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train travel

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Austin, Texas
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train travel

We are thinking of doing an independent tour from Berlin to Prague to Vienna to Budapest in spring/summer 2012. Are there express trains between each city? What about visa or checkpoints? Thanks

Bratislava, Slovakia
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1. Re: train travel

Yes, there are express trains. Use a planner such as bann.de for journey times, and search relevant forums for how to buy tickets (adding the name GCEK will help you, because he answers many questions about this and knows the best deals).

You can probably buy in advance from the website of each nation's operator, and each leg will be around 30 Euro per person.

No visa or checkpoints between these countries. You just need the documentation to get into the Schengen zone (have a google if you're unsure)

Comox, Canada
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2. Re: train travel

interesting I did this the opposite way in 92 and back then you needed a Czech visa so much better now. Watch you get the right train station out of Vienna

Austin, Texas
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3. Re: train travel

Is more than one main train station in Vienna? Is there a reason why you did it the opposite direction? I have looked up the Schengen Visa and I am not sure why we would need one if we have a US passport. When we were in Greece and Turkey 3 years ago we did not need one. What is GCEK? Not sure I followed that. Any recommendations for private tour guides in different cities? Walking tours? etc?

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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4. Re: train travel

That's me :)

You don't need a Schengen visa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area

There are a couple of 'main' stations in Vienna - but it shouldn't affect your plans. For Budapest you have a choice of either Westbahnhof or Meidling, and the trains from Prague go to Meidling (except the very early one). The construction of a single main station is under way in Vienna, but is not due to be completed for a while yet.

For pricing and times see my other post on the Prague forum.

If you do it in the other order it might cost a little bit more - only about €10 more, though.

For walking tours see the respective forums - there are several posts about these, and private tour guides.

Budapest, Hungary
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for Budapest, Hungary
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5. Re: train travel

Note that the trains are not what some might call Express: Prague to Bpest is about 7 hours to do about 300 miles, Bpest to Vienna is about 3 hours to do 150miles. Of course that means you have more time to study the countryside.

Note that the Hungarians call Vienna Becs, though websites usually use Vienna or Vien.

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: train travel

Would it be better to do the trains or to maybe have a private guide and driver? Do you think that guides only do their city and not travel to other major cities? I guess their expertise might not apply as well....

Denver, Colorado
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for Pecs, Budapest
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7. Re: train travel

A private guide for that trip would break the bank. Use the trains.

I'm really only familiar with Vienna and Budapest, although have 'passed through' Berlin. Just do a batch of research on what you want to see in each city, how to get around, etc, etc, etc, and you'll be fine.

Hey- I'm a elderly female with some physical difficulties who usually travels alone, and whose language abilities are close to nil. I haven't ever had any sort of guide, and have been perfectly OK. I've 'managed' Krakow and Kosice (Slovakia) as well as several other places in Hungary.

You'll have a great time if you do the research on the necessities.

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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8. Re: train travel

To follow up on that one a private guide and driver is all very well if you have unlimited funds, but you will not find one single guide who will be able to give you anything more than a superficial overview of these cities, also being stuck in a car possibly in hot weather in traffic for part or all of the way is not my idea of fun. Best to take oddone's advice and go it alone and take the trains which are generally comfortable and fast, considering the distances and infrastructure - don't worry, this is a civilised part of the world and nothing ventured, nothing gained :)

Whatever you do, don't use Rail Europe for your tickets (as advised elsewhere) or you will spend a lot more than you should.

Austin, Texas
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9. Re: train travel

Thank you Gcek and Oddone. I will take your advice and plan for the trains and then do extensive research on where we are going and what to do on our own. Oddone, you mentioned Krakow.....my first desire was to go to Poland and Russia but my husband felt it was "too much", that is why we are planning for this trip. However, is it too much? I am part polish and would love to visit there sometime. I was put off a little because of the Russian visa that was needed, etc. but still want to go.

Denver, Colorado
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10. Re: train travel

I berlive that no visa is required for Poland. At least I didn't need one.