Heading To Visit Central Europe For 6 Weeks
We planned our trip to visit Central Europe for 6 weeks in the Spring. The first part of our trip from Prague to Budapest was done with a small land tour group. This was our first long group tour. But it worked out so well we booked another group tour in China. Our local tour guide ensured we saw many things in this part of Central Europe that we may have missed if we booked this as a river cruise.
From Budapest we headed off on our own. Our first stops were in Austria. Vienna, Salzburg and a day trip to Hallstatt were a perfect introduction to Austria.
From there we went to Switzerland for 10 days. Stops in Zurich, Bern and then Geneva gave us very different city views. Day trips to the Rhine Falls from Zurich and then to Interlaken from Bern provided teaser views of the stunning outdoor beauty of Switzerland.
We finished our visit to Central Europe with a few days in Milan. From there it was an easy direct flight home to Toronto. Such an amazing variety of sights on our visit to Central Europe for 6 weeks.
Flying To Prague
We enjoyed our first 747 flight on the Lufthansa trip from Toronto. We booked business class and made sure our seats were on the top level. The crew on the upper deck were attentive and service was good. At times if felt like we were on our own private plane!
We are so used to flying business class in lie-flat pods that the recliner seats on this plane were much less satisfying. I had the aisle but David was on the window. If he wanted out, he had to climb over top of me. It would be much worse if we shared seats with a stranger. And on the lower deck, the middle row had 3 seats which was so much worse.
We departed about 30 minutes late but the pilot made up time in the air. There were long delays in Frankfurt both when we arrived and left. A reminder to choose Munich for connections in Germany if possible.
A quick hop got us to Prague in under an hour. While we booked Business Class this was probably the worst seats we ever had. We were crammed together so that my knees almost touched the seat in front. And of course, that guy reclined! A reminder that paying for Business Class for short hops in Europe may not be worth it at all!
We Enjoyed Prague For 8 Days
The first 5 days we wandered in Prague on our own. We enjoyed the views from above when we visited the Petrin Tower. We found many ways to enjoy the Vltava River running through the city. One day we spent the afternoon in an Absinthe Bar and learned more about the “Green Devil”.
We then joined the Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) tour group. Our great local guide provided a much more thorough introduction to the architecture and history of Prague.
This first stop in Prague was a great start when we visited Central Europe for 6 weeks.
Exploring More Of The Czech Republic
There were some advantages when we did this land tour with a local guide. We saw the small village of Pisek and then did an awesome overnight stop at a local inn in Slavonice.
One day trip took us for a tour of the local Budweiser Brewery. And then we learned more about the time of Russian occupation when we visited the Pribram Uranium mine internment camp. For a change of pace, we enjoyed a treetop stroll on the Lipno Treetop Walk. And on another day trip we visited the beautiful Lednice Palace.
Most people visited the charming town of Cesky Krumlov for a day trip. But we stayed for 2 nights in Cesky Krumlov and enjoyed this charming town when the day tourists disappeared.
We saw so many different facets of the Czech Republic when we visited Central Europe for 6 weeks.
A Quick Visit To Bratislava
We had only one short day in Slovakia in the city of Bratislava. But even on a short stop we were charmed. We toured the town and saw many of the main sights.
From Bratislava it was an easy day trip within Slovakia, into Austria or to nearby Hungarian towns. We liked Bratislava enough that we would consider this as a base for future trips in Central Europe.
Finishing In Budapest On Our Visit Central Europe For 6 Weeks
On our way to Budapest, we made a stop in the town of Gyor in Hungary. We enjoyed our walk through this small town before we headed to the big city.
We had several days in Budapest on the Pest side with our OAT group. Local guides in the city provided a great overview of this interesting and beautiful city. On our last night with the group, we went high on the Gellert Hill and watched the sun set over the city. And then headed for a night cruise on the Danube as the city sparkled around us. It was the perfect way to wrap up our group tour from Prague to Budapest.
After we left the OAT group, we moved to a smaller boutique hotel on the Buda side and explored in Budapest some more. We went high to the Buda Castle and St Stephens Cathedral.
It was a busy 5 days in Budapest when we visited Central Europe for 6 weeks.
Austria For A Week
While we were still on our group tour, we did a day trip into Austria and visited the Roman ruins at Carnuntum. We were always amazed when we saw the breadth of the Roman expansion.
When we left Budapest, we took the train to the first stop on our stay in Austria. Vienna was a beautiful city with so much to see and do. We explored some of the city sights and even did a trip to the vineyards in the surrounding area. We got our first introduction of the music and musicians of Austria.
From Vienna we moved to Salzburg. This smaller city was easy to explore on foot. We took the funicular high to the Hohensalzburg Castle for views out over the city.
From Salzburg a day trip took us to the Austrian Alps and the land associated with the Sound of Music. We enjoyed our day trip in the delightful lake town of Hallstatt. We started with a trip up the funicular for views from above. And finished with a walk though the town and along the lake.
We enjoyed the variety in the sights in Austria on our trip in Central Europe for 6 weeks.
A Great First Visit To Switzerland
We planned several stops on our 10 days in Switzerland. From Salzburg in Austria, we continued by train to Zurich. The weather turned and many days were grey with some rain. We relaxed a little in Zurich but were not deterred as we explored the Zurich sights.
On the sunny day, we took the train for a day trip. We enjoyed a delightful visit to the small town of Schaffhausen. And then headed to the Rhine Falls.
From Zurich we went on to Bern. We explored the old town of Bern and found a funicular up the Gurten Mountain for panoramic views.
For a day trip, we took the train into the Swiss Alps and visited Interlaken. We started with a trip up to Harder Kulm for stunning views of the Alps and the town below. We then strolled through this quaint town. And resolved to return and explore the Alps more from Interlaken as a base.
Our final stop on our visit to Switzerland was in Geneva. A pampering stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel De La Paix provided a lakeside view over this city that charmed us instantly. We explored different parts of Geneva as we wandered. But knew Geneva would be another great base for a return visit to head into the French Alps at Chamonix.
We saw a lot on our visit to Switzerland on this trip in Central Europe for 6 weeks. But we left with a long list of places for a return trip.
Our Visit To Central Europe For 6 Weeks Finished In Milan
It was easy to take the train from Geneva to Milan, Italy for our last stop. We again booked a pampering stay and enjoyed the hotel amenities at the Westin Palace in Milan. The Milan Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II were on the top of our list of things to do on this visit to Milan.
We wandered in Milan and enjoyed these final tastes of Italy. It was a great relaxing way to finish our trip in Central Europe for 6 weeks.
Milan was a gateway city with direct flights to Toronto. So it was the perfect choice to finish our trip in Central Europe for 6 weeks. We enjoyed our Air Canada Business Class flight home. After 6 weeks, it was time to get home.
An Amazing Trip To Central Europe For 6 Weeks
The first part of our trip as part of the Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) group worked out better than we expected. Our great local guide added so much as we travelled from Prague to Budapest. But after two weeks of group travel, we were excited when we headed off on our own.
Our travels in Austria and then in Switzerland were a great first taste test for us. We saw many interesting spots along the way. But left much for return visits.
When we finally reached our final short stop in Milan, we enjoyed a small taste of Italy. That only reminded us of how much we loved Italy. And needed to plan another visit there.
Would you follow our path in Central Europe for 6 weeks? What should we plan for a return visit?
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Although you did not rush it, you saw a lot in your 6 weeks in Central Europe. Great that you also made it to smaller destinations like Hallstadt and Carnuntum. Especially Carnuntum is a fascinating historical place not many Europeans know about. We visited years ago on a Danube cycling trip. If you come back for another trip to Central Europe I would suggest more mountains in Switzerland and perhaps also some cities in Germany, like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg.
We absolutely need to plan a long trip to Germany. It has been on our list for a long time. Spending more time in the mountains in Switzerland would also be on the plan. A great taste test that had us wanting more.
Central Europe is beautiful. I would love to visit these counties especially Italy, Switzerland, Budapest. 6 weeks is pretty good time to explore the places. Let see when can I visit all these countries.
We were happy we added Austria and Switzerland to our group tour. It gave us another great mix of countries and a different experience. But so much more for a return visit.
Those are 6 weeks well spent. I have only been able to do bits and pieces of your itinerary. Switzerland being the main. Austria charmed me but sadly I could not go beyond Innsbruck. I vow to return to that and cover it with Prague which has for long been on my list. I am gonna book mark this for a lot of tips on how to best plan these two major countries – Czech and Austria. As always a lovely post.
I am glad to help fill in your travel plans for Central Europe. So many great stops on our travels.
When I think of it, even though Milan, Austria and Prague have always been on my list, I have never visited Central Europe. I think it is definitely time I start planning for my next big travel. I know that they are extremely beautiful and have so much of architecture and history. Its amazing how you traveled for 6 weeks and saw these pretty places.
You won’t be disappointed on a visit to Central Europe. We found so many gems on our travels. And many places to return to.
This sounds like an amazing trip! I didn’t think to stop at an Absinthe Bar while in Prague, missed opportunities are such a bummer! I feel in love with Salzburg. It rained when I was visiting and is on my list for a return trip. Thank you for introducing me to Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT)
I hope you do get to visit and spend some time in Central Europe. The first part of our trip with OAT gave us some great insights into the stops between Prague and Budapest. Definitely a group to check out if you are looking for a land tour.
What an amazing experience! Exploring Europe is always so fun! It’s great that you were able to see and do so much, and that you had time to explore each place. Now I want to plan a trip!
We loved the chance to road trip in Central Europe and spend a little more time in each place.
These cities are so beautiful! Prague really has some cool and interesting architecture!
The trip through Central Europe really was an architectural gem!
Goodness you really managed to see a lot in those six weeks! What an incredible adventure. I am particularly jealous about the section of your holiday in Switzerland. It may be pricy, but goodness that scenery is incredible isn’t it!? Austrian mountains look fantastic too! <3
Each of places we visited were so different. We really just got a small taste test of Switzerland. But enough to know we want to go back.
Oh what a dream! 6 weeks in Europe- yes please! We too enjoyed Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights. It’s the only way to experience it. We loved the restaurants and the cozy atmosphere. I’d love to see more of Switzerland and Budapest is definitely on my list!
On our travels we have learned to spend time in the smaller touristy spots like Cesky Krumlov. A great way to enjoy the towns when the tourists leave.
Central Europe has been a favorite of ours having visited twice in succession. Our next trip as you suggest would be based around Slovakia which we found in pictures to be beautiful again. Budapest is also in our list even if it is for a day tour if we are short of time.
We definitely want to go back and spend much more time in Slovakia. So much more to discover.
Czech Republic, Hungary, etc are great places to travel. My list has Prague on the top. BTW, that Pizza picture of yours at the end of post made me hungry. Looks so tempting!
We were glad we got a long stay in Prague. It was a great spot to start this 6 week trip around Central Europe.
This looks like such a fantastic trip. It seems like you were able to see a lot in 6 weeks without being rushed. I would love to visit some of these places one day, especially Hallstatt.
The six weeks was a great time frame to see so many different spots. But even with that, we left with a long list of places to visit for a return trip.
This looks like such a great trip – and six weeks is quite luxurious 😉 Since I’m based in Northern Europe, I’m rather attracted to the South. Once I’m retired and travelling, I’ll travel Europe exclusively by train for environmental reasons and because it’s the epitome of slow travel. Since it’s possible to travel by train from Germany to China, I’m sure I’ll be good within the European borders. However, first I’m putting Asia and the Americas on my retired-list – I want to have them outta the way as long as I’m fit 😉
I understand that strategy of putting places on your retired list to visit that you can do when fit. We sure love train travel in Europe and hope to spend longer times there. It might be one of the few places that are easier to travel in the coming years.
What a great itinerary, including bits of every country. However, Czech Republic has a special part in my heart as I was a student there and the country is absolutely gorgeous.
It was great that we had a local guide from Prague to Budapest. He was able to show us places others didn’t see and give us far more insight into what we saw.
Central Europe for six weeks seems like a perfect itinerary, as it’s enough time to enjoy the most famous landmarks and landscapes. An exciting trip, as you visited so many places and fabulous capitals, like Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Zurich, and much more.
This was a great first trip for us to Central Europe. So many great stops and reasons to go back.
Wow! Looks like you did a lot in 6 weeks! I love how you took your time in places, explored big cities as well as smaller towns and even did tours AND traveled by yourselves. Really, looks like the perfect trip!
This trip to Central Europe really was a great mix of sites and types of travel.
I’ve been to many of these places but only for long weekends so interesting to see how it can be done over 6 weeks. I really want to go to Prague and Switzerland although a group tour isn’t for me. Great ideas for a future central europe trip.
We thought a group tour was not for us too. But for this trip, we saw so much more than we would have on our own from Prague to Budapest. But loved having extra time on our own in both Prague and Budapest. One trip to Switzerland was not enough!
I am like you and not a fan of group tours, but they do have their advantages. I am really interested in your trips to Switzerland and Austria as I am going there next year, so thank you for the information.
We loved that we added a solo trip to Austria and Switzerland to our group tour. Glad to give you some ideas for planning that trip.
Ah, more memories. Czech music – a reminder of crazy dancing to a folk group playing in a tavern near Luhacovice. Lednice palace and grounds. I like the look of that treetop tower – where was that exactly? Austria and Switzerland . . . I want to go back!
We enjoyed such a diverse set of experiences on our travels around Central Europe. We too have so many great memories to look back on. The Tree Top Tower was a day trip we did around Cesky Krumlov. Should be easy to search for the Lipno Treetop Walk.
This sounds divine! I would love to spend six weeks or more in Central Europe. Now I just need the budget to go with it. You have seen so much which is fantastic. I love to spend time in a place and experience the daily culture of the people.
It was a great trip to Central Europe. So many different things to see and do. And many on the list for a return visit one day.
6 weeks in Europe now that is a vacation. I have only been to Austria and Switzerland, never the Czech Republic but have always wanted to visit. It looks like you really got to see a lot of these beautiful countries and are certainly inspiring me to get back to Central Europe.
I hope you do get to visit more in Central Europe. We loved all the different spots along our trip.
Wow, what an epic trip through Central Europe. So far I’ve only been to Prague, but really need to get back there and explore all the amazing places you visited.
There are indeed so many great spots to visit in Central Europe. A great variety in the spots we visited on this trip.
Sounds like you did some serious slow travel. I’ve been to many places you described, but sadly at a much faster pace, so I probably saw only half of what you did. For many of the places you described, I was like “Huh? I missed that.” I too had only one day in Bratislava, but actually I think the city only needs one day, and I even wrote a post on my own blog saying so. Seems in life you often have either the time or the money to travel, but so far, not both. I’ll have to wait until I’m “retired and travelling” for that.
Also, I agree with you that booking business class is absolutely *not* worth it for short flights. It’s only worth it when you can stretch out and sleep. Also, yes, use Interlaken area for a base in Switzerland. I think that country is all about the Alps, not the cities.
We did love all the places we visited on this first trip to Central Europe. We definitely have a long list of places to re-visit. And the mountains in Switzerland are definitely high on the list.
You really saw a lot in 6 weeks! I will steal some of the itinerary here as we plan a summer trip to Central Europe, too, but focus more in Germany. Your map has opened my eyes about the region.
I am happy to have provided some suggestions for your planning for your trip. I know you are going to love it.
I would love to have 6 weeks off to explore central europe! I haven’t been to any of those countries and it looks so beautiful. Was supposed to go to Switzerland last summer but had to reschedule.
Each of the countries in this region was so different. We were happy we got such variety in our first visit. Hope you get Switzerland re-scheduled.
Super lovely itinerary! I would love to stay in the hotels you stayed at someday. It’s a luxury for us at this point in time
We did love the variety in the places we saw and stayed.
Some great travel advice, Linda, and you chose such an interesting route. Plenty places I haven’t visited yet and plenty I love and have visited half a dozen times or more.
MUC (my home airport when I grew up) is so much better than FRA. About four years ago FRA painted some of the baggage carousels like roulette wheels, red, black, with numbers, and a green zero. Quite accurate marketing, actually, as your chance of getting the luggage on time are indeed around 1/37.
How funny to read about the baggage carousel at FRA. Another good reason to choose MUC for transit! We sure did love our first visit to Central Europe. But it won’t be the last!