Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Prague, Krakow, Tatras, Budapest advice

Prague, Krakow, Tatras, Budapest advice


Jun 6th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 24
Prague, Krakow, Tatras, Budapest advice

My husband and I are planning a trip to Berlin, Prague, High Tatras, and Budapest. Here is our current "rough" itinerary (these times take into account travel time - i.e. these are total time in each location, travel time is extra):

Berlin - 3 1/2 - 4 days
Prague - 4 full days
High Tatras (staying in Strbske Pleso) - 3 - 4 full days depending on which train we take to/ from theTatras
Budapest - 4 full days

Our flight is reserved into Berlin, and out of Budapest, so the order is set. The part that we are uncertain about is whether or not to make a quick detour to Krakow for 2 days in order to see Auschwitz and Krakow's main sights, taking the night train from Prague to Krakow, and then taking a private shuttle from Krakow to the High Tatras at the end of day 2. This will cut into our time in Budapest, leaving us 3 full days instead of 4.

We would like advice about which itinerary you would recommend - the above, or the one which adds the trip to Krakow, and shortens the stay in Budapest from 4 to 3 full days. If we do not go to Krakow, we would visit the Terezin concentration camp instead of Auschwitz, as a day trip from Prague. We plan to do some day hikes in the High Tatras (does anyone have any recommendations for which trail/ routes to take, and/ or whether you recommend hiring a guide?), and perhaps rent a car for one day to visit some of the area sights (i.e. Spissky Hrad) en route to Budapest (we plan to pick up a van shuttle or train in Kosice). As the trip to Krakow would mean taking the overnight train from Prague, we are also wondering how comfortable the private 2-berth sleeping compartments are on this train, and whether we can expect to get much sleep (I believe the train departs Prague at around 9:15 PM, arriving Krakow at 7 AM). If we don't go to Krakow, we have also considered taking the overnight train from Prague - Strbske Pleso (leaving Prague around midnight, arriving around 9 AM). Are these two overnight trains/ trips similar?

Thank you for any advice, recommendations, or comments that you might have!
karen67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 6th, 2011, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,336
Consider saving Krakow for a separate Poland trip another time. Two days in Krakow is not much, the city is worth the same amount of time you are otherwise giving to Prague or Budapest (although it's my least favorite of the three).
Budapest is easily worth four days.

Terezin and Auschwitz are not interchangeable, if you do go to Auschwitz that does not mean you should not also go to Terezin -- they are different and served different malevolent purposes. Considering how it has been preserved, Terezin is a bit more interactive than Auschwitz, which adds to the impact.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 6th, 2011, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 262
We visited Prague, Duszniki Droj, Auschwitz-Berkinow, Krakow, Zakopane (Southern Poland resort town), Budapest and Vienna in July 2010. Enjoyed Krakow very much but 2 days there was enough for us to see the main sights including Auschwitz-Birkinow, Wawel hill, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Kazimierz (Jewish section) and the main cathedrals. All very worthwhile and we were so glad we went as we will probably never get back to Poland.

We loved our Poland visit! If you can get there in the future then pass it up but if not, take the opportunity now, you will not regret it!

Budapest was our favorite of all the cities we visited but we were able to do all the highlights in 2 days including the Danube dinner cruise, Parliment tour, St Stephens cathedral, chain bridge and much more.

I would suggest that if you are on a highlight tour don't miss the Krakow area. If on the other hand, you want to linger to get better acquainted with Budapest it is well worth your while. It comes down to your goals for the trip.

Happy travels!
Toucan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2011, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 26
We just finished a similar trip except we did not go to Prague and did it in reverse.We took the train from Budapest to Propad Slovakia and had a private transfer with Discouver Zakopane to Zakopane and then took the bus to Krakow and flew Air Berlin to Berlin.We had 3 days in Budapest we have been several times but our friends had not, 2 nights in Zakopane,3 days in Krakow and 5 days in Berlin.We were glad to have 5 days in Berlin and 3 days were enough for Krakow.We did not need a guide for hiking in Zakopane.Hope this helps
Katyt is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2011, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,190
I would not take the night train as there are 14 stops between Prague and Krakow and each time the train stops you will probably wake up.

If you do decide to do the night train be careful which one you book. There are 2 leaving at 21:17 but one of them requires a change in Katowice at 4:45 and does not continue for 2 hours.

I loved Krakow so much last year I'm going back again this year for 5 more days. There's lots to see there and it's such a pretty city.

You should leave Krakow for a time when you can do justice to it and not cram it in between other stops.
adrienne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2011, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,464
Your original itinerary sounds good to me. Skip Krakow for the reasons the others mentioned.

I'd deduct one day from Prague and add it to Berlin. You'll be jet-lagged and thus probably won't accomplish that much in regards to sightseeing at first.

If you want to go hiking in the High Tatras then Strbske Pleso is a good choice. How long would you want the hikes to be? Moderate? Challenging?

I recommend to take the chair-lift up to Solisko, then hike via Wahlenbergove plesi (lakes) and sedlo (pass) and the waterfall skok back to Strbske Pleso. 500 m up, 1000 m down. Takes the whole day.

Another option, easy, is to hike to Popradske pleso (lake). Just a half day. On the way back take the gravel road to the train stop, you'll pass the mountain cemetery.

Highly recommended also: From Smokovec to the Teryheo chata or Zbojnicka chata (mountain huts in beautiful, rugged valleys). Rather long hikes.

Or go to Tatranska Lomnica, gondola up to Encian (maybe all the way up to the top of Lomnicky stit (peak) and back to Encian), hike from there in either direction along the "Magistrala". Westward it's to Smokovec, eastward it's to Brncalova chata (hut) and back to Tatranska Lomnica. The latter more challenging/longer, but with a relatively early start well doable.

Ingo is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:46 AM.