Help regarding Central Europe itinerary

Mar 14th, 2019, 06:46 AM
  #1  
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Help regarding Central Europe itinerary

Hi again. I'm a fast paced travel photographer for those that don't know me. In September 2019 I'll be taking my annual photo trip in Europe. The 2018 trip was mostly through Germany, Alpine country, and surrounding areas by car. (trip report to come) This time I'll be photographing cities only and traveling exclusively by train (or bus if it makes sense). 11 days 3 countries. I have flights booked into Berlin and out of Budapest. These are the places I plan on covering:

Berlin (100%)
Dresden (100%)
Prague (100%)
Vienna (50% maybe)
Budapest (100%)

So far I have a skeleton itinerary that looks something like this:

Day 1. Flight from US
Day 2. Arrive Berlin
Day 3. Berlin
Day 4. Berlin
Day 5. train to Prague
Day 6. Prague
Day 7. Prague
Day 8. train to Budapest
Day 9. Budapest
Day 10. Budapest
Day 11. Flight home

So my questions:
- Where to insert Dresden and maybe Vienna? I'm not interested in staying in either city and would prefer to cover the highlights in a full day + travel time.
- I read somewhere that it may actually be better to visit Dresden while in Prague as opposed to Berlin. Another website suggested Dresden as a stopover en route to Prague. Which is better?
- Are there any legs in which a bus would be more advantageous than train? (saving money is not a priority)
- Thoughts on a sleeper train possibly to Budapest?

Vienna is the one city I may eliminate completely for a variety of reasons such as foul weather, travel logistics, or unforeseen issues, etc. My biggest priority is minimizing travel time and that's why I'm here. I also want to remind you that I won't be on vacation so no museums, palace tours, or things like that. While I definitely appreciate the advice I'll receive, subtracting cities or adding days is not something I'm looking for help with. Thank you!

Last edited by tailsock; Mar 14th, 2019 at 06:49 AM.
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Mar 14th, 2019, 07:38 AM
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Do not discount Vienna in September.That month is grape harvest season, with nearby Gumpoldskirchen hosting its Genussmeile (a mile of wandering the vineyards while eating and drinking along the way). Vienna itself will celebrate Erntedank (harvest thanks) in the middle of the month with, naturally, eating and drinking at a festival; and will open (more of) the vineyards to wanderers and tipplers on the last weekend of the month with the Wien Weinwandertage. In our now seven years here, only once has the Wien Weinwandertage been rainy; and last autumn, the Genussmeile just shifted a week to get around the weather.



Last edited by fourfortravel; Mar 14th, 2019 at 07:41 AM.
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Mar 14th, 2019, 08:43 AM
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book trains early at www.bahn.com/en - for fares involving Germany and www.trainlineeurope.com for others or thru their national rail - this site matches lowest prices and easier to use. www.seat61.com has sage advice on booking own train tickets - general info also BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com/

Dresden would go between Berlin and Prague - could throw bags in locker and do a half-day look =could end in Vienna a day and for more flights probably than from Budapest.
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Mar 14th, 2019, 11:11 AM
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Insert Dresden between Berlin and Prague and Vienna between Prague and Budapest. Dresden deserves a full day, 2 nights, unless you arrive from Berlin by noon to visit the city for half a day and then spend another half day the next morning before going on to Prague. Vienna deserves as much time as either Prague or Budapest.
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Mar 14th, 2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Insert Dresden between Berlin and Prague and Vienna between Prague and Budapest. Dresden deserves a full day, 2 nights, unless you arrive from Berlin by noon to visit the city for half a day and then spend another half day the next morning before going on to Prague. Vienna deserves as much time as either Prague or Budapest.
making Dresden a stopover en route to Prague sounds pretty attractive. Will I have to choose a time to leave or is there a flexible option when booking?
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Mar 14th, 2019, 07:25 PM
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I think I forgot to mention that my airfare is booked into Berlin and out of Budapest.
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Mar 14th, 2019, 08:10 PM
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Go to this site for train information: https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml
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Mar 15th, 2019, 08:28 AM
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There is no such thing as a "flexible option" on high-speed long-distance trains that require a seat reservation. I am not sure what you mean about choosing an option, if you want to be flexible, just don't buy the ticket until you know when you want to leave.

Sleeper trains don't exist much anymore as trains are so fast nowadays for long distance. So there are few trips where that makes sense. Sleeper trains are also expensive for a railway to run. Most people don't want to spend 10 hrs on a trip if they can fly in a couple hours. Prague to Budapest is a 6.5 hrs direct train trip.

There is an overnight train if you really want, the Euronight 477. Leaves at midnight.
https://czech-transport.com/index.php?train=28&lang=en
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Mar 15th, 2019, 11:21 AM
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There are still dozens of sleeper trains but they are diminishing - and getting better to to attract people. Still to me a great option vs 6-7 hour day train or flying - the ultimate time-save and fare somewhat offset by having not to pay for a hotel that night. Get a private compartment and bring any food or drink aboard - chill and have another neat experience.
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Mar 15th, 2019, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
There are still dozens of sleeper trains but they are diminishing - and getting better to to attract people. Still to me a great option vs 6-7 hour day train or flying - the ultimate time-save and fare somewhat offset by having not to pay for a hotel that night. Get a private compartment and bring any food or drink aboard - chill and have another neat experience.
Only if you wish to play roulette on whether or not you will catch bedbugs. It happened to friends who complained to the SNCF. It admitted that the problem existed but it was very difficult to eradicate the bedbugs because the homeless would go into the rail yards and sleep in the couchettes of parked wagons.
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Mar 15th, 2019, 01:35 PM
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SNCF doesn't really have traditional overnight trains but only 4-person couchettes with mixed sexes but still I suppose that could be a minor problem- never experienced bed bugs from zillions of overnight trains I've taken.
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Mar 15th, 2019, 02:36 PM
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Thank you for the replies so far. I'm increasingly more interested in the sleeper train. It'd be nice to experience this before they go extinct. I'm not terribly worried about bed bugs though. I bring a travel sized bottle of bed bug spray with me and mist down sheets, mattress, head boards, etc. Only takes a minute and never had problems.
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