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Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

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Vermont
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Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

My husband and I have 6 days to work with in late October or early November. We'll fly into Prague and thought we'd spend 3 nights there and then train to Budapest for 3 nights there. This probably really gives us 2 full days to spend in each city. Would appreciate advice on whether this seems a reasonable amount of time to spend in each city. (or, better to split the time differently?)

Also, would appreciate if anyone can pass along any info about taking the train via Vienna back to Prague (scenic?).

Thanks in advance!

(will also post in Prague forum)

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1. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

The outcry will be that too much time in Prague and too little time in Budapest – and obviously the opposite with your Prague posting. I’ve been to both and Vienna too. Yes, two full days in Budapest is better than no time in Budapest. Yes, depending on your interests you can do a pretty good, but either very narrow or extremely general program in two days.

As a point of reference, I am slightly over 50 (my wife has no age). We tend to travel simple but do spend as much as it requires to wring the most out of the trip. After spending $1000 each on plane tickets an extra $10 on a reserved car vs a cab is nothing. In that context Prague to Budapest is a pretty ambitious train ride. I would suggest a plane if you can afford it so you have more time at the end destination and are more rested when you get there. The beauty of the train trip? All I can tell you is Vienna to Budapest is not very exciting. With two days in town I would encourage you to hire a guide and do a once over general tour for a day and then concentrate on a topic that interests you for the second day. That could be special architecture, bath houses, the parks, Jewish Budapest, the war, the cold war, Roman Budapest, the river and the towns of the Bend, Castles and Mansions, music, and the list goes on. Not right or wrong, just what I would do – and still do when I get to town. Again, if only for half a day a guide can take you to places that are special and off the beaten track. No, I am not a guide and don’t get commission either . Oh, and be sure you see the lights of Budapest. Either take a boat ride or go up to Gellert Hill and look down. It’s stunning.

Prague vs Budapest? Prague is better preserved in places and they exploit it to the hilt. Walt Disney couldn’t do a better job. If the weather is good the streets and squares might be pretty tightly packed. BUT, the architecture is beautifully preserved. Budapest suffered a lot more over the years and shows those scars. But the scars add a unique character to the place. Prague is more like a museum and Budapest is more like a place stuck in time. If you like that time (1900 to 1940 more or less) then the culture of the place will astound you.

Doylestown...
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2. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

I agree with Bobandco - you should fly between Prague and Budapest. With airport transfers, waiting time and flying time, it will be about 4 hours door-to-door. With station transfers and train travel time, it will be about 8 hours door-to-door. I have travelled between Budapest and Brno (about 60% of the train journey to Prague) and apart from a few quick views of the Danube near Visegrad (for 10-15 minutes), the scenery was boring.

If you decide to train from Budapest to Prague via Vienna - it is 3.5 hours Budapest to Vienna and another 5 hours from Vienna to Prague plus connection times in Vienna in between trains.

I love both cities - having lived in Budapest for 6 months and having honeymooned in Prague 10 years ago (plus a visit again last year). If 6 days is all that you have, then 3 in each city is a fair split. If I were you, I would do some research on each city, identify exactly what you want to do, utlilse the excellent public transport systems to get around (buy a day pass for each day), and love every minute of what you do.

Cheers

budapest
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3. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

I have been living in both cities, eventually decided to chose BP as i find it better place to live, however, obviously i love both cities, for different reasons.

Prague as a city to me is on the list of must see places in the world (like Florence, Paris, etc), city saved from demolishment of the wars for hundred of years in central europe (whereas most other cities including BP, Warsaw, German cities have been destroyed over and over again, latest during WWII), and today you can see almost untouched architeture from middle ages until bella epoque. As such, there is not really other cities like "Golden City".

I cannot really understand the reference to Walt Disney though, as Prague is city that has been center of cultural life of slavic central europe for hundreds of years, with university established 1340's and the city reflects rich cultural and historical development, that has nothing to do with cartoons or cheap entertainment centers coming fom Southern California.

However, it is overwhelmed by tourists and city center itself is quite small. Having lot of british lads enjoying the stag parties does not really improve the experience either (although you can avoid them as well). Although it is not true that there would not be people living in city center (indeed i had gf there...), it is mainly touristy area (like Venice).

Budapest is much bigger, much more "lively" city and provides even better cultural offering than Prague and it has better nightlife. It is still recovering from its wounds but you can see all the development that is going on and you get the feeling of a city that is looking for the future. The skyline at Danube is even more majestic than in Prague.

You can see lot of Prague in two days as it is smaller, two days in BP gives you a taste of what it can offer. Wien is also fabulous city, majestic architecture, perfectly functioning civic society and great culture, but way more expensive and requres as well few days even get the taste at least if you are interested in history, art or music.

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4. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

If everyone wants to see a stark differnece in attitude - go to the same post at the Prague forum. One post suggests that if you rush through it really fast you can do both cities in 4 days but does recommend that by staying in just one city you will have more time to leave it on day trips to other places. Two only comment on the cost and quality of the train ride - which, yes, is helpful. One suggests a previous post on 48 hours in Prague which i also checked out to findi it was primairly about costs and schedules with a few exceptions in the 14 responses.

Brno, Czech Republic
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5. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

Skip Prague - go here instead guardian.co.uk/travel/… :)

Phoenix
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6. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

I loved Prague! I hate Disneyland (having kids though I am forced to go every so often). To me Prague is nothing like Disney! We went during the off season (froze to death in March) but didn't have problems with crowds. We are early risers so that helped us get to main attractions right when they opened so no lines. We even stayed next to U Flecku and didn't have any issues. We walked everywhere. 2 days in Prague will give you a good sense of the city but do your research so you maximize every minute!

Budapest, Hungary
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7. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

There is a reason why Prague was undamaged in WWII - it was damaged just as much as other places like Warsaw and Bpest pre WWII - I suggest a study of the history of WWII might help.

budapest
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8. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

Some history lessons (also given by my czech girlfriend): http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Prague:

"any significant architectural styles can be seen in Prague, and the historic centre of Prague is on UNESCO's World Heritage List.[3] Most significant architecture in the historic centre was built in the 14th century under the patronage Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. The city plays host to a range of succeeding styles, particularly that of the Baroque, and also includes a fine example of Cubist architecture."

"While relatively undamaged after occupation by the Germans and liberation by the Russians, some structural damage has resulted in new and interesting buildings and features.

(CC) Photo: Louise Valmoria The virtue of Justice alongside that of the Five Year Plan, placed by the Soviets after damage to the Míčovna during World War II

(CC) Photo: Louise Valmoria

The virtue of Justice alongside that of the Five Year Plan, placed by the Soviets after damage to the Míčovna during World War II

Upon the expulsion of the occupying German troops from Prague, the defeated army set up their tanks in a line facing the town hall in the Old Town Square, destroying a part of the town hall. Whilst the famous tower containing the Astronomical Clock remained intact, the demolished building has not been rebuilt or replaced, instead leaving the area as an open market, bazaar and meeting place in order to commemorate the incident.

Along Na Příkape, structural damage to one of its heritage buildings resulted in a debate as to whether or not to reconstruct a building in the fashion of the 17th-18th century buildings in a neoclassical style. A more modernist proposal was created, leading to a glass facade which is structurally in line with the older buildings, and now houses a mall.

Damage to the Míčovna, or Ball-Game House, located near the Prague Castle, led to some interesting cosmetic changes. Where the sgraffito facade previously featured the virtues, under the auspices of communism, the repaired section of the facade visually placed the virtue of Industry, holding the shield of the Five-Year-Plan next to the natural virtues of temperance, justice, peace and justice. "

Comparing these to total destruction of Warsaw, Dresden, major destruction of Budapest etc is borderline insulting...

I think we all should be pretty happy that such a central location in europe did escape over the centuries that extent of damage that pretty much all neighbouring capitals suffered. My GF had explanation for it: czech people used to be better diplomats than soldiers...

budapest
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9. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

From unesco world heritage site:

Statement of Significance

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burger houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings.

The Historic Centre represents a supreme manifestation of Medieval urbanism (the New Town of Emperor Charles IV built as the New Jerusalem). The Prague architectural works of the Gothic Period (14th and 15th centuries), of the High Baroque of the 1st half of the 18th century and of the rising modernism after the year 1900, influenced the development of Central Europe, perhaps even all European architecture. Prague represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs.

Prague belongs to the group of historic cities which have preserved the structure of their development until the present times. Within the core of Prague, successive stages of growth and changes have respected the original grand-scale urban structure of the Early Middle Ages. This structure was essentially and greatly enlarged with urban activities in the High Gothic period with more additions during the High Baroque period and in the 19th century. It has been saved from any large-scale urban renewal or massive demolitions and thus preserves its overall configuration, pattern and spatial composition.

In the course of the 1100 years of its existence, Prague’s development can be documented in the architectural expression of many historical periods and their styles. The city is rich in outstanding monuments from all periods of its history. Of particular importance are Prague Castle, the Cathedral of St Vitus, Hradćany Square in front of the Castle, the Valdgtejn Palace on the left bank of the river, the Gothic Charles Bridge, the Romanesque Rotunda of the Holy Rood, the Gothic arcaded houses round the Old Town Square, the High Gothic Minorite Church of St James in the Stark Mĕsto, the late 19th century buildings and town plan of the Nave Mĕsto.

As early as the Middle Ages, Prague became one of the leading cultural centres of Christian Europe. The Prague University, founded in 1348, is one of the earliest in Europe. The milieu of the University in the last quarter of the 14th century and the first years of the 15th century contributed among other things to the formation of ideas of the Hussite Movement which represented in fact the first steps of the European Reformation. As a metropolis of culture, Prague is connected with prominent names in art, science and politics, such as Charles IV, Petr Parléř, Jan Hus, Johannes Kepler, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka, Antonín Dvořák, Albert Einstein, Edvard Beneš (co-founder of the League of Nations) and Václav Havel.

Criterion (ii): The historic centre of Prague admirably illustrates the process of continuous urban growth from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its important role in the political, economic, social, and cultural evolution of central Europe from the 14th century onwards and the richness of its architectural and artistic traditions meant that it served as a major model for urban development for much of central and eastern Europe.

Criterion (iv): Prague is an urban architectural ensemble of outstanding quality, in terms of both its individual monuments and its townscape, and one that is deservedly world-famous.

Criterion (vi): The role of Prague in the medieval development of Christianity in central Europe was an outstanding one, as was its formative influence in the evolution of towns. By virtue of its political significance in the later Middle Ages and after, it attracted architects and artists from all over Europe, who contributed to its wealth of architectural and artistic treasures. The 15th century foundation of Charles University made Prague a renowned seat of learning, a reputation that it has preserved up to the present day. Since the reign of Charles IV, Prague has also been the intellectual and cultural centre of central Europe, and is indelibly associated with such world-famous names as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Kafka

budapest
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10. Re: Budapest and Prague for 2 days each?

Referring Brno, it is also fantastic place to visit and see, although honestly i would recommend to see also Prague if visiting Czech republic.

However, especially if your are motorbike fan, Brno is one of the best places to go seeing gp... and until the race track at balaton finished closest to me... :-)