When most people think about traveling to Europe, all the major cities like London, Paris and Rome pop into their heads. But there´s so much more beautiful places to visit, so why not be different and give some other cities a try?
I was in Croatia so I decided to do the 3 B trip, they call it this because in Croatian Vienna is actually written Beč. So it was Beč – Bratislava- Budapest in 3 days! If you are short of time this itinerary can help you plan your trip.
The first day started early in my case, after a 5-hour bus from Zagreb, at 11am we started exploring the capital of Austria.
Vienna is a cultural city, be sure to enjoy the mix of old and new. Whether you’re a history buff, lover of architecture, or a foodie, you’ll find something to enjoy during your visit.
There are so many things to do in Vienna that you could spend several days and not have done or seen everything. If your trip is short or you want to cut to the chase, here’s my pick of the top things you must do when you visit Vienna, Austria.
Start visiting Schönbrunn Palace that is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and Austria's most-visited sight, you can choose between the imperial or grand tour and spend hours walking through the gardens, maze, and labyrinth all the way to the Gloriette.
Next stop in Karlskirche, on your way to Belvedere Palace, and is split into an upper and lower section. The palace is primarily a museum rather than a tour of palace rooms.
Afterward, we wandered around Ringstrasse that is also known as The Ring, this boulevard loops around the center of the city. It is an interesting way to see the city if you like to walk and get a feel for the atmosphere and architecture. You can walk to Parliament, the Vienna State Opera, and the Rathaus City Hall where they always do the beautiful Christmas Markets.
Next stop was the Hofburg Palace, the former imperial palace. Part of the palace forms the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria and partially as a museum.
I spent the rest of the day in and out of cafes and exploring the streets of Vienna, around Stephanplatz. Don’t forget to go to St. Stephen's Cathedral, today it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria.
At the end of the day take a 1 hour bus to Bratislava, Slovakia and spend the night (it is a lot cheaper than Vienna).
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Hundertwasser House, Vienna Zoo (tiergarten Schonbrunn), Sigmund Freud Museum, The Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater, Museum of Military History, Opera House (Der Opera Haus) and Albertina.
True, the capital of Slovakia might be not as amazing as Vienna or Budapest, but it definitely has its moments and you only need to give Bratislava a chance and let the city surprise you!
The majority of people visit Bratislava as the day trip from Vienna, giving it just a brief look and focusing only on the major attractions of the Old Town.
It is a very walkable city with a picturesque downtown area filled with restaurants, cafes, shops, and other landmarks. Stroll through Old Town to see Bratislava’s medieval culture come to life, while heading up to the city’s impressive castle located on a giant hill overlooking the Danube River. Across the Danube is the interesting SNP Bridge.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Hviezdoslav Square, Primate´s Palace, Slovak National Theatre, St. Martin´s Cathedral, Roland Fountain, Michael´s Gate, Trinitarian Church, Apollo Bridge, Grasslkovich Palace, Čumil and the other bronze statues.
In the afternoon after exploring as much as you can of Bratislava take a 3 hour train to Budapest, find your hostel/hotel and get ready to explore as much as you can.
Before Budapest existed there were Buda and Pest, two cities located on opposite sides of the Danube. It wasn’t until 1873 that these two cities combined to form today’s Budapest which is a beautiful city full of culture and scenery, with great food and affordable prices.
Walk to the Citadel to see the views of Buda and Pest. The Citadel is a large fortress on Gelert Hill in Buda that you can see from the whole city. The walk to the top looks slightly daunting, but do it - the view is incredible and free!
All of the buildings along the river and all the bridges crossing it are illuminated at night, creating a rather spectacular and breathtaking sight. Go to Buda to see from afar the Hungarian Parliament and Chain Bridge alit with magic of the lights at night (You´ll have amazing pictures, believe me).
Start your day visiting Hősök Tere (Heroes Square), a UNESCO World Heritage site that pays tribute to the 1000-year anniversary of the founding of Hungary, located at the far end of Andrassy Street. Next is the City Park the largest park in Budapest were you can find Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that name, which was built to show the various architectural styles found in Hungary, and has Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque parts.
The Budapest Zoo, the Amusement Park, the Municipal Circus, the Museum of Transport, the legendary Gundel Restaurant and the famous Széchenyi Baths are also located within City Park.
Afterwards, visit St. Stephen's Basilica and then walk across Chain Bridge and climb your way up Castle Hill to my favorite spot Fisherman’s Bastion. The views out over the Danube can’t be beaten, next is Matthias Church; the outside area is incredible.
Don’t forget to visit the Hungarian Parliament and if you have more time also try and see: Houses of Parliament, Hungarian State Opera House and Shoes on the Danube.
After all this I took a 7 hour train back to Zagreb, Croatia. I was so sad to leave Budapest. It for sure one of my favorites cities in Europe and I’m planning to go as many times as possible, so plan to stay and enjoy a little bit more - it’s truly worth it.
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Have you been to this cities or are you planning to go? What would you recommend? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.