13 DAYS IN EASTERN EUROPE - where to go?

I have a trip coming up in November to Budapest, Hungary. I fly in the 19th and out on the 1st of December. I will be traveling by myself, so I don't know if it's better to rent a car or travel by train. I've looked into different itineraries, but nothing is set such as: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, Munich and back to Budapest (by train). Or Budapest, Lublijiana, Bled, Zagreb, Budapest (by car).

I haven't decided if I want this to be a sight-seeing trip or if I want it to be a lot more laid back with me hiking and relaxing in the thermal baths instead.

Any suggestions?

Posted by Tim
Pottstown, PA, USA
18 posts

Also, I have the option of going from point to point or having a home base and doing day trips to various cities and towns.

Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Thanks!

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

Hi Tim, That's a tough question--have you been to any of those destinations before? Sounds like you're flying in and out of Budapest, right? I haven't done this trip but it looks like Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna would be a good itinerary if you like to stay 3-4 nights at each destination. Another option but it's a bit farther (8.5 train trip from Budapest) is Ljubljana--with a day-trip 9or overnight) to Lake Bled--I loved Ljubljana and Lake Bled. You could spend several days in Budapest at the spas, train to Ljubljana for hiking--then make your way back to Budapest with a stop along the way to break up the trip. There are so many possibilities!

Posted by Tim
Pottstown, PA, USA
18 posts

Hi Sharon,

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who was supposed to come with me on the trip, but he is backing out so I am on my own.

I visited Budapest four years ago with some of my of my family and it was amazing! We stayed on the Pest side for a day or two, then visited Lake Balaton and Heviz. The thermal lake there is incredible! We used that as a basecamp and did day trips to Sopron, Herend, Tihany and Keszthely. Then it was back to Budapest, on the Buda side, for a few more days. From there, I took the hydrofoil to Vienna (via Bratislava) and spent a few days there and then on to the Alps around Kaprun for the weekend.

This time around, I'm undecided on what I want to see and where I want to go. Ideally I would have preferred to fly open-jaw, but I was fighting Expedia (grrr!) to use up a travel credit which expires at the end of this year. (On this point, I would recommend travelers book directly through the airline they plan on traveling. It saves money and hassle down the road.)

So I settled on flying into and out of Budapest, just to put that ugly event behind me. Now I just need an itinerary.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

Since you've been to Vienna, I'd consider a different destination. Another option is to look at budget airlines to see where you can fly from Budapest less expensively. WhichBudget.com

I think your Budapest, Ljubljana, Bled, Zagreb, Budapest trip sounds like a great option. If you feel it's too rushed you could leave off Zagreb. I'd also consider going by train rather than car--you could rent a car in Ljubljana to travel to Lake Bled.

Posted by jim
Fort Wayne, indiana, usa
10 posts

Hmmm. Seems you want to stay in east central Eastern Europe. It all depends on what brings a smile to your face and your brain, not just a string of cities. Museum, history, castle, rivers, mountains, wilderness, coasts, bier, architecture, or Introduction to the Habsburg Lands 101. All of those cities have fabulous attractions, are replete with history, fine architecture and wonderful cuisine. Ah, die Donau, the Vlatava, Lake Balaton. Hmmm. You might add Cesky Krulov (Krumlau), Krakow, Brasov, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Trieste, Sarajevo, Cluj, Breslau (Wroslaw or something like that in Polish), Dresden...oh, so many... Did I mention Riga?

Posted by Tim
Pottstown, PA, USA
18 posts

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I've decided on Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Might go on some day trips to Bratislava and the Austrian Alps one day to go skiing. Can't wait...I leave Wednesday! :)

Posted by carl
dallas, tx, usa
1358 posts

Having rented cars on numerous visits to Europe, I will suggest you travel by train. A car for one person will be too costly compared with RR travel. You can't afford gasoline or parking. The train is far more convenient because you travel from city center to city center.

You will find public transportation superior to ours and very cheap. It just takes a little time to learn the system in each town. Go to the local Tourist Information Office and get a walking tour map and a bus or trolley map.