Europe is a region of diversity, from the sun-kissed coasts of Spain to the majestic fjords of Norway. But when thinking of European classics, 3 cities usually come to mind: Prague, Vienna and Budapest.
Europe is a region of diversity, from the sun-kissed coasts of Spain to the majestic fjords of Norway. But when thinking of European classics, 3 cities usually come to mind: Prague, Vienna and Budapest. This triangle is located in the very heart of Europe and remains one of the most attractive destinations for travelers from all over the world. But how do you organise a flawless multi-destination trip and carefully turn it into an unforgettable experience? Here are some handy tips.
The City of a Thousand Spires
You can start exploring the European triangle by visiting Prague. Nicknamed as the city of a thousand spires due to the Gothic style of its cathedrals, the capital of the Czech Republic has a lot to offer. The truth is that Prague is a city of contrasts which combines architectural modernity with the majesty and glory of medieval towers and orange tiled roofs. The starting point of your journey should be the very heart of Prague, the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and Charles Bridge. The Old Town Square is always lively – musicians play, artists perform, horse carriages stand by awaiting, free artists draw portraits right on the street – all this will immerse you in the real atmosphere of the Middle Ages. However, the whole grandeur of Prague is not limited to just the Old Town. The Czech capital is rich in quaint medieval buildings that literally amaze: St. Vitus Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady before Týn, Prague Castle – and this is just a short list of sites that astound the imagination.
Modern art lovers will also find attractions to their taste. Here, in Prague true fans of the cult group the Beatles can witness a famous Lennon Wall, a tribute to the former Beatle John Lennon. The site has become a symbol of peace where everyone is free to leave their signs, pictures and sentiments. Another curious creation in Prague is called the Dancing House that repeats a silhouette of 2 dancing figures, symbolizing a man and a woman.
And, of course, we all know one more thing that the Czech Republic is famous for, undoubtedly, this thing is beer and Prague is a perfect place to organize an extensive degustation. The offer is incredibly rich from the well-known Staropramen to craft beers from top microbreweries. Every taste will be satisfied. But you can not only have a beer or two, you can even take a beer bath or sauna in the Original Beer Spa, the first one in the world!
Now let’s move to the next stop of the triangle. Probably the most convenient and fast option to travel between the capitals is on a high-speed train Prague to Vienna, the Railjet. Such trains are designed for maximum comfort and equipped with a restaurant car and even a children’s cinema so time onboard will fly incredibly fast. The trip takes only 4 hours so you practically won’t notice how quickly you’ll find yourself in another country.
The World’s Capital of Art and Music
And so you arrive to breathtaking Vienna. The Austrian capital cherishes the stunning legacy of world famous musicians, artists and architects, so there’s no additional need to mention that Vienna is full of marvels to be explored. Start your cultural program in Vienna with the historical center of the city and check out the Vienna Opera, the must-sees of the old town, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Graben Street, the Hofburg Palace Complex, and take a stroll along the tramway ring that passes iconic places like the Parliament, the Town Hall and the University of Vienna. But the cherry on the cake of Vienna’s architecture is Schönbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer residence. Being one of the major tourist attractions in the country, the palace together with its vast gardens reflects the royal spirit of Vienna itself.
Creative youth gets inspired here by the geniuses of the past, but sometimes it’s possible to find more than just memories and rich history. The Museum Quarter is a favorite destination for Viennese youth and, indeed, the attraction from the ‘must-visit’ section. The territory of the complex swarms with various museums (including the Museum of Modern Art – MUMOK), cultural hubs, restaurants, a concert hall and even a nightclub. There’s no doubt that you’ll simply be captured by the flow of exciting events going on.
The good news is that you can get to the third point of the European ‘traveling triangle’ by taking the same Railjet. Moreover, the rail journey between Vienna and Budapest takes even less than the one on the train from Prague to Vienna. You’ll have 2,5 hours to take a breath and relax in a cosy seat before continuing your trip in the capital of Hungary.
Paris of the East
Set gracefully on the two banks of the Danube River, Budapest is home to many UNESCO sites. The so-called “Paris of the East” has a lot in store to entertain you. To make your ‘medieval monument tour’ complete, you can visit the pompous Buda Castle, have a walk along the strikingly imposing symbol of Budapest, the Parliament Building, and, finally, stop by the truly impressive St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
After such extensive sightseeing it would be irrational not to relax in the Palatinus Baths. The Hungarian capital is famous for its thermal spa-centers and Palatinus Baths is the biggest among them. This huge complex covers more than 17 acres and includes a bath with artificial waves, different medicinal and swimming pools for both children and adults.
Now you are free to carry on your holiday tasting some local delicacies. You’ve got to start with Paprikás, a paprika-based stew made with chicken. If you like soups, you also can give a try to such traditional dishes as Lecsó, Hungarian vegetable soup, or Jókai bean soup. As for the sweet things, the one you should definitely try is a street snack called the chimney cake or Kürtőskalács. Crispy exterior, soft inside and coated in cinnamon with sugar, this dessert will be a nice addition to the whole experience.
All in all, the getaway to 3 European capitals will leave you with a fine aftertaste as Prague, Vienna and Budapest have so much to see that it’s really easy to lose track of time. In any case, the smartest way to save your time during your European getaway is to travel on a high-speed train Prague to Vienna and on similar connecting routes which will help you to catch all the opportunities and get the best of the European classics.