Originally Posted by DougViages
We're fairly experienced European travelers, but now we're looking at a Prague/Kracow/Budapest trip. Any suggestions from those who have traveled in this part of the world?
We want to go independently, probably using trains. Where do you suggest that we fly into? Itinerary?
Where are you flying from and when?
I would fly to a cheap European gateway and take a one way cheap flight or train to the first destination. Maybe LON->KRK->PRG->BUD->LON
You can spend a lot of time in any and all of these three cities.
No problem with doing connection with trains.
There is an overnight sleeper train KRK<->PRG with takes about 9 hours, slow, but relatively cheap and it gets from the city center to city center so no need for airport transfers.
Sleeper train KRK<->BUD is little over 10 hours, going through Bratislava.
Polish train timetable: Route Planner
(use national spelling for the station names)
Here is the info PRG<->BUD: Train from Prague to Budapest
I actually recommend not renting a car for any of these cities, but in addition the center of KRK is a no motorized vehicle zone.
In Krakow, don't miss Wawel castle, Czartoryski museum, many old churches, Jewish district, Wieliczka salt mine (an hour outside city center). Auschwitz (German Nazi death camp) is also about an hour away.
In Praha Charles bridge, Hradčany (castle district)
In Budapest in addition to all tourist attractions I recommend Gellért Bath ( Gellert Spa and Bath - Budapest
In Krakow and Praha make sure you taste local beer (and maybe vodka, but Polish vodka is readily available in US)
In Budapest there are wonderful local wines (Tokaj with at least Aszu 5 Puttonyos ( Royal Tokaji Aszu Wine Classification
) is my favorite desert wine, very expensive in US, really reasonable priced there)
All three of these cities have very good and distinct local cuisine:
In Krakow maybe try pierogi, bigos, barszcz
In Praha knedliki
In Budapest gulash and paprikash
All of these cities will have bread, smoked meat & cheese selection way beyond what is available even in big US cities (maybe excluding ethnic pockets like Chicago or some parts of NYC)
I lived in Krakow for a quite a while, so if you have additional questions let me know.