visit Cesky Krumlov for an overnight, then circling through Bohemia and Moravia to see castles on the return to Prague. There are quite a few pretty castles/palaces along the border with Austria (Bitov, Branov, Hardegg, Mikulov, Znojmo, Valtice, Lednice all come to mind). Trying to see castles by train/bus could be very time-consuming.

From Vienna, as maxima suggested, Melk Abbey is the usual day trip, and when the Danube cruises are running there are combination packages from Vienna to Melk with return. The other usual day trip, Salzburg is approximately 3 hours from Vienna by train. It is possible to tour most of the city in one day (I've done it several times with visiting friends and family), but that depends on what you want to see. With Budapest as a base, Esztergom and Szentendre make for easy day trips via train.

Happy planning!
fourfortravel is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 01:17 AM
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I originally suggested cutting out Budapest since it wasn't on your must see list. If you keep Budapest, Vienna, Prague and smaller locations it will be an easier trip. Berlin is a large, modern city and I found it tiring. The other 3 main cities are smaller and "cosier." Perhaps that's what you need for your honeymoon. You could fly into Budapest and home from Prague and take public transportation between the towns.

Your itinerary could look something like: Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, rent a car and drive through Bohemia, Prague.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 05:52 PM
  #9  
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The more I think about it the more I want to keep the capital cities in the trip... I don't want to sacrifice either Berlin or Budapest!

We came out with this itinerary:
Arrive in Berlin, stay 4 nights
Train Berlin-Prague, stay in Prague 4 nights
Train Prague-Cezky Krumlov, stay 1 in Cezky Krumlov 1 night
Train/Bus Cezky-Krumlov-Salzburg, stay 2 nights in Salzburg
Train Salzburg-Hallstatt, stay 2 nights in Hallstatt
Train Hallstatt-Vienna, stay 4 nights in Vienna
Train Vienna-Budapes, stay 3 nights in Budapest

I wish we had one more night to spend in Salzburg though...
I also think it is very "efficient" to pass by Hallstatt (Salzburg-Vienna is only 2h30 by train). Should we pass on Hallstatt all together, spend a 3rd night is Salzburg and a 5th one in Vienna (and take day trips to Melk, Danube cruise). The idea behind going to Hallstatt is seeing impressive landscapes. Any suggestions of similar views/landscapes worth seeing closer to Salzburg or Vienna?
labossanova is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 05:59 PM
  #10  
kja
 
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Much too rushed for my tastes. I recommend that you get a good guidebook or two, or review some at your local library, to decide what you most want to see in each city. Note their opening hours and block time out on a calendar. Then block out time for transportation, including time to either side for relocating, packing, getting oriented, etc. You might conclude that it would be best to cut a destination or two.
kja is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 06:23 PM
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Look up St. Gilgen. It's not far from Salzburg and looks like the type of place for impressive landscape.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 06:36 PM
  #12  
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adrienne: looks good! it could be a nice day trip instead of Hillstatt

kja (and others): thank you for the advice! I already came back from the library with 10 (yes...) guidebooks and I am trying to find what is worth going/seeing knowing our interests. Like a lot of people going to Europe I just want to see the more I can and deep down I wished you could all tell me my itinerary was perfectly do-able (and enjoyable)... but that's not the reality!

That being said we are very efficient travellers: we are well prepared, take advantage of each hour of each day and are used to fast paced trips.
labossanova is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 06:51 PM
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one possibility, instead of staying in Halstatt, is to add another night to Salzburg and take a day trip to Halstatt.
that way you wont have to take your luggage with you and spend time getting checked into a hotel.

Other alternative day trips would be Mondsee which is closer to Salzburg, or St. Wolfgang. The more dramatic mountain and lake scenery is nearer to Salzburg than Vienna. The old town part of Salzburg is small and you can see it in a day or so.

I would also add a night to Vienna.

you can take a high speed train from Vienna to Budapest.
for information on train travel look at seat61.com
maxima is offline  
Oct 1st, 2014, 07:14 PM
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I'm just back from Berlin so I can give you some advice. Do not spend E7 to go into the Berliner Dom. Not worth the money.

Definitely go to the Reichstag dome. It's free but you must book ahead as it's on top of the parliament building and there is tight security. I was wavering about doing this but I'm so glad I did. You get an audio that automatically turns on when you're in the correct spot to view the buildings. It's a great view and interesting.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews. Photos can't convey this memorial and I didn't understand it until I was in the middle. There's an info center which you should also go into. I did the info center after the memorial and it doesn't matter if you visit it before or after the memorial.

The DDR museum was fun as it's interactive. It's below street level, along the river, directly at the back of and on the other side of the river from the Berliner Dom.

If you like Italian Renaissance art, the Gemäldegalerie is a fabulous museum.

Topography of Terrors has a long stretch of the Wall. The video in the tent shows the aftermath of the Warsaw Uprising. I had seen this video (5 minutes) in Warsaw but it was good to see it again.

The Story of Berlin. Not a very interesting museum but the bunker tour was fascinating. You're taken into a Cold War bunker from the 1970s. It's about a half hour tour where you learn about this ineffective idea providing shelter in case of nuclear attack.

I took a Insider walking tour (the overview tour). If you do this, there is a lot of waiting around at the beginning. They offer 2 meeting points and I thought there were 2 tours. There is only 1 tour. If you meet in the West you hang around for a half hour and then take the S-bahn to the East meeting point where you connect with others and then hang around some more. Then the tour starts. It was a very good tour. My suggestion is to meet at the East point and arrive 15 minutes after the meeting time.

Take a boat trip (1 hour). There are many boats and they leave at staggered times. I walked along the river until I found one leaving in a few minutes. I'm sure they all have the same commentary.

I thought the Palace of Tears was interesting. It's very small and I was the only person in the museum.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 01:50 PM
  #15  
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Okay, so we decided to skip Budapest for now. You were all right, this is too much travel and we think that 3 capitals (Berlin, Prague, Vienna) is already enough for one trip. Ending it in Budapest will mean to get there, and get to discover yet another big capital city. We'd rather spend more days in the other smaller cities and limit travel time.

Itinerary goes like this:
Berlin 5 nights
Prague 4 nights
Cezky Krumlov 2 nights
Salzburg 3 nights
Hallstatt 2 nights
Vienna 4 nights

Not so sure bout the 5th night in Berlin, I only put it there because it is the city we arrive in around noon) and we will be jet lagged.

Does it sounds better?
labossanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 02:11 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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Better, but you still don't seem to be taking the time it will take to get from city to city into consideration.
kja is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 02:52 PM
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This looks better.

Day 1 – Arrive Berlin – 4.5 days in Berlin
Day 6 – Berlin to Prague – 3.5 days in Prague
Day 10 – Prague to Cesky Krumlov – 1.5 days in CK
Day 12 – CK to Salzburg – 2.5 days in Salzburg
Day 15 – Salzburg to Hallstatt – 1.5 days in Hallstatt
Day 17 – Hallstatt to Vienna – 3.5 days in Vienna

I would leave Prague in the afternoon as 1.5 days in Cesky Krumlov is too much unless you have a car and can see other things in the area.

There's a lot to see in Berlin so you should keep the 5 nights there and relax the first day after arrival.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 03:36 PM
  #18  
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kja: I wrote the # of nights spent in each city but of course I checked all travel times between the cities. I wrote on a calendar the duration of each train trip (with fast train options if possible). I also made sure we could chose the earliest arrival time in Berlin when buying plane tickets.

adrienne: I came with this exact plan with my train trips. I cut .5 day of each travelling day. Do you know if it could it be possible to rent a car between Prague and Salzburg (with a stop in CK)? Or would it be very expensive? That way we could take our time travelling in across Bohemia before getting to Salzburg. I heard the route is also very beautiful.
labossanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 05:23 PM
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You'll most likely have a large drop off fee for renting in one country and dropping in another. You don't have much time for driving around. If you do decide to drive, go via Telc, one of the most beautiful town squares I've ever seen. It's a small town and not much going on but it is lovely and serene.

https://modigliani.shutterfly.com/cz...frankfurtpa/73

Call AutoEurope and ask how much the rental and drop off fee would be.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2014, 07:52 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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It seems I wasn't clear. What I meant was that, once travel times are included (counting time for the actual trip PLUS packing and unpacking, checking in and out, getting to and from the train or bus station or whatever, and get oriented to yet another city) you will, IMO, have less time than would be preferable in these wonderful locations and too much of your time invested in transit. JMO.
kja is offline  

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