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Help! We are in the baby planning stages...our first trip to Prague and I'm not sure where to start!

Help! We are in the baby planning stages...our first trip to Prague and I'm not sure where to start!

Old Dec 30th, 2002, 02:28 PM
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Help! We are in the baby planning stages...our first trip to Prague and I'm not sure where to start!

2 couples will be traveling from CA. and we've pinned the date down to the last week in Sept.

We're interested in architecture, beautiful scenery, sight seeing in general, history, museums and good food.

It will most likely be a 12 day trip so I was thinking 3-4 nights in Prague and then either rent a car or take the train to Budapest with an overnighter along the way.

Can you give me any direction on how to start planning this trip?
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 02:41 PM
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Oh whew! From your title, I thought you were planning a *baby*! Couldn't figure out how that fit in with planning a trip to Prague!

Have a great time!
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 02:44 PM
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First of all you will need to decide what cities you will be visiting. Reseach lodging... do you want to stay in a hotel, do you want to rent a short term apartment. With 2 couples it is fun to get an apartment and it is usually cheaper than a hotel. In your search engine type in apartments in Prague. Alot will come up. Then do the same for your next destination. Go to the library and get some books on the area you will be visiting. They have travel videos also.
Once you have decided exactly what cities you will go to, then it is fun and easy to research the top sites, restaurants, museums, and such. Online is a overwhelming amount of info. Sift through it the best you can .
I love the planning part of the trip.
Good luck to you....
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 02:53 PM
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I can only tell you what I did when I wanted to go to Prague for the first time (which is generally what I do for any trip to a place for the first time).

First, I read online info about Prague to see generally what there was to do, general tips, etc. I do this first from free online stuff before I've fully decided to go. I use Google and search a lot to find good web sites, generally find the country or city's own web site, and others (eg, in your case, www.praguepost.com, www.czechcenter.com, www.locallingo.com are a few I've perused, as well as the performance venues). I also check all online guidebooks for their free info (www.timeout.com, Fodors and Frommers, maybe Lonely Planet).

After I've decided for sure I'm definitely interested, I go to the bookstore and browse guidebooks and buy the one or two that looks best, plus perhaps a detailed city map, if available. I decide on the dates I want to go after some scrunity of airline websites to figure out if that affects fares very much. Often, I have particular events on specific dates that I want (concert/dance performances or a festival) and that limits my dates to a general time period, along with my
vacation time and work load.

With guidebooks and further internet online hotel sites, I select several hotels I want to check for rates and availability. I then do that when I've definitely decided to go, sometimes before the airline reservations, sometimes after. After I book airline and hotel, I relax and just read the guidebooks or gather further info to decide what things I'm going to be doing there and when.

This gets more complicated when moving between cities, but when doing that, I decide about how many days I want to stay in a place from what I want to do, and then check train schedules and routes to see what is feasible or a good idea on that. I have a general railmap of Europe with the quasi-major cities on it so I can look and see what a reasonable stop would be on the line I want to take. Then, after selecting a city, I look online or in a guidebook to see if that town is worth staying overnight if I want to do any sightseeing at all there. If not, it doesn't matter much as long as there are hotels there.

Your trip doesn't sound that complicated if you only want to take the train to Budapest, as there are lots of trains between those cities. YOu already know your time frame and that you want to split time between those cities, so I'd start with figuring out the rail line and about where you want to stay, checking train schedules. I don't like to rent cars that much on vacation in Europe, I prefer the train, so can't advise you much on that but I think there are plenty of things you need to check out if you plan to do that (at least in that part of Europe where it may not be that simple between countries). One reason I don't like to rent cars is because I drive too much at home and want to get away from that and the complexities of that; also, I prefer urban areas for my vacations, anyway.

I guess if I had to boil it down, I'd say:
-get a good guidebook
-read tourism/guidebook info online
-get a map and figure out possible routings and your overnight train stop. For preliminary rail planning, I use my European railmap from Streetwise which shows all the major rail lines and major rail junctures/stops (towns of maybe 10K+). That was one of my better investments, it only costs a few dollars in a bookstore.
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 06:13 PM
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I'd book an open jaw ticket into Prague and out of Budapest. Take the train to and from Vienna in between -- Prague to Vienna to Budapest. 4 days in each will be perfect.

Most all the guidebooks will agree on the top sites to see, for instance in Prague, it's the castle, the clock, the bridge, the Jewish Quarter and the municipal house. You'll spend time just walking the lovely streets as well.

Each of the cities will have great day trips as well. Honestly, you can do all your research on this forum and on the Fodors site, right down to hiring personal tour guides. The advice here is fantastic; use it and have a blast!
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 08:19 PM
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Toni -
I went to Prague at the end of October. I topped my trip report for you - "Prague trip report". For additonal restaurants you may want to check the listings at the Prague Post.


Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
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Mark! Thanks for an interesting trip report and the website for restaurants. I've saved it and will definitly use it when we get a little closer to our departure time.

Kit! Vienna sounds like a good place to spend a few days in between Budapest and Prague. I'll do more research on the area.

Thanks all for your suggestions. I'm sure I'll have more questions as the time nears.

Happy New Year!
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Be sure to visit Bazaar Mediterranee restaurant in Prague . It's well worth the trip up the steep cobbled hill!!! It's up by the castle. Ask for a table on the roof. Also go on the funicular to the Petrin Tower. It's a mini Eiffel. There's so much more but these are the things that come to mind straight away.
Have fun, it's a beautiful city.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:42 AM
Ben Haines
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Between the splendid great cities of Prague and Budapest I would avoid yet another imperial city, Vienna: the three cities would begin to merge in your mind. You might look for the contrast of a pleasant old country town, probably half-way, probably in Slovakia. One such is Banska Bystrica, with a day trip by bus to Zvolen. Each town is industrialised, but each has a good centre and much to see in architecture, sight seeing, history, and museums. There may be walking in woods nearby. I think I'd give your choice two nights, not just one.

Both Czech and Slovak food are good, so long as you ask waiters to serve you boiled potatoes in place of dumplings: the dumplings are rather like bread to my mind. Both countries are strong at venison, duck, goose, and carp. The presence of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia guarantees you plenty of Hungarian restaurants, with goulash as good as in Hungary. Beyond pancakes they have little idea of puddings, but in late September I think grapes and other fruit may be in season in the picturesque open-air markets, and your hotel or restaurant will wash and serve such fruit with your meals.

For temperature and rainfall please use http://www.worldclimate.com/ and enter Zvolen.

You can sort your trains roughly just by finding an atlas that shows railway lines. You will be on day trains, with no need to book seats more than a day ahead, if that. Or you can phone the reference library of a great city of Califormia to ask whether they have the Thomas Cook European Timetable, then drive over to plan from that. With more fuss, you can enter http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en and look up trains one by one.

I suggest Prague Hlavni (beware pickpockets) 0858, restaurant car train, Bratislava 1325 to 1340, no catering, good views from 1500, Zvolen 1650.
Or not Saturdays Prague Hlavni 0858, restaurant car train, Bratislava 1325 to 1512, restaurant car train, good views from 1600, Banska Bystrica 1823
Then Banska Bystrica 0733, Zvolen 0810, no catering, good views to 1100, Budapest Keleti 1252

Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:43 AM
Ben Haines
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Now some web sites.

Prague and Budapest: http://www.inyourpocket.com

Prague: http://www.volny.cz/prague2001/
Prague: http://www.jasoncholt.com/prague/index.html
Prague, 48 hours: http://travel.independent.co.uk/europe/eastern/
50 Best things to see in Prague: http://travel.independent.co.uk/europe/eastern/index.jsp?page=2
Witches' Prague: http://travel.independent.co.uk/europe/eastern/story.jsp?story=346658
Prague events: http://www.praguepost.cz

Links to web sites:
Wide ranging pages of links: http://www.budgettravel.com/prague.htm
"Browse websites" at foot of http://cz.orientation.com/en/home.html

Czech Tourist Board: http://www.czech-tourism.com/
General. http://www.czech-tourinfo.cz
Czech Tourist Authority in USA. http://www.czechcenter.com/travel.htm
General, including links: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~sever/Czech.homepage.html
Information, travel planning, reservations: http://www.muselik.com/
Art, architecture, food, cultural experiences, hiking and other matters:
hotels, other accommodation, buildings and places to see: http://www.budgettravel.com/czech.htm

Links, from a museum of Czech and Slovak matters: http://www.ncsml.org/links.htm
Links: http://goeasteurope.about.com/travel...ope/msubsk.htm
Browse websites" at foot of http://sk.orientation.com/en/home.html
Slovak Tourist Board: http://www.sacr.sk/
Art, architecture, food, cultural experiences, hiking and other matters. http://www.centraleurope.com/country/country.php3
Accomodation, with prices: http://www.ubytujsa.sk, then Eng

Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:45 AM
Ben Haines
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Links: http://goeasteurope.about.com/travel.../msubmenu3.htm
"Browse websites", at foot of http://hu.orientation.com/en/home.html

Tourist board: http://www.hungarytourism.hu/angol2/index.
Art, architecture, food, cultural experiences, hiking and other matters. http://www.centraleurope.com/country/country.php3
Hungary concerts: http://www.bmc.hu/concerts_index_en.htm

Links for Budapest: http://www.fsz.bme.hu/hungary/budapest/bplinks/, then Culture, Tourism, and Transport
Budapest and Szentendre, including links. http://www.inyourpocket.com
Budapest, Time Out: http://travel.independent.co.uk/europe/eastern/story.jsp?story=345041
the official tourism Web site http://www.budapestinfo.hu
the BBJ's guide to Budapest: http://www.talkingcities.co.uk/budap...budap_main.htm
the city's home page at http://www.budapest.hu
Budapest baths: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/eastern/
Events: http://www.budapestsun.com/
Budapest events, in Hungarian. Select "budapest" and then choose from film, k?nny? (easy), szinhaz (theatre), kiallitas (exhibition) and komoly (serious). http://www.est.hu
Park of socialist sculpture: http://www.szoborpark.hu/indexa.html
Of mosques, minarets and Magyars. Hungary's Ottoman heritage.
http://travel.independent.co.uk/euro...dex.jsp?page=2 may
The flight of the crane. http://travel.independent.co.uk/europe/eastern/index.jsp?page=2

After thumbing through, please write if I can help further. Welcome to Europe.

Ben Haines, London
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:56 AM
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Thanks ever so much for all your website information and other.

I think that your suggestion to skip Vienna is probably a good one and we will research your suggestion of Banska Bystrica. Walks in the woods sound wonderful.

Thanks so much again...
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