Prague or Budapest for 3 days?

Old Oct 18th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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Prague or Budapest for 3 days?

As part of a 4 week trip to Austria and Germany next June/July, we would like to throw in a sidetrip to either Prague or Budapest. (Family of 4 - girls aged 13 and 15). In Austria/Germany we plan to do 3 days in Vienna, 3 days around the Wachau Valley (stay Krems),a week outside Salzberg in the countryside(near St Gilgen), 5 days around Garmish (with side trip into Munich), and flying home from Munich. The girls love all history, with a special interest in the World Wars, and also fond of art. Not big on shopping, but keen to experience it all. We are able to fly into either Prague or Budapest at the start of the trip and would then move to Vienna. If Budapest, considering the hydrofoil to Vienna.
What are your thoughts? Prague or Budapest?
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Old Oct 18th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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Prague is an much more beautiful city, filled with Baroque architecture. In some ways, it's like a town out of the Brothers Grimm (moody and atmospheric). Budapest also has its charms, but they are a bit less obvious. What's nice about Budapest is that it still has some of the whiff of the Eastern Bloc about it. Makes it interesting. I like both cities, but Prague wins for beauty.
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Old Oct 18th, 2006, 04:22 PM
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I vote Prague.

I had a great personal guide (inexpensive) named Nina Jelinkova while there. I think she calls it Friendly Walks, and she may have a website now.
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Thanks!! I'll see if I can trace Nina down.
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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I just got back from Budapest and it was wonderful. For someone interested in the history of the world wars, you cannot go wrong with Budapest. The stories of the people and their sufferings during that time are palpable. There is a Museum of Terror that showcases the horrors of the Nazi and Communist occupations. Unfortunately I did not have time to go there but others spoke very highly of it.
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 01:01 PM
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Prague Prague Prague!! We've been to Prague twice and Budapest once. Budapest is a great city but if you have to choose one it should be Prague. Fabulous architecture, wonderful history, lots of great "nooks and crannies", very walkable. The only problem in June or July might be crowds. We were lucky to be there once in early May and then again last October. But I think you and your family would love it.
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Both great cities and Budapest has an excellent art gallery if you get there. You can look inside the parliament and visit the big chateau on the hill across the river.


As to Prague, the figures on the historic bridge there are all 'new' as the originals were getting worn out and have now been taken away. I was warned by our tour guide about pickpockets in Prague, notably around the big clock near Wenceslas Square.


Were I you I would visit both. I found I saw everything in a day in Vienna though some might like two. I think you are 'wasting' too much time outside Salzburg (a few hours was ample for the town). Personally, I wouldn't even go there as there are many other interesting places to see.
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Both are nice, but Prague is my favorite. A great walking town with trolley transport.
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 11:35 AM
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Wha wha wha Cimbrone? What makes Budapest "nice" is it has the "whiff of Eastern Bloc," that charming smell of torture, suffering and oppression? I don't get that. Good thing the Nazis left Prague in fairytale condition, all "moody and atmospheric."
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 12:28 PM
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So glad I checked in today! I had the same question! I'd like to go to Krakow, too. If I'm limited to one city, can anyone compare those two? Thanks!
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 05:07 PM
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Hi, PRLCH,

I spent 3 days in both Prague and Budapest last November. I liked Prague much better (much more charming a town to walk/wander than Budapest, largely because it was spared the damage from WW2). I'd recommending avoiding being there on a weekend, if possible. The Charles Bridge was crowded in November -- I cannot begin to imagine how crowded it is during the height of summer travel.

John H
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Old Oct 22nd, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Wow!!! Clearly everyone LOVES Prague, although Budapest also sounds very interesting. Given we haven't been to either I guess each will be a wonderful experience no matter which we choose. I must confess that the crowds in Prague everyone talks about are a decided negative for me. I know travelling at this time of the year it is just something to cope with, but with school aged children and work commitments we are somehwat tied to this time of the year. From the feedback the crowds sound worse than say London or Paris at this time of the year. Would this be a fair comment?
Cimbrone, while not everyone may agree, I understand your statement about a "whiff of the Eastern Bloc" in Budapest. To me this is just another area of history to introduce my children to - something we have not discussed much before and such a foreign concept to children growing up in Australia today.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:00 AM
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PRLCH--I would not worry too much about the crowds. If you have all of your bookings, it should not put too much of a damper on the trip. I seriously doubt the crowds would be any worse than London or Paris. And nothing could be worse than Venice in the summertime, and I managed to enjoy that.

And yes, glad you understood my point about the Eastern bloc. Sort of like how I was in Berlin just after the wall came down and enjoyed seeing the difference between East and West. It can be done without condoning torture, as you seem to appreciate
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Old Oct 24th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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We were in Prague and Budapest (and Brugge and Amsterdam) in June of this year.

They are both worth the visit and interesting.

Prague has a more compact and defined historic area and the Jewish district is much nicer (other than the renovated synagogue in Budapest) and is right on the edge of the historic old town.

Of course, the Charles Bridge at dawn is something else.

What's the status of the Bridge restoration?

You can see quite a few photos of both places on my web site:

www.travelwalks.com
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 09:03 PM
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Ok
Last October we went to Prague and stayed 4 nights. It took 2 days to fully savour the old town and palace hill. Charles Bridge was so packed we had to "Excuse me" to get past people over the bridge. The Old town area is holding its own but immediate outskirts are a study in grafitti. I'd say, once in a lifetime see Prague.
Last month we were in Budapest. We spent 3 full days, which were enough for the center of town. Much less intense than Prague, no huge castle hill as all was destroyed in WWII, now partially rebuilt with a fantastic cathedral and indteresting old town. Great art museums. We loved the Meridien Hotel, centrally located.
Someone mentioned Krakow. Now THAT city and environs are interesting. The old town, central square and market subteranean restaurants (Da Pietro, Italian) from the middle ages are fantastic and nearby tours of the Salt Mines (fun and awsome) and Auchwitz-Birkenau are a MUST for the education of all ages....especially the young.
Da Vinci's "Woman With an Ermine" is in the middle of town (Czartoryski Museum) and no mass crowds like the Louvre with the Mona Lisa.
We loved the Radisson hotel in the middle of town, walkable to most sites including the castle hill.
It's a big world out there, lots to see! Congratulations on educating your children well.
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