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Central Europe Itinerary Assistance - 1st trip - Prague Budapest Cesky Krumlov Vienna

Central Europe Itinerary Assistance - 1st trip - Prague Budapest Cesky Krumlov Vienna

Old Aug 24th, 2019, 10:50 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 32
Central Europe Itinerary Assistance - 1st trip - Prague Budapest Cesky Krumlov Vienna

Good day! Hello and thank you in advance for any assistance. I will try and include as much info as possible. I'm requesting some assistance or critique as I've gotten myself confused and having a hard time making some decisions. I have spent hours and hours and hours and days in the web rabbit hole of research and have a number of guidebooks. I think mainly, I'm needing help narrowing down which cities. Yet any ideas for actual things that I may enjoy during my time there is always appreciated.

Who: Mid 30's and Mid 40's husband and wife (see "Us" below)
When: Leaving Algiers, Algeria late Sept 2019 (9/25 or 9/28) to go to Central Europe and returning to USA Oct 8th. We have a USA ticket to Algiers, spending two weeks in Algiers and we have a return trip from Prague to USA on October 8th. We do not have any of our travel booked from Algiers through Central Europe but prefer to start in Budapest and end in Prague. We have approximately Sept 25 (travel to Europe) to Oct 8 (travel from Europe). Though we may leave Algiers Sept 28 vs Sept 25.
Where: Central Europe, focusing in on Budapest and Prague, Cesky Krumlov and possibly Vienna and possibly any day trips from the cities.
Us: We are casual (think no heels, no suits, no fancy places); we don't drink wine/beer, etc; we enjoy sight-seeing, walking, taking photos, architecture/looking at buildings, and experiencing a bit of local life (as much as possible from a tourist's perspective); we like good, local food (but not fancy please). We don't need to see an Opera or a classical music piece (unless maybe it doesn’t involve dressing up and it’s a short one). I don't need to stand in the square with a million people just to see a clock strike the top of the hour (though if I can stand way back and see everyone watching then that's cool and I definitely want to see the clock! OK…you got me, maybe I want to see it strike the hour). Not in to partying or late nights. Enjoy quiet/safe area and don't mind getting up earlyish (6? 7? 8?) to start the day. Definitely want to see some baths in Budapest. Would prefer to drive ourselves through the countries stopping wherever we want, BUT will not be doing that due to hassle of having a car in the cities and the cost of drop-offs. I have read the most about Budapest and that city is really speaking to me. I read pages and pages on RickSteves forum about Budapest, but not much on Prague or Vienna. Initially I had Vienna in there, but read a bit about Vienna online and for some reason, decided to skip it (some reviews mentioned unfriendly, pretentious, fancy). Now I’m back to –why in the world would I want to miss Vienna?? Prague is a for sure, though I haven’t read all my books yet. I don’t want a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, I want to overnight and see the town after the tour buses leave. Two nights would be nice, but probably schedule allows just 1 night. I feel like I would want five full days in Budapest, but maybe that is too much and would short the other cities. Budget – very open, but I like good deals. Lodging – clean, safe, easy to transport. $100 USD/night or lower – realize Prague may be more pricey as is Vienna. History is interesting, but I like enough to learn a bit bout the place but not so much that it’s the entire trip. Love culture, geography, architecture/buildings, photography, people-watching/observing, nature. If you see me using “I” it’s because I’m the planner and my husband will go along with whatever, he is very easy to please. I really want to make sure that I get some sort of a boat trip on a river, I like doing interesting things, off the beaten path a bit. We are both good walking all day, I’m not so great on strenuous hikes. We both enjoy the scenery from train/bus/boat/car, but would be open to a flight if necessary. Wouldn’t mind some sort of a local show, but would prefer something less touristy (?). Note- we’ve never really done any tours, may be open to that, but typically do our own thing. I don’t like huge crowds. I like performance art and circuses (not with animals or mistreatment of animals) and interesting dining experiences.

I've gone back and forth with fitting as many cities/towns/countries in vs visiting just 2 cities and everything in between. On one hand, I prefer to relax a bit, not just to see "all the sites" and then get out. I like to see a bit of the local culture and chill. Though I'm a planner, I don't want to have 10 tourist sites on a day list and go from one to one to one and be exhausted at the end of my trip. So please keep that in mind with the itinerary help . On the other hand, this is a huge trip and our first in Central Europe (have only been in Europe: Southern Spain for 12 days driving to various towns) and I want to see as much as possible because I may never make it back. Basically, I'm having a hard time balancing these two aspects of what I want.. The other thing is, it would be nice to stay in Algiers until 9/28 but I don’t think that will give enough time in Europe.

Since I need to nail down the transportation, hotels/AIRBNB etc ASAP (I’m in what I call freak out mode on that! Hahaha), any critique or thoughts would be helpful. In the meantime, I will keep reading. Note: I tend to plan most everything in my life and in my vacations. I have a hard time just exploring and discovering because I don’t want to miss anything right around the corner. I could probably do with setting down the book/map/camera and just walk/get on a tram and see what happens. I am sure that would be good for me, but nearly impossible with my personality type. Also, I don’t want to feel rushed. I hope this all tells you a bit about what we're looking for in a destination.

Idea/Example #1
9/25 – fly from Algiers to Budapest (Note – NO jet lag!) – would likely get in around 7pm
9/26 – Budapest
9/27 – Budapest
9/28 – Budapest
9/29 – Budapest
9/30 – Budapest
10/1 – train? to Vienna
10/2 – Vienna
10/3 – Vienna
10/4 – Bus? To Cesky Krumlov – would prefer to leave Vienna early in the day
10/5 – Bus? To Prague – would prefer to leave Cesky K later in the day
10/6 – Prague
10/7 – Prague
10/8 – Flight home to USA at 3pm (YIKES – that is only two days in PRAGUE!!) Take a day off Budapest or Vienna……or take off Vienna (?) or Cesky K (?)

Idea/Example #2
9/25 – fly from Algiers to Budapest (Note – NO jet lag!) – would likely get in around 7pm
9/26 – Budapest
9/27 – Budapest
9/28 – Budapest
9/29 – Budapest
9/30 – Budapest
10/1 – Bus? to Cesky Krumlov
10/2 – Cesky Krumlov
10/3 – Bus? To Prague
10/4 – Prague
10/5 – Prague
10/6 – Prague
10/7 – Prague
10/8 – Flight home to USA at 3pm (YIKES – I missed Vienna. Hmmmmmm)

Idea/Example #3
9/28 – fly from Algiers to Budapest (Note – NO jet lag!) – would likely get in around 7pm
9/29 – Budapest
9/30 – Budapest
10/1 – Budapest
10/2 – Budapest
10/3 – Bus? Fly? To Prague
10/4 – Prague
10/5 – Day trip to Cesky Krumlov and back to Prague (YIKES, not my idea of seeing Cesky Krumlov)
10/6 – Prague
10/7 – Prague
10/8 – Flight home to USA at 3pm (YIKES – I missed Vienna! And only a day trip to CK!)

Things I/we like
Budapest – Baths (at least one, maybe two) – I can’t decide which one(s)!!
Budapest - Hungarian Parliament Building
Budapest – Pinball museum (my hubby is going to kill me LOL), I’m a pinball nerd!
Budapest – 3D gallery, this looks cheesy but fun, could take or leave
Good pastries, good food – note we don’t eat anything with pork (lard, gelatin, etc) – will that be a big problem in any of the cities/towns? We are good with vegetarian food and like all types of ethnic foods.
Some sort of river boat – transportation or just for fun; fast or slow, doesn’t matter – just want to be on the water
Castles and really old stuff
Gardens
Photography/views
People watching and relaxing at a cafe
Hunting for treasures, markets, flea markets, estate sales, etc
Art

Thanks to all of you that made it through my post. You are AWESOME!

memellow is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2019, 11:33 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 362
You've chosen a wonderful area to explore! I would say that you shoudl allow at least as much time to Vienna and Prague as you do to Budapest.

From my personal expeirence we did 3 full days in each city:
Budapest 3 days:
day 1 Buda area
day 2 Pest area
day 3 whaterver was left off and thermal baths. we went to the ones in Gelert Hotel and loved it. architecure and the outside wave pool were awesome.

Prague 3 days:
day 1 castle area
day 2 area on the clock side
day 3 excursion to Kutna Hora with it's UNESCO (Harry Potter looking) cathedral.
Cesky Krumlov we did as an overnight stay between Prague and Salzburg. That was an absolutely right decision to spend the nigh. One night would be enough. If you have a chance in additon to Cesky Krumlov castle, you should add a stop at Hluboka nad Vlado castle which is really close to Cesky Krumlov. For Cesky Krumlov we loved staying at the Hotel Bellevue. They have an amazing good restaurant on the premisis. It was such a reasonobly priced dinner adn the quality was superb. I think in Tokyo I'd have to pay 5 times more. My experience thought was in 2013, so do keep that in mind as things might have changed since.

Vienna 3 days: so many wonderful museums and Schonbrun palace. Can't remember how we split the days. if you have a chance do go to the Vienna woods area for dinner at “Mayer am Pfarrplatz” really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. so much fun. https://www.pfarrplatz.at/en/the-heurige/


Have a great trip!
minamax10 is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2019, 11:46 PM
  #3  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,767
With the time you have, I would not try to visit 3 major cities -- that, for me, would be too rushed. I think your option 2 makes most sense in terms of timing for Budapest and Prague. I don't think option 3 gives you enough time for Prague.

BTW, I didn't find Vienna unfriendly or pretentious, but it doesn't sound like it has captured your attention, it easily merits 5 or 6 full days for a first visit, and your option 1 would end up giving you too little time anywhere -- IMO.
kja is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 12:09 AM
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Posts: 8,178
Not meant as a history lesson, just to put the area of your upcoming travels in perspective.
Austria, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republic and many more nowadays independent countries had been part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918.

Vienna - The undisputed capital of this major European power (second only to Russia) had been Vienna. That's why Vienna still has "the biggest and the most" of everything - palaces, museums, administrative buildings of any kind and so on. And still these days, Vienna is still in a different league than Budapest or Prague.

Which does not mean that as a traveller you won't like Prague or Budapest better than Vienna, of course.
But each city has a distinctive flavor:

Prague - picture-perfect and quite small, mostly pedestrian Old Town plus the castle hill. Few major boulevards except the major square, but tons of tourists. Prague is "cute" (if the tourists weren't there, just kidding)

Budapest - still more rough on the edges, not as spic and span as Vienna and not as picturesque as Prague. As the second capital, the layout of Budapest is more Vienna than Prague. So not many narrow "quaint" cobblestone streets, not much of an historic Old Town, except on castle hill. Less touristy than Prague. I think few people would label Budapest as "cute".
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 12:14 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,348
If you can't decide and you have 12 days, I'd just split the time evenly between Budapest, Vienna and Prague, taking one day from your least favourite of those three for Cesky Krumlov.

If you have 9 days, I'd keep it to three towns, spending three nights in each unless you have a compelling reason to spend longer in one than the others.

If Vienna isn't appealing, don't feel compelled to go there or just go for a couple of days. I visited once many, many years ago and felt no need to return - and now I am revisiting later this year and am really curious to find out whether it appeals to me more this time. Go with your instincts.
dreamon is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 05:45 AM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 2,611
The number of days for each destination is to me a personal decision. You know what you like to see/do; and between guide books and the Internet you can fill out how to distribute those days. By way of example, we lived in Vienna for 7 years (just returned to the U.S. two months ago) and out of curiosity made a list of the "must-do" that we "never did," yet have no regrets.

I'll just talk about food. Pork is everywhere; unless you venture way further afield you'll find English menus to sort that out. Classic Wiener Schnitzel is prepared with veal. The Vienna food scene expanded considerably during our time there, though our favorite will always remain the heuriger, Viennese wine taverns dotted about the northern area of the city that serve the house wine along with either full entrees, small plates, or some combination. Some are/have become pretentious and some are touristy, so a little research will go a long way to find a more traditional place. Even if you don't imbibe, a heuriger evening will still be memorable.

Amazing desserts are another common denominator. The edibleness of the Sacher Torte has been debated endlessly on this forum. Personally I've never met an Esterhazy Torte that I didn't like. In Prague, a good Medovnik (honey cake) is an experience; and in Budapest I gravitated toward the Dobos or, again, the Esterhazy Torte. Regardless of your preferences in sweets, you won't be lacking in Central Europe!

If you decide to include Vienna and have some specific questions I would be happy to offer my experiences and observations. Happy Planning!
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 12:39 PM
  #7  
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Thank you so much for the replies. So very much appreciated. Since my itinerary is very open at this point, I have decided to leave Algiers on 9/25 (vs 9/28) as it seems the extra time in Europe would be good. I wish I had a good five full days to devote to each city, but alas, I do not. I'll take what I can get! I'm cutting a number of days from Budapest. I'm still hesitant to say 3 days is enough in any city; if there is anyone that feels strongly either way (let me know which city I should cut out).

Revised:
9/25 – fly from Algiers to Budapest (Note – NO jet lag!) – would likely get in around 7pm
9/26 – Budapest
9/27 – Budapest
9/28 – Budapest
9/29 – Train (?) to Vienna
9/30 – Vienna
10/1 – Vienna
10/2 – Vienna
10/3 – Bus (?) to Cesky Krumlov, overnight
10/4 – Bus (?) To Prague
10/5 – Prague
10/6 – Prague
10/7 – Prague
10/8 – Flight home to USA at 3pm

Minamax10 - I couldn't find a menu for Mayer am Pfarrplatz, but references to a buffet. Since we do not drink or eat anything with wine cooked in it, nor do we eat any pork products, do you recall if the food choices would be acceptable for us or if there were vegetarian options? It looks lovely! Did you have any other favorites during your stays in those cities? Thank you for your input.

KJA - I am with you. I am really torn about leaving out Vienna. In the revised above, if I left Vienna out, I would likely add a day or two to Budapest and a day to Prague. Would you have other recommendations? Thank you for your input.

Cowboy 1968 - thank you for the history lesson , I liked it! I'm thinking that you would recommend perhaps more days in Vienna and less in Prague or Budapest yet perhaps I am misunderstanding? Would you think Budapest would be a good area for a river cruise or transport? Thank you for your input.

Dreamon - thank you, I am with you. I have attempted a revise above. Perhaps I would just do two full days and add one more on to Budapest or Prague. Thank you for your input.

fourfortravel - thank you for the great food suggestions I'm already hungry and can't wait to try everything. Thank you for your input.
memellow is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 12:47 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by memellow View Post
KJA - I am with you. I am really torn about leaving out Vienna. In the revised above, if I left Vienna out, I would likely add a day or two to Budapest and a day to Prague. Would you have other recommendations?
It really depends on what you want to see and experience! It sounded like you made great progress in identifying what you want to see while in Budapest; if I read correctly, you haven't done that for Prague or Vienna yet. That's what I would encourage you to do -- identify what you want to do, check opening hours, plot those things on a calendar. If you can't fit it all in, then decide whether to leave one city off your itinerary or decide whether to focus on your highest priorities for each of them.

IMO, each of these cities is filled with treasures, so you don't have any bad options -- just difficult choices.
kja is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 01:27 PM
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memellow, heuriger buffets* generally offer a wide range of salads (cucumbers in sour cream; three bean salad; cabbage salad, etc.) along with various spreads that utilize cream cheese (Liptauer); Schmalz (made with lard); Egg Salad, and so forth to be enjoyed with slices of brown bread. You would do well to ask about the spreads to avoid any of the Schmalz.

*The term "buffet" does not mean the same at a heuriger that it might mean elsewhere. It is not an "endless" portion; one generally pays by either the dish size or by weight. Also, do note that the "Gemischter Salat," which translates in English to "Mixed Salad" is not what you think. The Gemischter Salat is a bowl containing various pickled salads, potato salads, and sometimes green beans, all of their various flavors melding together. I found it disgusting. For the English version of a "Mixed Salad" you'll need to order "Blatt Salat." Translations can be funny.

We've been to Mayer a couple times; their menu will include seasonal dishes along with mainstream heuriger classics, many of which will be made of pork (Schwein Schnitzel, Kummelbraten, Wurstelsalat). There is often Backhendl, Austria's version of fried chicken; and depending on the heuriger, there may or may not be a vegetarian offering. Meyer's menus will be in English as it is a popular destination; you might want to ask about items being cooked with wine, but that would be out of the ordinary for heuriger fare.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2019, 02:23 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,178
Actually, I would not recommend Vienna in general more than I would recommend Prague or Budapest.
It‘s just different flavors. Personally, I still find Budapest exciting as not everything is yet polished and renovated- though bright and shiny neighborhoods exist, e.g. the Andrassy boulevard.
If you manage to see all three, you will see the variety of cityscapes.
And if you can only pick two it does not really matter as long as one of them is Prague. If only for a very distinctive old world ambiance (which you have to share with many other tourists, but that’s the way it is)

between Budapest and Vienna, the train is the quick and easy way to travel.
Vienna to Cesky Krumlov can also be done by train via Linz, but if you found a direct bus that would be even more convenient.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Old Aug 31st, 2019, 05:32 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 783
"Would you think Budapest would be a good area for a river cruise or transport?"

If the weather will be nice you could take a boat from Esztergom to Budapest on Saturday afternoon(9/28). You're going to see the most scenic bit of the Danube in Hungary the Dunakanyar=Danube Bend and arrive to Budapest after sunset with all the bridges and buildings illuminated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danube_Bend

https://www.mahartpassnave.hu/en/tim...ndre-visegrad/


To get to Esztergom you can take a train from Budapest-Nyugati station in 1 hour.
BDKR is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 01:05 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Hi, we spent about 3 days each in Vienna and Prague a couple of years ago, and for our other 3 days chose the Lakes District in Austria for something completely different (although I'd love to go back and see Budapest someday). As for the cities, we loved Prague for all the reasons already mentioned, and' I'd love to go back. My hubs is all about classical music, and going to the Vienna Opera House was on our bucket list, and it was great. Sometimes they project a film of the live opera on the outside of the building simultaneously and a crowd gathers for free - that was cool too! We also toured the Schonnbrun palace, which he loved, and for me, a little goes a long way with those huge opulent places - see, everyone is different. I loved the coffee houses and desserts in Austria, and never had trouble finding a nice salad or some chicken to eat if I didn't want a heavy meal. I found Prague easier to navigate and if lost, we were still never far from "picturesque" streets/places; this was not always true for Vienna so if you go I'd say be sure you have your maps and directions looked over.

We loved the side trip we made from Vienna up to the Melk Abby, taking the train up and taking a river boat partway back down, stopping in some interesting towns with castle ruins in between. Here is a rather old thread on the topic: Vienna day trip to Melk Abbey & Krem

I regretted leaving out Cesky Krumlov - we were quite stressed form various events when planning, and decided to forgo it - but as it turned out the trip rejuvenated us as I'm sure it will you! Happy travels.
Carolmom is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 08:12 PM
  #13  
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BDKR - thank you so much. I really want to do some sort of a boat cruise and what you've described sounds lovely. I also will only be in Budapest for four entire days and I feel I'm on the fence about taking 1.5 hour train ride elsewhere and then however long the boat ride would be (how long is it?). I was trying to figure out the website you listed and wasn't sure if it's a hydrofoil or the river boat. I will keep looking at the site. Thanks for the great info!

Carolmom - thank you for the reply, so much appreciated.

I want to be on a boat where I can be outside in the open air (or in if I so desire). Updated itinerary is below, if anyone has any other thoughts about a river boat ride at any point. Otherwise, I think I'll take BDKR's suggestion.

I am also looking at AIRBNB and at hotels (priceline, Amoma, hotwire, google, etc.). Seems AIRBNB is much cheaper than hotels thus far in Budapest. For the three main cities (Budapest, Vienna, Prague), if there are any thoughts on hotels vs AIRBNB please let me know. Budget is around 100USD per night (prefer cheaper and realize Vienna and Prague will be more expensive). Would like free WIFI in building/room.

9/25 – fly from Algiers to Budapest (Note – NO jet lag!) – would likely get in around 7pm
9/26 – Budapest
9/27 – Budapest
9/28 – Budapest
9/29 – Budapest
9/30 – Train to Vienna
10/1 – Vienna
10/2 – Vienna
10/3 – Bus to Cesky Krumlov, overnight
10/4 – Bus To Prague
10/5 – Prague
10/6 – Prague
10/7 – Prague
10/8 – Flight home to USA at 3pm
memellow is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2019, 12:30 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
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"however long the boat ride would be (how long is it?). I was trying to figure out the website you listed and wasn't sure if it's a hydrofoil or the river boat. I will keep looking at the site."

Yeah, just keep looking at that webpage, since all the information is there in clear English. It's a river boat with open deack and inside seating as well, like the ones on the photos and it takes about 4 hours(4pm-8pm). You don't have to book in advance.

"Updated itinerary is below, if anyone has any other thoughts about a river boat ride at any point."

To be honest the cruise through the Wachau(Melk-Krems) suggested by another user is actually superior scenery wise than the Danube Bend cruise. That said, I'd take a cruise at the first opportunity if the weather looks nice. I mean perhaps you'll have perfect weather on 28th September, but skip the boat trip, in favour of the Austrian boat trip, but it could happen that the weather won't be nice for a boat trip while you'll be in Austria.

Here is more information on the Wachau boats: https://www.ddsg-blue-danube.at/wach...hrten/?lang=en

" Seems AIRBNB is much cheaper than hotels thus far in Budapest. For the three main cities (Budapest, Vienna, Prague), if there are any thoughts on hotels vs AIRBNB please let me know."

Airbnb may be cheaper than hotels, but it's not that difficult to find hotels or pansions under 100 USD in either Prague or Budapest. Unless you have a good reason for renting an apartment(for example speacial diet and you need cooking facilities) I'd advise against Airbnbs. The problem with Airbnbs is that they're pushing out locals from the rental housing market. If you want to travel responsibly and not exploit the locals you should avoid Airbnb. It's probably too late at this point, but in case you prefer to stay in apartments instead of hotels you could look into homeexchange and couchsurfing, these are not only free, but they're a sustainable alternative to Airbnb.

" 10/3 – Bus to Cesky Krumlov, overnight
10/4 – Bus To Prague "

You could also travel by train. Each has it's pros and cons. I'd take what you generally prefer, be it a bus or a train.

https://www.seat61.com/international...-Cesky-Krumlov

https://www.seat61.com/international...ky-Krumlov.htm
BDKR is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2019, 03:56 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,129
Here's a link to my TR about Budapest which may help:-

Boozing and Bathing in Budapest!

Regarding Airbnb specifically, there is a ton of scaremongering/guilt-tripping written by people who have never used the site and don't know what they are talking about, so you shouldn't be put off by that. HOWEVER Budapest is a very affordeable city, and if you were considering Airbnb over a hotel based on cost alone, then be assured that doesn't have to be an issue.
RM67 is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2019, 07:44 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
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"Regarding Airbnb specifically, there is a ton of scaremongering/guilt-tripping written by people who have never used the site and don't know what they are talking about, so you shouldn't be put off by that."

You don't have to use the site to be effected by or be aware of its negative impact.

If you had an apartment in central Budapest would you rent it to a local for 500 dollars/month or would you rent it on Airbnb for 50 dollars/night? That's what's happening.

The demand for Airbnb apartments is huge and it's still growing and as a result the locals are struggling to find an apartment in the city centre even for 500 dollars/month, which is a lot if you earn only 1000 dollars/month and than try to live from 500 dollars. Lot's of travellers notice how depressed and grumpy the locals look like. Now you know why!

I used to live in central Budapest and loved it. Even if I don't live there anymore I'd hate to see that turning into a ghetto of tourists and foreigners.
BDKR is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2019, 08:18 PM
  #17  
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Hi all,
Returned from the trip - just a short update.

Budapest - spent 5 nights / 4 days. We purchased the transit pass for the entire visit and it was worth it! For the boat ride - just take the water taxi at night and go through all the stops - GORGEOUS at night. We didn't visit the parliament and wish we would have just couldn't fit it in. We did take photos outside though, very nice. Budapest was my favorite city of the trip and I could see spending more time here. Stayed near the Jewish quarter and it was lovely with easy transport. Stayed at Vagabond Broadway and I was not disappointed (Hotels.com). For the baths - we went to Szechenyi baths - a definite must. We started our first days without mobile data and ended up getting a SIM card. I think having the wifi for transport planning is imperative. Great Market Hall is where I bought most of my souvenirs - decent priced and a lot of variety. Took the train to Vienna and relaxed in the first class lounge prior to leaving (as well as arriving in Vienna).

Vienna - spent 3 nights / 2 days. Not enough time! So many amazing museums and things to do and very spread out. Bought the 3 day transit pass, worth it. Took the tram loop around the main area of town, a nice orientation. Hotel Erzerhog Rainier - can't recommend enough - really lovely and the breakfast was grand! Went to the Kunst Histories Wien museum and it had a little bit of everything so that was nice. Ended up with some cold and rainy weather, otherwise it would have been more pleasant. Took shuttle bus MiniBuzz - they are relatively new - to Cesky Krumlov. The bus was GREAT - it was a nice van, leather seating, free water and snacks, SUPER comfy. It was just us and one other passenger. The driver was from Prague and fantastic. I would definitely use this shuttle again.

Cesky Krumlove 1 night. Really glad we stayed the night. The town was beautiful in the morning and early evening after the tour buses left. Walked around the outside areas of the castle at night, truly magic. Stayed at Pension Wok, would have liked to stay an extra night. Cesky was very relaxing but also very touristy. Lots of great photo ops. Recommend climbing up the tower at the castle, very amazing view and pretty cool to go up those OLD narrow stairs. If you need some chill time from walking, make sure to go to Egon Cafe for some tea and comfy sofas. Also, do NOT plan on trying to wheel your suitcases all through the old town. I saw a lot of people doing it and it was a bad idea. We didn't, the Pension Wok is right over one of the bridges so the shuttle dropped us directly and the taxi picked us up directly. Took the bus (I think it was Flixbus, can't remember) to Prague. It was fine. We sat right behind the driver with the "Panoramic Seats" - I would make sure you get those.

Prague - 3 nights. My least favorite of the cities, but it was nice. It was REALLY COLD and we didn't have the right clothing I think so that put a damper in our attitude. Stayed at Hotel Sunrise, nice, basic. Make sure you plan in advance. We had a HARD time and the Friday night was booked 99% of all rooms in Prague. We ended up paying almost $500 for Friday night and around $45 for the other nights (DOH!). And yes, guess what - I watched the clock tower do it's thing (twice!). It was fun watching the people watching the clock. Nice walking around and looking at the buildings, don't forget to look up.

Hope this is helpful a bit. I know I didn't include all the attractions we saw.....
memellow is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2019, 08:22 PM
  #18  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,767
Thanks for sharing your impressions!
kja is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2020, 08:09 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 57
Thanks for sharing! I am in the middle of planning a similar trip.
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