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Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

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Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

Hi, I would like advice on my itinerary. I’m a single female in my 40s, and I will be travelling to Krakow, Prague and Vienna leaving home the second week of July (in two weeks). I’ve never travelled to any of these cities or Central Europe. I just decided to take the trip a few days ago so I haven’t had a chance to investigate what I want to do in each city (I’m looking at hotels now). I like museums, churches, architecture, nature and historical sights. I definitely plan to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Salt Mines in Krakow. My current itinerary is:

Flying into Krakow from US - 3 nights

Train to Prague - 4 nights

Train to Vienna - 4 nights;

Flight home from Vienna

I’m considering changing my itinerary to:

Krakow - 3 nights

Train to Prague - 3 nights

Train to Vienna - 3 nights

Add Budapest or Salzburg – 2 nights

I know Budapest is closer to Prague and Vienna, but Salzburg is a more compact city and doesn’t require as much time so might be easier to see in two days (I know Salzburg would require backtracking to Vienna to fly home). Alternatively, I’m considering keeping the original itinerary and adding a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava. Is adding Budapest or Salzburg too ambitious? I would appreciate any and all advice. Thank you in advance.

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1. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

You could continue to Salzburg from Prague using the Westbus/Westbahn combo through Linz.

https:/…salzburg-prague-ticket

From Salzburg it is very easy to get to Vienna by train. There are two railway operators, ÖBB (www.oebb.at/en) and WESTBAHN (www.westbahn.at) serving the Vienna-Salzburg line (via Linz). Latter one would also be the operator you would have to take from Linz to Salzburg if you booked the aforementioned bus/train combo.

Washington, DC
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2. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

Thanks Mikey, I didn't consider going straight to Salzburg from Prague. That would work better if I add Salzburg. I checked the timetables and the travel time ranges from 5 to 8 hours thus I'm having second thoughts about Salzburg.

I also checked the OBB website for travel between Prague and Budapest, and the timetable shows travel time of almost seven hours. Is there a faster option other than flying?

Vienna, Austria
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3. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

All possible train connections are displayed on the website. The distance between Prague and Budapest is not that small, so 7 hours sounds correct. You could opt for the night train though.

Washington, DC
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4. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

Thanks, it seems like flying or overnight trains is the way to maximize my time regardless of my itinerary.

Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

There are good night trains between Prague and Krakow, Krakow and Budapest and Prague and Budapest. The other routes are too short to get a good night's sleep. If you take advantage of night trains, you can save time and a night in a hotel and you can see more. I would definitely take the night train from Krakow to Prague on your original itinerary.

Are your flights set? If not and you are able to fly into Budapest, you could actually do all five cities during your two weeks, because then you would be able to take advantage of two night trains. Your route would be Budapest - Krakow - Prague - Salzburg - Vienna.

It all depends on whether you just want to see the cities themselves or whether you want to get out on some day trips. You mentioned the two obvious day trips from Krakow. What about the other cities? If you are just looking to see the cities, you could do all five.

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6. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

I don't have my ticket yet. I'm travelling on a ff ticket and have two days left before I have to ticket the reservation. I checked availability out of Budapest or Prague but no luck so far. I'm also trying to add a day.

If I can't change my flight, I'm leaning more towards adding Budapest and subtracting a day from Prague or Vienna. The night trains would help tremendously. If I can't change my outbound flight what's the best routing for the four cities? I'm flying into Krakow and out of Vienna. Maybe Krakow-Prague-Budapest-Vienna?

Prague, Czech...
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7. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

It's great that you are able to get something so last-minute on a FF ticket. If you can't change your ticket, then the best routing is indeed as you wrote. It is a bit of backtracking from Budapest to Vienna, but then you can take advantage of the night train from Prague to Budapest. If you take that and the night train from Krakow to Prague, you have the most efficient trip possible, I think. The only sightseeing time you will lose to travel is the 2-hour train from Budapest to Vienna.

If you wanted to get really crazy, look into flying out of Munich. Then you could travel from Vienna to Salzburg at the end, spend the night in Salzburg, and then continue on to Munich for your departure. It would be an exhausting trip, but you'd see all 5 cities you are interested in.

Washington, DC
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8. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

I'm pretty surprised that I got the ff ticket at the last minute. I'm still hoping I can add a day to my trip and fly into Prague or Budapest. I have to ticket the reservation tomorrow. I think I'm going to add Budapest and skip Salzburg. I'll spend three nights each in Prague, Budapest and Krakow and two in Vienna. I'll take the two night trains as Jeff suggested. I still have a lot of planning to do and I'm leaving in about 10 days. I'm going to be spending a lot of time on TA researching old posts for information. What is the likelihood of sleep compartments selling out on the trains?

Prague, Czech...
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9. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

You should definitely book your trains as soon as you know your plans. Not only could they sell out, but they are MUCH cheaper if booked online and at least 3 days in advance. And always book directly through the national railway companies' eshops. Search the forums for information on how to do this - there are many threads dealing with this. Check the Krakow forum for information on how to buy the ticket from Krakow to Prague. And if you need help, GCEK is our resident train travel expert and can help you out.

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10. Re: Krakow-Prague-Vienna itinerary; add Budapest or Salzburg?

Is it also cheaper to book online if I'm booking a sleeper compartment in an overnight train? I did a lot of research on the Krakow forum and everyone recommends booking through PolRail.