Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Hop-On, Hop-Off: Using Eurail to Maximize Sightseeing
One of the best ways to maximize your sightseeing opportunities in Germany and Hungary is to take advantage of the Eurail pass system. Eurail offers a variety of rail passes that allow you to travel freely by train across Europe, hopping on and off as much as you want within a set time period. This gives you the flexibility to customize your itinerary and spend as much or as little time in each destination as you desire.
For travelers interested in exploring Germany and Hungary's most famous sites, the Eurail Germany-Hungary Pass is an excellent option. This two country pass allows you to freely travel between the two countries on any number of train trips over a set number of days within a 1 month period. Passes are available for anywhere from 3 to 10 days of travel.
With a Germany-Hungary Pass in hand, you can easily put together an itinerary that hits all of the highlights in both countries. In Germany, must-see attractions include Neuschwanstein Castle, Cologne Cathedral, the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, and the medieval town of Rothenburg. In Hungary, top sights include the Buda Castle complex and Matthias Church in Budapest, Eger's castle district, and the spa town of Heviz.
The ability to hop-on and hop-off trains along your route makes it easy to maximize your time. You can schedule quick stopovers in small towns along the way, then continue onward to your next destination. If you really love a particular city, an open Eurail pass gives you the flexibility to extend your stay as long as you want. You aren't locked into reservations or a set schedule.
Eurail pass holders also enjoy discounts on attractions and tours in many destinations. For example, in Berlin you can get 25% off tickets to the Jewish Museum, the DDR Museum, and sightseeing bus tours. In Budapest, you get discounted tickets to the Szechenyi Baths, Hospital in the Rock, and river cruises on the Danube. Taking advantage of these savings helps stretch your travel budget even further.
When purchasing your Eurail pass, opt for the mobile pass option as it offers the most convenience and flexibility. You'll receive a QR code that serves as your ticket and can be scanned directly from your phone anytime you board a train. There's no need to wait for a paper pass to be shipped or worry about losing a small ticket booklet during your travels.
What else is in this post?
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Hop-On, Hop-Off: Using Eurail to Maximize Sightseeing
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Castles, Cathedrals and Christmas Markets: Top Historic Sites to Visit
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Bratwurst, Beer and Beyond: Indulging in Iconic Cuisine
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Budapest Baths: Relaxing in Thermal Springs
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Riding the Rails: Navigating Public Transit like a Local
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Wandering Along the Danube: River Cruises and Scenic Train Rides
- Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Packing Light: Travel Tips for Carry-On Only
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Castles, Cathedrals and Christmas Markets: Top Historic Sites to Visit
A journey through Germany and Hungary offers the chance to step back in time, with charming historic sites around every corner. From mighty hilltop castles to ornate cathedrals and quaint Christmas markets, these destinations provide a window into the storied past.
One simply can't visit Germany without spending time wandering around a castle. Neuschwanstein Castle, rising dramatically from atop a rugged hill near Füssen, looks straight out of a fairy tale with its white towers and turrets. Tour the lavish interior to see how King Ludwig II lived during the 1800s. Or visit Burg Eltz on the Mosel River, one of few castles left standing after the tumultuous Middle Ages. This magical fortress has been owned by the same family for over 800 years.
Cologne Cathedral is a awe-inspiring Gothic masterpiece that took more than 600 years to complete. It survived repeated bombing during World War II and still stands as Germany's most visited landmark. Climb the 533 steps to the observation deck for panoramic views. Then check out the gilded reliquary purported to contain the bones of the Three Wise Men.
Few things say Christmas like a German Christmas market. From late November through December, cities like Nuremberg, Munich, and Frankfurt host festive markets selling handcrafted toys and ornaments, local treats like gingerbread and sausages, and mugs of hot mulled wine. Browse the stalls, listen to choirs sing carols, and soak up the old-world charm. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, dating back to 1628, is one of the oldest and most famous.
Budapest's Matthias Church, perched dramatically on Castle Hill, recalls the city's medieval origins with a resplendent neo-Gothic facade decorated in colorful ceramic tiles. Inside, soaring arches draw the eyes upward. And the intricate 15th-century Fisherman's Bastion next door provides postcard views overlooking the Danube.
Travelers looking to combine beautiful architecture with rejuvenating thermal waters should visit the Turkish-style thermal baths of Eger. After admiring the town's bright baroque buildings, head to the historic baths to soak in mineral-rich pools warmed by natural hot springs. Sip wine from the region and relax as the warmth soothes body and mind.
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Bratwurst, Beer and Beyond: Indulging in Iconic Cuisine
No trip to Germany and Hungary would be complete without indulging in the countries' most iconic cuisine. And while beer and bratwurst may be the stereotypical foods that come to mind, the culinary landscapes of both destinations go far beyond these staples. Exploring the local specialties gives travelers a tasty window into the culture and history.
Starting in Germany, the bratwurst stands speak to the nation's love of sausage. These plump, juicy links can be found sizzling at street stands everywhere from Hamburg to Munich. Opt for a classic bratwurst served alongside potato salad and tangy mustard. Or level up to a currywurst - a steamed then fried sausage slathered in ketchup and dusted with curry powder. Pair it with a pilsener or dunkel beer and you have a quintessential German meal.
Beyond the standard brat, regional specialties abound. Try a weisswurst, or white sausage, in Bavaria along with a wheat beer. Up north, sample a labskaus stew and rye bread in Hamburg. And don't miss the schwarzwälder schinken, or Black Forest ham, in Baden-Württemberg. Slow Food Germany offers culinary walking tours of cities like Berlin, Leipzig and Heidelberg, making it easy to taste your way through each destination.
Shifting to Hungary, goulash is the iconic national dish. This hearty stew brimming with meat, vegetables and paprika reflects the country's climate and geography. The best versions use premium cuts of beef simmered for hours until tender. Local top picks include goulash served in bread bowls and lángos, a deep-fried dough often paired with sour cream and cheese. Don't miss trying creamy chicken paprikash during your stay as well.
Beyond the classics, contemporary Hungarian cuisine combines old and new. Chefs in Budapest are putting modern spins on traditions through farm-to-table movements and molecular gastronomy influences. Must-try fine dining experiences include Costes, named among the 50 best restaurants in the world, and Onyx showcasing progressive Hungarian fare. Alternatively, food tours like Taste Hungary offer walking excursions to sample both traditional and reinvented dishes around Budapest.
Pairing all of the delicious food with local beer and wine is a must. Germans proudly boast over 1,300 breweries producing 5,000 varieties of beer. Hop heads should sample weizens, bocks and Berliner Weisses. Meanwhile, Hungary has 22 designated wine regions. The country's full-bodied reds and crisp whites perfectly complement the hearty cuisine. Learn about varietals like Kadarka and Furmint right at the source with tastings at local cellars and vineyards.
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Budapest Baths: Relaxing in Thermal Springs
After days spent exploring Budapest's grand architecture and indulging in hearty Hungarian cuisine, travelers will relish the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in the city's famed thermal baths. Budapest sits atop over 100 natural hot springs that supply its baths with warm, mineral-rich waters believed to provide therapeutic benefits. During the centuries of Roman, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule, elaborate bathhouses were constructed to harness these healing waters. Today, Budapest's spas continue to draw visitors from around the world.
The grande dame of Budapest's baths is the 16th century Szechenyi Baths, situated in lush City Park. Outdoors, guests can soak in three large pools kept at varying temperatures while enjoying the sunshine. Indoors, another dozen pools offer relaxing reprieves within ornate neo-baroque halls. Sci-fi movie fans may recognize Szechenyi's outdoor pools and opulent changing rooms from a key scene in the superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman. Between dips, visitors can schedule massages, play chess in the whirlpools or sweat out toxins in the steam room. With nearly 20 pools and saunas spread across nearly 20 acres, it's easy to lose track of time relaxing at Szechenyi.
For a more local experience, head to Gellert Baths near the iconic Liberty Bridge. Gellert combines historic Art Nouveau elegance with modern amenities across its indoor and outdoor pools. Visitors rave about its vibrant blue-tiled wave pool, eucalyptus-infused steam rooms and stellar Danube River views from the outdoor sunbathing deck. Travelers seeking treatments can indulge in a relaxing massage or calming float session. Gellert's affordable prices also make it a favorite for visitors and residents alike.
At Rudas Baths, located on the Buda side of the Danube, weary travelers can unwind in thermal waters just as Ottomans settlers did over 450 years ago. This historic bath house retains many of its original Turkish features, most notably its octagonal main pool and domed roof. After sweating out stress and toxins in the herbal sauna, visitors can cool down under Rudas' central cold plunge pool or relax poolside on heated lounge chairs. No trip to this iconic bath is complete without an exfoliating massage and good soak amidst the atmospheric 16th century architecture.
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Riding the Rails: Navigating Public Transit like a Local
Public transportation can seem daunting in a new city, with unfamiliar signs, ticketing systems, and transit maps to decipher. However, learning to ride trains and trams like a local unlocks the freedom to navigate destinations independently while mingling with residents along the way. When visiting Germany and Hungary, embracing public transit allows travelers to blend in, save money, and have more immersive experiences.
Hopping on commuter routes not only gets you from point A to B affordably, but it also provides an authentic peek into daily life. In Berlin, you’ll rub shoulders with artists and students riding the U-Bahn trains out to the city’s hip, up-and-coming neighborhoods. Admire street art murals and funky boutiques as you make your way to Friedrichshain’s bars and cafes. In Frankfurt, you can live like a banker by commuting via the S-Bahn rail network. Watch sprawling green parks and modern skyscrapers slide by as you zip through the central business district.
Navigating transit confidently starts with thorough pre-trip research. Look up maps for each city’s bus, tram, train, and subway networks. Download them on Google Maps for offline access. Study the color-coding system and major stop names you’ll pass enroute to top attractions. If weekend or night service differs, note schedules carefully. Purchase passes applicable for your length of stay - for instance, a 7-day Budapest travelcard makes getting around a breeze.
Once on the ground, pay attention to signage, signals, and savvy rider habits. Large system maps posted in stations provide orientation. Validate tickets before boarding when required or risk steep fines. Move aside to let disembarking passengers exit first. If unsure of which stop is approaching, listen for audio announcements or watch station signs. Don’t be shy asking fellow riders for tips - often the best inside knowledge comes straight from locals.
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Wandering Along the Danube: River Cruises and Scenic Train Rides
The Danube River winds its way through four capital cities - Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade - on its journey from Germany's Black Forest to the Black Sea. Tracing the legendary Blue Danube by boat or rail unveils the heart of Central Europe in an intimate way that overland travel just can't match. From fairy tale cities to rolling vineyards, cruising or training along the river offers inspiring vistas and access to charming ports.
Gliding along the Danube by cruise ship allows you to wake up in a new destination each morning while only unpacking once. Well-appointed riverboats like those from Viking, Uniworld and AmaWaterways feature sun decks to admire passing scenery, restaurants serving locally inspired cuisine, and comfy staterooms and suites. Port stops let you dive into destinations with included excursions or independent exploration. Top pick shore excursions run the gamut from insider walking tours of Budapest's Jewish Quarter showcasing hidden courtyards to sipping apricot brandy at a rustic fruit orchard near Linz. Come evening, take in glittering city lights on the open deck with cocktails in hand before retreating to your floating hotel.
For travelers who prefer land over sea, scenic rail journeys along the Danube offer stunning window views from the comfort of a train car. Austria's Danube Valley route between Melk and Grein serves up sprawling valley vistas dotted with apricot orchards and terraced vineyards. Or opt for a first-class seat on the Belgrade to Budapest overnight train, watching the sun set behind craggy bluffs and castle spires. Premier services like the Golden Eagle Danube Express take nostalgia to the next level with meticulously restored mid-century cars outfitted with wood-paneled walls and chandeliers. You'll be serenaded by piano music while dining on white-gloved, multi-course feasts.
Travelers say cruising or training along the Danube River deepened their understanding of Central European history and culture. The ever-changing scenery provides a vivid backdrop. Whether admiring ornate cathedrals in riverside towns or tasting wine in a quaint village, days are filled with immersive experiences impossible to replicate rushing between cities by motorcoach. One river cruiser remarked, "Each place we visited came alive through little details - hearing the Gregorian chants echoing through Melk Abbey, seeing the violin-shaped signs posted for Mozart concerts in Salzburg, learning regional folk dances from Bavarian teenagers. Traveling slowly along the Danube connected each stop into a richer tapestry."
Trains, Trams and Automobiles: Exploring Germany and Hungary By Public Transit for Just €49 - Packing Light: Travel Tips for Carry-On Only
Jetsetting across Germany and Hungary using just carry-on luggage maximizes mobility while minimizing hassles. Checking bags adds layers of complexity with wait times at pick up and drop off carousels. It also risks parted belongings with misdirected suitcases, leading to wasted hours tracking down detoured luggage while still traveling in yesterday's clothes.
Carry-on only packing requires strategy and selectivity. Start by reading airline weight and dimension allowances carefully, then find a bag that aligns. Shoot for 40 liters or less - sizes expand to fit what's inside! Next, make a packing list of absolute essentials like medications, glasses, electronics and documents. Add versatile layers that mix and match, limiting quantity without sacrificing style. Focus on fabrics like merino wool t-shirts and pants that resist wrinkles and odor after repeat wears.
Footwear deserves special consideration. Bulky snow boots take up precious space better used for extra outfits. Lightweight leather ankle boots or Nike sneakers with Allbirds wool runners are wardrobe workhorses suitable for both city strolling and countryside rambling. One pair of dressier leather oxfords transitions from daytime sightseeing to evenings out. Ladies can swap in ballet flats or sandals for heel relief.
When it comes to toiletries, mini and multi-use reign supreme. Seek trial and travel sizes of skincare, hair products, deodorant and makeup. Dual purpose tools like tinted moisturizer, stick sunscreen, night creams with retinol and 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners pull double duty. Refillable bottles help customize products and quantities.
Packing cubes, folders, compression sacks and vacuum-seal bags optimize organization and save space. Careful rolling avoids creases while packing contents vertically and horizontally. Placing shoes toe-to-heel at the bottom protects collars and hems. Topping loads with puffy coats allows squishing contents to take shape. Last in are essentials needed in-transit like snacks, meds, chargers and headphones.
Digital tools enable traveling light too. E-readers eliminate heavy books. Phone playlists sub for bulky headphones. Cloud storage provides backups of travel docs and photos so physical memory cards stay home. Apps help translate menus, maps and transit so no hefty phrasebook is needed.