We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Prague, Munich, Vienna

USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Topic
Prague, Munich, Vienna

Hello!

I am in the very early stages of planning a trip for late August/early September, 2014. for a 12-16 day trip. I'll be travelling with my wife and another couple. This will be my wife and I's 2nd visit to Europe (first was in Ireland only) and the other couple's fist visit to Europe.

We don't really have any "must-see" destinations, other than Neuschwanstein castle. We just want to see and explore the scenery and towns we come across. Once we have the general route down, where to stay, etc we can fill in the things to do. We'd much rather 'blend in' and avoid the overly touristy areas/attractions.

I am thinking of flying into Prague and stay for 3-4 days, travel to Munich for 3-4 days, then to Vienna for 3-4 days, then back to Prague to fly back to the US. Is this a good general route for 12-16 days? Each city would be a hub to visit that area/surrounding sights. I would have a whole day between each city dedicated to travel. If we drive, this would allow for stopping at sights, food, etc. If we go by train, this allows for station time, getting luggage, etc.

I very much enjoy driving but I know taking the train is a very popular form of travel. However, is it feasible to drive? Are the roads connecting these cities relatively good? I've driven in Ireland and I loved it. I would prefer to do it again unless it's not advised, in which case I'll utilize trains.

Is it relatively easy for US citizens to travel between these countries?

Excluding flights, car rental or train tickets, is $4,000 USD per couple reasonable for food, lodging, souvenirs, etc.

That's all I have for now. Any comments, suggestions, or ideas are welcome and appreciated!

Edited: 01 July 2013, 17:57
Mentioned in this post
Ireland
Ireland
Europe
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Old Royal Palace
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Castles
Waldstein Palace
Castles, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Way to choose cities well!! I was just thinking today that if I were to recommend 3 cities to visit it would be those!

1. FYI Neuschwanstein is the penultimate overly-touristy spot, but if it's on your "must see" list, go for it.

2. Personally, I'd fly in and out of Vienna to spend the most time there. And this is coming from someone who LOVES Prague and LOVES living in Munich! I've just found that Vienna has the most ground to cover of the 3 cities. 3 day trips to Prague are more than enough, and Munich can easily be done in that time as well. (Of course, you could spend weeks in each city and not get bored, but that's not an option!)

3. Driving should be fine. Know that you need to buy a vignette to drive in both Austria and Czech Republic. They're available in most roadside gas stations. Train would be cheaper, especially since you'll need to pay for parking, but that makes it harder to visit out of the way places in between like Neuschwanstein. Train between Vienna and Munich is awesome, fast and cheap, between Munich and Prague is a little trickier, you have to change trains at the border, but there's also a cheap non-stop bus option between those cities. I've never gone directly between Prague and Vienna. If you drive, make sure to stop in Regensburg between Munich and Prague. It's a fabulous small town, and about halfway between.

4. I believe that budget should suffice, depending on how much you like to spend on all those things, of course. but it might be on the low end, from my experience. Just keep in mind when you budget: train tickets within each city, gas (VERY expensive in Europe- check your route on google maps for a gas cost estimate), parking (can easily be 30€/night), museum tickets AND of course the exchange rate- $4,000 is going to be about 3,000€. I'd factor 100€ average/night for hotel per couple.

Hope that helps!

Mentioned in this post
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Austria
Austria
Europe
USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

That's most excellent help, thank you!!

I do understand that Neuschwanstein will be very touristy... But it is my one must-see. I'll survive the crowds for this one spot as I've been wanting to see it for many years so I'm willing to put up with the crowds :)

Do you think the order of rotation matters? Like Vienna > Prague > Munich > Vienna? or other way around?

Mentioned in this post
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
3,015 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Why don't you consider flying out of Vienna or Munich instead of backtracking to Prague?

We are doing a trip in January (all by train) where we fly into Prague (3 nights), then Berlin (4 nights), Munich (5 nights) and finally Lucerne (5 nights). We then fly out of Zurich rather than going back to Prague. It would save some money for your and probably allow longer in Vienna or Munich, depending upon your last stop.

Mentioned in this post
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Berlin
Berlin
Germany
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Oh, great ideas! I'll definitely look into doing something like that!

The main reason I was thinking into/out of Prague was that roundtrip tickets to/from there were cheaper than the other cities I want to visit. But I've not looked into flying into one city and out of another... The time saved might be worth additional costs from the plane tickets!

Thanks for your input!

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Open jaw flights is a good idea if it's not too much more- you'll save some of the difference at least with less car/train travel and it'd be less stressful- more time in each place!

Also- random tip- try to get a diesel car when you rent- gas is much cheaper that way because of much better gas milage!

USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Open jaw is not bad, actually - into Prague, out of Vienna is only about $100-$150 more than into/out of Prague alone - so that looks like a winner as far as the flight/time goes.

However, I just realized that if I do the open jaw I wouldn't be able to rent a car for the entire trip... So I may compromise on rental for the entire trip and just rent a car while in Vienna for 2 day trips out of Vienna for the convenience/less time travelling for more time in Vienna. Plus, the saved cost from not renting a car for the entire trip will allow for more $ to be spent on food, lodging, etc.

I'm now thinking 3 Days in Prague, 4 days in Munich, and 6 days in Vienna with a day allocated to travel between each city.

Mentioned in this post
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Prague, Czech...
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Prague
Level Contributor
3,285 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Unless you want t stop a lot along the way, it doesn't make sense to rent a car. Transport between the cities you want to go to is relatively cheap. Just don't buy any rail passes or tickets from resellers. Always buy from the eshops of the national rail companies, and buy at least 3 days in advance for cheaper tickets.

Your route depends on the prices of an open-jaw ticket, which is definitely the best option. Personally, I wouldn't spend 6 days in Vienna, which I find boring, sterile and way too expensive. I'd consider spending 2-3 days in Budapest to add a little Eastern spice to your trip. Or add a few days in Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov on the way from Munich or Prague, respectively, to Vienna.

Mentioned in this post
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Budapest
Budapest
Central Hungary, Hungary
Salzburg
Salzburg
Salzburg Region, Austria
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Thank you for your input, JeffinPrague!

We do want to stop along the way; we want to hit the small/unknown towns and places that may usually get looked over. But, is that worth the hassle of having the car in the cities? I'm not so sure anymore.

We considered Budapest, and I do find that really appealing, but we don't want to spread out too much and we have friends in Vienna.

Would Budapest be worth a day trip from Vienna? Or perhaps one over-night stay then return to Vienna?

Mentioned in this post
Budapest
Budapest
Central Hungary, Hungary
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Prague, Czech...
Destination Expert
for Czech Republic, Prague
Level Contributor
3,285 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

I am a big advocate of road trips, unlike a lot of other posters here who push for public transportation. If you want to see more than just the cities, then go for the rental car. But as you mentioned before, you can't do the open-jaw ticket, as the fees will be outrageous to drop off the car not only in another city but in another country. Cars aren't good in cities, but you can always park them for a couple of days while you are seeing the city itself.

Here's another option: fly in and out of one of the cities you want to see and then do a loop. I would suggest seeing the following places:

between Munich and Prague - Regensburg and Plzen. You spend most of your time driving on the highway, but you see two great places. The side roads aren't really worth it in this case, as the highways are fast and generally free of traffic. Spend one night in Regensburg, then go to Plzen in the morning and see the square, the synagogue and the Pilsner Urquell brewery. Draw straws to determine the unlucky one who has to be the designated driver back to Prague after the tour.

between Prague and Vienna - give it three days/two nights and drive this route: Prague - Tabor - Jindrichuv Hradec - Trebon - Telc - Znojmo - Vienna. The total driving time is about 5-6 hours, but you avoid the Czech D1 highway, which is a nightmare (construction at the moment, bad surface, lots of traffic). Plan two nights along the way (Jindrichuv Hradec and Telc), spending 3-4 hours in the other towns along the way. They are absolute gems and almost untouched by tourists.

between Vienna and Munich - Take a couple of days and spend a night or two in Salzburg. Get off the highway and drive along the Danube River (incredible castles). Visit the lakes region east of Salzburg. Spend some time in the mountains around Salzburg.

If you have 16 days, then you can spend 3-4 days in each of the three cities that you mentioned and still see some amazing thing in between. In that case, I wouldn't go to Budapest - too far in the other direction. Otherwise, yes, it is worth a trip there, but not as a day trip alone. It needs a night and two days on a trip from Vienna.

Mentioned in this post
Munich
Munich
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna Region, Austria
Salzburg
Salzburg
Salzburg Region, Austria
Budapest
Budapest
Central Hungary, Hungary
USA
Level Contributor
410 posts
106 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Prague, Munich, Vienna

Wow, you've given me a lot to think about! I really appreciate it!

That does indeed sound amazing! I'm going to get back to the drawing board considering these suggestions!