Did you know that Prague, Vienna and Budapest are only a few hours away from each other by train? That’s the beauty of Europe! So why visit just one city, when you can visit them all! And for that reason me and my friend did just that in the autumn of 2017.
Our itinerary was as follows: we flew into Prague on a Saturday afternoon, took a train to Vienna on Tuesday afternoon. Then on Friday afternoon, we hopped on a train to Budapest and on Monday we flew home again (sad face). If you have more time to spend in each city, please do! But in my experience, around three days is enough to visit the highlights and wander around.
While it’s hard to choose a favorite among the three, I can say that I found Vienna to be the least overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it still is a gorgeous city with lots of worthwhile places to visit. I can wander around in the Viennese museums for hours!
It’s just that Vienna to me felt very Parisian in some way. I can’t really put my finger on it. But having been to Paris many times, it didn’t wow me as much as Prague and Budapest did. I guess the familiarity made it feel less surprising in a way.
Of the two other cities, Prague wins by just a noselength. I don’t know if this is because it was the first city we saw. Or maybe because I had been there as a kid and I tried to remember how it felt back then. But Prague amazed me just a tiny bit more than Budapest did. Wandering the streets in the morning, watching all that amazing architecture: the buildings, bridges, squares and churches, it was truly amazing.
Budapest too is a wondrous city, especially at night. The town lights up like a Christmas tree (and who doesn’t like Christmas!) and it feels just as magical. Every bridge, the Parliament building, Fisherman’s Bastion, churches, you name it and it’s illuminated.
Therefore I would definitely recommend taking an evening (dinner)cruise along the Danube river. It may sound like the most cheesy thing you can do as a tourist, but the sights and lights are totally worth it, trust me! The meal and the Hungarian sparkly wine aren’t half bad either! So get off your high horse and onto that boat!
Trains between Prague, Vienna and Budapest
Train travel is supercheap in most European countries. We traveled from Prague to Vienna for as little as 20 euros. And the same goes for Vienna to Budapest. You can get the best prices if you book in advance, so don’t wait too long.
Useful websites for booking your traintickets
Czech website: http://m.cd.cz for tickets from Prague to Vienna.
Austrian website: http://www.oebb.at/en/ for tickets from Vienna to Budapest.
Check both sites to see which has the cheapest tickets from Prague to Vienna.
And for more useful information, check out this amazing and helpful site: www.seat61.com.
Booking your hotels
Both have great deals on hotels. And if you download their apps you can get even better deals! Booking has it’s Genius program, with late checkouts for example. And with the Agoda app you earn credits for your next booking every time you book a hotel through them.
Our apartment in Prague
In Prague we stayed in an apartment close to the city centre, near the Moldau river. It is listed on Booking.com simply as ‘Apartment in Prague Centre’. Every morning and evening we had a lovely stroll along the river leaving and coming ‘home’.
We had the entire place to ourselves and it was big enough to sleep 4 to 5 people, 2 double beds and a sofa. Every morning we had breakfast in the apartment, but we didn’t use the kitchen to cook meals. Which you could do, if you want to save money. The kitchen is fully equipped.
Our hotel in Vienna
In Vienna we booked a quaint and cozy hotel named Hotel Kugel. The rooms reminded me of a grandmother’s guestroom, but I thought that was kind of cute and quaint. I can understand if that’s not your taste though.
The location was excellent, a short walk to the Museum Quarter. Comfortable beds and extremely friendly and helpful staff. Although the bathrooms could use some work. But they were clean, and that’s all that matters to me on such a short trip.
We booked breakfast, but there are also plenty of coffee and tea shops and cafes in Vienna where you can get a nice breakfast.
Our hotel in Budapest
in Budapest we stayed at the Exe Danube. This was by far the most luxurious hotel of our trip. Again, in the city centre. Comfy beds and floor heating in the bathroom so no cold feet when getting out of the shower.
We didn’t book breakfast. But they have this delicious treat called trdelnik in Budapest so who needs some cliche hotel breakfast buffet when you can stuff your face with your new favorite pastry!
I hope you enjoy your stay in Prague, Vienna and/or Budapest! Another article is coming very soon with more details of why I loved these cities and give you my personal highlights!
Let me know if you have any tips for me, because I will be sure to visit these three again!
As always, all opinions are my own.