If you are planning on spending a week in Europe, then we highly recommend visiting the Imperial capitals of Prague, Vienna, & Budapest. Each city is steeped in history, with grandiose architecture, mouth watering food, and a whole lot of culture. On top of that each of the capitals bring something a little different to the table so you get a real taste of Europe in a limited time.
Here we have put together the perfect Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary to help you plan your own European adventure. This guide includes all the information you need on getting between each city, and what to do when you get there.
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- Why plan a Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
- Prague, Vienna, Budapest – how many days
- Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary breakdown
- Prague Itinerary
- Where to stay in Prague
- Things to do in Prague
- Eating and drinking in Prague
- Vienna Itinerary
- Where to stay in Vienna
- Things to do in Vienna
- Eating and drinking in Vienna
- Budapest Itinerary
- Where to stay in Budapest
- Things to do in Budapest
- Eating and drinking in Budapest
- Sample Prague, Vienna, Budapest 7 day itinerary
- Sample Prague, Vienna, Budapest 10 day itinerary
- Travelling between Prague, Vienna, & Budapest
- Best time of year to plan your Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary
- How much money do I need for my Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
- Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary and travel tips
- So should I plan a Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
Why plan a Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
You might be wondering why you should plan a Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary when there are so many amazing places in Europe. Whilst that is true, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest are becoming European hotspots for travellers. One of the things that I’m drawn to with these cities is that their identities have been shaped by both Eastern European and Western European influences.
They are also quite a bit cheaper than their Western counterparts like Paris or Rome, which lets be honest in this economic climate is never a bad thing.
Prague, Vienna, Budapest – how many days
In our Prague, Vienna, Budapest guide we give you 2 example itineraries for a 7 day and 10 day trip. Obviously the longer you have in each city, the better. Each of them offer so much to see and do. If you only have 7 days we recommend 2 days in each city with a 7th day for travelling. And if you have a little bit longer 3 days in each plus a day of travel gives you a good chance to see the sights and get a taste of each city.
Of course we recommend spending much longer in Europe, especially because it is so big and each country is so unique. For more ideas, here are some sample 3 week Central Europe itineraries to give you some ideas.
Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary breakdown
Here is our Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary breakdown including the best things to see and do in each of the cities.
Prague is by far one of our favourite destinations. It’s literally like walking into a fairytale with castles and cobbled streets. It is the perfect city to start your Prague, Vienna, & Budapest itinerary, but be warned you may never want to leave.
You can read more about our trip to Prague here if you want. Otherwise read on for our Prague highlights.
And if you are wondering if Prague is worth visiting this article might help.
Where to stay in Prague
You will find accommodation to fit any budget in Prague. If you only have a short time in the city though you want to be close to the key tourist attractions, particularly the Charles Bridge and Old Town. We opted for a mid-range hotel located right near the Charles Bridge called Lokal Inn. It was only a minutes walk from the bridge, and was close to lots of bars and restaurants.
Things to do in Prague
Here are some of our highlights and top things to do when visiting Prague.
John Lennon Wall
Probably one of the more instagrammable spots in Prague, the John Lennon Wall is a must on any visit to the city. Etched with graffiti that changes on a regular basis the wall is a symbol of political frustration but also freedom of speech. Make sure you get here early to avoid the crowds.
The first thing we noticed in Prague was the spectacular castle perched above the city, almost watching over it. The castle grounds contain gardens, palaces, and shops as well as the very dramatic looking St Vitus Cathedral. The views over Prague from the castle are also pretty incredible!
You can purchase your tickets online in advance, or purchase them on the day on the castle grounds.
If you do one thing on your trip to Prague, make sure you visit the Charles Bridge at sunrise. It’s so much quieter and you get some really amazing photo opportunities. The bridge connects Mala Strana (Little Quarter) and Stare Mesto (The Old Town) so it is a very beautiful way to get from one side of the river to the other.
Petrin Hill provides a bit of a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Old Town. Make sure you get the funicular up the hill, but remember to arrive early to beat the crowds. Once you are at the top of the hill you can stroll around the beautiful gardens and woodland, or if you are brave enough head up to the top of the TV Tower.
Whilst it is a sombre place to visit the Jewish Museum is one of the most visited museums in Prague. Here you learn about the history of the Jews in the city, and you get to explore the Old Jewish Cemetery too.
Go to a Beer Spa
One of the more unusual things to do in Prague has to be visiting the Beer Spa. I mean why bathe in water when you can bathe in Beer? You also get to sip on beer (don’t worry not the stuff you bathe in because that would be gross), and there is an option to have a massage as well. You can book your tickets online in advance here.
Vltava River Cruise
I always love seeing a city from the water, so the Vltava River cruise was a must on our visit to Prague. There are a number of different river cruises you can do and we’ve included some in the links below.
Old Town & Old Town Hall Tower
A visit to Old Town is a must in Prague. The Old Town Square is probably one of the most photogenic parts of the city. The Xmas markets are held here in December and at other times it is a hive of activity with street performers and vendors selling Chimney Cakes and other treats. If you have time it is worth visiting the Old Town Hall Tower for some really wonderful views.
Eating and drinking in Prague
A HUGE part of any Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary, has to food. Prague is no exception! The food is out of this world. You might find some of the cuisine in the 3 cities to be a bit similar, but each city has their own take on it.
Trdelník or Chimney Cake as you might see in the photo above, is a popular sweet treat in Prague. Its roots are actually Hungarian, but you won’t be able to escape Prague without chowing down on this pastry.
Goulash is also a popular dish in Prague. Again you will find this in Hungary as well but the texture is different. In Prague it is far more stew like and served with some delicious dumplings.
If you have the time we recommend a food tour like this one, that way you get a locals view on the best things to eat and drink in the city. Or if you want to try food and drink, then this tour covers both.
Whilst I am on the topic of drink, I think it is fair to stay that Prague is well known for its beer. Make sure you visit one of the traditional beer halls, U Zlatého tygra is one of our favourites, although it does get busy so get there early.
There are a number of beer tours you can do, especially if you really do like your pints, and our suggestions are below.
So now we head to our second destination on our Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary. Vienna is full of lavish architecture, museums, classical music, and of course coffee and cake.
You can read more about Vienna here.
Where to stay in Vienna
If you are in Vienna for a short time, like we were then you will want to stay somewhere central and close to the tourist attractions. Innere Stadt and MuseumsQuartier and probably the best areas to stay in for a first time visit. You are close to the attractions and there are a number of hotels to choose from for all budgets. We ended up staying a bit further out when we visited which in hindsight wasn’t the brightest idea on such a short trip.
Things to do in Vienna
Here are some of our highlights when visiting Vienna.
Schonbrunn Palace is one of the top attractions in Vienna, giving you a flavour of imperial living in the city. Built in the 1630’s this former summer residence for royalty is now popular with tourists. You get the opportunity to tour the inside as well as exploring the palace gardens. You can book tickets online in advance to avoid the queues on the day.
Visit a coffee house
A visit to a coffee house in Vienna is a must due to their part in shaping Viennese culture. Treat yourself to some coffee and cake (Sachertorte is the most traditional) and read the paper like the locals do. If you want to learn more about the coffee culture in Vienna, or experience it with a local here is a great tour you can book.
Prater amusement park
Open from March – October every year. the Prater amusement park is home to one of the oldest ferris wheels in the world. The Riesenrad, is 212 ft tall and has these wooden gondolas that you stand in as the wheel goes around. This is a highlight in Vienna for sure.
Like you would assume with the name, the MuseumsQuartier is home to a number of art museums, as well as an architecture and design museum.
A quirky thing to see in Vienna is this colourful housing complex. It is a really unusual building built after an idea and concept by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, hence the name. If you are looking for an offbeat experience it is certainly worth a visit. And of course it is a great place to get a few Instagram shots.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Hailed as one of the most important religious buildings in Vienna. This gothic style cathedral is a Roman Catholic church with intricate detail. It is well worth a look and make sure you go inside if you can. We recommend this tour that gives you a glimpse of parts of the cathedral where the masses cannot enter.
Listen to some Opera
Vienna is renowned for its musical history so heading to an opera is high on the bucket list.
We had no idea there were vineyards in Vienna and this was a pleasant surprise. It is a bit of a journey out of town and you will need to take a bus to Kahlenburg. But it really is worth doing and a real quirky thing to do in Vienna.
Eating and drinking in Vienna
Vienna feels a little bit like the posher sister of Prague and Budapest sometimes, and the food and drink in the city also make it feel like this. But there are a number of culinary experiences for everyone whether you are looking for something fancy or more laid back.
When it comes to food, Schnitzel is a must in Vienna. And if you aren’t sure where to eat it then you can do this cruise and Schnitzel tour where you can enjoy the dish whilst gazing out at views of the city.
For something a bit more relaxed we recommend Naschmarkt. There is a food tour you can do that is highly recommended or you can just explore yourself.
Finally when it comes to drinks in Vienna, craft beer is a big deal, and you will find so many cute little bars serving beers in the most extraordinary glasses. Here is a tour you can do if you are a craft beer fan.
If you aren’t a beer lover though, never fear because wine is also something that Vienna prides itself on. You can visit the vineyards as mentioned above or just enjoy an underground wine tour.
The final leg of our Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary is of course the Hungarian Capital. It’s probably a little rougher around the edges than say Prague or Vienna, but filled with so much culture, history, and beauty it is another city you won’t want to leave.
For more things to see and do in Budapest check out this post.
Where to stay in Budapest
We stayed on the Pest side at the K+K Hotel Opera. The hotel was fabulous and the location was ideal. It is located on a quiet street so you are away from the hustle and bustle but within walking distance to bars and restaurants. Our room was spacious and comfortable, and it was a perfect place to rest our heads after long days exploring the city.
Things to do in Budapest
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Budapest to help you plan your own itinerary.
St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s is a must when visiting Budapest. The interior is stunning but its the views from the top which made it for us. You get book tickets online in advance or just purchase them on the day.
Hungarian Parliament Building
One of the notable buildings that stands out as you admire the skyline in Budapest has to the the Hungarian Parliament Building. You can do a tour of the inside when the National Assembly is not in session. We decided against a tour just because of time restrictions but if you do want to do this make sure you book it in advance.
Budapest’s ruin bars are a nightlife bucket list item. You will find them in derelict buildings, filled with groups of people enjoying their nights. Szimpla Kert is the biggest and most popular and I don’t think anything we read really prepared us for actually seeing it for ourself.
Shoes on the Danube
This is one of the most moving memorials we have come across. The Shoes on the Danube represent the thousands of Jews that were killed during World War II by the Arrow Cross militia. They were marched down to the Danube and ordered to take off their shoes before being shot by the edge of the river. Their bodies then fell into the river and were carried away. What makes it even more gut wrenching is that many of the shoes were children’s.
House of Terror
The House of Terror is a museum that centres around the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary in the 20th Century. It is an important place to visit, but be prepared it is also very emotional at times. The queues can get really long here, so we recommend booking a guided tour in advance. You can purchase cheaper tickets on the day that don’t include a guide.
This is the biggest and most popular of all the thermal baths in Budapest. Besides enjoying the baths you can also book massage treatments and use the saunas and the gym. You probably need a good day here to enjoy the spa and the treatments on offer. You can book in advance here.
Labyrinth of Buda Castle
The Labyrinth is a series of tunnels under Buda Castle. These caves once held the infamous Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Count Dracula as a prisoner for 14 years.
Hospital in the Rock
You essentially get the chance to explore the underground caverns of Buda Castle which were turned into a working hospital in the late 1930’s in preparation for WWII. You can only enter the caves as part of a guided tour, but this gives you the chance to learn so much about the conditions that hospital staff had to work under.
You can book a ticket online in advance here.
Fisherman’s Bastion & Matthias Church
The Fisherman’s Bastion is a stunning terrace located across the river from the Parliament Building. I think this was one of our favourite places in Budapest because of the sheer beauty of it. The terrace was actually built for the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian State, although it certainly looks much older. Nearby is the equally dramatic Matthias Church.
Hungarian National Gallery
Located in the Budapest Castle the National Gallery houses collections of all types of Hungarian art. Even the building itself is spectacular and the views from the outside are breathtaking.
Castle Hill Funicular
The funicular has been in service since 1870, so not only is it historical, but you also get some incredible views over Budapest. We highly recommend getting the funicular up to the National Gallery.
Eating and drinking in Budapest
Budapest is a great place to sample some cheap food and drink. There are several food tours you can do (see below) or you can just make your way around the city yourself.
One of our favourite places to eat is the For Sale pub. They serve traditional Hungarian food and its popular with locals and tourists. You do need to book in advance to get a table, but it really is worth it.
Another must eat food in Budapest is of course Chimney Cake which we mentioned in our Prague section of this post. Chimney cake is actually Hungarian, and if you want to learn about the history and how to make it you can do that here.
Another recommendation for things to do in Budapest is to do a wine tour. Hungarian wine is actually really nice, considering we hadn’t tried it before our trip. This tour is a great way to learn about where the wines are made, and what to pair them with.
Sample Prague, Vienna, Budapest 7 day itinerary
Here is a suggested Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary for 7 days. This is probably the minimum amount of time you will need to explore all 3 cities.
Day 1 Prague
Arrive in Prague and visit the John Lennon Wall in the morning and then spend the day exploring the Old Town. If the weather is nice do a boat tour in the afternoon. In the evening check out some of the bars in the area – Hemmingways is a favourite for cocktails whilst the Beer Museum is a must for, well beer.
Day 2 Prague
Get up for sunrise and head to the Charles Bridge (you can always go back to sleep after – trust us it is worth it). Head to one of the traditional cafes for brunch and then spend your second day exploring the Castle area.
Day 3 Travel to Vienna
Most of day 3 will be spent travelling to Vienna. Try and get an early train to arrive in Vienna around lunch time. Explore the MuseumsQuartier and see if you can listen to some opera in the evening.
Day 4 Vienna
For something a little different head to Hundertwasserhaus in the morning, before heading back into the centre and paying a visit to St Stephens Cathedral. In the afternoon head to Prater Amusement Park and make sure you ride the Ferris Wheel!
Day 5 Travel to Budapest
Head to Schonbrunn Palace in the morning and explore, make sure you save some time for some coffee and cake before you leave Vienna.
Grab an afternoon train to Budapest so that you are ready for a full 2 days of exploring the city.
Day 6 Budapest
Grab some breakfast in one of the city’s many grand cafes, then head to the Shoes on the Danube for a moment of reflection before crossing the bridge to the funicular. Ride the funicular to the National Gallery to enjoy some art. In the afternoon head to Fisherman’s Bastion. For dinner we recommend the For Sale Pub for dinner. Spend the evening exploring some of the ruin bars before calling it a night.
Day 7 Budapest
In the morning head to St Stephen’s Basilica and admire the views from the top. Then make your way to the Hungarian Parliament building for a tour.
Head to the House of Terror in the afternoon to learn about the history of the communist regime in Hungary. In the evening, we recommend heading to the ruin bars again, to keep exploring (and drinking).
Sample Prague, Vienna, Budapest 10 day itinerary
For our Prague, Vienna, Budapest 10 day itinerary we recommend following the above 7 day guide, but adding an extra day in each city. Here are our suggestions for what to do for an additional day in Prague, Vienna, & Budapest.
Additional day in Prague
Use your additional day in Prague to explore Petrin Hill and the Jewish Museum.
Additional Day in Vienna
Use this additional day to head to the Vineyards to taste some Austrian wine.
Additional Day in Budapest
For an additional day in Budapest make some time to visit the thermal baths. we also recommend the Hospital in the Rock tour if you have the time.
Travelling between Prague, Vienna, & Budapest
The best way to travel between Prague, Vienna, & Budapest is by train. Trains are incredibly frequent and often the fastest way to travel between cities. The train from Prague to Vienna takes about 4 hours depending on whether you take an express train or not. Trains are frequent, and reasonably priced, particularly if you book well in advance.
The train journey from Vienna to Budapest is about 2.5 hours, and again if you book in advance the prices are pretty cheap. You can use booking sites like trainline.com or omio.com to book your tickets.
Best time of year to plan your Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary
You might be wondering when the best time to plan your Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary is. Honest answer – it depends on what you want to get out of your trip.
The summer months in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest are great if you want to see the cities come alive, with alfresco dining, and sip beers on the street. But summer months, particularly August tend to be the busiest for tourists. If you do visit during these months book your accommodation well in advance. Additionally if you want to eat at particular places you will need to book these in advance as well.
The best time to visit Prague, Vienna, and Budapest for us would be in either spring or autumn. Autumn is great because you get to see the leaves change colour in the cities, whilst comfort eating in the evenings to keep warm.
December is another popular time to visit the three cities, especially because they each put on a magical Christmas market. Just keep in mind that daylight hours will be much less than in summer months, and the weather will be cold.
How much money do I need for my Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
Budgeting for your Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary is a tough one because it will obviously depend on what you want to see and do when you get there. But here are some tips for when you visit.
Prague has a reputation for being one of the cheaper European countries, although we will say it isn’t as cheap as it once used to be. That being said, it is still better value than say Copenhagen or Oslo.
On average we budgeted around £100 or 2967 CZK per person per day and we generally didn’t spend this much. I should also add that our budget does not include accommodation. Accommodation isn’t too bad though for mid range hotels expect to pay about €60 – €120 per night.
Throughout Prague and the Czech Republic, you will need to use Czech Koruna. Banknotes are made up of the following denominations 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 CZK, and coins consist of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 CZK. A lot of places in Prague will accept payment by bankcard, but you do get the occasional small shop that only accepts cash. Therefore we recommend you bring even just a little bit of cash with you during your 4 days in Prague.
Vienna is probably the most expensive of the 3 cities, but that being said it isn’t too bad.
On average you are looking at paying around €10 – €15 for a main meal in a restaurant. A pint of beer will probably set you back around €4 or €5 depending on where you are drinking.
All in all not including accommodation you should budget around €120 per day per person in Vienna. This will cover things like public transport, tourist attractions, food, and nightlife. On average a mid range hotel room will set you back around €120 a night. But this depends on location, and hotel quality.
Vienna is part of the EU and therefore the currency is Euro. One Euro is equivalent to 100 Cents. Euros are made up of a mixture of coins and notes. The coins tend to be Cents so you get 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 Cent coins, as well as a 1 and 2 Euro coin. Notes are made up of 5,10,20,50,100,200, and 500 Euros. With the notes we don’t recommend carrying around the higher denominations as some places won’t take anything over a 50 for security purposes. And honestly, I don’t think we have ever seen a 200 or 500 Euro note! So if you do find one let us know.
You can pay on card for most things in Vienna, but we do recommend carrying some cash on you. And coins are very useful especially if you need to use a public bathroom!
Budapest is another one of those places that has the reputation of being cheap, which is it, but maybe not as cheap as we had expected. Between us we probably budgeted around €180 between us per day (not including accommodation).
This did include us going out doing tours, having breakfast, lunch and dinner out, as well as enjoying a few drinks. So you can do it way cheaper if you want.
We found that accommodation was actually on the cheaper side, with good quality 4 star hotels costing under 100 Euros a night.
The official currency in Budapest is the Hungarian Forint. You might see it abbreviated to HUF or Ft.
Some places, especially the more touristy spots may accept Euros, but we highly recommend you pay in the local currency. This is because change will be given to you in Forint even if you pay in Euros, and the conversation into Euro’s isn’t always great so chances are you will probably end up paying more. Also not all places in Budapest accept card, so this is another reason to make sure that you have some Forint on you.
The currency is one of those that has a ton of zero’s in it so just keep an eye on what notes you are getting when you are given change etc. Notes consist of 500 Ft all the way to 20,000 Ft. Although with the larger denominations you may struggle to pay for things in some shops, so if you are carrying cash try and have some smaller notes as well as the larger ones.
There are also coins such as the 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Everything is in Forint. So for example in the US there are dollars and cents, or pounds and pence in the UK, but in Hungary everything falls under Forint
Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary and travel tips
- Each country has different currency so make sure you stock up on Euros for Vienna, Koruna for Prague & Forint for Budapest
- English is widely spoken in all three countries, but be sure to brush up on some basics in each language
- Book your train tickets between cities in advance for the cheapest prices.
- Book any accommodation in advance for the best deals.
- If there are particular restaurants you want to visit book these in advance as well.
So should I plan a Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary?
If you are on the fence about planning your own Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary, take this as your sign to go. I know that there are more popular places in Europe like Paris or Rome, and yes they are beautiful, but if you want something a little different head to Prague, Vienna, & Budapest.
Hopefully this guide has inspired you to take your own trip, and please don’t forget to pin this article for later.