That is my general idea, the places I want to go.
I plan on flying into Frankfurt and staying with a friend for a few days, heading to Nuremberg and Bamberg by train (Bamberg first makes sense geographically but I may have to do a loop with Nuremberg) spend a day or so in each town, go to Munich (train), then Innsbruck, Bad Ischl and Salzburg, Vienna, stop in Gyor on the way to Budapest. Around Budapest I want to visit Szentendre and Godollo, not sure what order is best.
I'm flying from Budapest to Beirut (date not yet determined) for the second part of my trip.
I hope to mostly use the train, perhaps a Eurail select pass? But I know it won't take me to those places near Budapest.
I don't mind speed or comfort of trains so national networks are fine by me. Whatever gets me to where I want to go at reasonable cost!
4-5 weeks is the amount of time I'm thinking of.
The focus of my trip is mostly historical/architectural/cultural with some chowhounding and people meeting!
I'm a student female solo traveller, if that matters.
Any suggestions, criticisms, anything?
edit: this trip is planned to begin in early may. It will be my first time hosteling (I may splurge a night or two in a hotel too), I'm a bit apprehensive but also excited. I'm not planning to party, I don't drink but I may go out once a week or every two weeks or something..Getting sleep is important. Is hostelling ok for that? Should I book hostels mostly in advance during this season? And train reservations (whether point-to-point or Eurail)?
[ Edit: Edited on 11-Oct-2010, at 12:37 by layla1234 ]
Layla, it's very hard to comment on your itinerary - too many uncertainties in it and not the most popular combination of countries either.
I've done a lot of rail travel within Europe, and I prefer to set out my route and book my accommodation in advance. I use the German railways website for route planning and pricing info, but the French one is decent too.
Do a google search for a map of the German/Austrian/Hungarian rail network before you start. This will give you an idea of the best/fastest routes and whether it makes most sense to go to Nuremberg or Bamberg first etc.
This website offers excellent rail journey info, but since you are a student and looking to do this on the cheap, I think you'll find the InterRail website particularly useful for ticket pricing and other tips.
Thanks for those links. I think my best option for rail is either a Eurail Global Select for all three countries (with maybe non-continous 4 or 6 travel days) and use point-to-point for the shorter trips, or Austria-Hungary Eurail pass and use point-to-point in Germany. I can't use Interrail because I'm not European, it seems!
The trains brings me everywhere I want to go, ibut with some "looping" (Nuremberg and Bamberg) and sub-urban trains or buses to get to Godollo and Szentendre next to Budapest.
Would anyone recommend either staying in Salzburg or Bad Ischl while visiting the two places? For what reasons?
Does my itinerary and country combination seem so odd? Why isn't it popular? I'm kind of on a Bavarian/Austro-Hungarian Empire route, I think (minus Frankfurt, of course).
I just don't know anyone who's gone that way. Most people I know have done France & Italy (with or without Switzerland), some have gone down to Spain.
I'm not familiar with rail passes, but you're right, InterRail is for European travellers.
As regards Salzburg vs. Bad Ischl, I've not been to Bad Ischl, but Salzburg is well worth a visit for the gorgeous old town, castle and Mozart obsession. The Getreidegasse (main shopping street) is quite unique.
Another advantage is that Salzburg doesn't require a side trip, as it's bang on the the rail route from Munich to Vienna.
Oh thanks that is good to know! Perhaps I'll skip Innsbruck, go to Salzburg and make Bad Ischl a day trip, then be on my way to Vienna. Has anyone been to Innsbruck and have an other opinion?
I've been to both Innsbruck and Salzburg. I liked Salzburg better, although Innsbruck is also very nice, but a bit too boring and picture-postcard-perfect for my liking. What time of year are you visiting? I was in Innsbruck in early March and I remember seeing lots of parks, it struck me as the kind of place that would be glorious in late spring or summer.
I've been to most of the places on your list and it is a good and sensible one.
Limit your stay in Frankfurt am Main, there is nothing particularly interesting to see there. The city itself is boring, all the main sights can be covered within 6 hours on your own. Spend a lot of time with your friend instead and if s/he has a car beg her to drive to the surrounding places. It is a wine-growing region and very pretty. If you are on your own a day trip by train to Mainz, the Rhine (St. Goar) or Heidelberg would definitely be interesting.
Since you are visiting Nuremberg and Bamberg take a look at Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is very touristy, but for a good reason. You might also want to look at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_Road . There is nothing particularly romantic about that road (it is neither scenic nor anything special), but it connects a few good sights you might not want to miss. (When I saw your travel plans I almost wanted to congratulate bc you did not seem to follow the "standard program" of Rhine+Romantic Road for Germany.)
I definitely recommend staying in Salzburg when you are there. There are far too many people doing this city as a day trip from Munich, yet you get to see so much more once you are in the city. I would even go so far to say that you should spend around 3 days there bc it gives you a chance to go on daytrips to the area. Ok, so you'll be going to Bad Ischl (good choice!), so you'll see plenty of that area - but Berchtesgaden is definitely worth a second look.
In Bad Ischl I would spend one night at most, it is a small place. I was not even sure there would be a hostel there, so I looked it up:
You do not need to pre-book hostels when travelling in May, just avoid Easter and Pentecoast and the school holidays around it. In Germany I recommend that you stay away from the HI Hostels and instead go for the independent ones, bc they are more fun. HI hostels in May are normally flooded with teens on schooltrips, not a good crowd if you value your sleep or want to meet some new people.
Note that for train travel in Germany there are a few tricks, most interesting to you will be Bayern-Ticket. Also look at discounted tickets from Munich to Vienna via Salzburg. Many people buy Munich-Vienna and board the train to Vienna in Salzburg bc a discounted Munich-Vienna ticket is cheaper than a regular ticket for Salzburg-Vienna.
I would think twice about a Eurail pass and do some careful calculations about the price for rail tickets. If you are going in May the best time for this will be around February.
Thank so much! That was very helpful and appreciated.
I've revised my itinerary.
I am flying into Munich and flying to Turkey from Budapest.
My flexible and troubled itinerary
I would like to spend 3 nights in Munich, with a day trip to Dachua
I want to spend a night or two in Fussen, to visit the Hohenschwangua/Neuschwanstein castles nearby
(maybe spend a day in Innsbruck in between Fussen and Salzburg, depending on what makes more sense train-wise)
Spend 5 nights in Salzburg and go to Bad Ischl and Hallstat as day trips
Go to Prague for 5 nights
Go to Vienna, 5 nights
Go to Budapest, 5 nights
fly out of Budapest.
I'm really confused about how I'm going to work the Munich-Fussen-Salzburg part, but otherwise I think its better..!
With reference to Szentendre and Godollo. I would prefer Szentendre. Once you are in Budapest, you can organise a day trip to these towns. They are covered by the Budapest public transport network.
You best shot is the HEV. It is an overground train that is part of the city's public transport system. They run every 15-30 minutes and the journey will probably take you half an hour.
You are looking for the green trains. They may not be too clean or comfortable, but they will get you there in an efficient manner.
If you decide to go to Szentendre the HEV station is located at the Batthyany ter underground station.
The Godollo HEV's station is located at Ors Vezer Tere. They are both on the red Metro line.
The Europass doesn't cover it.
You can get a daily pass for appr. 5GBP. That will cover all the buses and other means of transport in the city. Even the HEV is included.
You may have to buy an additional ticket from the boundary of Budapest to Szentendre. Roughly 1 GBP.
"Tickets (jegyek) can be purchased as single ride tickets (290 Forints) but most visitors find that multi-ride tickets at a discounted rate make more sense in terms of both the cost and the convenience of not having to stop and buy tickets each time visitors wish to ride one of the modes of public transportation. One can purhcase a book of ten single ride tickets (tiz darabos gyűjtőjegy) for 2600 Forints. In addition to a daily (napijegy) for 1500 Forints, three (három napijegy or turistajegy) for 3700 Forints, or seven day passes (hetijegy) for 4400 Forints. Visitors have the option of purchasing the Budapest Card which includes the choice of a two (6300 Forints) or three day (7500 Forints) unlimited ride pass for public transportation within the city limits along with other discounts for tourist attractions. The Budapest Card can be purchased at the TourInform, which are tourist information centers at the Ferihegy airport, train stations and a few city offices."
If you have any questions, my MSN and e-mail address is zoty00001athotmaildotcom
Just for the record, I was born there. So, I know the city well.