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Suggestions for 2 week Itinerary in Central/Eastern Europe - Austria, Munich, Prague

Suggestions for 2 week Itinerary in Central/Eastern Europe - Austria, Munich, Prague

Old Nov 1st, 2019, 09:53 AM
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Suggestions for 2 week Itinerary in Central/Eastern Europe - Austria, Munich, Prague

Hello,

I am planning on having a 16 day family vacation next May end or early June with my wife and two kids aged, 10 and 13 year old to Central & Eastern Europe. I have a rough itinerary and would love inputs from members. We want this trip to be leisurely along with lot of education activities for kids, doing things like biking, a short hike and looking at beautiful scenery (via car-train-boat) along with historical sightseeing. Basically a mix of everything.

- Fly from India to Munich
Munich - 4 nights
Salzburg - 1 night
Hallstatt - 2 nights
Vienna - 4 nights
Prague - 4 nights
Fly out from Prague (keeping Prague last as I feel this will be more relaxed)

Rough Itinerary:

Day 1 - Fly from India to Munich
Day 2 - Munich
Day 3 - Munich
Day 4 - Munich
Day 5 - Train to Salzburg
Day 6 - Train or car from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Day 7 - Hallstatt
Day 8 - Train from Hallstatt to Vienna
Day 9 - Vienna
Day 10 - Vienna (Day Trip to Budapest)
Day 11 - Vienna (Day trip to Bratislava)
Day 12 - Train from Vienna to Prague
Day 13 - Prague
Day 14 - Prague
Day 15 - Prague
Day 16 - Fly out from Prague to India

Some thoughts!

1) I would ideally like to keep more days at each place as packing/unpacking is tedious.
2) Munich - probably spend 2 days exploring the city and activities and 2 days for day trips like Neuschwanstein castle, Dachau memorial camp, Nuremberg, etc.
3) Hallstatt - Have read rave reviews about it being the most beautiful town in Austria and keen on seeing the Salt mines, Dachstein Ice caves and Bone House in Hallstatt. Is it really worth doing Hallstatt? The journey from Munich to Hallstatt will be quite long (around 4.30 hours), so added a night at Salzburg to break it up. Or should I skip Salzburg, and add a day somewhere else. Kept 2 days here, so can also relax a bit here.
4) Vienna - probably spend 2-3 days exploring the city and activities and 1-2 days for either of day trips like Budapest, Bratislava, Wachau Valley (maybe by car)
5) I was also keen on keeping overnight Budapest in the itinerary, but the travelling part turns out hectic as it could have been added as a next stop after Vienna, but since I am going to Prague after Vienna, it will involve quite a lot of travelling i.e 6 hours if I do Budapest to Prague, or I will have to break it down somewhere. So thinking of skipping Budapest as overnight and perhaps doing it as a day tour from Vienna. Does it sound ok?
6) From Vienna, was planning a day trip to Bratislava. I personally have no specific reason to see that other than having the feel of having visited Slovakia. Is it worth it?
7) Prague - probably spend 2-3 days exploring the city and activities and 1-2 days for day trips like Český Krumlov.
8) I would like to do some bit of driving around? What seems to be the best days in the itinerary where I could probably include it for a couple of days or for some day tours or probably take a car for one day to do some excellent scenic route. I believe that puublic transportation would be a better choice than a car in cities like Munich, Vienna, Prague as their local transport system is pretty solid. Which is good car rental company? Sixt, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, or other?
9) Would like to do a cycling tour. Which city would be best for 2-3 hours cycling tour? Not sure if kids are allowed to join the cycling tours. In that case, we would take turns to ride with our elder one on two separate tours.
10) Any suggestion for a good 3-4 hours hiking?
11) I am still planning on the attractions, day tours, sightseeing to do for each day. Any suggestions on what not to miss in each place would be helpful. Any kids activities in any of these places that must not be missed?
12) There are zoos in Prague, Vienna and Munich. Will check out which one is better and probably go to only one of them.
13) Are AirBnb recommended in these places? Have never used them in the past. But have gone through the apartments and they seem like a good and economic bet, as I need a kitchen too as we plan to have breakfast and dinner on our home in the apartment. I also belive that a lot of Airbnb properties in certain European countries are illegal, so will the house owner really tell me whether their apartment has an official registration number.
14) I am planning to use public transportation at all places. Should I take 15 days card or do end to end? I have also read that each city has their own travel cards like Vienna card, etc that generally are provided free of costs by lodging hosts. Not sure if that's the case with AirBnb apartments.
15) If you have some other great suggestions to tweak the days or places, do let me know.


I know there are tons of questions I have posted above. Please feel free to answer only those you want to!

Thanks a ton
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Old Nov 1st, 2019, 02:48 PM
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Hi there,

Looks like a really fun trip! Although I do love Salzburg, if I were you I'd probably cut both Salzburg and Hallstatt (although I haven't been there, so can't speak to whether it'll live up to expectations) and distribute those travel days to the other cities. Even three cities in 16 days is a LOT and if you give more time to each of the three cities, you'll be able to more thoroughly explore, have a more relaxed pace, and get to do the day trips you want to do.

Also, you technically CAN do Budapest from Vienna as a day trip, but it'd be kind of a rough day - I think it's around 3 hours each way on the train, could be a little less. And Budapest is pretty big, so I sort of doubt a day trip could really do it justice - maybe save Budapest for another trip?

When you're in Prague, definitely check out Cesky Krumlov! Also I've been to the Prague zoo - it wasn't the MOST amazing zoo I've ever been to, but it was pretty good, and it's a lovely walk around the grounds.
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Old Nov 1st, 2019, 07:52 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by plutocrat View Post
We want this trip to be leisurely

Day 1 - Fly from India to Munich
Day 2 - Munich
Day 3 - Munich
Day 4 - Munich
Day 5 - Train to Salzburg
Day 6 - Train or car from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Day 7 - Hallstatt
Day 8 - Train from Hallstatt to Vienna
Day 9 - Vienna
Day 10 - Vienna (Day Trip to Budapest)
Day 11 - Vienna (Day trip to Bratislava)
Day 12 - Train from Vienna to Prague
Day 13 - Prague
Day 14 - Prague
Day 15 - Prague
Day 16 - Fly out from Prague to India
It certainly depends on what you want to see and experience, but I personally can not imagine this trip being "leisurely" - quite in contrast, I would find it ridiculously rushed! Salzburg certainly has more than enough to keep a family busy for more than 1 night. Vienna itself holds a wealth of worthy sites, not counting day trips. Budapest has more than enough to keep many families busy for days.

If you haven't already done so, I would encourage you to plot things out on a calendar: Decide on what you most want to see, identify opening closing hours, and plot them on a calendar or other grid. Make sure you include transportation, time to move (several hours to each side of any change of city), time to eat, time to get lost / oriented, etc.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Fleur_de_Lis View Post
Hi there,

Looks like a really fun trip! Although I do love Salzburg, if I were you I'd probably cut both Salzburg and Hallstatt (although I haven't been there, so can't speak to whether it'll live up to expectations) and distribute those travel days to the other cities. Even three cities in 16 days is a LOT and if you give more time to each of the three cities, you'll be able to more thoroughly explore, have a more relaxed pace, and get to do the day trips you want to do.

Also, you technically CAN do Budapest from Vienna as a day trip, but it'd be kind of a rough day - I think it's around 3 hours each way on the train, could be a little less. And Budapest is pretty big, so I sort of doubt a day trip could really do it justice - maybe save Budapest for another trip?

When you're in Prague, definitely check out Cesky Krumlov! Also I've been to the Prague zoo - it wasn't the MOST amazing zoo I've ever been to, but it was pretty good, and it's a lovely walk around the grounds.
Thanks for your inputs!

Probably, I would cut out Hallstatt from the itinerary and perhaps keep 1 or 2 nights on the way from Munich to Vienna at some very small village like place to get a feel of the countryside. Any suggestions! So apart from 3 big cities, I want atleast 1-2 nights at a smaller village/town on the way somewhere.

Will most likely do Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna, but will likely skip Budapest.


Munich - 5
Vienna - 4
Prague - 4
Some Place - 2
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Old Nov 2nd, 2019, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
It certainly depends on what you want to see and experience, but I personally can not imagine this trip being "leisurely" - quite in contrast, I would find it ridiculously rushed! Salzburg certainly has more than enough to keep a family busy for more than 1 night. Vienna itself holds a wealth of worthy sites, not counting day trips. Budapest has more than enough to keep many families busy for days.

If you haven't already done so, I would encourage you to plot things out on a calendar: Decide on what you most want to see, identify opening closing hours, and plot them on a calendar or other grid. Make sure you include transportation, time to move (several hours to each side of any change of city), time to eat, time to get lost / oriented, etc.

Good luck!
Thanks for your suggestion! I will do more research and determine which all attractions/experiences we want to do in these 3 places and see how they fit within the days and plan accordingly.
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Old Nov 4th, 2019, 04:10 AM
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Having lived in Vienna for seven years, with our children more or less in the age range of yours, we traveled around the country and to the neighbors quite often so with this in mind I will share my thoughts.

Consider the "monotony" factor. Doing the same thing in each destination is a recipe for burnout. At some point no one will care what castle/palace/museum they are touring because they will eventually blur together. Mixing up the itinerary is essential. Perhaps while in Munich and surrounds, rather than touring Neuschwanstein (the interior is uninspiring), hike up to the castle and instead walk across Marienbrücke for the gorgeous views.

In Salzburg, another example, take the gondola up to Untersberg and marvel at what may still be snow at the top, looking for Ibex and Chamoix along the way. Depending on your travel dates there may be farmer's markets in the city to explore, often filled with fascinating items.

Train to Vienna. Take the bus to the top of Kahlenberg and marvel at the views over the vineyards and across the city. Hike down leisurely through the budding vines to a heuriger for lunch. Then, slog through Schloss Schönbrunn with the crowds (do add on the tickets for the maze and labyrinth). Purchase the best combo ticket on offer for the Imperial Treasury and the KHM (your children will be free). Marvel at the royal jewels and the "Unicorn Horn" in the former; then seek out Bruegels and the Archimboldos in the latter for their whimsy. Maybe add the Kunstkammer at KHM to see all the tchotchke that the Hapsburgs collected (like the strange Bezoars). Our daughter was 11 when we arrived in Vienna and 18 when we departed; and often when we found ourselves by the KHM we would duck in and peek at these items just because we could. All children are different, of course, and you know what yours like to do. In early May the city hosts a "Genuss Festival" in Stadtpark, where vendors from all around the country set up booths where you can sample their food and drink, definitely a hit with us and with visiting friends and family during that weekend.

With Prague, we visited with our children in winter and during the Christmas markets. The magic of a snowy Stare Mesto and hot Tredlnik was an easy trade-off for checking off all of the first visit, "Must See" items, so you may have to work a little harder here.

You mention wanting to stay in small villages. Keep in mind that the population in the whole of Austria is around 8 million people, similar to that of Manhattan in NYC. Smaller villages can come with downsides like limited sightseeing activities, especially if you are using public transportation; and restaurants and shops may also be fewer.

Again, just my thoughts. Avoiding the monotony has led to many successful holidays with our family. Even with our children now 18 and 23, I am planning our post-Christmas getaway using the same model.

Happy Planning!
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Old Nov 4th, 2019, 05:51 AM
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Since you want to do some bike riding as well as see Neuschwanstein, consider doing a day tour through Mike's Bike Tours. We did this with our adult kids and absolutely loved it. I thought my husband would think it was too cheesy, but he enjoyed it just as much as the rest of us. You meet at Mike's in Munich and ride a very comfy bus. You get your bike and ride out to Swan Lake. Then you get lunch at a restaurant (you are not stuck with ordering or even sitting with the group) and then you go up to Neuschwanstein. Mike's also has another location in Munich that you can just rent bikes at and ride those around. We did that as well and rode all through (and past) the English Garden.
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Old Nov 8th, 2019, 07:50 AM
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Your rough itinerary and your thoughts don't quite add up. For example, you say you want to spend 2-3 days in Vienna, but your itinerary shows only 3 full days in Vienna with two of those days being devoted to day trips. I would not do a day trip to Budapest; you'd be spending 6 hours of that day on a train. Vienna, Prague, and Budapest are all cities that need at least a few full days to see the city itself, and then you need to add on additional time if you want to do day trips.
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Old Nov 21st, 2019, 01:50 AM
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Thanks all for your responses. Sorry was travelling and couldn't access earlier. Will go through each responses and provide my responses. I have also booked my flight tickets mid june flying in Munich and flying out of Prague i.e. 15 nights total. Plan to fit the itinerary like

Munich - 4 nights
Salzburg - 3 nights
Vienna - 4 nights
Prague - 4 nights.

Will be working on minute details. Any suggestions, let me know.
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