I purchased this trip from Groupon Getaways, through the company Gate 1 Travel. I get a lot of questions from people about the benefits of going on a Groupon Getaway, so I also want to discuss my personal experience (I also went on a trip to Costa Rica through Groupon, and I purchased both trips on my own).
- The trips are usually a lot cheaper than purchasing on your own. For this trip, round-trip airfare was included, as well as transportation between the countries and hotel rooms. We could add on additional day trips or activities through the company as well. All together, the trip cost around $2,500 total, which is a huge saving.
- However, the flights only flew out of Newark and LAX. We had to schedule our own flight to Newark, which increased the price a bit.
- A lot of stress was lifted as far as planning, since a lot of big things were taken care of. The hardest part of trip planning for me is finding a good hotel and scheduling flights. The company took care of all of that, and the hotels they picked were really great!
- However, experiences may vary with this. Most trips tell you what hotels are included, so it's always a good idea to research ahead of time if the hotels are in a good location and have good reviews.
- Another downside with this is there isn't as much flexibility. We only had 3 nights in each city which seemed like a short period of time. I would have loved to stay longer! Some people did schedule later flights with the company so that they could visit other cities, but that always comes with extra cost.
Overall, I think that Groupon Getaways are a great deal if you want to visit a new place for cheap, and aren't too picky about accommodations or planning. They worked great for me because I got to relax and not worry about all the small details, and I saved a ton of money!
Now, let's get into some pictures from each city!
Hotel : Leonardo Budapest
Restaurants : Ruszwurm (Cute little cafe near Fisherman's Bastion)
Boom and Brass (Super hip restaurant with reasonable prices and tasty food)
Nad'Or Boutique Bistro (Amazing location with traditional Hungarian food)
New York Cafe (Incredible place for tea- see pictures below!)
Soul Cafe (Great ambiance, very romantic)
Budapest is well known for their thermal baths, so visiting one is a must while you're in the city. We visited the largest, located in the heart of City Park, called Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool. The building is full of pools with different temperatures and all different sizes. The biggest attraction are the huge outdoor pools, which are all heated. It was definitely an experience to be swimming outside when it was below freezing and snowing!
The Central Market (Nagy Vasarcsarnok) is a must-visit for food and souvenirs. There are all kinds of Hungarian specialties available for cheap, including paprika and palinka. On the first floor, there are a lot of fresh food vendors, and the second floor has restaurants and gifts. Get here early, because this place gets packed!
Hotel: NH Prague City
(I also stayed in the Mosaic House in Prague, which is an amazing hostel!)
Restaurants: Zlatý klas (Cheap, authentic Czech food. Try the Kozel- my favorite beer)
Campanulla Cafe (Recommended by Rick Steves!)
Restaurace U Špirků (fantastic location near Old Town Square and amazing food)
Kolkovna Restaurant (one of my favorite areas of town, and fantastic traditional food)
Petrin Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna) sits atop a large hill near my favorite neighborhood in Prague, Mala Strana (Lesser Town). The entire area is stunningly gorgeous and full of cute little cafes. The standout is of course the large lookout tower. The walk up to the tower and up to the top is tiring, but well worth it for the view.
Lennon Wall. The cool thing about this is that it's a living piece of art- it will never look the same if you visit it twice. Graffiti artists come to spread ideas of love and peace, inspired by lyrics by Lennon and the Beatles. Last year, it was painted over completely white, with just the words "Wall is Over". That was later changed to "War is Over" and filled in with more murals, symbols and words.
St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta). It's one of the most incredible churches that I've ever seen! The entire castle district is amazing, and I recommend the short trip ticket. I love to walk around the entire area and seeing the changing of the guards, seeing all the gardens, and looking over the entire city.
The Astronomical Clock (Pražský orloj) is one of the most famous structures in Prague. It's the oldest working astronomical clock in the world, and is located in a clock tower and observation deck. It's a must- see to watch the hour change and the little show that the clock does. The entire Old Town Square is such a fun, beautiful area with great shops and restaurants. It's one of my favorite places in Prague!
Panoramic of Prague from the top of the Clock tower. The gothic church is called Church of Our Lady Before Týn (Týnský chrám). Gorgeous!
New York City
linking up with Amanda, Heather, Mar, Cynthia, Court