a VirtualTourist member from Jerusalem District
We're four adults flying in from Tel Aviv, although we may fly in through a connecting city. We have a place near Balaton (time share) for a week starting Sept 6 and are looking for suggestions on how to plan the trip.
I thought of the following: a weekend in Budapest, drive out to Balaton, hang out for five days, next weekend in Vienna. That means flying in to Budapest, renting a car for a week with a different location drop off, flying out from Vienna, and two weekends B&Bs or hotels.
I fear this may be too expensive, so I'm willing to compromise: skip Vienna or do a day trip to see it. But I'm not sure you can "see" even part of Vienna in one day, not to mention drive both ways in one day.
Does it make sense to try to fly in to the Balaton through some city in Europe and skip Budapest and Vienna? Or fly directly to Budapest and drive to Balaton and then back?
You may cut costs on renting a car - if you don't want to move too far from the Balaton region during your stay there, public transportation (trains and buses) are reliable, easy to use, quite frequent (for main tourist attractions) and okay in quality. And cheap. Also, there are numerous direct trains for all Balaton locations from Budapest, and Vienna is accessible by both direct trains and train connections of few transfers.
However, if you'd like to travel around a lot to places further away (over 50 kms from the lake), you may of course consider renting a car.
Personally, I would skip Vienna, only because there is so much in Hungary to visit. Sometimes it is easy to get into the "If it's Tuesday I must be in Belgium syndrome". In other words, "I would rather be somewhere else than where I am". You did not mention the purpose of your trip - history, architecture, night life, meeting people, and so on.
Budapest definitely merits at least a weekend.
Balaton - Tihany definitely worth a visit. Also, Veszprem, Kecskement, Szekesfehervar, and a bit further Pecs and Baja. I also enjoyed Szigetvar and Siklos. But then, I am a history buff.
Of course, Vienna is a great city. Don't get me wrong. It just seems to me a bit much to accomplish in a relatively short time.
Another fantastic place, near the southern end of Balaton, is Heviz. It was one of the highlights of our trip.