Central Europe on a Shoestring: 4 Capitals in 8 Days!

Central Europe on a Shoestring: 4 Capitals in 8 Days!

Yes for those not familiar with Central Europe, it sounds like a nightmare but it is not! With the right planning, it is possible to visit these 4 beautiful cities, squeezing most of the “Must do” things in each of the Capitals without rushing by.

To cover Central Europe on a shoestring, one can land in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic and from there visit Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, flying out of Budapest on 8th day. Or start from Budapest and visit Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, flying out of Prague. These capitals of Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary have high history from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and offer some of the best heritage, culture and night life experiences.

Here is the itinerary to visit Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest in 8 days!

Day 1:

After landing in Prague, head to Prague Castle and visit St Vitus Cathedral located on the hill. Soak in the beautiful view of the city from the hill top. Walk down to Mala Strana from there and cross Charles Bridge by foot. It is highly recommended to climb up the bridge tower stairs, to enjoy panorama of old town from a vantage point. Evening is a good time to hang around the area over drinks and dinner.

Day 2:

Start with Old town square and visit Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, St. Nicholas Church and Old Town Hall. The square is rare with the presence of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings next to each other. You can use an hour there, gazing at Astronomical Clock, this also gives time to relax and observe tourists activities around the square. From there head to old Jewish quarter which is a home to one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. It is Prague’s first gothic building. Wenceslas Square is a shopper’s paradise and should be considered only if shopping is one of the ‘Must Do’ things on the list. Enjoy the evening at one of the Czech restaurants and try variety of local beers along with local cuisine.

Day 3:

Take a 4 hour bus journey to Vienna; arrive in Vienna by noon and after refreshments head to the Old city for a walk. Many of the monuments are within walking distance, starting from Vienna State Opera House, Burggarten, St. Stephen’s Church, Kärntner Strasse, Graben, St Peter’s Church, Ancient Roman ruins and Hofburg Palace. Relax in sprawling lawns at Hero’s Square, soaking up the sun and beauty of Vienna. After a bit of rest head to Museum Quartier. Relax and end the day with Viennese dinner, over local wine.

Day 4:

Start the day with a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, use the day exploring the palace and museums, marveling Neptune Fountain in the spawling courtyard! By noon head to Belvedere Palace, a must visit for art aficionados. The museum hosts one of the most famous paintings ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt and other renaissance artists. Head to beer garden in the evening, popularly called Rathaus Platz. It is a great place to unwind, watching outdoor movies or operas over few beers! Neo-Gothic towers of City Hall rule the square. Check out Austrian Parliament building on the walk back.

Day 5:

Take an hour long aim to Bratislava. Walk around the old town square and up on the hill to enjoy the panaromic view of the city from Bratislava Castle. Visit St Martin’s Cathedral, stroll on St. Michael’s Street leading up to St. Michael’s gate. This street is buzzing with many restaurants and pubs. Eat Slovak food at one of the restaurants and enjoy drinks at an Irish pub while gazing at tourist activities in the square.

Day 6:

Take a aim to Budapest in the morning. Head straight to Gellért Hill and from there to Castle district to enjoy the view of Danube River and Pest city on the other side. Visit famous Buda Castle, Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church, on Buda side. Take a funicolare back from the hill and walk down the Chain Bridge. Visit Jewish quarter after that and use the evening at some of the best bars in Budapest.

Day 7:

use the day on Pest side of the town, visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica and Parliament house. Visit Andrássy method and Hero’s square, walk around Danube Promenade and soak up the sun in the gardens outside Gresham Palace. Have luxurious Hungarian Goulash and try Hungarian wines at one of the local restaurants, overlooking brightly lit Buda Castle across Danube.

Day 8:

use the day at leisure in one of the many thermal baths. Széchenyi Bath is a beautiful Palatial yellow building, and is a great hang out place during summer for tourists in addition as locals. Relax for a few hours and soak in good memories of the trip. A cruise on Danube River in the evening is a great option if the time permits!


  • Stay in hotels/hostel in the city centre or walking distance from the city centre, to avoid wasting time in commuting to most of the attractions.
  • Choose hotels/ hostels which provide breakfast, again to avoid losing time visiting separate places.
  • Buy travel passes for Vienna, Prague and Budapest, helps to get on metros and buses to travel to attractions away from the city centre or outside the city.
  • Make sure the hotel/ hostel provides free wifi, it helps to plan for next few days at no additional cost.
  • Plan an Itinerary/ route the past night, so to dedicate specific amount of time which can be spent at each of the sight, to squeeze in as much possible.

leave your comment