Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna – 4 capitals in 7 days on a budget. What an experience!
Eastern Europe is an intriguing combination of rich culture, an exciting urban life, untouched beauty and warm people. Historical castles, pretty churches, town squares with art and people and music, small café’s on every corner, cobbled streets and mighty rivers make this often underrated side of Europe a must visit. Cheaper than its popular western neighbors, if you plan your trip well in advance you can travel here on a reasonable budget. Of course, ditching hotels for homestays, fancy fine dining for local street food and using local public transport makes it even easier on the pocket.
Day 1 – Arrive in Vienna.
We flew from Mumbai to Vienna via Abu Dhabi comfortably with Etihad airways with delicious food and in flight entertainment on the way. As you touchdown to Vienna, you’re enchanted by the beauty of the small little houses, hidden alleyways, mighty churches and green forests surrounding the city. We stayed overnight at our Air Bnb in Vienna with warm food, welcoming hosts and a comfortable room.
Day 2 -Onto Budapest.
We took a local bus from Vienna to the Hungarian capital of Budapest which is a 3 hour drive. Pass by beautiful green hills adorned with picturesque villages and vineyards as you cross over into enchanting Hungary.
Hilly Buda and flat Pest are connected by the historical Chain Bridge into one thriving city that is a blend of modern city life and old culture. One of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, you’ll never feel like leaving Budapest with its charming attractions, affectionate people and thriving nightlife.
As you walk on the beautiful chain bridge, you feel like you’re in a fairytale as you’re surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Danube and the horizons of the city.
Grab a quick dinner of traditional Hungarian dishes like ‘Lecso’ which is a delicious vegetable stew or some fried camembert cheese! Yes FRIED CHEESE! It’s a must have in Hungary. Head to one of the many underground pubs at the end of the bridge and dance the night away.
Day 3 – Exploring Budapest.
Take in the splendors of Budapest by a local hop on, hop off tour and also by foot which is the best way to explore the city.
Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion in the Old Town, see the statue of St. Stephen on horseback and experience the domination of the seven turrets. Visit the enormous Heroes Square and Jewish Quarter that’s filled with history or take a dip in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths. If you’re a history buff like me do visit the majestic Hungarian Parliament building or take a walk on castle hill. If you’re up for it there are many short cruises on the Danube that will help you discover Budapest’s many splendors by the Danube.
Day 4- Onto Slovakia and Czech Republic.
After a relaxing night at the hotel and a hearty breakfast we took a local bus onto Prague. Since it was a tourist bus, it stopped by the beautiful capital of Slovakia – Bratislava. A small little city right out of a fairy tale, with cobbled streets and winding lanes, walk along Bratislava’s many tiny shops or enjoy some live music in the old town square or visit St. Martin’s Cathedral which will take you back to the Gothic ages. If you have the time, do visit the Bratislava Castle for some breathtaking views of the city and its neighboring countries.
Leaving Slovakia with pleasant memories we reached Prague – the eye catching capital of the Czech Republic. This city will make you fall in love with its spirit and beauty. A classic blend of modern day urbanization with an old world charm Prague is unquestionably the hottest new tourist destination!
Day 5 – Exploring Prague.
Explore the city of hundred spires by taking a local walking tour found at Prague’s many tourist spots. Best way to get around town is by foot and also by public transport ( www.dpp.cz/en/). Most of the historic landmarks are within walking distance of each other. Walk along the cobbled streets to Prague Castle and enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the castle gallery. Take a stroll through the Old Town square and get engulfed in the feel of the place with lively musicians, noisy tourists and unique merchants lining the streets.
The Astronomical clock which is a beautiful medieval age clock is an absolute must watch as the clock puts up an enchanting show every hour.
Take an evening walk on the famous Charles bridge and get engulfed by its sheer beauty.
Enjoy the famous Czech delicacy Trdelník, or chimney cakes at one of the many stalls found all over Prague. Dough rolled around a wooden stick that’s cooked over an open charcoal fire and then dusted with sugar and cinnamon often stuffed with Nutella is a delight to the palette. A must try in Prague!
Day 6 – Vienna – The city of majestic palaces and contemporary beauty.
As boarded our bus to Vienna we were taken in by the beauty of the green hills and tiny villages en route this majestic city. Vienna is a colorful contrast of rich history with its imperial palaces on one side and modern day art, music and dining on the other.
Take a hop on hop off tour and see the magnificent Opera House. the Rathaus, St. Stephen’s Church and stroll along the Kärntner Strasse. The beautiful Hofburg Palace will take you back to the imperial times with its tall gates and eye catching treasury.
When in Vienna do try the traditional Viennese dessert – Apfelstrudel (Apple strudel) which is a treat to the taste buds. It can be found at most cafe’s in Vienna.
Day 7 – Adios Europe.
We boarded our flight to Mumbai with countless memories of an unforgettable experience.
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Some of the pictures have been sourced from https://pixabay.com under the CCO Public domain.