Prague & Budapest or Vienna?

Old Jul 20th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Prague & Budapest or Vienna?

I am planing a trip to Prague early Novemeber. Should I combine it with Budapest (cheapest choice) or with Vienna? What has been your experienece with Laifer Travel?
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 10:09 PM
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I was in Prague and Vienna in May and I was in Budapest couple of years ago. I would go to Prague as you plan to for sure. Between Budapest and Vienna, my personal choice is Budapest.

I think there is a toss up between Budapest and Vienna. It all depends on what you are looking for.

I used to think of Vienna when I heard the Danub. After visiting Budapet, I think of Budapest when I hear Danub. Of course, the Danub is not the blue Danub but the green Danub as the Hungrain driver that drove me to my hotel put it elequantly

I felt Budapest is very magnificent and has more of a preserved character of the history that it entails. Vienna has beautiful sites but I felt it is more westernized, naturally. It also had the feel of a modern western city which it is.

I have travelled to several countries in Europe and only in Vienna came across people that I found offensive. I met many nice and friendly people but I met one person a day that was offensive and rude in Vienna which would end up spoiling the day for me. Surprisingly, this was in nice cafes, 5th row of Vienna Opera house which tickets were real expensive, restaurants, etc. I was not impressed.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:43 AM
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Vienna has many fans, but I'm only a lukewarm one. I was there in March on a trip to V. and Prague. Even in still-wintery weather, Prague was wonderful and I can't wait to get back there.
Vienna has a lot of art museums, an activitiy I enjoy, but other than that it just didn't grab me. The center of the city had to be largely rebuilt after WWII, perhaps that's why it didn't seem so charming to me.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:48 AM
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Hi tues,

For how long will you be in Prague?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:36 AM
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I am with Elaine on this one. I have just returned from Prague and loved it. I was in Vienna in 1986 and absolutely HATED it. I adored the Kunsthistoriches Museum and some of the Gothic churches, but that was about it. I never had a good meal (maybe bad choices on my part), and many of the buildings had a musty, damp odor (including my hotel). The Viennese people I encountered tended to be rather formal and aloof. Maybe things have changed for the better since 1986?????

However, I LOVED the rest of Austria, especially Salzburg. Salzburg and Vienna were nothing alike.

Just my two pence.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:40 AM
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>Maybe things have changed for the better since 1986?<

Well, it is a good bet that they have changed.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Another vote for Budapest.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:29 AM
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tuessb4, I am going on a Laifer Prague-Vienna package later this year. So far they have bent over backwards to accomodate me and I've enjoyed my interaction with both Paul Laifer and his son. I chose Vienna over Budapest mainly because it looked like there was more in Vienna to interest me (read the mini-guides here on Fodors and do some research). Good luck with your choice!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:27 AM
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We went to Prague, Vienna and Budapest last year. Loved Prague and Budapest, but Vienna just didn't do it for me. We enjoyed our tour of the Schonbrunn Palace and the Belvedere, as well as a concert at the Musicverein, but agree with TG that the food left a lot to be desired (I didn't even enjoy my Sacher torte). We stayed there the least amount of days so perhaps I didn't give it a fair chance, but based on our trip Prague is fabulous and Budapest comes in at a strong second...way above Vienna.

TG would like to hear more about your experiences in Prague. Hope your mother did well on the trip.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:38 AM
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I agree with others Prague and Budapest were more interesting than Vienna. The boat ride at night on the Danube is something not to be missed. The parliament Building in Budapest is very impressive. A visit to the Gillert Spa in Budapest is very interesting as well as to a large market not too far from the spa.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:57 AM
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I went to both Vienna and Budapest last summer. I would go back to Budapest in a heartbeat. I agree with the post that says Budapest has much more character. The people are very hospitable and there are many bridges to walk over the Danube. I hope you pick Budspest-you'll love it!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 08:43 AM
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I will disagree with most of the previous posters. I visited all 3 cities last month, and while Prague was the hands down favorite, I would rank Vienna a close second, and Budapest a distant third. I thought Vienna was beautiful, and the food, though not on a par with Italy or France, was fine.

Though Budapest has some beautiful attractions, and we did a grand cruise on the Danube, there were times when I felt I was traveling in the Communist bloc - heavy-looking buildings, balckened and dreary. Food was ok.

While some of the guidebooks I read warned that the people in Vienna would be cold and standoff-ish, we found them to be some of the friendliest and most helpful people we dealt with. In Budapest, while we didn't encounter outright rudeness, the people were rather matter-of-fact and impersonal, not impolite, but also not very warm.

Just one person's opinion, but I'd definitely return to Vienna, probably not Budapest.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 08:50 AM
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We did Prague-Budapest and enjoyed it immensely. The li'l boss (my fiancee) preferred Budapest to Prague.

The question really is what interests you. Budapest is very nice, has great historical sites from pre-Communist times, a strong sense of history and has made a tremendous revival since the Communists were tossed out. Budapest also has a nice Jewish Quarter, the Dohany Street Synagogue, the outstanding Parliament building, the famous Danube bridges and some lively night areas (Lizst Ter, Deak Ter).

If you go to Budapest, consider a Budapest Communist walking tour that takes you to the block housing of Obuda and the communist statuary display at Szoborpark (the only museum in Budapest open on Mondays).
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 09:40 AM
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I would also vote for Budapest. I am glad I saw Vienna but didn't find it that interesting or attractive, all in all. I didn't think their museums were that great, either, not in comparison to many other great cities. I also found a lot of it dirty and unattractive, and in major areas where you'd think they'd clean up (like the pedestrian walkway in front of St Stephans).

I had no problem with the people there, they were nice enough from my interactions, except some metro clerks etc were sort of inefficient in a strange way -- like some guy in the only open booth selling tickets in one of the UBahn stations just leaving for a break for an hour in the middle of the day. A whole queue of people were lined up when he got back -- I can't imagine running a place like that.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:32 PM
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I am surprised to see so many negative comments about Vienna. I've been there at least 8 times in the last three years (including 10 days in March of this year) and have yet to finish seeing all I want to see. The people I met along the way were almost all helpful and pleasant and I find the city very beautiful, especially in winter. As for food, I had some outstanding meals at Morwald and Meinl am Graben. There is a lot of fine food in Vienna, especially in restaurants that specialize in Styrian cuisine.
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