Munich, Prague, Budapest, and?

Old Sep 5th, 2023, 12:20 PM
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Munich, Prague, Budapest, and?


We are a couple looking to go to Central Europe in early October for 14 days. Our direct flight options are Munich, Fankfurt, and Vienna. We are leaning towards flying in and out of Munich.

We would spend some in Munich, then move on to other places, the priority being Prague and Budapest. We are thinking about just leaving it at that (with day trips or time spent in smaller places in and around those cities), but we are also wondering about adding one or more of the the following:
  • Berlin
  • Nuremberg
  • Dresden
  • Wroclaw
  • Bratislava
  • Ljubljana (is this accessible enough from the other places).

We would probably go by train, but we'd be fine with renting a car as well.

This will be a bit of a different trip - we usually build in at least some beach and terrace time in hotter destinations in Europe. We are prepared to be on the go a lot more just not sure what is really feasible/worthwhile/accessible in the time frame.

Our interests are museums, galleries, historical sites, cafes, wine, beer, moderate hikes. music, theatre, and exploring beautiful old towns.

Thank you.

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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 01:01 PM
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I would suggest, actually, flying multicity/open jaw say into one city and out another. Flying RT means you will have to return to that original city and often have to spend money getting back to that city, plus hotel costs for that final night, not to mention the loss of time. You will likely end up finding that the cost of a multi city is comparable when you figure in the costs to return back to it.

You may find that your direct flights to/from your home city may figure into your plan when you figure in a connecting flight in the multi city itinerary through whatever carrier you chose.

Your itinerary really needs to be dependent on what you want to see and only you can decide.

Spend time researching each potential town, figure in transit times in that plan - trains are generally better than planes because they are city center to city center. And keep in mind traveling from one town to another eats up your sightseeing time. So, 4 nights in a city really nets you 3 days, 3 nights is 2 days, etc. Plot out each potential landmark on a calendar and make note of any closures (Mondays or Tuesdays are often popular closed days).

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Sep 5th, 2023 at 01:05 PM.
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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 01:34 PM
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I agree with Travel_Nerd's suggestion to fly open jaw. It will save you a lot of time. For example, you could fly into Munich and out of Budapest. I have been to Prague, Munich and Ljubljana but not the other cities you mention.

The first thing you should do is check out transportation options to the cities that you mention and find out how long it will take to travel to/from each place. You don't want to spend all day getting from one place to another. I would also spend a minimum of 3-4 nights in each city.

A popular tourist route is Prague, Vienna, and Budapest with a day trip or one-night stay in Bratislava. So a possible itinerary could be: Munich, Prague, Vienna, and end in Budapest. I know you didn't mention Vienna but from my research for a possible trip I think it ticks all your boxes. If Vienna doesn't interest you, then perhaps Ljubljana which is lovely. It really depends on train schedules. However with the number of days you have I think a 3-city itinerary would be more relaxing and satisfying.

How many nights do you actually have? I plan my trips by nights, not days.

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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 01:36 PM
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With only 14 days, I'd just stick to Munich, Prague and Budapest (or three other cities.) If you love old medieval towns, consider a day trip or even an overnight in Cesky Krumlov, one of the most charming little medieval cities I've ever visited.

Also just throwing out there that I actually prefer Brno to Bratislava (it's like a mini Prague, complete with a cool castle) but others may have other opinions.
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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 02:32 PM
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If spending all your time in cities you will hardly do the interest "moderate hikes" justice. My suggestion is to head north from Prague for a couple of days and spend time in the National Park Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland. Stunning sandstone formations, little canyons, flat-top mountains, picturesque villages, castles ...

And you can even do a day trip to Dresden for the famous museums.

Btw, flying open jaw would be my recommendation. Into Munich, out of Budapest (or Vienna.)
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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 04:30 PM
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DH and I did a similar trip in 2016, and we have exactly the same interests as you have stated. Is it 14 days to be there, or 12 days on the ground?

Our trip, which for us was relaxing (some on this forum might disagree!), was 15 days on the ground.

We went LAX via AMS to Budapest. 5 full days in Budapest, then took the night train (which does exist!) to Prague. We'd never been to Budapest, and my Hungarian-born friend joined us, so we got the insider's view as well as the usual tourist stuff.
Arrived Prague 6:30 a.m. and there 3 full days. Never been there before either. Beautiful!
Day 9 we took the train to Berlin and were there 3 1/2 days. We've been to Munich at least 6 times, but had never been to Berlin (highly recommend!).
Day 13 we took the train to Amsterdam (been there 4 or 5 times, but love it there, so had to go back!). There 2 1/2 days, then direct from AMS to LAX
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Old Sep 5th, 2023, 11:57 PM
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We booked open jaw tickets when we visited Prague. It turned out that booking a flight out of Prague and connecting with Swiss Air in Zurich to return to the States was cheaper than booking a flight from Zurich. Both bookings would have been part of an open jaw ticket; the intra-Europe travel was done by train.
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Old Sep 6th, 2023, 04:57 PM
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We did train from Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Dresden to Berlin then to Munich to fly home.
We absolutely loved Dresden. Such a beautiful city with so much to see and do in a fairly compact area.
I'm always trying to encourage people to visit as it's a bit off the beaten path.
The best part of train travel is you alight in the centre of town and walk to hotel to dump your bags and start sightseeing immediately
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Old Sep 7th, 2023, 05:19 AM
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Thank you everyone for the very helpful advice. We have decided to fly open jaw based on your suggestions. We'll likely fly direct in to Munich and then out of Prague. Even with a stopover from Prague, it will save time and cost over a return train trip to Munich. I think we are going to base ourselves in Munich, Budapest, and Prague only and do day trips and exploring around there. I'm a bit disappointed that we're not including Berlin, but that feels like a trip for another time at this point. We do hope to get in to the Alps a bit, which I believe we can do as a day trip from Munich. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 8th, 2023, 11:29 AM
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Honestly I would recommend you don't spend too much time in a drab city like Munich. For your next trip try to see Augsburg, it is a much older city, from Roman times and old architecture is better preserved.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 07:05 AM
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Thanks. We will look at Augsburg. Nothing is set in stone yet. We are still looking at Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dresden as well. We can't decide on where to go in Germany, though we are set on Prague and Budapest. Also our dates might change (to the end of September, or early November). Early to mid October might not work now. I know the earlier we go, the better the weather will be, just not sure what we can work out at this point.
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Old Sep 10th, 2023, 12:44 AM
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Eger is a nice day trip from Budapest (though we overnighted there and enjoyed that too).

If you're going from Munich to Budapest before Prague, Salzburg looks to be a stop on that route.
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Old Sep 10th, 2023, 03:34 AM
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Eger is pretty good, there is a band of spas that go east to west throughout Hungary following a fault line, the spa is a special feature of Hungarian life.
Some of the more unpleasant racism and gender politics of Hungary might put you off
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Old Oct 8th, 2023, 07:45 AM
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Thank you all for your help. This trip didn't happen as planned and we are now looking at just Germany during the last two weeks of November, probably for a slightly shorter time period. I will open a new thread for the new trip. Thank you.
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