Prague and Vienna are both wonderful and exciting cities bristling with modern cosmopolitanism and ancient history and culture. But if you’ve got a European vacation planned in the future and are trying to decide which one of these amazing cities to visit, it can be daunting for sure.
Both have their charms as well as distinct advantages and disadvantages with regards to getting around and depending upon how much time you have.
While both cities are rich in sightseeing adventures, Prague is considered by many travel experts to be more scenic. Vienna is a hotbed of history, home to such great sites such as The Hofburg, Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
But Prague is definitely more beautiful as a city. You can stroll along the Danube River for breathtaking views, sit in one of the many cafés that dot the urban landscape, and breath in the amazing architecture – both old and modern – that makes up this Central European metropolis.
You most likely didn’t travel all the way to Europe just to go shopping. But, if you happen to be a shopaholic, Vienna is definitely better. But be warned: fine goods you buy in Vienna will sometimes be three times more expensive than what they are in the United States or Canada.
When it comes to great dining, both cities are equally enticing. Austrians are known for their love of sweets and pastries, which is reflected in the many bakeries, cafés, and restaurants scattered around Vienna. Some restaurants in either city offer local cuisine, though you’re more likely to be eating a combination of Western European or even Americanized food. Bear in mind that Prague (being that it is in Central Europe) will be far less pricey than Vienna.
What do you hope to see on your trip? Palaces? Medieval Cathedrals? The Opera? How about museums? If you do happen to visit both cities, you’ll find that culture equally as enriching. However, Vienna has more world-class museums and showcase the rich history of the area.
Differences between the two cities
Every world-class city has its own feel, or atmosphere if you will. And Vienna and Prague are no different. Vienna feels more modern, stately and polished while Prague feels slightly undeveloped and more old-fashioned.
One thing is for certain: people in both cities are exceptionally friendly. Many speak English and will be willing to help you if you need directions.
Here is something else to keep in mind: if you plan on spending a week in either city, you might want to rent a car for some day trips. It is becoming more common for tourists to rent cars in Vienna to visit the scenic Melk and Wachau valleys. From Prague, the closest day trip is to the gorgeous Cesky Krumlov, which is part of the South Bohemian Region. Here, you’ll find many old castles and charming houses.
How much time do you have?
Are you going to be on a rushed trip? If so, Prague might be your better option. The city isn’t as spread out as Vienna and is easier to travel around in. On the other hand, if you’ve got lots of time and perhaps wish to spend more money on upscale entertainment, Vienna will be better for you.