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Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

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Plantation, Florida
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Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

Hello,

I'm planning a December trip starting in Prague and ending in Budapest. I was thinking to spend 3 days in Prague, a day and a half (or so) in each Vienna and Bratislava and 3 days in Budapest. I'm hoping for suggestions as to how to best handle logistics (and for feasibility of this plan). I'm thinking to take the train between cities. Is there a night train from Prague to Vienna (and if so is it recommended over a day trip or would we be missing too much scenery for the time saved to be worth it)? I've been to Vienna previously, but not since I was young, so it doesn't count. I know we won't have much time in either Vienna or Bratislava if we split the middle of the trip between the two cities, but I would like to see both. I will be traveling with my 21 year old son (and am thrilled he's still willing to travel with his mommy!); he's a seasoned traveler, so he's easy not going to be daunted by a bit of chasing (and hauling luggage on and off trains). With this itinerary, we'd be arriving in Budapest on Christmas. I'm guessing Budapest would be a great place to spend the holiday. But any suggestions / advice for this trip would be greatly appreciated. None of this is set in stone. I'm in the preliminary planning stages at this point. Thank you in advance!

Edited: 19 July 2014, 17:06
Czech Republic
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1. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

if you feel squeezed, most folks suggesting skipping Bratislava all together or just a day or 1/2 day visit...not much there compared to the others

that said, the other three are very common together

to start, you can use the search box above..simply type in Budapest and Vienna together and previous posts will pop up...sort by date.

in Budapest there are the thermal spas, parliament building, shoe memorial, original goulash, Hungarian fish soup (two sides Buda and Pest) etc.

general tidbits.....train tickets should be purchased through respective rail sites, not RailEurope or the like

for ex.Prague to Budapest (vice vesa) by train can be as low as $25 pp one way if purchased in advanced on line (non refundable)

sometimes the nice newer/modern bus services can work well also...in terms of price or time

Edited: 19 July 2014, 17:14
Plantation, Florida
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2. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

Thank you, Tejashombre! I'm thinking that Bratislava will be out if it gets too inconvenient logistically to work it in. I'm trying to decide between a day train and a night train (if available) between Prague and Vienna.... (and then if Bratislava will fit in the mix). Prague and Budapest are my main focuses for the trip. Thanks again for your feedback!

Plantation, Florida
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3. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

I think I may rule out Bratislava due to time constraints. I've also read in forums that Cesky Krumlov is worth visiting. We are starting in Prague 12/19 late afternoon arrival and are departing Budapest at a ridiculously early hour on 12/29. Everything else at this point is flexible. I'm thinking of the following:

Prague 12/19 - 12/22

Cesky Krumlov 12/22 -12/23

Vienna 12/23 - 12/25

Budapest 12/25 - 12/28 (12/29 doesn't count)

Does this make sense or would this not provide enough time in each location? How would you recommend transport between each location? Are trains possible between each? I'm open for suggestions how to allocate my time and also for recommendations to transport between cities.

Thank you!

Cleveland, Ohio
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4. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

I would reverse the trip and spend Christmas in Prague.

Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

There is a night train from Prague to Vienna, but it leaves at 23:45 and gets into Vienna at 6:17 in the morning. That is too short in my opinion for a good night's sleep, and what will you do in Vienna that early in the morning? I doubt a hotel would let you check in that early without having to pay for the previous night.

Your idea to go to Cesky Krumlov is a good one, although it is slightly complicated to get from there to Vienna. You need to take a bus (Student Agency is best - www.studentagency.eu) from Prague, then a private shuttle from Cesky Krumlov to Linz, Austria, and then you catch the train from Linz to Vienna. Best is to search the forums for "Cesky Krumlov to Vienna" and you will find lots of advice.

Otherwise, your new itinerary is good. That means two full days in Prague (12/20 and 12/21), travelling to CK in the morning of 12/22, afternoon and night in CK, travelling to Vienna on 12/23 (taking up most of the day), one full day in Vienna (12/24), travelling to Budapest on Christmas Day 12/25, then three days in Budapest (12/26 to 12/28), flying out on 12/29. Perhaps I would take one day from Budapest and add it to Prague or Vienna.

If you want to visit Bratislava, you can stop on your way from Vienna to Budapest. It takes one hour to get there (train recommened), and then 2 hours 45 minutes from Bratislava to Budapest (again, train). You can see the old town and castle in Bratislava in 3-4 hours. But I wouldn't recommend doing that on December 25, as it will be dead. Personally, I would spend the extra day in Vienna and travel to Budapest on December 26, either with the stop-over in Bratislava or directly (again, train recommended). I was in Vienna last year between Christmas and New Year's and it was magical. It would be a great place to spend Christmas.

Plantation, Florida
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6. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

Hi Stevegmu - Unfortunately, reversing the trip wasn't an option since I couldn't find any flights that didn't have a ridiculously long layover and/or a ridiculously hefty price tag (and I'm paying for 2 since I'm taking my son). I found a reasonable ticket with just one slightly long layover on the way to Prague (and a too early return flight from Budapest).

Hi Jeffinprague - Thank you so much for all of the detailed advice! After receiving your message and reading the CK forum, I think I unfortunately will need to take this off the plan. With the limited time we have, I think it will be too much logistical complication and time spent getting to and from. I'm bummed, since I've heard it's spectacular there. For the same time constraints, I think I'm going to forgo Bratislava as well, as much as I'd like to see the city since we'll be so close. I really would like this trip to allow time to see each city at a leisurely (well, leisurely for me which most consider frenetic!) pace.

That being said, I do think I"m going to heed your advice and spend the extra day and Christmas in Vienna. That sure can't be a bad place to spend Christmas! I would prefer not to travel on Christmas Day anyway, so I'm going to look into an early-ish train to Budapest on the 26th. I hope the 2 1/2 days in Budapest will allow enough time to see at least the highlights, but I guess my son and I can increase our pace if necessary. Thank you again for the advice! Much appreciated!

Hong Kong, China
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7. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

These might be useful for your attraction planning for Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. No list written up for Prague yet.

Vienna Top Attractions (Our Favourites)

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i39424-Vienna_T…

Best of Budapest (What we enjoyed the most)

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i39398-Best_of_…

Weekend in Bratislava (what you can see/do)

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i37587-Weekend_…

Plantation, Florida
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8. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

Thank you! I will check out your recommendations!

Tel Aviv District...
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9. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

Hey, just wanted to say that my boyfriend and I did the same trip (but except Prague and Bratislava we were in other cities in Slovakia and Czech Republic) for a month three years ago and we enjoyed every single day!

I'm sure you'll have a great time :)

Brno, Czech Republic
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10. Re: Prague - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest

You won't be able to buy tickets or indeed work out a fixed schedule as the timetables don't come out until about mid-October. Then you can buy tickets from the respective national rail sites, or bus companies. Never use a reseller.