One of the best routes to see Central Europe is 10 days in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. These three cities offer uniquenesses with each of them and all bring out the distinct cultures of Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.
Here is a great Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary that you can follow as you plan your trip to Central Europe.
When trying to decide which one is best among Prague, Budapest, and Vienna to visit, we couldn’t make a decision and with all the advice from those who had been there, we knew we needed to go to all three!
So instead of spending a long time in each city we decided to do 2 days in Prague, 2 days in Vienna, and 2 days in Budapest to be able to see all of them. So here is the best way to spend 10 days in Central Europe!
What You'll Find in This Post
- Prague, Vienna, Budapest Map
- Day 1: Arrive in Prague
- Day 2: Prague
- Day 3: Prague
- Day 4: Prague to Vienna
- Day 5: Vienna
- Day 6: Vienna
- Day 7: Vienna to Budapest
- Day 8: Budapest
- Day 9: Budapest
- Day 10: Depart
- Options for Travel Between Cities
- When to go to Central Europe
- Travel Tips for Central Europe
- Staying Longer in Central Europe
Prague, Vienna, Budapest Map
The above map outlines the location of each city on the Central Europe Itinerary through the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. As you can see they are all relatively close together so a 10 day itinerary is easily manageable.
Day 1: Arrive in Prague
First day, arrive in Prague, one of the Danube River cities, and be absorbed by the fairytale city. Settle into your accommodations and get your bearings for the city by doing a little exploring. Grab a local map, review a guidebook or wander the streets by your hotel to see a few sights.
Depending on when you arrive, the first day in a city is always great to seek out a great restaurant to try local food.
Where to Stay in Prague?
There are many hotel options close to the main attractions. I would recommend either to stay in Lesser Quarter, Jewish Quarter or Old Town. Honestly, anywhere in the Prague 1 area will work perfectly for 3 nights in Prague. We stayed in the Jewish Quarter at this hotel and found the location to be good.
Day 2: Prague
Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Lesser Town & Charles Bridge
The first full day in Prague go see the famous Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane which are all in Lesser Town. This will fill up most of your day exploring the castle, architecture and history of the city.
A Prague itinerary would be incomplete without walking along the Charles Bridge and admiring the Danube River while making your way across. If you have the chance to visit Charles Bridge both during the day and evening it is very much worth the effort since they view are different during the times.
Day 3: Prague
Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, New Town & Wenceslas Square
The second day in Prague will take you through the Old Town Square where you will find the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Hall. It’s the place where everyone seems to gather with buildings that line the square with remarkable artwork to admire. Enjoy lunch at a cafe and enjoy the atmosphere.
Afterwards, head over to New Town and Wenceslas Square and seek out some amazing street sculptures and try the Prague sweet treat of Trdenik.
- Day 1 in Prague is indicated in Yellow.
- Day 2 in Prague is indicated in Purple.
Day 4: Prague to Vienna
Day 4 on the Central Europe itinerary you will travel from Prague, Czech Republic to Vienna, Austria. The two cities are approximately 330 km apart and should take less than half day for travel time.
Arrive in the city of music, Vienna and check into your hotel with enough time to see the city at night and enjoy dinner.
Where to Stay in Vienna?
I would recommend staying in either the Inner Stadt (District 1) or MuseumQuartier (District 7) areas of Vienna for the closest proximity to attractions, restaurants and sights. We stayed at the Wieden (District 4), which also worked great for being close to the train station. This was the hotel we stayed at in Vienna and would recommend the area if you are taking the train and more economical but a bit further out from the center of Vienna.
Day 5: Vienna
Schonbrunn Palace, Old Town, Butterfly House & State Opera House
For your first day in Vienna, you must visit the UNESCO world heritage site of the Schonbrunn Palace. This exquisite palace and gardens are breathtaking as you take a tour of the Schonbrunn Palace and grounds.
In the afternoon, visit Old Town (Innere Stadt) and walk along the streets to enjoy the architecture and make your way through to the Butterfly House on this Vienna itinerary.
Finish your evening in Vienna by attending a performance at the Vienna State Opera House and enjoying all the lights and atmosphere of Vienna city centre.
Day 6: Vienna
House of Music, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Burggarten & Museum Quarter
Spend the day amongst the music of Vienna and all that inspired great composers. Visit the House of Music and then make your way to St.Stephen’s Cathedral.
Wander around Burggarten with all the beautiful gardens and then over to the Museum Quarter to see some amazing monuments that explain the history of Vienna.
- Day 1 in Vienna is indicated in Yellow.
- Day 2 in Vienna is indicated in Purple.
Day 7: Vienna to Budapest
The next travel day for this itinerary will take you from Vienna to Budapest, which is approximately 250 km. Another half day travel time to get moved from one city to the next.
Where to Stay in Budapest?
I would recommend staying anywhere that is a 5-10 minute walk from the Danube River. All the main attractions to be visited on your first time in Budapest is centred around the river.
Two areas that would work well for 3 nights in Budapest are either District 5, which is close to the Parliament Buildings on the Pest side, or District 1, which is close to Buda Castle on the Buda side. We stayed at this hotel in District 5 and the location was fantastic!
Day 8: Budapest
Budapest has the famous Danube River running through its city center. For 2 days in Budapest, it is best to split your days to explore attractions on each side of the river. Pest side on one day and Buda on the other day.
Hungarian Parliament Building, Thermal Bath, City Park, Elizabeth Square & Danube River Night Cruise
Spend the first day of your Budapest itinerary on the Pest side of the city. Enjoy the Parliament Buildings, Szechenyi Thermal Baths, City Park and Elizabeth Square during the day.
Then for the evening hop on a Danube River Evening Cruise and see the spectacular lights of Budapest from the Danube River. A must see in Budapest!
Day 9: Budapest
Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Funicular, Funiculare & Chain Bridge
The second day of Budapest should be spent on the Buda side, which has the UNESCO world heritage site of the Buda Castle. Visit the beautiful Matthais Church and get views over Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion.
Ride the Buda Hill Funicular to reach the top and get views of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge as you make your way up.
Either before or after your visit to Buda Hill, walk across the Chain Bridge and enjoy the views of either side of the Danube river and all the river cruises coming underneath.
- Day 1 in Budapest is indicated in Purple.
- Day 2 in Budapest is indicated in Yellow.
Day 10: Depart
This will conclude your Budapest, Vienna, Prague trip! Either head back home after an amazing 10 days in Central Europe, or if you are lucky enough to keep travelling then onto your next destination in Eastern Europe!
Options for Travel Between Cities
There are a few different options to travel from Prague to Vienna and Vienna to Budapest.
If you are going to travel by train consider staying by the train station for your accommodations. We went from Vienna to Budapest by train and really enjoyed travelling by train.
We purchased our tickets that day when we arrived and researched for an early departure on the train website. There are trains that you can take all the way from Prague to Budapest and make the stop in Vienna on the way.
Hired Driver Or Shuttle Service
If you have more than two people, hiring a driver can actually be more cost-effective than by train.
We hired a private driver from Prague to Vienna for 4 people and it was cheaper than taking the train. We got picked up and dropped off at our hotels in the cities so we saved from cost for taxi/bus in each of those stops. It took approximately the same time, got to see the country side and could arrange whatever time worked best for us.
If you live in Europe, then travelling by car can make the most sense and save you money on transportation. But, if you are not from Europe and travelling from another country I wouldn’t advise taking a car unless you are doing a longer European road trip. In that case, you can check out some pricing of car rental here and what company we used when we were in Europe.
Public transportation is fantastic in all of these cities and most of the attractions are all easily accessible and most likely your vehicle will be parked for the 2 days in each city. Parking will cost you money for your vehicle as well.
You can fly between each of the cities, but I wouldn’t advise it as you will take more time than any other transportation mode.
If you are looking for your flights into Prague you can search for deals here and set up notifications for price drops to get the best rate.
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As I’ve been trying to sort through all our photos to find great ones to put up in our home (which are bare walls right now since we moved in), I’ve realized I didn’t have one photo on our Instagram with Budapest 🤦♀️ How did that happen? How do I miss an entire country we’ve been to? Well, the reality was the following week I started homeschooling the kids on the road… which took priority over posting photos. So here’s one from 🇭🇺 Hungary! #budapest #hungary #szechenyibaths
When to go to Central Europe
The Spring (April-June) and Autumn (September – November) are usually the best time to go to Central Europe because the temperatures are more comfortable for touring around the cities. The shoulder seasons also have fewer tourists, shorter queues and usually better hotel rates.
Travel Tips for Central Europe
- All of the cities (Vienna, Budapest, Prague) are all in countries that part of the Schengen Area, so most travellers don’t need a Visitors Visa as you have up to 90 days in any 180 day period in these countries.
- Currencies – Hungary is Forint, Austria is Euro, and Czech Republic is Koruna. Be sure to exchange your Foriant and Koruna in each of the countries back to the Euro before leaving, as some places further away in Europe will not exchange the currency.
- Don’t forget to have travel insurance for when you are visiting from out of the country. We use World Nomads for our insurance and highly recommend it. Really easy to get a quote! You can read our entire review of World Nomads for travel insurance here.
- If you are looking for apartments to rent in each of the cities you could use Airbnb, we used this for many other stays in Europe. If you haven’t used Airbnb before you can claim a credit here!
- We also buy a guide book for every place we visit, which helps make it easy to look things up, a map and information about the places we are visiting without using phone data. Some of our favourites are Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Rick Steve’s for Europe.
In what order should I visit Vienna Budapest and Prague?
This Prague, Vienna, Budapest itinerary can be reversed if you are wanting to go from Budapest first and make your way up north, but regardless Vienna should be in between Budapest and Prague due to location. My suggestion would be to check and compare flights to see what could be the cheapest route.
Staying Longer in Central Europe
11 Days in Central Europe or more?
Day Trips from either Budapest, Vienna or Prague can be a great way to add on 1 more day or 2 more days to your itinerary. There are so many great day tours that you can take to explore another city or area.
More Planning Information for Your Trip to Europe
- United Kingdom: 5 Days in London
- Croatia: 2 Week Itinerary of Croatia
- France: Beach life in Biarritz, France
- Malta: 2 Week Itinerary of Malta
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Even if palaces aren’t your thing, the gardens alone should take you to visit Schonnburn Palace! Did you know this was the first place #Mozart had his first concert – at age 6! #Schonnbrunn #vienna #Austria #familytravel #amazing . . . . #Passportkids #familytravel #kidstravel #ftb100 #tinytravels #familytrip #familytraveltribe #tbscommunity #havekidswilltravel #tmom #lpkids #travelwithkids #familymemories #kidswhotravel #worldschooling #unschooling #trekarooing #familyjaunts #travelkids #cntraveler #travelingwithkids
We did this 10 day Central Europe itinerary of Vienna, Prague and Budapest during our European leg of our 1 year of fulltime travel with our kids. If you are curious about all the places we went to in the world you can check out our World Trip Itinerary here.