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Solo First Time - What to choose between Bruges/Prague/Vienna/Budapest?

Solo First Time - What to choose between Bruges/Prague/Vienna/Budapest?

Jun 14th, 2013, 10:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 38
Solo First Time - What to choose between Bruges/Prague/Vienna/Budapest?


I plan to visit a few of the following in a 15-19 days tour starting from London.


Must visits for me :
Amsterdam 2N,Berlin 3N,Krakow 2N,Munich 3N

That still leaves with me few more days to explore some more..

Background :
This trip follows a 23 day trip through Swiss-Italy-Paris-London with my wife. Post that I will be doing this solo. I will definitely come back with Kids and Wife again to Europe but these 2-3 weeks will be for me..and would like to cover places which they might not be interested to come in their first couple of visits...

Preferences :
Have no major preferences, but I like to chill out and my idea of relaxing is drinking some nice beer with some nice snacks on the banks of a canal/river , visit some places at my own pace....not too much into art but still would like to visit the must visit places...I would stay in hostels, preferably in single bedded rooms based on availability, and I am not much of a Party person either...if I have good company will go..else I am okay reading a book and having a good nights sleep...

1) Which out of Bruges/Vienna/Prague/Budapest should i skip? If you had to choose 2 which ones would you choose?

2) Bruges is very accessible from London and can do that before moving onto Amsterdam and can be done in 2 days...so do that..or move directly to Amsterdam and do Vienna/Budapest instead.

3) Krakow seems to be far from everywhere...so maybe I can take a short flight from Berlin and then a Night Train from Krakow to say Vienna/Prague. Any suggestions? How do I book train tickets from/to Krakow? Can I buy when I reach there?

4) What does Budapest have to offer more than its Thermal Baths? Are they even in operation in October?

5) Any suggestions on good, clean hostels in these places?

6) Shall I book all train tickets for the above destinations online in advance or I can go and book once I reach there?

Any thing else ?
Thanks a ton in advance!
Neerav is offline  
Jun 14th, 2013, 11:18 PM
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Also any suggestions on the best cafes in these cities where one can sit on for a few hours peacefully?
Neerav is offline  
Jun 14th, 2013, 11:53 PM
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Neerav: Which out of Bruges/Vienna/Prague/Budapest should i skip? If you had to choose 2 which ones would you choose?

Me personally? I would do Prague and Budapest, though I loved Bruges, too. But, Prague and Budapest together make more logical sense than Prague and Bruges.

All of the places you mention are well covered in numerous guidebooks. Before I planned my trips and decided to go to all of these places, I read about them and what they have to offer. I suggest you do the same thing, then come back with specific questions about them.
Andrew is online now  
Jun 15th, 2013, 03:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 299
Okay, I'll play:

1. That's really a personal choice. Do your homework and figure out what you want to see. Personally, I agree with Andrew and would go to Prague and Budapest, but I think most folks would chose Brugge and Viena.

2. Brugge is beautiful but a little like Disneyland. It is a day trip for a lot of tourists. You could spend a day there and move on.

3. I hate to suggest RailEurope, but you can look at the availability and prices. I took the train from Berlin to Warsaw last year, but if I were continuing to Krakow I would definitely fly. I'm sure you could buy a ticket in Krakow, but I would feel better if I had the ticket in hand before I left.

4. Again, do some homework. Budapest is a beautiful city with a lot to see and plenty to do. I bought tickets to the Opera for 5 bucks a seat. Good museums, great market, and the sights on the Danube bend. I went to the Széchenyi spa in December so yes, the thermal baths are open.

5. Can't help with hostels, but you can get decent 2 and 3 star hotels in Krakow and Budapest for $40 - $50 a night. Even Berlin has very reasonable hotel accommodations. Don't want to sound preachy, but again, do your homework.

6. I don't know what time of year you are traveling, but personally I feel a lot better when I have tickets in hand. I'm going to Europe in October and when the tickets become available in July I'm going to buy them.

Not sure what country you are from, but use the internet and buy some guidebooks. I'm pretty cheap, so I check them out at the Library or download them from the Library on my IPad. I also buy used ones on EBay for less than $5 a book. I won't say I have as much fun researching as traveling, but it's close.

Have fun and enjoy the trip, you will have a blast. No way in hell my wife would take the kids back home while I went to Amsterdam.
agedude is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 03:18 AM
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I'd chose Prague, Budapest and Vienna, all relatively close

Yes the spas run all year around, the water comes from a fault line so very old water and very hot. All three cities are on a river, sitting outside in October just needs a sunny day.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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Thanks a lot Andrew,Agedude and bilboburgler..for your advice..really appreciate.

Point noted, that I need to look up on the cities myself and decide what really suits my interest...

with a lot of research and reading up..I have decided that Amsterdam, Munich , Krakow and Berlin are a must for me...

But even after reading wiki, forums, TA I was getting unsure of which others to go to....

But certainly at this moment...I am not too keen on Vienna...

I am an Indian, currently staying in Singapore...
I am travelling in October too! The reason I asked about ticket booking is we need to get Schengen Visa and most of these tickets seem non-refundable and ones that are refundable are pretty expensive...I checked out polrail and czech-transport for tickets from Krakow to Prague and both are showing vaguely different prices...

Even I am leaning towards taking flight from Berlin to Krakow, especially since there is no overnight train and the day train (berlin-warsawa express) takes the whole day 9 am to 6 pm to reach Krakow with one stop...not so appealing...

This trip is very important to me...having worked straight after college its been 10 yrs, married for 6 yrs now...have an almost 2 yr old son...havent done a trip for more than 10 days and that 10 days was my honeymoon...am taking a break from work and we are doing the first half without my son who will be with grandparents..and the last bit I will be doing solo...

and as far as Amsterdam is concerned she is okay ...so far atleast

thanks again for the advice..probably we will meet in October
Neerav is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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I visited Prague, Vienna, and Budapest on a single trip, as many people do. I did not care for Vienna as much as Budapest or (especially) Prague, which I loved, but I'm still glad I saw Vienna. It's a world capitol, and it was on my route and easy to visit. I would have been disappointed to miss it.
Andrew is online now  
Jun 15th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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I would go Berlin to Prague (easy), Prague to krakow, krakow to Budapest.

I don't much care for Vienna (to me, largely a must for big time classical music fans and museum goers), honestly, I am not much of a Prague fan... I go to both several times a year... And I keep waiting to be captivated. This hasn't happened yet (tho, in the case of Prague it is getting better).

But I love both krakow and Budapest.

I agree Prague is a lovely city- but just overrun with tourists.... And restaurants, etc which are sadly a good bit more dishonest than I have seen in other tourist cities.

I would absolutely let my husband go to Amsterdam alone... I love Amsterdam.
centraleurope is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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I'm puzzled as to what you really want to do on your own...not necessarily visiting historical sights, scenic ones, hiking, etc. Sound like a cozy cafe and a mug and a book might suit you fine no matter where! Been to all places listed in years past and it is hard to make a choice. And it was with companion (married one). You added Berlin which I'm not sure is worth the travel. It does have excellent museums but only remnants of any wall. Don't know about dining and social aspects.
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 05:40 PM
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My comment about Amsterdam was tongue-in-cheek, but just barely. During my misspent youth, I had a weakness for Heinekin, Hashish, Hookahs, and Hookers. As a young man, I stayed on a boat Hostel on a canal, good, clean and fairly cheap. My wife and I went to Amsterdam in 2011,out third trip, and had a great time. We found the City Card to be worthwhile in hitting the museums, riding the trams and taking a canal cruise. The Rijksmuseum will be open for your visit and should be spectacular. I also caught a concert at the Concergebouw that wasn't very expensive.

When people ask me what my favorite city in Europe is I tell them Krakow. I really like Poland. I also took a flight from Warsaw to Tallinn on LOT the Polish National Airline and it was very reasonable. The Polish people are very friendly and prices are very reasonable compared to most of Europe.

In Budapest, I really enjoyed the Synagogue, the memorial park with all the old Soviet Statues on the outskirts of town, and the display of "old" Hungarian buildings near the Zoo and the Széchenyi spa.

I feel for you on the train tickets. It seems very hard to book tickets on the internet for the former Eastern Bloc. The Polish site only seems to do tickets within Poland. RailEurope can help you purchase what you need, but you do pay a little extra for the convenience.

Have fun and post a trip report when you complete your travel.
agedude is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 07:51 PM
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For these trips, absolutely no reason to book train tickets in advance. We always just arrive a bit early and go to the international ticket window. Never a problem. If you want to feel safe, buy your departure ticket when you arrive into the city.
centraleurope is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 08:49 PM
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Thanks Andrew and CentralEurope...after reading your advice and other stuff about Vienna on other forums,wiki etc...I have almost striked out Vienna from my itinerary...

Ozarksbill, I had not thought about Berlin at first...only one German city...Munich and maybe Rhine....but when I read more...I realized Berlin and Munich both have different things to offer...and hence choose both...

Agedude, interesting ideas about Amsterdam...will keep them in mind...and you have made my decision easier for Budapest...

Krakow is a must for me too....it looks stunning in pictures...but I am going there for one reason only..Auschwitz...

Centraleurope...the reason I plan on doing Berlin-Krakow-Prague-Budapest is I want to spend 2 nights in Krakow atleast..if I do 2 night trains then I can only spend one night in Krakow...will think of booking these tickets through my cousin who can help me from London..

Its going to be a fantastic travel journey...Europe is a major part of it...but I have planned for whole 2 months.

the below is 80% certain

Singapore-Mumbai (family) - (start with wife)Rome-Venice-Florence-Lucerne-Wengen-Montreux-Paris-London -(go solo) Bruges - Berlin - Krakow - Prague - Budapest - Munich - Mumbai (solo ends) - (with couple of friends) Leh - Ladakh - Goa - Mumbai - Singapore

This is going to be EPIC for me...I am sure I will be a changed man for the better at the end of this...and will certainly put down a trip report...when I am done..

Thanks all for all the help so far!
Neerav is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 09:05 PM
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Btw, I live in Budapest if you need any help with ideas there... Do try a ruin pub (and the most famous is the best... Szimpla)

Do not trip up on the Hungarian sz... It is always a simple s sound (so pronounced simpla)
centraleurope is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 09:21 PM
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If you are interested in Jewish history... Prague is fantastic. Buy the ticket which will enable you to see Pinkas, the cemetery, etc.

I would suggest Amsterdam over Bruges (fabulous city, you can avoid the vice) and experience the Anne Frank house....

And, of course, Budapest has some very touching memorials. Do not miss the holocaust museum in Budapest -or the ruin pub just around the corner (out the door of the museum, go left, first right, immediately on the right)... Not touristy, 17 Hungarian microbrews on tap.
centraleurope is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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Oops in my last post forgot to add Amsterdam between Bruges and Berlin ... Am getting heady already with the planning of course !!

Thanks CentralEurope for the tips on Budapest !
Neerav is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Just a word re Budapest. Recently spent a week there;it is a beautiful city and well worth as much time as you can spare. Be sure to visit the House of Terror Museum, located in the former headquarters of the WW2 Hungarian Fascists and subsequently the Communist secret police. Be prepared for a most unusual and powerful experience. Buy a Budapest card (available for 24, 48 or 72 hours) and you can ride all public transit(trams, subway, buses) with it. You'll also have free admission to some of the museums and attractions and discounts to others. Well worth it. Don't be tempted to cheat and ride for free, transit police check the subway regularly. Prices are very reasonable, esp.for food, beer and wine. Enjoy!
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