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Help! I can't pick which of these places to visit for two days

Help! I can't pick which of these places to visit for two days

Feb 13th, 2019, 11:22 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 68
Help! I can't pick which of these places to visit for two days

Hi everyone,

I'm visiting friends in May in London for two weeks, but one of the friends and I want to escape to somewhere else for a couple of days. We narrowed it down to the following places:

prague
geneva
vienna
copenhagen
oslo
riga

We are fairly young, like wandering around and looking at nice things/architecture/museums, etc. I am a sucker for a good instagram photo. We also like going to nice pubs and bars, and shopping (not high-end) at unique places. I like OLD, beautiful, charming places, too. Edinburgh is a favourite of mine, but I'll visit that again another day.

I'm having trouble narrowing it down to one place, so if any of you have a strong preference for one of these, let me know! I'm inclined to remove Oslo and Copenhagen as I've heard they're expensive.

I tried doing mini death-matches and Prague keeps winning, the only caveat is my friend has already been there, lol. I've read that Prague is more beautiful than Geneva, and then it was close between Prague and Vienna. As far as Riga goes, my main interest in going there is because I'm Latvian. But I've read that it's also quite pretty and historic.

Ugh, please help! Tell me what to do! lol.
Side note: I'm not very well-traveled, so I find basically anything new to be interesting. I've been to London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Milan and Rome. Our budget is mid-range, we can stay at a nice hostel or a nice but inexpensive hotel. We don't do high-end shopping but we aren't super frugal, either.
vacatia is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 11:53 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
If removing Denmark and Oslo because they're expensive then certainly scrub Geneva - Switzerland is at least as expensive as those I'd say.
Your cities are fairly far removed from each other so trains would work only between Prague and Vienna - so you will be flying between most at extra cost. I'd suggest a train journey so yous can see some of Europe and not just airports and tarmacs and a few tourist cties.

Like doing London to Paris via Eurostar train in about 2 hours

Train 3.5 hrs to Amsterdam - city where younger folks can find many exciting things

Train to Munich

Train or bus to Prague

Train to Vienna

or such

Booking train tickets far in advance can result in discounted super-cheap train fares - www.seat61.com has lots on that; general info trains and where to go BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 12:00 PM
  #3  
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I should clarify - we are only going to one of these cities, not 1+. We were planning on flying from London only, no train (despite the fact we'd miss some sights). I'd love to go to Amsterdam, but my accompanying friend has been several times so I'll have to leave that for another day!
vacatia is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 12:40 PM
  #4  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,174
I would not rule out Copenhagen. Our son was a student there and we visited him during his time there. It is totally doable to do on a budget! Look at the Generator Hostel for instance. There are so may places to see here that are either free or very inexpensive, and eating out doesn't have to be a lot either.
mms is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 01:27 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,636
Given the fact that you only have 2 days for this side-trip, I would go for the place which you can get to most easily and quickly. If you can get cheap flights from a convenient airport Prague would be a good choice - I see that Ryanair fly there from Stansted and if you can go mid-week they are offering fares of about 22 each way, ditto Riga and Copenhagen.

here's the Ryanair website.

https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/plan-t...eals-and-sales

They are cheap but beware of their conditions for carry on bags which can be pretty onerous if you transgress.
annhig is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 02:01 PM
  #6  
 
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If you have any interest in Art Nouveau Riga is a must.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 02:12 PM
  #7  
 
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I would suggest Riga; it is not expensive and there are alot of beautiful Jugendstil buildings but you are Latvian so you are obviously familiar with Latvia. Drinking in pubs in Copenhagen is quite expensive but you can do things on a budget, it is a great city for young people.
Odin is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 02:13 PM
  #8  
 
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Not Geneva you can find something a lot more interesting. If you do want to go to that area, at least catch the train out to Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux instead of staying in the big city.
suze is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 02:30 PM
  #9  
 
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Been to all of them. I'd put Prague and Riga at the top of the list based on the things you've said. Since your friend has been to Prague, and you are Latvian, I think that would give Riga the edge. Vienna and Copenhagen would be next but I found them less interesting and more expensive.


Here's my photo site where you can find a gallery for each of the places you list (except Oslo, haven't been there). If you were really interested you could consider Bergen. I haven't been to Oslo because when I researching that trip Bergen won hands down, and I think I like the same types of things you say you do.


https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/
isabel is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 04:17 PM
  #10  
kja
 
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I like to match my destinations to the time I have, so I would rule Vienna, Prague, and Copenhagen out. By that criterion, Oslo or Geneva; Riga should be perfect. YMMV!
kja is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 12:06 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Copenhagen has a bunch of tiny room hotels that are reasonably so-so. If you are Latvian, surely visiting Riga is easier from home.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 01:46 AM
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Copenhagen has a bunch of tiny room hotels that are reasonably so-so. If you are Latvian, surely visiting Riga is easier from home.
You can be Latvian without living in or ever having visited Latvia.

Anyway Riga gets my vote for a couple of days, although Copenhagen is perfectly doable on a very tight budget as well.
hetismij2 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 03:11 AM
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
You can be Latvian without living in or ever having visited Latvia.
.
I have the utmost respect for you and all your inputs to Fodors, but nah, you can't.

bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 04:31 AM
  #14  
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Basically at this point, I'm torn between Riga and Prague. I've always wanted to go see Prague, but I feel like I almost have a duty to see Riga! lol. I won't be able to see the second place finisher probably until next time I visit London friends (from Canada, mind-you). If only there was time for both!

And Isabel - thanks very much for all your photos, I'm actually finding this helpful in attempting to make a decision.
vacatia is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 04:43 AM
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I have the utmost respect for you and all your inputs to Fodors, but nah, you can't.
Former colleagues of DH now live in the US and are Latvian. Their kids were born there, but are Latvian as well as US citizens, but they have never been to Latvia, or anywhere in Europe for that matter.
hetismij2 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 10:14 AM
  #16  
 
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I'd like to throw in a vote for Prague! True, I'm biased because I used to live there, but I think it aligns really closely with the interests you described in your original post. First and foremost, Prague is 100 percent one of the prettiest, most architecturally interesting cities I've ever visited - loads of fantastic Instagram opportunities You'll feel like you've been transported back into Medieval times. And if you go in May, you can rent paddleboats and take pictures from ON the river - this is a highly underrated activity that resulted in really beautiful backdrops for my photo albums when I was there.

Second of all, the costs in Prague are much lower than the other cities you listed (with the exception of Riga, probably), and you can easily visit lots of cool and quirky pubs and bars (many of which are underground and cave-like, which is fun and different from the bars you typically encounter in the US) without breaking the bank. When I lived there, beer was cheaper than water! (This may not still be the case). There's lots of great, affordable shopping (try Na Prikope street for stores like Promod, Mango, etc. and Vevertova for more unique boutiques), and it's all around such a fun city - where you'll probably get the chance to meet other young travelers, as well. Prague would be my pick for you!
Fleur_de_Lis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 12:32 PM
  #17  
 
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Sounds like your heart pulls to Riga, which is also full of old-world charm as is Prague. Of cities listed those two IMO stand out with Copenhagen pretty close too but its many far-flung sights would be hard to do in two days - go there when you have more time.
PalenQ is offline  
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