Help me plan my next European Vacation

You guys are always good for helping me decide where and what to do!!

This winter I am going to be doing another Europe trip, and I need suggestions. My wife doesn’t want to do Paris again, or pretty much anywhere we’ve already been. So the big ones that are out of the running are Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Prague and Rome.

She is thinking about Budapest and/or Vienna. What are some great places or things to see around those cities? Please recommend either things to do and see in those cities or recommend other cities.
I’m particularly nterested in any old castles, palaces, churches or anything like that still standing; any awe inspiring geography like huge waterfalls, or cliffs, or something (think Downtown Luxembourg); any ancient ruins; any places of historical signifigance (think Berlin, Versailles, Concentration Camps, battlefields, etc); and any museums containing ancient or historically significant stuff (like the CP Charlie, Holocaust, or that ancient Rome museum in Berlin that starts with a P).
These are just ideas. I am absolutely open to any suggestions though. Fire away with your experiences and knowledge, please!!

You can take a commuter rail to Szentendre, which is a bit of an artist’s colony, somewhat touristy but cool. The Museum of Marzipan, with the life-sized marzipan statue of Michael Jackson, is well worth the entire trip. There are some very nice “Panzio” (Bed & Breakfasts) that you can arrange. I also liked the wine museum, with tastings of Hungary’s regional wines.

From there you can take a danube ferry upriver to Visegrad where there is a very historic castle, and almost nothing else. In july there’s some sort of medieval festival there. There is an extremely disgusting local mineral water you can sample (bitter, salty, to the extreme). Ok, ok, I know I’m not selling it well, all I’m saying, its a very small town, go see the castle, and then go back to Szentedre for the night. :slight_smile:

In Ezstergom, which is again upriver from Visegrad, there is a very nice cathedral (the largest in central Europe) containing a museum of Papal vestments (really) and the entire shinbone of St. Istvan (St. Steven) which is easily the largest relic I’ve ever seen. The town itself was a complete shithole in 1997, but I hear they have fixed it up a great deal, so get more current info before deciding whether or not to stay or just visit.

In Budapest itself, there is the Church of St. Istvan, and a quite famous synagogue. The vast old castle is an art museum which you can reach by a funicular!! (a, um… sort of a cable car for very steep slopes). You can’t say “Budapest” without saying “Gellert Baths” – the famous mineral spa.

Vienna – I’ve never been but I have never heard anyone who has been there fail to say it is very, very expensive.

I can…but I can’t visit Budapest without going to the Szecheyni baths instead!

There are some good ideas on this website and I would recommend a trip up to the Fisherman’s Bastion for the buildings and the amazing views from the top.

You coming back to London? We miss you here!

But seriously, have you checked out Spain yet? Madrid, Cordoba, Valencia and Barcelona are well worth a look. Otherwise Greece is amazing for history, either the islands or places like Athens. I’ve not been to it but I’ve never heard a bad word said about Istanbul either, and I can’t think of many cities that have as much history as it in Europe other than Rome.

In winter? Hmm

Why not take a trip to Malta?

Istanbul is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been.

However, it gets REALLY cold during fall/winter.

Spain is truly marvellous. I was never bored there, nor in Portugal. I think my favourite places in Iberia were probably Lisbon (the Alfama, the Castelo Sao Jorge, Belém, etc.), Cordoba (the great mosque, of course, but also the little streets around it and the tiny, serene synagogue), and Mérida (all the Roman ruins), besides Barcelona and Madrid. (I also loved A Coruña but it probably wouldn’t be much fun in wintertime.) Get a detailed guidebook – there are any number of little towns with wonderful things to see in them, and the countryside between Andalusia and Madrid is breathtaking.

I also loved Vienna. I can’t put my finger on it – the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Schoenbrunn, of course, but also Hundertwasser’s buildings and really just wandering around and seeing what I see.

Athens, Madrid, and Istanbul are all places I definitely want to visit!! This will be a road trip though, and they are a bit too far for me. Might consider driving to those when I have more time, but I will likely fly to those places instead. Budapest is about 400 miles from my home, and even that feels far right now. I don’t really feel like going there or Vienna. bleh.
Might just have to stay local around Northern Italy and southern Germany.
Will be spending New Year in Rome. I am trying to plan a little road trip after the New Year. Like something on a four-day weekend. Really wish Athens was closer!!