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Prague, Krakow, Budapest

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Absecon, New Jersey
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Prague, Krakow, Budapest

My wife and I are interested in visiting Prague, Krakow, and Budapest for 3-5 days each in September. Yes I know that's too quick, it's what I can manage. I've researched the cities so I have a sense of what I want to do. I'll ask about lodging later, but I'm interested in transportation first. Where should we fly to? Can we go from city to city by train? Or does something else make more sense? Plane, car, bus (ugh)? Just out of curiosity I looked for trains from Prague to Krakow and it seems to take at least 8 hours with transfers. Multiple transfers don’t sound attractive to us. We're not kids (65 & 59 years old but reasonably fit).

We live in NJ and can fly out of JFK or Newark or Phila.

Jyvaskyla, Finland
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1. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

You can go by train between all those cities.

The route would be Budapest - Prague - Krakow or Krakow - Prague - Budapest.

Actually I have gone from Prague to Krakow by a direct train. But there seems to be only one direct line and it's overnight. Check this:

http://czech-transport.com/index.php?id=478

Budapest, Hungary
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2. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

I am researching a trip that will take us from Prague to Krakow to Vienna. I am finding 8 hours on a train between each city to be unacceptable, and air fares are around 1000 USD for a triangular flight and half that for one way flights.. I am thinking the best thing to do is to rent a car to drive from Prague to Krakow, and then rent another car to take us from Krakow to Vienna.

If you have another idea or suggestion please post it.

Thanks,

rural West Aussie
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3. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

You may find one-way fees for car hire are equally unacceptable- we wanted to hire a car to go from Krakow to Prague and the one-way fee was 600 Euros, more than the cost of the hire. So we took the train to Ostrava (which raised some eyebrows at the ticket counter :-), it's not really a great tourist destination) and got a car from the airport there for no extra fee to drop off in Prague.

Are there overnight trains? We found the Prague-Budapest overnight train very restful and arrived first thing in the morning bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for our first day in Budapest. And saved on hotel fees :-)

Absecon, New Jersey
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4. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

thanks YorkFoodie. Our sequence is locked in now due to how the flights worked: Budapest -> Krakow -> Prague. There's a bus (Orange Bus) from Budapest to Karkow that doesn't sound too bad. Krakow to Prague seems possible by train changing in Katowice. Both of these trips take the better part of the day. I wish driving was practical, since it can be fun, but just sounds too expensive.

Kraków
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for Krakow
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5. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

I have travelled by night trains (Prague, Budapest, Bratislava) several times and in my opinion it's not as inconvenient as it sounds. You travel while sleeping, so you don't waste your precious time.

rural West Aussie
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6. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

If you liked, you could do what we did in reverse, take the night train from Budapest to Prague, then drive through Czech Republic as far as Ostrava (it's not that bad, just uninspired), leave the car at Ostrava Airport then take the train to Krakow (with a change at Katowice). The countryside is lovely and there are heaps of small places to visit on the way.

California
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7. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

We just drove Prague, Olomouc ,Krakow, Slovakia, Budapest. Roads were great to good. Plenty of stores, fuel, restaurants. Easy to buy toll stickers. Drive times were not bad. We drove three hours between night stops. Much nicer than stinky train stations. You get your own climate control and stop whenever you want. GPS made it a lot easier finding hotels.

Absecon, New Jersey
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8. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

Tadtv, how expensive was it to do that/ Who did you rent the car from? I hadn't thought driving would be practical but maybe should reconsider.

California
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9. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

We are in Vienna now and renting our car from Sixt where we picked it up in Frankfurt and will drop back there. Cheapest always to drop back at same city. One ways are more. Dropping in different countries way too much to consider. We flew into Frankfurt only because of cheap airfare. Car cost about $700 for 18 days, automatic with AC. Picked up outside of airport since most airports add a 20% surcharge to the whole rental price. A 30 minute train, tram & walk saved us $170 to a location just 4 miles from airport.

Add in toll stickers for each country, parking, and fuel and it will probably be around $1000 Becareful with some hotels that charge way too much for parking such as 30-40 Euros. We chose smaller hotels with free or cheap safe parking 10-20 Euros per night in clean garages under hotel.

I don't even try to compare prices of other transportation because I don't want to even consider it. Actually for this trip I did check flying in hops, trains, boats, etc. But all seem like too much work. Others will disagree. I just hate the thought of being stuck on trains in freezing cold AC with coughing people around, always on my guard, always in public. Also when you get to the stations, it's a made dash of confusion. Pulling my suitcase and stuff, iI feel very vulnerable at those times. Much prefer the safety of a closed locked car. Also it seems many train stations are dirty and smelly. Dragging luggage onto a tram to get to a hotel away from the train notation is another chore.

You need GPS with Europe maps loaded. We got upgraded to a bigger car that had one already but we brought our Nuvi with purchased Europe map from last years trip $115 on Amazon.

Some smaller cars have tiny trunks making hard to lock away luggage out of sight.

Every mode of transportation has it's pluses and minus. I just. Iove the freedom of a car and security and escaping to tiny towns. This Tripp we did drive into many big cities and it was okay with the GPS. Good luck

rural West Aussie
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10. Re: Prague, Krakow, Budapest

Clearly everyone has a different perception. We didn't feel unsafe (even in notoroius for pickpockets Prague main station) or notice anything objectionably smelly or dirty about train stations all over Europe. If the carriages were airconditioned it wasn't especially noticeable and the carriages for rural trips were largely empty besides us, with the exception of a Hungarian train (which was lucky because the conductor who didn't speak English was trying to give us an important message, and a nearby elderly lady translated into German for us which we understood well enough to get the gist). Changing trains at Katowice was a bit of a scramble but we ended up with a great story to tell when we got home. It was all part of the big adventure.

We found a car for the rambling, short stop trips between towns, and public transport in the bigger cities and for long haul trips was a good mix.