Even though Prague and Vienna are only a 4 hour train ride from each other, the two cities couldn't be more different. Even if I hadn't know of their histories, it wouldn't have been hard to guess that Prague and Vienna prospered at different times. After a quick Wiki-search, the architectural terms I could use would be Gothic/Renaissance versus Baroque, but I don't think of those terms while I'm staring up at the Astrological Clock or the Hofburg Palace. My first reaction is more of a feeling. Prague's architecture is moodier, darker, more dramatic while Vienna's is fancier, cleaner, prettier (in my opinion, of course). What do you think?
Another big difference was the atmosphere. I felt like Prague's Old Town focused more on tourist gimmicks like crystal, garnet, and marionettes. I'm not sure if this is related, but the atmosphere was looser, louder, and more fun. Vienna had better retail, more cafes versus bars, and fewer peddlers. The atmosphere in Vienna was calmer, classier, more predictable.
Prague's crowded streets were filled with character while Vienna's beautiful parks and green spaces made the city feel more open, fresher.
Such a wonderful trip with the best friends anyone could ask for. So glad we got to experience these two unique cities with you!