Trying to spend 3-4 weeks seeing the Best of Eastern Europe! Can anyone suggest a) what kinds of time one should spend in each of these places to see if I can fit them all in, or maybe add some? and b) How can I tie these places together for the cheapest possible travel options, where should I go first, second, etc.? Thanks so much!
Hello Mgcandrew 😊
I would let where u go depend on the plane and train ticket availablility and prices and your preferred destination. Of course u wont see everything in 3 or 4 weeks but u can always go back. For choosing where to go first either go to the country which interests u most or else the one which is cheapest to get to.
Thanks for the general advice, but my question is a bit more specific for those that have done some Eastern European travel. I'm thinking of visiting Krakow, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Bucharest, Brasov, Bran, Ljubljana, Bled, Prague, Chesky Krumlov. What kind of time is a 'generally' good amount to spend in these cities? Are there some other great 'must see' places that I should check out? How can I tie these places together for cheap travel routes, where should I go first, second, what's a good route through these destinations?
The best way to tie these places together is to travel by train or rent a car. I think train is cheaper because you can buy a pass which is valid for all trains in Europe or you can choose a a few countries. It's hard to tell where you should go first. it depends where you are from, how you arrive in Eastern Europe etc.
I would also include Sibiu on your list. That's probably the most beautiful town in Romania and you can easily link it with Brasov and Bran. I can give you more information if you want about Romania, Hungary and Poland.
I'll be flying in from the U.S., probably into Prague, would a train pass be cheaper then just buying tickets on the spot at train stations?
It will be much cheaper in my opinion. You can see more information on www.eurail.com.
Be careful--some former Eastern European countries are not covered by rail passes, and train travel in those countries is really cheap anyway, so that having a pass may not save you money in countries that are not yet on the Euro. Idos.cz has the Czech rail timetables (including connections to other countries), elvira.hu has the Hungarian timetables. Bus travel in these countries is also very cheap. About six months ago, I spent five weeks travelling in that area. I started in Prague, then went on to Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Kosice (Slovakia), Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Cesky Krumlov, and back to Prague to fly home. I'd say for the cities, you want to spend about 3-4 days in each one. Smaller towns, like Cesky Krumlov, don't need as much time, but can be good places to just kick back and relax if you need a break from full-on sightseeing etc. For sure Krakow you need about three days--one to see Krakow, one for Auschwitz, and one for the Salt Mines.
I had an Eastern Europe rail pass, which didn't include Germany, so I had to buy tickets to get to and from Berlin, which were the most expensive tickets anyway. I never did calculate the exact difference in price between using the rail pass and buying the equivalent tickets as I went. That being said, having the rail pass is very convenient. The Eastern Europe pass covers Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria.
If you're interested, my blogs from my trip start here: Praha: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
. I have about ten or eleven blogs.
Hey there! Eurolines buses were way cheaper than any sort of rail pass when I did Eastern Europe a couple of years back. I loved Lithuania and Estonia. I started in Sweden (cheap Ryan Air flight) and began by ferrying across to Estonia, then working my way south ... Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech ... didn't get to Urkraine or further east, which I'm definitely keen to do next time - Id previously done Hungary and Czech. Tannis' recommendation for 3-4 days in each place is spot on. Check out my blogs from 2006, might help. Happy travels! Ellen
Hi there. Couple of years ago we backpacked through Croatia for four weeks. Beautiful country, an amazing coast and really nice people. We ended our travels in Dubrovnik. It is a beautiful place and it's worth extra stretch to get there. You don't need more than couple of days in Dubrovnik self. We also loved Zadar, Split, various islands, Kornati and Plitvice National Park... There is plenty to see in this small country. The best way to travel around is by bus. Connections are very good, frequent, on time and you can buy ticket on the spot before departure. Also where ever you arrive there is plenty of 'sobe' (rooms) which are really good value for price... Might you need more information on Croatia we will be happy to give you extra tips... Enjoy the touring!
Hello! About a year and a half ago four of us drove through Slovenia and Croatia and it was actually very easy. I am not sure if that is an option for you, but something you could always consider as a possibly less expensive way to flying or possibly even taking the train. We visited Ljubljana, Portoroz (on the coast of Slovenia), Split and Dubrovnik. I LOVED Ljubljana. I think that you can probably do that in about two days. Maybe 3 if you want to do a day trip to Bled (it's supposed to be beautiful but we went in mid-November so a bit chilly for the lake at that time). Pororoz was a nice little stop over (there are a few towns on the coast there that are the kind of vacation spots for Slovenians. I believe Koper is one of the others). I was pleasantly surprised by Split as I had no idea what to expect. Dubrovnik can definitely be seen in 2 days. It's nice, but everything is very close by. Depending on the time of year there are boat trips out of Dubrovnik for the day which are supposed to be very nice (again it was Nov. when I went so we did not do this). Aside from these two, countries, the only other one I have been to on your list is Prague, which is absolutely wonderful! I think for Eastern/Central Europe area it is pretty much a "must". I think we did 3 or 4 days in Prague (this was about 6 years ago) and I think I could have definitely spent at least one more. Not sure what type of accommodations you are looking for, but if you need recommendations I have some that I was quite happy with!
Thanks for all the replies! Does anyone know if there is a way to get from Cesky Krumlov straight to Krakow? Also, how much would that cost, from Krumlov/Prague to get to Krakow, from Krakow to get from Budapest, and from Budapest to get to Ljubjana, and from Zagreb to get to Dubrovnik? What would be the cheapest ways to get between those destinations: train? bus? fly? Does anyone know the actual prices on the ground at the stations? And how long would those different ways of transportation take?
Thanks again for all the great advice
Andrew, the only one of these that I've done is Zagreb to Dubrovnik (actually I did Dubrovnik to Zagreb). We flew on Croatia Airlines. It was about a year and a half ago, but was actually very cheap - about $120 Euro total for all 4 of us (they were on the Kuna but I figured easier to give the price in Euro). Dubrovnik airport is very small so there are not a lot of flights each day, but it's really a very easy flight, about 55 minutes I believe. Hope this helps!
Andrew - Check out the Eurolines bus website, as well as the cheap budget airlines. E
Does anyone have any idea of how to get from Cluj-Napoca in Romania over to Chernovtsy in Ukraine???
Dubrovnik is beautiful. The history of this place was spectacular. Beware of other places in Croatia as land mines are still abundant. I back Eurolines (bus). It is very cheap and you can get a 14day pass for 70euro. Or approx 10-20euro to get from one main city to another. Not valid in all eastern europe countries. I would also recommend Vilnius in Lithuania if you have time. See Lithuania
Hello! I would suggest you go check out http://www.orangeways.com/. This is a low-fare bus company offering you lots of tours at low costs.
i have inter-railed throughout europe for the past two summers now and every time i come back craving for more. we generally tryd to spend 3 or 4 days in each place and as has been commented before there are some places you could spend longer in such as Krakow and Split because of the things to do around them such as the concentration camp and the islands and others such as mostar in bosnia and belgrade in serbia which u can do in less time but are definately worth a look. travel wise it would all depend on the countries u want to visit, from croatia downwards ur best to rely on the buses which are relatively cheap and then upwards from there we used our rail pass. if u have time i would definately recomend u take some time out to relax in the hippo hostel in budva montenegro. Budva and the surrounding towns of kotor and Bar are beautiful, it has some little beaches which are like heaven on earth and the atmosphere in the hostel makes u never want to leave. thinking of my trips now make me want to go back, i hope u have an amazing summer!
I spent five months in Prague and took a few weeks in that time to travel to the surrounding areas. The train to Krumlov is great, but tiny, so I don't see an easy way of getting from there to Krakow, you might need to go back through Prague; that isn't a problem as you can do Krumlov as just a one day trip easily. Prague you could do the tourist circuit in three days, but try to hit up some of the smaller parts of the city outside of the downtown area that have the real Czech flavor. As everyone said, Krakow is amazing, definitely spend some extra time there. Also, rumor had it that Budapest was opening up as a major hub, so you might find cheaper flights to there than Prague, as I know that those flights can get pricey.
Besides that, in Czech: Pivo = Beer and Na Zdravi = To Your Health (Cheers!). That will help you make friends with locals in out of the way spots in CZR. Enjoy!
Can anyone recommend any buses from Prague to Krakow and from Krakow to Budapest?
I would like also reccomend Lithuania (capital Vilnius). There is also one beautiful city (near Vilnius) Trakai. It is worth to see it. 300 km from Vilnius we have beautiful places with beaches (curonion spit) near the Baltic sea.