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Prague/Vienna ?

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Ottawa, ON
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Prague/Vienna ?

Hi all, I've found this site to be tremendously helpful and decided to post a topic that would cover most of my questions or concerns with the hope that expert advice, or any advice for that matter, will be provided.

Me and my partner are looking to go to Europe for 2 weeks from Canada and are aiming to visit Prague and Vienna. We have never been and had a few questions:

**Are Prague and Vienna good choices?

-Our main objective is to explore architecture, eat at nice restaurants/cafes/terrasses, do tons of photography, and visit museums/tourist attractions. We are not particularly looking for nightlife and we would like to do all of this by foot without having to take major means of transportation like trains and buses and subway.

**Where would you recommend we stay?

-We like to wake up in the morning, put on a hat and go out for coffee and breakfast. Then we like to come back to our room, shower and get ready for the day and spend the whole day out. So we are looking for a hotel that is close enough to walk back to it quickly but not too expensive as we will not be in the room long enough to enjoy any luxurious amenities.

**What are your thoughts on individual safety in those cities?

-Like I said, we are not looking to party but to explore and visit places for photography, sightseeing and eating. We'll probably be out after sunset for more photography at popular places but that's it. We are aware that dark places and dark alleys and dark roads and subways are to be avoided.

**When would be the best time of year to go?

-We are looking to go for 2 weeks between June and September. Of course we prefer not having too much rain and that is something no one can predict.. and we don't enjoy super cold weather and not too hot.

**Would you recommend booking everything through a travel agency or would you book everything yourself?

-We don't know anything about those cities so I'm trying to research as much as I can but would using a travel agency take away all this trouble and be better in terms of finding the best places to stay and the best things to do? Are they really effective in ensuring your needs are met?

**Do you suggest booking excursions in advance or do you suggest playing it by ear once you get there and do your own custom made excursions?

I guess that's it for now and looking forward to hear from all of you!

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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1. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

I'll kick off with answers to a couple of your queries:

- Safety. Crime is minimal in both cities - in fact the darker alleys and roads are probably safer as there are fewer pickpockets :) They are also more atmospheric.

- Transport between the cities: the train is the best and most comfortable way to go. It costs €19 each, and you buy the ticket in advance here https:/…

- They are as good a choice as any, but be prepared for large numbers of tourists, especially in Prague, and it can get quite hot in the summer. Probably later on is better, towards September, but then there is more chance of rain (which is, as you say, difficult to predict anyway) - the summer of 2008 was a funny one as it was absolutely scorching and then suddenly overnight towards the end of August it went suddenly very cool and stayed that way. Otherwise they tick all of your criteria. Also be aware that Prague in the centre is a big tourist trap when it comes to eating out - there are some nice cafes, etc, but don't expect to pay rock-bottom prices. As has been mentioned countless times in this forum, the further you go out, the better the prices and, indeed, the quality. Vienna is better in this respect.

- I wouldn't get a travel agency to do anything for you as they will charge you an arm and a leg. It is very easy to make your own excursions and tours and, as you say, play it by ear :)

Hope this helps!

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

Prague and Vienna. Great choices.

Favorite time of the year for either of these cities would be first two weeks in September.

Violent crime is almost nonexistent so I wouldn't worry there. Pickpockets in Prague can be a problem. Just be aware of your belongings.

In Prague and Vienna I would stay in the center. Touristy but exciting.

I wouldn't use a travel agency. I would get a multi-city ticket flying into Prague or Vienna and out the other. Avoid going back and forth. Trains from Prague to Vienna would work between the two cities.

For train schedules look at www.raileurope.com I would not recommend getting tickets from raileurope, very expensive, but great way to see schedules. You can get tickets the day you want to go right from the train station.

Several web sites let you search for multi-city tickets. www.kayak.com www.orbitz.com www.cheapoair.com Others too.

Great web sites to get ideas of what these two cities have to offer are:

www.flickr.com

www.youtube.com

Type city name in search feature.

Brno, Czech Republic
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3. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

A much more accurate and more user-friendly overview of European train times is www.idos.cz (English button bottom right) - sorry, but I would steer clear of Rail Europe altogether as it is a bit of a scam! Just did a quick comparison - $95 Rail Europe vs. $37 'real' price - as mentioned above as well.

Also if you buy the tickets on the day you will pay a lot more than the discounted €19 fare.

mystic,quebec
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4. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

I am doing a similar trip with my mother in late April, early May with my mother. We are also Canadian and have decided to fly into Salzburg and spent a couple of nights there before taking the train to Vienna and then later to Prague. We are both Sound of Music fans so decided to add Salzburg. Flying back from Prague to Montreal.

I have not used a travel agency and with the kind help and recommendations of people on these three city forums our trip is coming together. I am sure it will end up costing much less than a travel agent would charge.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Ottawa, ON
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5. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

Thank you so much for your quick response. Much appreciated. Always good to get tips from experts! Have a great day and I hope you won't mind me asking you more questions if I ever have any more...

Ottawa, ON
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6. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

OK. Last night, more discussions came up and we thought about cancelling Vienna and going to Paris after Prague... We're still not sure yet but does any of you think this is a bad idea? And would you do Prague/Paris via rail or air? I hope this is not a stupid question...

And how many days would you spend in Prague? We have 2 weeks and we're not sure of how long is too long to stay in one city. Same for Paris... Any Paris experts out there too? I guess I should start another topic with Paris as I don't believe it will be covered under this topic.

I also wanted to know, since I have not booked anything yet and that we have 2 weeks of vacation to play with, what would you recommend we do? Would you visit more than 2 different cities? I would like to include Prague and Paris but not sure if I should visit more. And in what sequence would you do it? Again, I'm from Canada so I guess I should go from East to West of Europe then back to Canada... I also wanted to mention that we don't want to do Italy or Greece this year as we believe each of them would take the full 2 weeks to explore.

Thanks in advance again for your great work and support and I will go ahead and start another topic to cover my Paris concerns.

thesaloniki
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7. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

Vienna is great city and in your case you won`t stop taking pictures

But Paris is .....well.... Paris (this comes from someone who`d rather go to prison instead of Paris... boy i was wrong :D )

IMHO 14 days for Prague - Vienna is too much even with day trips

I would do Prague (5nights)- Paris.

If you are not like me in the vacations (lazy that is) you could look for suitable flights and do prague(4n)-vienna(3n)-paris(7n)

Ottawa, ON
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8. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

Really? What did you not like about Paris? I'm curious to know as well if your opinion of Paris is shared by many others... Details please! lol Thanks abfab13! We're Ab Fab fans as well btw..

Brno, Czech Republic
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9. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

I'm not too keen on Paris either to be honest - especially central Paris, as if you thought Prague was a tourist trap with surly waiting staff, then Paris is a different kettle of fish altogether. Pickpocketing is rife there, and you will have to use the metro extensively in order to get around (which is all very well, but it doesn't tick your boxes) When I was a boy we used to go to Paris all the time and it was great then, but it has lost its 'je ne sais quoi' - as has Prague to a certain extent, but Vienna is still basically the same as it always was - a bit staid, maybe, in comparison with Paris or Prague or other major cities, but still has that grandeur. That's why I like Brno - you get the best of both worlds - the Czech (or, to be precise, the Moravian) conviviality and the Viennese architecture and heritage, but a lot cheaper than both.

But it is totally up to you! It is a lot easier, quicker and cheaper to travel between Prague and Vienna, so that would be a major reason for choosing those two.

thesaloniki
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10. Re: Prague/Vienna ?

I meant it the other way around :D :D :D :D