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Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

San Diego...
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Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Hi All!

My husband and I are going on holiday to Europe this summer (July) for our 5 year wedding anniversary and are having a tough time deciding whether to visit Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna!

We are young, seasoned travelers and have been to most of Europe's other large cities. Our budget is moderate- we typically travel very inexpensively but, as this is our anniversary trip, we would be willing to splurge on some things :)

We love culture, history, beautiful architecture and scenic views. We also like friendly people and cool hangout spots like cafes and bars for people-watching. Overall we are looking for a magical city to fall in love with.

I know it's a lot to ask! Any thoughts or opinions on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

xoxo

Nicki

Birmingham, UK
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1. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

How long do you plan to go for?

Barcelona, Spain
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2. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

"Magical city"...I'd nominate Prague over all 4 you mention. If you haven't been there, you could combine it with Vienna. We did a tour Prague-Salzburg-Vienna-Budapest for our honeymoon (liked Budapest least). We have been back to Prague twice and Vienna once in the meantime. That last trip to Prague in 2010 I was struck agin by how magical it is and it's being built on several hills guarantees lots of scenic views from different perspectives.

Having said that Berlin + Potsdam in July would be wonderful and quite budget-friendly (more than Vienna for sure). Berlin is surrounded by lakes and rivers so you have some bice optiomns on the water

Stern und Kreis offer lots of trips (those listed under Havel and Spress are the river/lake ones) sternundkreis.de/en/…K257.htm

Hope you have at least a week for this trip, anything less would be rather a rush

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

If you are looking for a magic city I would suggest Istanbul as it is called the magical city as well. And it has it all as well as far as culture, history, beautiful architecture and scenic views. You have what used to be the Eastern Roman Empire (used to be the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople) . You are surrounded by the Bosporus which leads to the Black Sea, you are in between Europe and Asia in the same city (Bosporus divides them), you have the sea of Marmara which eventually leads to the Mediterranean Sea. There are palaces all over the city, the longest Aqueduct.

However, I would pick Berlin if your interest in history is more of the WWII era and Berlin Wall.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

"We love culture, history, beautiful architecture and scenic views. We also like friendly people and cool hangout spots like cafes and bars for people-watching. Overall we are looking for a magical city to fall in love with."

I have been to 2 (Berlin, Vienna) of your four mentioned places and I would never describe any of them as above. However, like jordansbulls, Istanbul has it all and is my favorite city in the world and most people in addition will find it exotic.

Bautzen, Germany
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5. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Apples and oranges, really. Berlin is a young, modern metropolis, Potsdam the centre of a vast park landscape, Vienna the old, traditional capital of huge former empire, and Budapest a buzzing 19th century city. Berlin is damn cheap, Vienna damn expensive. Only Budapest impresses at first sight. Berlin and Vienna grow on you the more time you spend there, and in case of Vienna if helps a lot to know something about the history and culture of Austria-Hungary. And almost everyone spends to little time in Potsdam to fully appreciate the city (there's a lot more than just Sanssouci).

For a magical experience I would recommend a combination of Prague and Dresden. Prague is magical, at least if you ignore the tourist hordes and see the main sights at 5 in the morning, and simply the most beautiful city in Central Europe. And Dresden is a great base for day trips to magical places, like Saxon Switzerland. Or stay in Saxon Switzerland and see Dresden from there. Is this magical enough:

fotocommunity.com/travel/…2817

???

Edited: 20 January 2014, 15:52
San Diego...
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6. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Wow! Thank you everyone for the feedback! We plan for this part of our trip to take about 5-6 days depending on where we decide to go. We have been to both Prague and Istanbul and loved both of them! It sounds like Berlin/Potsdam would be more budget-friendly and that Budapest/Vienna have charms of their own. And Dresden sounds like an interesting option...

Any other thoughts, opinions? This choice is harder than I thought!

Birmingham, UK
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7. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Ive been to Budapest, Vienna and Berlin, Budapest has a charm all of its own, it's not an eyecatching beauty like Prague, but it is a city you can easily fall in love with, it has history by the spadeful. You will get plenty of scenic views if you climb the hills above the city (whille there the caves are very interesting), and to relax, what better than a thermal spa or two. I did Vienna as a day trip from Budapest, lovely city with plenty of history.

Berlin also has lots of history, but is also an exciting building project for the future too.

You have a difficult decision to make as all 3 are wonderful...........

Barcelona, Spain
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8. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

You could combine Dresden with Berlin + Potsdam.....but not if you are only taking 5-6 days in total.

Other thoughts =other suggestions, to complicate it even more?! As istanbul has been suggested (and discounted ) may I suggest other more southerly places too in case you haven't visited them? Lisbon and Porto, which are definitely budget-friendly and I would use "magical" for them too.. With their being built on hills (and a river) you get lots of different perspectives.

This article on Porto appeared a few days after we had been, sums it up pretty well (btw we stayed at the Mercure in the centre, paying a LOT less than at the Yeatman!) theguardian.com/travel/2011/nov/06/travel-po…

If it weren't July I would also suggest Granada/Seville/Cordoba but I don't think they are very enjoyable in high summer (temps of 40º being quite common). The towns of Extramdura are wonderful too, but same problem.

Edit: just wondering why you haven't asked this question on Vienna and Budapest forums too.......

Edited: 20 January 2014, 18:55
San Diego...
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9. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Thank you so much for your thoughts and experiences everyone!

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Berlin and Potsdam vs. Budapest and Vienna

Too bad you do not mention all the other major places you have already visited – it would make it easier to give you more suggestions ( Love Lynda’s suggestions – one of the trips we are planning now is to Lisbon and Douro Valley - for exactly the very reasons that you mentioned in your initial post.)

But if to stick to your original “nominees”, I would definitely go for Berlin/Potsdam with the inclusion of Dresden - the latter definitely for the magical experience as Martin put it in post # 5 ( with a great photo links ).

(Just a side question @ Jordan: It happened so that you posted recently ( well, relatively) on the other fora where we I have been spending a lot of time – New Orleans & Amsterdam. And now we’re getting ready for the Christmas trip to Istanbul – and you are there too.

What a small world ! ( if only there were a button for the sound effects).

My impression was –based on the questions you have been asking - that you were just getting ready for your first trip to Istanbul. But since you recommend it here, I guess you have already visited it .)

Edited: 24 January 2014, 00:53