Vienna Side Trips - Budapest or Prague

Old Mar 19th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Vienna Side Trips - Budapest or Prague


I will be in Vienna for a conference in May. I have one free day for a side trip and was wanting recommendations on whether to visit Praque or Budapest. I don't mind taking the overnight or early morning trains, so it is just a matter of which city will give me the best experience for my one day.

Many thanks.

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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Hi doc,

They are both worth a visit. Budapest is closer by two hrs on the train (2 vs 4)
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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What a wonderful choice you have to make! You can't go wrong either way. Since you only have a day I would suggest Prague as it is a very touristy town with alot going on all the time. If you had a week or two, I would suggest Budapest because it is wonderful to spend alot of time there! You are in for a real treat!
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 07:07 AM
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That's a tough call! I love both cities, but as Ira said Budapest is closer. Based on that alone, since you are only going for the day, it seems spending the two extra hours in the city (rather than on a train) makes good sense. Prague is my favorite, but it's hard for me to imagine only a few hours there and then having to leave.

Either way you can't lose. Both are wonderful places to visit.
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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Both seem too far to me...

Melk (Austria)

or Gyor, (if you prefer a taste of Hungary)?

or Olomouc (for the Czech Republic)?

See where you are more, move around less...

Best wishes,


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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Thanks so much for the responses. I didn't realize at the time of my initial post that Prague was so much further away. Next question... With only one day in Budapest, what can I not miss? Also, Rex, can you tell me a little more about Gyor? I've never heard of it.

Thanks again!

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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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for what it's worth, my personal rule of thumb for day trips is that if it will take me more than two hours to get there, I don't do it. Even at dawn or in the evening, I don't want to spend that much time on the travel bit.
If you're going overnight, it won't really be overnight because the travel won't be more than 5 or 5.5 hours I think. So do you arrive when places are still closed for the night, or do you leave at 4am?
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Well, doc... I never actually made it to Gyor, so I can't give you a first hand account...



The Hotel Klastrom, referenced in the second post, simply looked good to me - -
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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I know it is not Prague or Budapest, but what about Bratislava? It is LOVELY for a day trip, and if the weather is warm enough, the outdoor cafes will be open. There is lots to cover there, also, and it is a GREAT bargain. I think Fodors had a feature on it a few months back. Anyway, it's only an hour from Vienna, so you won't be frazzled, and you can still get a taste of a different city, with great architecture in the old town.
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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Thanks again for all the suggestions. I'm already planning at least an afternoon in Bratislava because it is so close. Rex, thanks for the links to Gyor - I'll take a look at them. Having never been to Hugary at all, I'm not sure which will be the better option. Budapest is another hour on the train, but I don't know if it will have even more of the Hugarian appeal to offer. By the way, I should mention that I'm not a big museum person, but do like castles.

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Old Mar 19th, 2004, 10:43 PM
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Prague is just magic! But if it's a day trip, perhaps Budapest would be better. I have not been there so I can't help you with a comparison.

As for Rex's suggestion of Olomouc...while I loved it (stayed there for several days and made some interesting friends), I wouldn't recommend it for your day trip. Parts of it are very quaint, but it doesn't have the impact that Prague has. And of course, it is nowhere as big.

But there is a great restaurant there...Pod kind of a cave underground with cheap but delicious eats. The owners kept it open for us for as long as we wanted to stay (the place is open late anyway). We got back to the hostel at 6 am!
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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I would go to Budapest, and I did do that on a day trip from Vienna, actually. It is a long trip, but I wasn't sure I would be back in that area to see it separately. I enjoyed the countryside to/from anyway, and was glad I went. I usually stick to 2 hrs one-way for day trips, and that was longer, but it was worth it to me. I was kind of tired of Vienna, anyway, at that point and wanted to go somewhere else.

I agree with Crazymina about Olomouc. It's a nice little town and makes a good stopover on a trip, but I probably wouldn't go all that way just for a day trip from Vienna. I think it's about as far as Budapest, and might even take longer given the train lines (I think you'd have to transfer at Prerov).
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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Here's another vote for Bratislava in May. The Danube walkway is nice. The old town cafe section has banished vehicles and is compact and charming.

Shopping bargains abound, food is inexpensive. A nice contrast to Vienna. And frequent trains and bus service, only one hour out.
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Is a small town really inferior to a nations's capital for a day trip? "We" chastise people all the time for contemplating a "day trip" to Paris, Rome or London. Why not an equally bad idea for Prague or Budapest? Anyhow, Olomouc was my third choice, if "doc" felt that it was important to get a taste of Czech language/culture/food (maybe there are family roots trying to connect to, how would I know?)

Is there any better "closer" destination in the CR from Vienna, just out of curiosity?

I remember our first encounter with CR driving from Vienna; the "town" was a little wide spot in the road, with two stores that seem to have an odd assortment of groceries, a bar and "garden gnomes", many of which were supposed to be some sort of crude scatological humor ("flashing") - - followed by the next five mile stretch of fairly modest desolate country highway, with young mini-skirted seemingly attractive (superficially at least) prostitute(s) in four-inch platform heels, at an average of about one every mile. Our daughters were quick to realize... "oh my god, she's not just waiting at a bus stop, is she?"
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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It is a shame you can only do a day trip ,both cities deserve more time. we liked budapest but PRAGUE is something special.
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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No Rex, not inferior. Just not the best choice given Doc's other options is all. Like I said, I loved Olomouc, but you have to admit...for pure aesthetics, it does not beat Prague!
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Old Mar 20th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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I wasn't trying to say that it "beats" Prague, nor even rivaled it. But for a day trip, unless a "better" city is a similar distance, I would recommend a "lesser" city, knowing that a day there will be a fulfilling experience, with less time "thrown away" in transit.

From Paris, for example, Chartres is clearer a better day trip than Amsterdam. Or London. IMO.

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Old Mar 22nd, 2004, 06:51 AM
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My recommendation after living in Vienna for a year - head the opposite direction the Wachau Valley - visit Durnstien, the monestary in Melk, enjoy Austria!
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