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Prague or Berlin? Extra nights in Budapest?

Prague or Berlin? Extra nights in Budapest?

Aug 7th, 2013, 05:05 PM
  #1  
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Prague or Berlin? Extra nights in Budapest?

My husband and I are taking a 7 night Danube cruise in November. It begins in Passau and ends in Budapest. We would like to arrive about 2-3 days ahead in either Prague or Berlin. Both are intriguing but I know we can't do both in 3 days - any suggestions? We like to wander streets, eat and drink local goodies, husband is not big on museums (I am but I'll give in on this trip.)
At the end, our last night on the ship is in Budapest and then we will have to get a hotel for the night before flying out so we have about 2 days there. Should we extend another day? It may mean cutting the pre-cruise days down to 1-2.

Thoughts?


Daffy
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Aug 7th, 2013, 05:06 PM
  #2  
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PS - we are in our mid-50's
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Aug 7th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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daffy_traveller; I am in my mid 50’s, my wife is of an undisclosed age. We wandered into Budapest about a dozen years ago, almost by accident and fell in love with the place. I’m pretty biased so if asked if you should spend more time my answer is going to be yes. We have been to a lot of the region (Austria, Czech Rep, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, etc.) and still find Budapest as being best suited to our interests, age and life style. We still travel often and we always ensure that the last stop is Budapest. To be honest, there are two reasons; first Budapest is a wonderful place to wander streets, sit in cafes, people watch and hear outstanding music. I keep looking for a way to explain the difference and always come up short. Today’s attempt will be to say that Prague you see, Budapest you wear like a comfortable old coat. But that doesn’t really work either. Oh, the second reason we always end in Budapest is that after about 6 years of returning, and returning and returning; we purchased an apartment. Actually now two apartments.

Now, I don’t make a big issue of which hotel someone should stay in while in Budapest. There are a lot of good hotels, hostels, apartments in just about every price range with all sorts of amenities. But I am pretty stubborn about which area of town I think a first time visitor should look for accommodations in. The part of Budapest we felt most comfortable in as visitors and tourists; and the part of Budapest most convenient to the best of the city’s arts, culture and food is roughly defined by: Get a map or go to Google Earth or Google Maps and find Andrassy ut and then on Andrassy ut find and intersection / metro stop called the Oktogon. Now from the Oktogon draw a line down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond until you reach the Danube. Now find a place that suits you that is within a block above that line or 3 blocks below that line. Among hotels the K&K Opera I think provides the best all-around value in an excellent location. Perfectly clean and neat, but not exotic. But again outstanding location. The company that manages my apartment has a number of apartments in the same area at all price ranges http://www.budapestholidayservice.com/ . If you want to go upscale I love the location of the Le Meridian and it is one of the nicest (but expensive) hotels in Budapest. If when you find something that interests you, you write I might be able to tell you something about it or the neighborhood it is in and the distance to the sights.
Bobandco is offline  
Aug 7th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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If you have the choice between Prague and Berlin for three days prior to the trip, I would pick Prague. It's a great place to wander for a few days - one of my favorite cities. The architecture is interesting and there are plenty of things to see.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 06:24 PM
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For Berlin, consider Peter Fritzsche and Karen Hewitt's Berlinwalks, 1994; it's an excellent guidebooks that includes social history when taking the reader through neighborhoods.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/4310304995/
Michael is online now  
Aug 7th, 2013, 06:34 PM
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Both cities are wonderful so you really can't go wrong either way. However, the museums are one if the highlights of Berlin. So if you don't want to do any museums, I'd give the edge to Prague.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 08:29 PM
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Hi daffy... Anyway you can do this and not cut down the pre trip? I am not a Prague fan, but many are and it is worth a few days.

I also agree with Bob on Budapest. It is a fabulous city and, depending how late you arrive in November, the Christmas markets will be in full swing (every bit as nice as the markets in Germany and Austria - the whole region does Christmas markets quite well). I was asked to move here 6 months ago by my employer, which has been a real blessing.

If you enjoy classical music, look around to see what may be in town. It is a wonderful city for music and ballet.

I too am a member of the mid 50s club (how did that happen?!).
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Aug 7th, 2013, 09:32 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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I'm not sure I understand, but I think there are 2 questions here: (1) whether to add 2-3 days in either Prague or Berlin at the start of your trip and (2) whether to add a day to your ~ 2 days in Budapest at the end of your trip, even if it means cutting down your time wherever at the start.

If that's correct, then first and foremost, you'll see some wonderful things no matter what you choose.

And again, if that's correct, I think your first decision should be about Budapest. IMO, it's well worth considering adding at least a day to your time in Budapest. I'd encourage you to think through your priorities for that city, since you're going to be there and might as well make sure you see everything you want to see there, at the pace you prefer, before trying to fit anything else into your plans.

If you only have 1 or 2 or at most 3 days for either Prague or Berlin, and are committed to skipping museums on this trip, then Prague might make most sense -- but it really depends on your priorities. Given what you've said, I think Prague would win because (a) its core is more compact, and so can be seen more easily in just a day or two, (b) there are some truly awesome museums in Berlin, so it might make sense to wait until you have the time and willingness to visit them, and (c) much as I loved Prague when I saw it nearly 20 years ago, it seems that many people say that it is now so touristed that they can only tolerate a short visit.

Just some things to consider....
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Aug 8th, 2013, 12:52 AM
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We spent 3 days in Berlin and 4 days in Prague before a Danube Cruise leaving Passau and we enjoyed both cities very much, but if I had to pick just one it would be Prague. We just loved everything about Prague and look forward to going back someday. We also spent 2 days in Budapest at the end of the cruise and also enjoyed it there, but still loved Prague the most.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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I would choose Prague, especially since you don't want to visit a lot of museums; The fabulous art museums were my favorite thing about Berlin. While I liked Berlin, I loved Prague. The Prague architecture is so interesting (not destroyed in WWII), and, in my opinion, it is a more walkable city. Be sure to go to Prague Castle (including St. Vitus Cathedral -- beautiful stained glass) and to the top of the Clock Tower in Old Town Square for a great view of the square and the Tyn Church. It's a great town to just wander around in, on both sides of the Vltava.

I liked Budapest too, but would devote more time to Prague. In Budapest, walk around the charming Castle District. The views over the Danube towards Pest from the Fishermen's Bastion are great. The views from the top of the tower of St. Istvan's (Stephen's) in Pest are great too; you can take an elevator most of the way up if you don't want to climb the stairs all the way.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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The whole Prague, Vienna and Budapest how much where has always been sort of contentious. Not this post, thankfully. I keep trying to define what sort of person will like which the most and I am pretty certain as a way over the top gross generalization that the younger prefer Prague and Berlin for good reason while the older prefer Vienna and Budapest for equally good reasons. But to complicate things I have noticed that if you really, really loved Vienna you don't much care for Budapest and vice versa.

So where should I spend my time is sort of an impossible question to answer. I love Budapest and I now own some property there that I rent to tourists so I have some first hand comments from the tourists. Mostly European and the vast majority of them have had a really wonderful time in the city. But again this really means nothing, its what works for you that counts. Spend at least 3, preferably 4 days in as many places as you can then someday return if one of them touched you.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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Definitely spend extra time in Budapest! and if choosing between Berlin and Prague, I say Prague.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 07:24 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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Interesting analysis, Bobandco! If true, I am an exception, as I thoroughly enjoyed each of these cities, albeit for different reasons. I've often wondered whether people do enough research on their planned destinations to have reasonable expectations.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 07:54 PM
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kja "as a way over the top gross generalization" sort of means just that. But they have all these open ended questions... You are correct people have to do more homework. OR! They could just agree with me that nothing is as pleasurable as Budapest.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:04 PM
  #15  
kja
 
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LOL, Bobandco!
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:42 PM
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kja, Its great you have a since of humor. When I quit making since its because I am trying to be open minded. just can't do it, I'm way to biased. I've been to all of them and did enjoy all of them but only Budapest affected me enough to bring me back over a dozen times.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:43 PM
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kja, Its great you have a since of humor. When I quit making since its because I am trying to be open minded. just can't do it, I'm way to biased. I've been to all of them and did enjoy all of them but only Budapest affected me enough to bring me back over a dozen times.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:52 PM
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I say what bobandco says.... I am permanently delegating my vote.
centraleurope is offline  
Aug 9th, 2013, 12:28 AM
  #19  
kja
 
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Bobandco – I meant no offense! I was just trying to offer a different “over the top gross generalization” that people would do well to do at least a little research to find out whether they actually have an interest in a place before visiting it. (I have read WAY too many reports that convey disappointment about things that could have been anticipated.) IMO, that one’s neighbor loved place X, or one’s cousin hated place Y, or a Fodor’s trip report said Z was wonderful, isn’t all the information one would ideally know before making travel decisions. I’m glad that we seem to agree that people would do well to do some homework before making travel decisions.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 01:53 AM
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Obviously, people ought to research their trips. But even after lots of research, some places I love - and others I do not.

This post is one of the classic examples.. .Vienna vs. Prague vs. Budapest. How many times has this been debated?

I love classical music and museums - two things which I always tie to Vienna. Yet, I just don't like Vienna. I have been several times (15 or more). But for whatever reason, that city does not connect with me. Others here love it. And, of course, I can not predict how you will feel.

Prague is another frustrating city (I get frustrated when I don't like cities others love). I have been there perhaps 5 or 6 times. And it just does nothing for me. Although, on paper, it has all those things I look for (amazing and historic architecture, phenomenal Jewish history, etc). Prague and my relationship is improving, but we still don't have the relationship I long for.

I love Budapest. I did on my first visit. And the longer I live here, the more I love it. But I can see why others do not.

Venice is another city which, on my first visit, I did not love. However, over time, we have developed a wonderful relationship... .and it has become one of my favorite go to cities for a long weekend.

So my general advice, do research - but still see it all. You never know what you may love. It's kind of like relationships. Some city will become the "I just don't know what she sees in him" city. And don't give up after a bum first date.

Also, wander to the lesser know places perhaps with no expectations and little research. We went to Zagreb recently. I loved it. It connected to me in a way I think Prague should, but doesn't.

In any event "daffy", enjoy your trip. Whatever you pick you will have a wonderful time.
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