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enlehman76 Mar 5th, 2010 12:59 PM

Trip Itinerary for Prague, Budapest, Austria and Germany
My husband and I (both 33) are planning a 2 week trip to Central Europe and would like some opinions on our itinerary. While I know many of you are going to think it is VERY busy.....we are known for fitting much into our time and do just fine with that. Only thing I will mention is that we want this trip to be more leisurely and doing more things like biking and hiking and looking at beautiful scenery (via car-train-boat) vs just seeing museums/cathedrals, etc. After many trips to Europe, we are museumed out! :):)

Any tips on great sightseeing areas outside of the cities would be greatly appreciated as we would like to see more than just the city if we can fit it in. What I need help on is the Salzburg/Halstatt area and Bavaria. I can change the nights around if you think the sightseeing would be better in one area vs another. For example, should we stay the whole 4 nights in Salzburg or Halstatt and day trip from one of them? goes:

Day 1) Leave USA for Prague.
Day 2) Arrive in Prague. Half day in Prague city. (Night in Prague)
Day 3) Full Day in Prague city. (Night in Prague)
Day 4) Train 6.5h to Budapest in the morning. Evening in Budapest city.
(Night in Budapest)
Day 5) Full Day in Budapest city. (Night in Budapest)
Day 6) Train to Vienna with a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia for a few hours.
Arrive in Vienna in the evening for dinner. (Night in Vienna)
Day 7) Full Day in Vienna city. (Night in Vienna)
Day 8) Day Trip to Melk-Krems to boat and bike the Danube. (Night in Vienna)
Day 9) Rent car in Vienna and drive to Halstatt. Stop at Schonbrunn Palace on the way to Halstatt. Evening in Halstatt. (Night in Halstatt)
Day 10) Halstatt----Not sure what to do there yet but looks pretty and relaxing.
(Night in Halstatt)
Day 11) Drive to Salzburg either in morning or evening---depends on activities around Lake area. (Night in Salzburg)
Day 12) Salzburg---Any suggestions for biking/hiking vs just city in this area? (Night in Salzburg)
Day 13) Drive to Bavaria in morning ---stay one night in Fussen/Ruette/wherever? We want to see the castles (don't need to go in them) and pretty area. Can drive/bike whatever is most relaxing. (Night in Bavaria area)
Day 14) Morning train (or drive if really pretty compared to the train) to Munich. Hald day in Munich. (Night in Munich)
Day 15) Leave Munich in the morning for USA.

Thank You so much!!!!

enlehman76 Mar 5th, 2010 01:23 PM

I just read some more online about the Salzkammergut area and am thinking that St Wolfgang or St Gilgen would be a better place for us to stay than Halstatt? If we are looking for hiking/biking and good restaurants with a lively feel (we loved Bellagio in Lake Como) than where should we stay?

annhig Mar 5th, 2010 01:32 PM

well enlehman, your style isn't mine. you are spending a lot of time travelling between places, almost as soon as you've got there! i honestly don't see this as a relaxing or leisurely itinerary, with lots of biking and hiking.

plus many of the places are very similar in style - Prague, then Budapest, then Vienna - with very little time to find out what makes each of them unique. I'm going to suggest skipping Budapest, and going straight from Prague to Vienna. this would give you the opportunity to spend 3 nights in Prague [really a minimum to get a grip on the place, plus recover from any jetlag] and then 4 nights in Vienna [allowing you to get out of the city and enjoy walking through the Veinna woods or the wine villages for example, as well as going to the Schoenbrunn].

then you could set off for the Salzkammergut - i would suggest rather than staying in Hallstadt, call in there on the way to the wolfgangsee, and stay there for 3 nights, and then spend a day in Salzburg [I know many will disgree with me, but I found little there to hold my interest for moe than 24 hours] and overnight in Fuessen.

Just a few ideas for a more relaxing but action-packed holiday!

adrienne Mar 5th, 2010 01:32 PM

When I went to Budapest I took a day trip to Szendentre, about 1/2 hour away by train. The boat takes 1.5 hours and the scenery is very dull so would suggest the train. Szentendre is a lovely small town with many beautiful small churches, shops and restaurants. The building facades are colorful with lots of decorations. Here are some photos of Szentendre - start at the 6th photo from the left on line 1. You can see the town in an hour or two and then return to Budapest.

enlehman76 Mar 5th, 2010 01:56 PM

I know is busy (and fitting Budapest in was a last in priority) so maybe we should skip Budapest? It looks like a really neat city though and was thinking if we already in the area why not try and see it. The Bavaria/Salzburg Lake area looks so much prettier but don't want to be bored either. Hallstadt looks very pretty but very boring for a 2night trip and was thinking would be a better day trip from another lake area like St wolfgang or Gilgen? Just not sure what there is to do around all of thses little city towns. Should we spend two nights in Bavaria instead of one?

annhig Mar 5th, 2010 02:28 PM

enlehman - you're talking my language.

Budapest is in the area like Boston is in the area of New York - it is a 6 hour train journey, as you have in your itinierary. yes it's "neat" but it's not that different to Prague and Vienna, and you can't do everything.

Hallstadt is lovely, but there's not a hgue amount there - you will find a lot more to do at St. Gilgen for example. it might just be one of those places where a one night stops is justifed - ditto Salzburg. and 2 nights in Bavaria is alos a great idea. can I suggest the following:

Day 1) Leave USA for Prague.
Day 2) Arrive in Prague. Half day in Prague city. (Night in Prague)
Day 3) Full Day in Prague city. (Night in Prague)
Day 4) Full day in Prague
Day 5)Train to Vienna Arrive in Vienna in the evening for dinner. (Night in Vienna)
Day 6)Full Day in Vienna city. (Night in Vienna)
Day 7) Vienna - ? day trip up to the Kahlenberg/Heiligenstadt or Baden/vienna woods or Day Trip to Melk-Krems to boat and bike the Danube. (Night in Vienna)
Day 8) Full day in Vienna - Schoenbrunn? at night, visit the Prater
Day 9) Rent car in Vienna and drive to Halstatt. Evening in Halstatt. (Night in Halstatt)
Day 10) Drive to St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee.
Day 11) Day round the lake - walks, biking.
Day 12) Ditto
Day 13) Drive to Bavaria in morning ---stay one night in Fussen/Ruette/wherever? We want to see the castles (don't need to go in them) and pretty area. Can drive/bike whatever is most relaxing. (Night in Bavaria area)
Day 14) Morning train (or drive if really pretty compared to the train) to Munich. Hald day in Munich. (Night in Munich)
Day 15) Leave Munich in the morning for USA.

just a few ideas!

bettyk Mar 5th, 2010 03:02 PM

Hallstatt is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in Europe. There is a wonderful museum that beautifully demonstrates the vast history of the area and the town.

There is also a recently unearthed archeological excavation dating from Celtic and Roman times that can be visited:

The "world's oldest" salt mine is fun and there is the local "bone house" which is one of only a few in Europe.

Nearby are the Dachstein Caves:

In addition to the above, you can rent an electric boat for a ride on the beautiful lake.

We have visited Hallstatt a half dozen times and have never been bored.

Wolfgangsee is also a beautiful area and there is much to do there as well:

From St. Gilgen, you can take a paddle steam boat to St. Wolfgang.

You can also take a steam locomotive up to Schafberg:

In St. Gilgen, there is a cable car that takes you up to the top of the Zwölferhorn with hiking trails:

The lovely spa town of Bad Ischl is only a 20 minute drive as well as the other lakes in the area including Mondsee where Maria got married in the Sound of Music.

All in all, I doubt you would be bored with either choice.

enlehman76 Mar 5th, 2010 06:44 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. Is Prague a better city to visit than Budapest?

enlehman76 Mar 5th, 2010 07:05 PM

Just to give everyone an idea of the kind of trips my hubby and I do...this is what we did last year in Italy:
2 nights Lake Como
2 nights Venice (with a stop in Verona for a few hours on the way)
3 nights Florence (one day in Florence/other day driving around Tuscany)
3 nights Pompeii (one day Almalfi Coast/one day Capri and Sorrento/one day Pompei and Naples)
3 nights Rome (one day Rome/one day Vatican City)

I am showing you all this so you have an idea of how much we move around. Are the lake areas and one more day in Prague really worth skipping Budapest?

Please give some more Lake area/Salzburg/Bavaria ideas. If we have 4-5 nights there. How should we spend them? Should we stay in the lake areas and day trip to Salzburg or spend a night or two in Salzburg? we are really trying to avoid moving our stuff around numerous times so that is why we thought 2 nights in 2 different places would be good.

bettyk Mar 5th, 2010 09:21 PM

You could spend the entire time in St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee and do day trips to Salzburg, Hallstatt and Bad Ischl among others.

However, if you want to split 5 days, I'd spend 2 maximum in Salzburg and the remainder in St. Gilgen.

In St. Gilgen, we stayed at the Schernthaner Hotel. It is only a couple of blocks from the lake and near the lovely town square. The owners are wonderful and prices are very reasonable.

bilboburgler Mar 6th, 2010 05:51 AM

Patrizia you need to set up your own thread rather than butt into another. You may also find the lounge more useful. Also a note to the Editor would ensure you are not taken off (you may be ok anyway).

bilboburgler Mar 6th, 2010 05:55 AM

Enleheman, Ive tried to compare Prague, Budapest and Vienna for you. Prague is the big tourist draw so you will see loads of tourists and a pretty town with reasonable food. Use the trams and you will not get too foot sore.

Vienna, I find less interesting, there are great shops and museums but I never get excited there

Budapest, is not packed with tourists and really very nice with fine spas. This is my prefered city and you can just about do all the best things in 3 days, so your plan will be rushed but ok.

I would drop Vienna and keep the other two. But hey you decide

enlehman76 Mar 7th, 2010 04:02 PM

What is difference between St Wolfgang or St Gilgen? Is it easy to day trip to Salzburg and Haldstat from either one? How far is it? We are trying to avoid doing one nighters it is exhausting to move our stuff around alot. If we do two nights in Bavaria than we have four nights to spend in the Lake area. We can two nights in different places or can stay all four somewhere? What is best? Very gray on the lake area and Bavaria even with much reading. We loved Lake Como...are any of these lakes like Lake Como?

enlehman76 Mar 7th, 2010 04:11 PM

With all this going back and forth my ditzy self forgot to tell you all when I am going on this trip. Is going to be in early to mid-September. Won't it be cold in the Lake and Bavaria that time of year? Thought I would mention it as it could change what kind of outdoor activities will be available to us.

tomboy Mar 7th, 2010 04:16 PM

Enjoy the train.

joannyc Mar 7th, 2010 06:17 PM

I spent two nights in Hallstatt and two nights in St. Wolfgang. Loved both towns!

St. Wolfgang is a little bit larger than St. Gilgen and I liked it better (still a very small town). More hotels and restaurants from which to choose, more to walk around. Steam train up Schafberg mountain is within walking distance of the town vs. taking a boat from St. Gilgen.

Betty provides you with a lot of good info above.

bettyk Mar 7th, 2010 06:17 PM

Our last two trips to Germany have been in mid September and the weather was actually warm in many places. The only time we really saw cold weather was in the mountains.

St. Gilgen is closer to Salzburg (35 min) than St. Wolfgang but about the same distance to Hallstatt.

You may want to check out a mapping website like and select Get Directions to look at driving distances.

enlehman76 Mar 10th, 2010 03:15 AM

Thanks so much for all you replies. have been really helpful with your day trip ideas. Is anyone familiar with Lake Como? We stayed in Bellagio last year and really liked it...Varenna was a little quiet for us for evenings so we liked Bellagio better to sleep in. How to St Gilgen and St Wolfgang compare to Lake Como cities?

annhig Mar 10th, 2010 12:16 PM

hi again, enlehman,

we didn't stay in St. Wolfgang itself, but just outside along the lake a bit. so far as we could tell, the town was NOT a happening might be that all the excitement just happened to be on nights we weren't there, but I doubt it.
I've never been to Bellagio or Varenna, but they would have to be VERY quiet him to be quieter than St. Wolfgang.

Bettyk is the expert on St. Gilgen; if however you really want some "nightlife", i think you ought to be thinking about staying in Salzburg and going to the lakes for day-trips.

bettyk Mar 10th, 2010 12:25 PM

Yes, if "quiet" isn't your thing, then you'd be better off staying in Salzburg. There are gasthofs and restaurants that are open in the evening, but not much in the way of nightlife.

We appreciate the scenery and ambience of St. Gilgen and Wolfgangsee but we usually just go for a walk after dinner and then return to our hotel.

annhig Mar 10th, 2010 01:01 PM

We appreciate the scenery and ambience of St. Gilgen and Wolfgangsee but we usually just go for a walk after dinner and then return to our hotel.>>

oh, betty, what a wild life you lead....a bit like us. "sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits".

joannyc Mar 10th, 2010 02:34 PM

The im Hotel Weisses Rössl in St. Wolfgang has piano music a few nights a week in the bar.

bettyk Mar 10th, 2010 05:05 PM

annhig, I left my wild days behind me a long time ago. Don't have the energy anymore!

enlehman76 Mar 11th, 2010 03:46 AM

We don't need "nightlife" as we go to dinner, take a walk and then go home for the night as well. Was just curious how Lake Wolfgangsee compared to Lake Como towns.

annhig Mar 11th, 2010 01:19 PM

enlehman - I misunderstood you.

nevertheless, st. Wolfgang was not a happening place, piano bar music not withstanding. Even in June, there was barely anyone around after 10pm and the restaurants stopped serving dinner at 9. the bit of the lake that we were staying on [up by the funicular] seemed if anything to have more going on - you could go for a nice walk by the lake to the gasthof or restaurant you had chosen for dinner, have a drink and a meal, and walk back. if you stayed in st. Wolfgang, the walk was shorter and therefore the entertainment was reduced.

Even though I haven't been there, I suspect that Lake Como was livelier than that.

joannyc Mar 11th, 2010 01:34 PM

LOL! None of those towns were very 'happening places' when I was there in Sept/Oct. St. Gilgen was closed down for the most part, I saw 2 restaurants that were open and a couple of souvenier shops.

But, it is a lovely area and well deserving of a visit!

bratsandbeer Mar 11th, 2010 01:37 PM

There is a combo ticket to take the train to Melk, and the boat on the way back towards Vienna. You can purchase it the train station in Vienna. However, be very careful that the boat is still leaving Melk in the late afternoon. We were not told that the cut off date was the day before we used the combo ticket and the last time for the boat to leave Melk was then at 1:30pm. I can't remember the cut off date but I think it was later in September.

Personally, I would prefer Budapest over Prague. It is more interesting. We stayed about one block from the opera house. Easy for buses and metro.

joannyc Mar 11th, 2010 01:43 PM

Yep! Check the time of the last boat from Melk and make sure you're walking in the correct direction! I literally 'missed the boat'! ;-)

I enjoyed both Prague and Budapest more than Vienna. Different strokes...

bettyk Mar 11th, 2010 01:53 PM

Our first trip to St. Gilgen was Sept 29-Oct 2, 2007. We found that everything was still open including the funicular to Zwolferhorn, the boat rides to St. Wolfgang and the steam train to Schaftberg. Maybe later into October, things begin to close but we noticed no diminished services when we were there.

joannyc Mar 11th, 2010 02:11 PM


Sorry, I should have been more specific. Yes, I found each of those things open also. I was referring to shops and restaurants.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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