The overnight train from Prague gets into Budapest at 8:35am on the morning of day 25. This is the furthest east in Europe that I expect to be going, but there's so much more to see east of here - Scandinavia, Poland, Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Balkans, Greece, Istanbul, even out to Israel - that'll have to wait for my next trip over (whenever that is). From here on out, it's mostly west and south til it's time to fly home.
So, Budapest. I probably know the least about this city than any of the others that I have planned. The Frommer's 3-day tour ("if you only have one day, do this; if you have two days, do the day 1 stuff plus this; etc."):
- Day 1: Heroes Square, Millennium Underground, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Parliament, the Chain Bridge, the Castle District
- Day 2: relax in the Széchenyi Fürdó Baths, Vajdahunyad Castle, the Fine Arts Museum
- (Szépmüvészeti Múzeum), Walk up Andrássy út, the Terror House, the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Quarter, the Applied Arts Museum
- Day 3: lots of shopping, including Váci utca, the Great Market Hall, walk across the Szabadság Bridge from Buda (on the west side of the Danube) to Pest (on the east side), Gellért Hill, and the Gellért Baths.
The Applied Arts Museum is Art Nouveau, so I'd likely skip it. My tastes in art museums run more classical. And apparently Budapest is well-known for its thermal baths and Kávéház (coffee houses). Somewhere in there I'd like to see Memento Park and Statue Park, where they put all the old Communist-era statues of Marx, Lenin, and the Soviet Workers after the fall of Communism in Hungary. The Great Synagogue here is the world's second largest, after one in New York.
I think that two days of sightseeing and one day of relaxing, strolling, and shopping (even if it's just window-shopping) would suffice here, making it days 25-27. Next stop is tentatively planned for Vienna. It's a 2hr50min ride, say from 7:10am to 10:00am.