travel between Prague, Krakow, Budapest

Old Jul 17th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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travel between Prague, Krakow, Budapest

What's the best way for 4 people to travel between those cities? I found an airfare on Vayama for about $300+ per person for both flights, but I'm wondering whether that's a good price these days? What is your experience on trains? Other advice?
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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There are four of us going in Sept to Prague - Krakow - Budapest - Vienna etc. and we are using a Eastern European Train Pass 2nd class for 230.00 per person. If you check the point to point might save you a few dollars. Its a 8 hour trip from Prague to Krakow and a 9.5 hour trip from Krakow to Budapest. Thought about the night train and decided not. We love the train travel so we just sit and read and nap.
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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For more about the Eastern European railpass i always recommend two sites that give lots of details on trains in these countries and the pass apart from the usual pass prices and an add to cart button - www.ricksteves.com - he may also cover cheap flights and www.budgeteuropetravel.com, which advertises on their home page you can call their toll-free phone and ask 'real experts' all the questions you want. IME they are experts. Others will say you can buy tickets once there and make necessary reservations somewhat cheaper than the pass - for your itinerary but for many having the pass and all needed reservations and just being able to hop on the train is priceless, esp in places where you may have a language problem at the ticket window. Make your required reservations (some but not all trains require reservations - and on night trains you should have them IME) when you buy your pass IMO or else you'll have to wait in potentially long lines there. The night trains between Prague and Krakow or Krakow and Budapest or Budapest and Prague are comfy as any in Europe and you save a hotel night's cost as well.
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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For the price of 4 train tickets, why not rent a car and enjoy the beautiful country scenery between the 3 cities, if you have enough time. We just stayed at inexpensive hotels on the outskirts of each city and took public transport into the city.
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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I'd tend to rent a car or fly. With 4 people it would probably be fairly inexpensive to rent a car. But you would likely have to pay large drop fee if you couldn't return it to the country where you rented it.

I found the train from Prague to Krakow to be a long day. It's not that it's so far, but the train seemed to go slowly especially at the border. I had to make a connection and was a wreck because my train was arriving late. Fortunately my connecting train was late too. This was my first experience with a European train being well over a half hour late. This was a while back and I believe there's now same train service during the day. That would be a better choice. I flew from Krakow, so I can't comment on that segment.

They're wonderful cities, so it's worth the effort--and cost.
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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train vs plane

plane quicker

train you get to see what you came to Europe to see - the country itself and its people (car can see country of course but is isolated from other folks - unlike on train where i often end up in interesting conversations or interesting people watching - and an overnight train, where albeit you see little, saves time and often money on a hotel.

I'd take the train, like most of the locals would, but it depends on what you value - seeing two cities or also the countryside and its people in between
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 09:52 PM
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We have gone to the site for booking trains in Eastern Europe via Rick Steves but it will not allow us to book. We have been told it is easy t book when we get there but since we want to do overnights we also want to be certain we get a cabin and beds. Any experiences or tips?
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Call Byron at BETS 800-441-2387 - he's extremely helpful at booking as many Fodorites have said. Rick Steves does not reserve seats but only sells railpasses i believe. For overnight trains, if they are a linchpin of your trip, you should book ahead IME
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 09:46 AM
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I've taken the train from Prague to Krakow a couple times, and it just takes a long time, that's all. The train is nice enough, and very cheap in those countries, but it just depends how much time you have. The countryside between Prague and Krakow, if you go from SE Czech Republic over is not that exciting IMO. that is the quickest route, I think. YOu have to go down to Moravia and change and then pick up a train to Krakow that comes up from Vienna, most likely (around Prerov). If you have plenty of time, I'd take the train, though.

I didn't think there were any good budget airlines between Prague and Krakow, that was the problem when I went. So maybe $300 is the norm, but there are better places to look than Vayama from that. Check www.whichbudget.com or something like that.
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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I agree with Christina when she says the countryside between Prague and Krakow is not very exciting - at least for most folks

but if you love rusting hulks of industrial detritus left over from Commie days and then emphasis on heavy industry the train ride will be heavenly - many old plants, etc. all rusting away

and you see the old huge state farms - we saw many horses working the fields but since that was several years ago not sure anymore - but that was a highlight for me

the countryside itself - the vast tree-less state farms, etc. however is boring.

Most folk will not miss much by taking the overnight train.
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