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Vienna Budapest Prague: Mala Strana quarter

Vienna Budapest Prague: Insider Itineraries for the Golden Triangle

Vienna Budapest Prague: house in BudaVienna Budapest Prague. A while ago, Ann from South Africa asked me for advice for her planned trip to the Golden Triangle: Vienna, Budapest and Prague. She wanted to know where best to fly into, what to see and do in each city, and the best transfer and hotel options. Since many travellers have the same question, I have structured my travel tips further and share them with you below. While the itineraries strive for a mid sightseeing pace they allow thorough insight and relishing the small gems, like this house in Buda castle. On top, you’ll discover some nice insider places.

To add some extra touch to your itinerary, find out which farmers’ and street markets, and festivals are available during your stay.

Vienna Itinerary

  Day 1   Day 2 Day 3
morning To begin with, tour Ringstrasse boulevard with yellow Vienna Ringtram;
after that, explore the historic center by following my Old Vienna walk route; If you’d like to go off-track, arrange a Secret Vienna tour (private).
Despite being a tourist magnet, Naschmarkt street market is worth a visit, not least to eat Austrian Zotter chocolate and to explore adjacent Art Nouveau gems by Otto Wagner and Vienna Secession; To gain real insight, check Vienna’s best-in-class insider tour about Art Nouveau; Visit Belvedere Vienna Palace, housing the Austrian National Gallery and the world’s largest Klimt collection.
lunch off-track lunch spots: Zu Den Drei Hacken, Trzesniewski retro sandwich bar; off-track lunch place: have lunch and home made cakes at quirky vintage Vollpension, run by a bunch of local grandmas (‘Omas’);  off track Viennese lunch spot: Gmoakeller tavern;
afternoon To learn about Wien’s Imperial heritage explore Hofburg Imperial Palace; next to it you will find top art treasures at the Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum) After lunch at grandma, head for Schonbrunn Palace, tour the castle and baroque gardens, which boast a beautiful palm house and zoo; go for coffee, cake and vistas to Gloriette belvedere or go for beer and snacks to Tirolergarten;  Even if you are just a moderate wine enthusiast it pays to explore Wien’s winery villages of Stammersdorf, Neustift am Walde or Grinzing in Vienna’s green outskirts;
evening  If you like fine dining and some theater atmosphere book at Burgtheater’s traditional Viennese restaurant Vestibül. Although Wien is the capital of music, be careful when you book Vienna concerts.  Whereas most tourists will flock back to the city center to dine, head for local neighbourhood favourite Plachutta in Hietzing, close to the palace.  Wine and dine at one of the local wine taverns; though their opening times change frequently there are always a few open;

Where To Stay In Vienna

Vienna Budapest Prague. If you are still looking for hotels and apartments, get some inspiration from where I would stay if I was a tourist in my home city in Hotels Vienna Austria. In particular, review my favourite small unusual places in Boutique Hotels Vienna

Budapest Itinerary

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
morning Before diving into royal history explore lively Pest along Vaci Utca main street;
visit Market Hall and National Museum;
Walk across Széchenyi Chain Bridge and explore royal Buda quarter on the West of the Danube river bank; to make the ascent easier, take the funicular to Buda hill; 
visit Matthias church and Fisher Bastion;
See Kossuth Square and the touching Holocaust Memorial on the Danube bank. Make sure you visit the Parliament’s outstandingly magnificent interior. If you want to get the inside scoop, consider hiring a savvy and engaging private guide;
lunch Off-track lunch spot: Cafe Central  Off-track lunch spot: Cafe Hunyadi in Hunyadi János út 15;  Off-track lunch spot: on your way to the Danube Promenade, enjoy fine Hungarian cuisine at fabulous Tigris Restaurant
afternoon

Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica and Jewish Synagogue;

Walk first part of Andrassy Ut and make sure you take coffee at Lotz Hall inside Alexandra bookstore in that street. Afterwards, visit the House of Terror Museum about the Communist Era in Hungary.

Then continue to Heroes’ Square to learn about Hungary’s early national heroes.

Finish your day in Buda with a visit of the Royal Palace and Hungarian National Gallery;

relax at a thermal bath, for example the Szechenyi Baths or Turkish Császár Bath in Buda;

Take a walk on the Danube promenade between Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge on the Pest side; if weather is nice take breakfast at a local cafe; alternatively take a ride in a stylish Dunarama water limousine;

In the warmer months visit Margaret Island with its beautiful  Danube promenades and Japanese garden.

evening  If you like upmarket insider tips dine at Borkonyha Wine Kitchen, serving traditional Hungarian cuisine with a contemporary twist; alternatively try off-track  quirky retro restaurant Menza In the same park as the Szechenyi Baths you will find original Hungarian restaurant Bagolyvár, located in the Owl’s Castle. Spend an evening at Budapest’s opulent Hungarian Opera House; 

Where To Stay In Budapest

Vienna Budapest Prague. Similarly to Prague and Vienna, Budapest boasts its own irresistibly charming small hotels, such as elegant and airy Prestige Hotel Budapest, 19th century Hotel Moments Budapest packed with character, and former 15th century merchant’s house Buda Castle Fashion Hotel.

Prague Itinerary

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
morning To start at the historic epicentre of Prague, visit the Old Town (Stare Mesto) first; second,
climb famous Powder Tower, not least for its epic views of the city; third, move indoors and
tour historic Klementinum complex with its baroque library and top vistas from the Astronomical tower;
Equally valuable to urban culture can be a city’s green spaces. Begin your second day by exploring Kampa Island just off Charles Bridge. After that continue to picturesque Mala Strana quarter on the other side. On your last day, try to round up your insight into Prague’s varied culture and take a walk through the old Jewish quarter next to the Old Town.
lunch  Lunch at relaxed Czech pub U Zlatého tygra Off-track lunch places: Lokál U Bílé kuželky or U Hrocha  Lunch at Czech tavern Restaurace Mlejnice near the Jewish Quarter.
afternoon On the way to Wenceslaus Square do stop to take a close look at Art Nouveau gem Municipal House; After that consider visiting the Museum of Communism; In order to grasp what life really was behind the Iron Curtain, a few excellent local guides share their stories (get in touch if you’d like to connect with one.) Since Prague Castle and Vitus Cathedral are major highlights, take your time to explore them in the afternoon; Unless you are allergic to beer, gain some insight into Czechia’s flagship cultural export; for example, the traditional beer brewery Břevnovský Klášterní Pivovar in Prague’s outskirts offers guided tours;
evening

Either dine at elegant Art Nouveau Restaurant Francouzská Restaurace or at slightly more informal Cafe Imperial.

After dinner, walk on Charles Bridge and enjoy the nightly lit up Prague.

First, dine at tavern Kozlovna Apropos, near the marionette theatre. Afterwards, treat yourself to the most charming version of the Mozart opera Don Giovanni at the National Marionette Theatre.

 Watch a grand opera, ballet or drama at the Estates Theater; 

Alternatively, hang out on buzzing embankment Naplavka in Rašínovo nábřeží;

Where To Stay In Prague

Vienna Budapest Prague. To point out the three best boutique hotels I have come across in Prague: check out Augustine Rocco Forte Hotel in Mala Strana, close to Charles Bridge and Prague Castle; the Domus Henrici Boutique Hotel in the Prague Castle area which is great value for money; and the Ventana Hotel Prague next to the Old Town Square.

Map of Golden Triangle Itineraries

Vienna Budapest Prague. To facilitate your city trips I have mapped out the 76 key highlights pointed out in each city itinerary. If you would like to see the highlights in more detail, simply use the + and – signs on the bottom left of the map to zoom in and out of each city.

Vienna Budapest Prague: Best Transport Connections

Vienna Budapest Prague. When you plan your trip to the Golden Triangle, the best airports to fly into are either Prague in the West or Budapest in the East. You can then take fast inter city trains to Vienna and the other respective capital. Direct train connections from Prague to Vienna take 4 hours, while taking the train from Vienna to Budapest takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

go to Vienna Travel Planning: Trip Planning and Travel Consulting for Vienna and Beyond
find out more essential Wien information in Vienna Tourism
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