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Planes, trains, and automobiles--Help in Central Europe!

Planes, trains, and automobiles--Help in Central Europe!

Old Jan 30th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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bbj
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Planes, trains, and automobiles--Help in Central Europe!

Flying into Frankfurt the end of May (the only city we could get into using freq. flyer points) and trying to travel to Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. Tried to fly from Frankfurt to Budapest or Prague, but fare was >$800. per person. Does anyone know of a less expensive way to fly, or is this typical? My second preference would be to drive, but it doesn't seem many travelers suggest this. (I also read that border crossings can be difficult, especially in Slovakia). Any advice about driving would be very much appreciated.

If we chose a train what are the pros and cons? (We have primarily rented cars in Europe and are not experienced train travelers). In addition, are trains the better choice on every leg instead of the hydrofoil (ex. between Budapest and Vienna?)

Also, with just 12 days I don't think I can add one more city. Would you chose Krakow and eliminate Vienna or Budapest?

I would greatly appreciate any advice!
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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Check out Europebyair.com. We've visited all the cities you mention and used rental cars in all. That said, you really don't want a car in any of these places because you will never use it in the city. Driving isn't an issue in central Europe although you have to make sure that you have a rental agreement that will allow you to take the car over the border. Things have loosened up considerably in the last 5 years or so, but there are still restrictions. Perhaps you should narrow down your number of major cities and instead do some of the smaller towns in the area. These are also absolutely delightful. Vienna and Budapest make a logical pair because they are only 4 hours apart by train. the Danube bend between them is fascinating and you could easily spend several days there. It is nearly an 8 hour drive from the heart of Vienna to the heart of Krakow (we've done it). Flying into Frankfurt you are looking at an 8 hour train ride to Prague. With only 12 days and the need to get back to Frankfurt, I think you should limit yourself to no more than 2 of these cities because each of them deserves at least 4 days. You will be losing a lot of travel time.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Thank you JulieS for the information. Any of the smaller towns that you would say are a "don't miss?"
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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Assuming you go with a rental car, I am going to suggest a total replanning of your trip here so take it or leave it. Get out your map and see what I am talking about. These are what I see as possible good itineraries out of Frankfurt with a rental car. I assume you are flying in from the US and will be jet-lagged. You could pick up the car and head to Wurzburg or Bamberg. Bamberg is definitely my favorite and deserves a couple days. Then drive on to Karlovy Vary (the old Czarist spa of Carlsbad in the Czech Republic) for a couple days. Then you've only got a couple hour drive to Prague. Get a hotel in Prague with parking and just leave your car in the lot for the entire time you are in the city (4-5 nights). The most frequently visited town outside of Prague is Cesky Krumlov which is south and west and is worth a couple nights. Other place of interest in the CR might be Trebon, Tabor, Telc or Cesky Budjovice. There are then a couple different ways to get back to Frankfurt. You'd have to see what works for you.

Another totally different option is to leave Frankfurt with your car and head to Regensburg where you could easily spend several days. From there head to Passau (another day or so of things to do) on the Danube and then follow the river to Vienna being sure to include time to stop at Krems, Melk and Klosternuberg (perhaps 2 days to do all this) on the way to Vienna. Spend 4 nights in Vienna and then take a day to 2 to drive to Budapest being sure to stop in Estergom and Sopron and perhaps a few other places. Budapest is another 4 night place. If you want to see other interesting places in Hungary you could visit Eger and Tokay which are NE of Budapest. Obviously this Vienna Budapest itinerary has way too many things to do in just 12 days, so you should do some research on what you are interested in and plan based on that.

Another possibility is to visit Prague and then drive through southern Poland to Krakow (3 to 4 nights here again). The problem is the long driving time both coming and going from Frankfurt. I know, we did it and it is a lot longer than you'd think. Plus, frankly the roads are slow and there aren't all that many interesting places. You've got tons of intersting places in this area and could easily make 2 to 3 trips to see all the things I've mentioned.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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I forgot to mention be sure to specify that you need a rental car that can go into these other countries from Germany. Not all rental companies will allow their cars over these borders. Try Sixt, AutoEurope or Nova (out of northern Ireland) for rental agencies we've had good luck with.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 10:48 PM
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Hi bbj, I am from Czech Republik. You can picked up the car in Prague and ended up in Vienna. Then you can visite a lot of Czech towns: Cesky Krumlov, Jindrichuv Hradec, Telc, Slavonice and Mikulov. Mikulov is main city of Moravien vinery and wine. It is on the border with Austria (50 miles from Viena). There is Unique Viticultural Exhibition in the Chateau Mikulov. The display also includes a remarkable vat from 1643 in the Chateau cellar. When I tell you that a craftsman and his three assistants worked on it for 38 weeks to finish it, you will not be surprised by its.noteworthy capacity - 101,400 litres.

Near from Mikulov is Lednice-Valtice Area, the large-scale landscape park protected by UNESCO.

Very seductive is chance to explore viticulture and wine in small wine-cellars of mikulover wine-growers, taste local wines, listen and see cymbalo. The cellar of Mrs. Solarikk is very unusual. It is located in a cave.

More information you can finde on web-site www.mikulov.cz
If you want more information about Czech Republik, there is my e-mail: [email protected] Info about Mikulov: www.mikulov.cz
Yours sincerely
MichalS

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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Sorry Michal but I don't agree with you. When visiting the CR we drove all the way out to the Lednice?Valtice Mikulov area and that was the part of our trip we would not repeat. It was just too far out of the loop.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 09:32 PM
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Julies, what caused?
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:36 AM
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Check out www.whichbudget.com. There is a new(ish) budget airline out of Budapest called Wizzair. It flies into Frankfurt. Also BerlinAir is be an option.

I have driven from Budapest to Frankfurt and it was a piece of cake. It was about 9 hours but the roads are excellent. You go via Vienna. Prague is an easy drive from Bp so renting a car may be your best bet. Car rental companies may be leery about Hungary and Czech Rep....just double check before booking. It's not quite as big a deal as it used to be.
Cheers,
Jan
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