20 Days in Eastern Europe?

Going to Poland in Sept.2011 for family reunion. Flying into Warsaw. How much time in Poland? What other areas to visit? Should we leave by another city?
Chris

Posted by Penny
Tulsa, OK
276 posts

Hi Chris, Hopefully, you'll get some advice from locals on lesser known destinations while you are there, but you definitely need to visit Krakow, at least two or three days plus a day trip to Auschwitz. Auschwitz can be emotionally draining so you don't want to plan to do too much afterwards. I'd also suggest an overnight trip to Zakopane which is a little resort town a couple hours south of Krakow in the Tatras Mountains. The mountains are gorgeous and there are walking trails for just enjoying the views to more rigorous climbs up into the mountains themselves. It's better to take the bus from Krakow to Zakopane rather than the train because, surprisingly enough, it takes less time and is more scenic. Also in Poland, I'd suggest Gdansk. I had thought it would be a dreary industrial town, but I wanted to see it because of its role in the history of the Solidarity Movement. But I was very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is as well. Another lovely city is Wroclaw which has almost as impressive a market square as Krakow's. If you have the chance while in that part of Europe, you should also try to see Prague and/or Budapest. They are both beautiful; Prague is like something out of a fairytale; Budapest has a "belle epoch" feel. Keep checking back in, there will likely be others with suggestions and more information on logistics. Have a great trip!

Posted by john
Portland, OR
13 posts

Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Munich and a few more, are 'Hapsburg' cities all similar in feel and grand design. If you make it to the Czech Republic, the 'smaller Hapsburg town' Czecky Krulov has a very nice feel. They would all fit into an area the size of Oregon, or Montana.

Posted by Jim
New Berlin, WI, US
156 posts

All the cities mentioned are great and worthy of more than a day or two. A few days at a family reunion, travel days between cities and 20 days will fly by. Don't try to do too much. Allow at least 3 days in each city you or your visits will be so superficial that you'll miss the true flavor of the areas you visit. Ceske Krumlov, for example, is a charming little town, with a fasinating castle and theater, but will consume a day (and possibly an overnight) from Prague. And, a minimum stay in Prague should be 3 full days. Plan your route, allowing sufficient time to enjoy each area you visit. If you elect to visit areas other than Poland, an open-jaws ticket might be a good idea. However, don't overlook using Warsaw as your home base. I have no idea what air tickets might cost at this late date but often RT air fares between major European cities can be dirt cheap. Poland's a great country and the people are super. Enjoy your visit.