Central Europe Itinerary – Prague to Istanbul
Central Europe 11 days Itinerary – Prague Vienna Budapest Istanbul
Starting location: Bangalore
Tour Duration: 11 Days
Travel Month: May
Number of People: Total 3 families 8 people (6 adults and 2 kids)
Delhi Airport: 1 Night
Prague: 2 nights
Vienna: 2 nights
Budapest: 2 nights
Prague Near Airport: 1 Night
Istanbul: 2 Nights
Expenditure for Central Europe tour (All inclusive): INR 2,89,000/- (2a+1k / 6yrs) + shopping INR1,52,000/- = INR 4,41,000/-
Planning is an important and exciting part of a tour. It imbibes a lot of positive energy and motivation to our daily life. You must plan your holidays for 6 months in advance.
We started our planning for Central Europe in London in the month of Oct. We went to London and stayed in a friend's house. There we started our planning to travel in the month of May. We got a good amount of time to optimize the cost of travel. That's why our travel cost worked out very cost-effective.
Statutory Warning: Please don't go to Istanbul with your wife, your pocket will be empty, you can see our Istanbul shopping expenditure. Shopping list was very big. After our visit my wife told me, she got less time to do shopping in Istanbul, and she needed to go there one more time.
We planned our Central Europe tour well. We were travelling on the summer holidays, air tickets were cheap. The Air tickets were booked in the month of Jan.
Our Route was
- BLR à DEL à Istanbul àPrague
- Prague àIstanbul
- Istanbul à BOM à BLR.
We booked via Turkish airlines for our Central Europe Tour. If you ask me, I rate Turkish airlines as 7/10.
- Prague: Pension Alabastr for 2 nights, 190€. without parking. Very small budget hotel, not very clean, good location and no breakfast.
- Vienna: Ferienwohnung in lobau Vienna for 2 nights, 150€ with parking. 1BHK apartment, huge space, good sleep, far from city, very good kitchen with utensils, refrigerator, washing machine. Enjoyed our stay. Felt like living in a village.
- Budapest: Planet Holiday Central Apartments, for 2 nights, 133€. without Parking. 1BHK apartment huge space, special additional bed, good sleep, good location, no breakfast.
- Prague: Apartments Praha 6, for 1 night, 80€ with Parking. Good location very near to the airport, huge space, good sleep.
- Istanbul: The Million Stone Hotel – Special Category, for 2 nights, 590TRY. King size bed, good sleep, good location, average breakfast, no Lift/.
Guideline for Turkey visa: If you have a valid USA visa or Schengen Visa, only e-Visa will suffice. We had Schengen Visa with 1-year validity, our Schengen visa was valid for this trip. You can apply online pay the fee and take the printout. https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
We booked the car from Prague Airport for 1 week. We booked it from Budget (Avis). I had a very good experience with them on my previous trip.
The documents required to book the car in Prague
- Driving license (Home Country)
- You do not need an International driving permit (IDP)d to book the car. You require IDP to drive the car.
For all related documents regarding “Car Hire” and “IDP” please go through my previous blog.
Our flight was from Bangalore to Prague via Delhi and Istanbul. From Bangalore to Delhi it was Air India and from Delhi to Prague it was Turkish Airlines. We checked in luggage for Prague. The immigration happened in Delhi. From Bangalore to Delhi it was a domestic travel.
We started our Central Europe journey one day in advance from Bangalore. Our 1st Flight (from Bangalore to Delhi) was at 21:10. It reached Delhi at 00:10 in the early morning. Our next flight was at 06:10. We have not booked any hotel in Delhi as the gap between 1st and 2nd flights were only 6 hours. We had membership in “Plaza Premier lounge” and we spent time there.
Our 3rd Flight from Istanbul was at 12:05 local time. We reached Istanbul at 10:55 am (25 minutes late). We got very less time to change the flight, somehow, we managed to board the 3rd Aircraft.
We reached Prague at 13:40 local time. We had 2 check-in luggage. Unfortunately, we received only one, other check-in luggage did not arrive. The reason was the late arrival of the previous flight, they couldn't manage to put all the luggage. This kind of situation is not new to us, we always keep some clothes in our hand luggage to manage.
Our friends were travelling from London and their arrival time was at 15:05. We spent a good amount of time to track the luggage. Cumulatively, the waiting time for our friends was less.
Car Pick up was very easy and smooth. We booked a parking space very near to the hotel. You can book a parking space online.
After a long journey, we reached Hotel at 16:30. We were very tired. We took some rest and started out at 18:00. In summer daylight in Europe is available 21:30 at night, that's the greatest advantage.
In the evening, we went to the “Church of Our Lady before Týn”. The church graces the square with its Gothic towers, soaring 80 m into the sky. The site's original building was an 11th-century Romanesque church built for foreign merchants who came to Tyn Courtyard for trade.
Our next destination in our Central Europe Tour was Prague's astronomical clock “orloj” that reveals Babylonian time, Old Bohemian time, German time and sidereal time. It even displays times for sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon and the sun's position in the zodiac. Crafted in 1410, the clock has been repaired and maintained for over 600 years, making it the 3rd oldest clock in the world.
We walked to Prague's iconic landmark, Charles Bridge. The 600-year-old bridge connects old town and Lesser Town over the River Vltava. King Charles IV commissioned the bridge in 1357. Thirty Baroque statues line the sides of the pedestrian bridge along with myriad vendor's stalls, musicians, performance artists and beggars.
Local Transport: Taxi and walk
Food: Good European Food at Dinner.
Morning after breakfast visited Prague Castle ‐ towering above the city, like a sprawling complex, not exactly like a single defensive building. The castle buildings span centuries and consist of a royal palace, a cathedral and three churches, a basilica, a monastery, defensive towers, royal stables, a tiny lane where craftsmen worked and magnificent gardens.
Prague Castle began as a wooden fortress with earthen bulwarks in the 9th century; by the 11th century, it included a royal palace and the 14th century saw the beginning of St. Vitus Cathedral. The cathedral in the castle complex is a jewel in Prague's crown, a superb example of Gothic architecture. Kings and emperors are buried here. You can watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour.
Next, we went to Josefov, Prague's former Jewish Quarter, is the oldest active synagogue in Europe, the Old‐New Synagogue. Legend tells that stones from the Second Temple in Jerusalem were brought to Prague by angels to build the walls of the synagogue. Prague's first gothic building was completed in 1270 and holds divine services.
Our Next stop was Dancing House, created by Czech architect Valdo Milunic and Canadian Frank Gehry, standing in strict contrast to the classical architecture surrounding it. This remarkable structure contains dynamic and static elements, and resembles a female dancer swaying in the arms of her male partner, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the architectural world.
Our Last stop of the day was Wenceslas Square, a shopper's paradise and haven. Set off as Prague's horse market by Charles IV in 1348, it is like a boulevard not a traditional square. Much of Czech's20th century history happened in Wenceslas Square. Located in New Town, the square is home to bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, shops and banks, making it the city's entertainment, nightlife & commercial district.
Local Transport: Tram, Bus, Taxi and lot of Walk. Food: MCD Lunch, Local Delicacy in the evening. We enjoyed late evening.
After breakfast drive to Vienna (3½ hours), continuing with our Central European Tour. We parked our car in a rail station outside the city and took the train to enter the city. We have started our tour from St. Stephen's Cathedral, known as Stephansdom reaches high into the Viennese skyline. Beginnings as a parish church in the 12th century, today it is the home church for the Catholic archbishop in Vienna. The church was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt in 7 years.
Next stop was Vienna State Opera House, one of the world's largest & splendid theatres has hosted many of the world's most prominent composers, conductors, soloists, and dancers. Operatic and ballet performances are staged 300 times a year, fueled by an obsession with music that goes as far back as 1625. At the end, you must visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It has played an integral part of the Austrian government scene, built in the 13th century. It has been home to some of Europe's most powerful royalty over the centuries, including the Hapsburgs and rulers of the Holy Roman and Austro‐Hungarian empires. Today it is a museum and home to the president of Austria.
I realised that I have not charged my camera battery. No photo and I forgot to collect photos from my friends.
Local Tranport : Train, Bus, taxi.
Food: Lunch MCD, Pizza party at night in the apartment, As we were living in Village we went almost 8-10 km to pick Piza from highway. It was fun and in between GPS signal lost.
After breakfast we started with spectacular 18th‐century Schönbrunn Palace. It is worth visiting for its magnificent architecture, and beautiful park‐like setting. The palace is one of Vienna's top attractions. It contains about 1441 rooms, including those used by Empress Maria Theresa.
Next halt at Naschmarkt where hundreds of vendors flock to this to sell fruit, meat, dairy products and other local food items. This open-air extravaganza is considered one of the largest of its kind, and it is a great intro into everyday life in Vienna. One will find food stalls and small eateries throughout.
Afternoon post lunch visited the Belvedere is an integral part of Vienna's historic scene, consisting of several palaces and an orangery that dates back to the late 17th century. It consists of the Baroque palaces, the Lower and Upper Belvedere, palace stables and the Orangery. Prince Eugene of Savoy had the complex built for this summer home. The Belvedere is stunning to look at night, all lit up.
Local Tranport : Car, Train, Bus, taxi.
Food : Europian food at lunch and dinner.
After breakfast drive to Budapest (2¾ hours), the next part of our Central Europe journey. We'll start with Buda Castle built in the 13th century, the first castle was located on the Castle Hill to provide protection from attacks by Mongols and Tartars. The massive, 18th-century Neo‐Baroque style structure boasts about 200 rooms, set out in a symmetrical layout centred on the 62‐meter‐high central dome facing the Danube. The castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
Next Fisherman's Bastion the exact spot where the local fishermen's guild built their defence installations in the Middle Ages, is the spectacular Fisherman's Bastion. Built behind the Matthias Church between 1895 and 1902, its seven towers, colonnades and embrasures were designed in Neo‐Romanesque style by Frigyes Schulek. From here you'll find some of the best views over the city.
Within the vicinity is Trinity Square and a prominent sight in Budapest, Matthias Church completed in 1269. Reflecting a distinctly Baroque style, this iconic Catholic Church served as a mosque on the Turkish reign. Its side aisles were extended and given polygonal ends in the 14th century.
Afternoon visit St. Stephen's Basilica, the largest church of Budapest. In 1905, architects completed the Neo‐classicist style building. It took 54 years of planning. It is 96 m high, the highest building of Budapest with a capacity of 8,000 persons. Rich design characterizes the interior; the huge windows radiate dignity. The church of Catholic worship earned its name after St. Stephen, the first Christian king of Hungary. Stroll on Budapest's most famous boulevard Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage‐listed street lined with expensive shops, embassies, and beautiful villas. Watched a performance at Hungarian State Opera – a masterpiece of Miklós Ybl. The Opera opened in 1884. The building is a splendid example of the neo‐Renaissance style.
Local Tranport : Metro.
Food : Europian food at lunch and dinner.
Post breakfast starts with the impressive Heroes' Square, largely the work of architect Albert Schickedanz. Highlights include the Millennium Monument, a 36m column crowned by a figure of the Archangel Gabriel and unveiled in the late 19th century. Around the plinth, a group of bronze horsemen represents the conquering Magyar Prince Árpád and six of his fellow warriors.
Budapest abounds in thermal springs with healing qualities. Enjoy bath at Széchenyi Thermal Bath, one of the largest and the most popular baths thanks to its size and stunning architecture of the Széchenyi Bath, like swimming in a beautiful palace. Services include numerous indoor and outdoor pools, a thermal and a wellness department.
Afternoon visit the landmark building Parliament House. Imre Steindl designed the architectural masterpiece in Kossuth Square following the splendid neo‐Gothic style. Today, it is the largest building in Hungary and the second largest parliament building in Europe. The idea of a new parliament building popped up after the unification of Óbuda, Buda and Pest in 1873; it finished and inaugurated in 1896. It boasts 691 rooms and an impressive 19 kilometres of corridors and stairs.
We walked along banks of the River Danube, flowing from north to south. In places it is almost 640m in width. There are many places from which to enjoy views of this magnificent, majestic river. On the banks of the Danube one will find the chilling Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial, a series of 60 pairs of steel sculpted shoes commemorating Jews shot here in WWII. Walk on Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the world‐famous landmark of Budapest and Hungary. It earned its name from one of the major supporters and facilitators of its construction. Chain Bridge was the first permanent bridge between Buda and Pest and the first one across the Danube built between 1839 and 1849.
Local Transport: Metro, “City Sightseeing” Hop on Hop off bus, river cruise at night (Spectacular View). Food: Europian food at lunch and dinner.
After breakfast drive to Bratislava (2¼ hours), the next destination of our Central Europe Tour. We parked our car a few km away from the city and took the bus. We started our visit from Novy Most (SNP Bridge), completed and opened to traffic in 1971. Situated about 300 feet above the Danube River with stunning panoramic views of the city with its flying‐saucer shaped structure housing a restaurant called “UFO”.
Next visit the Second Church of St. Elizabeth or the Blue Church (Modry kostolik), built from 1907‐1913 with the design of Hungarian architect Odon Lechner. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. It has one nave and a cylindrical tower designed by the Hungarian Art Nouveau style with bright and beautiful blue majolica tiles. Glazed blue tiles adorn the roof.
Next, we visited the Primate's Palace. It was built in 1778 and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Bratislava. Various marble statues & a large cast-iron cardinal's hat tops up its pale pink and white exterior. The hat is a symbol of the Archbishop and of the various cardinals who lived here for years. Large oil portraits of Hapsburg royalty adorn the palace, including one from 1742 of Marie Therese at her coronation.
Next stop is the Old Town Hall ‐ located in the heart of the Old Town is an assembly of precious historical buildings. The compound has developed from the 13th century. The tower served as a private house of Mayor Jakob. The hall underwent renovations in Renaissance style after the earthquake of 1599. In the 18th century, the town‐hall tower went through reconstructions in Baroque style.
Day 8 Continued…
Post lunch visit St. Martin's Cathedral‐ Bratislava's foremost Gothic structure. The architects and designers followed the Romanesque style to construct the church in the 13th century. In the late 14th century, the architects replaced the style by a 3‐nave Gothic Dome in the late 14th century. It underwent several lengthy reconstructions in centuries. In the 16th century, the Dome became the coronation church of Hungarian kings. Continue to drive to Prague (3½ hours) and check-in at Apartment Praha 6.
It was the final day of our Central Europe group tour and time to say goodbye to all. Our flight was the next day very early in the morning.
Local Tranport : Car, bus, Special Bus for castle trip .
Food : Europian food for lunch, and Special dinner Near to our Apartment.
Early morning we started our trip to Istanbul. Historical place a lot of things to explore, shopping, and delicious food. After check-in the hotel, we started exploring the city. I am not describing the history here. The city is rich in history, if I write it will be a big book.
Almost half of the day we spent shopping and ended our day with a dinner cruise. Belly dancing show in Cruise was special.
Local Transport: Taxi from Airport and Metro. Food: Local food extremely delicious, Seafood, Non-veg are delicious. It is difficult to pick and choose.
After breakfast, we started exploring the city. Bosphorus Bridge is the bridge between Asia and Europe. We explored a lot of Mosque and other Places. We took the “Big Bus” Tour and passed through Bosphorus Bridge. Prominent places were
- The Blue Mosque
- Hagia Sophia
- Bosphorus Bridge
- Grand Bazaar
End of our Central Europe Tour and back to home.
Note: I faced challenges for luggage but only for a day in our Central Europe Tour. Next day morning we picked our luggage from the Airport. This part of Europe is cheaper than in other parts of Europe. Prague is very good, Budapest is excellent. I felt 2 Days are not enough for Istanbul, need more time to explore and shopping of course.
A full time hard core professional and an avid traveller, exploring the world in his unique fashion. Loves visiting places to excavate the hidden treasures.
6 thoughts on “Central Europe Itinerary – Prague to Istanbul”
Nice…we missed our Budapest Vienna Prague trip this year. Next when we plan, will add Istanbul to the itinerary too. Thanks for the article 👍🏻
wonderful. thats well compiled with pictures and details
I have to say this is a very cool route!
Fantastic trip 👍🏽 good choice
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Very nice article, it helped me a lot to explore. I am an entrepreneur by profession and a traveler by heart
I along with my friends had already booked a return flight from the Pegasus flight however we wanted to stay there for a couple more days. So, I dialed the Pegasus Reservation Number to speak to a representative. He comprehensively told me about the Pegasus flight change fee and its policies.
Istanbul is one of the best places I visited.