3 week trip to Eastern Europe- Itinerary Help

Hello-I'm planing a three week trip to Eastern Europe in September 2011 and could use help with the itinerary. We definitely want to visit Prauge, Cesky Krumlov, Auschwitz, Krakow (I am of Polish descent so this is important to me), Budapest, Hungarian country-side, Vienna and other parts of Austria, and then possibly the Croatian coast and then Slovenia if we have time. Perhaps I'm insane thinking that 21 days is enough time to do this.

If anyone has done a similar trip I'd love to hear about it! Also, if you have suggestions for where to start and end that would be great too!

Posted by Lindy
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
62 posts

I would spend at least 3 full days in major cities (Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna.) I would probably even spend 4 days in all or 1-2 of those cities. Several of those cities have night trains between them which you can take advantage of to reduce the days spent on trains.

Maximum I would do 4 countries, 3 would be better. I would fly into 1 city and out another. So before you decide the order you should look at flights and see which city or cities are most accessible from where you fly out of.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4915 posts

I flew into Budapest, then trained to Vienna (2 hours), then trained to Prague (4 hours), flew home from Prague. The trains were easy.

I had barely 3 days in Vienna, 4.5 in Budapest, about 4 in Prague (one of which was a day trip to Terezin). The time allocation worked well for me. In retrospect, I could have spent a day less in Budapest, but I would have liked at least one more in Vienna.

Posted by Ash
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
290 posts

With only three weeks you might consider skipping Croatia; although it could be done along with everywhere else you will spend a lot of time traveling from one place to another. Prague merits 3 days minimum, plus another day for Cesky Krumlov. Krakow, Budapest, and Vienna need three days each, at least. This will give you enough time to savor the places and visit the countrysides as well. You might be able to squeeze in Slovenia. Consider taking the overnight train from Prague to Krakow and from Krakow to Budapest; that will save you some time.

Posted by Kate
590 posts

I would skip Croatia and Slovenia. Last year I spent 4 days in Prague, Budapest and Vienna and i spent one of those days in each place on a day trip (Kutna Hora, Eger and the Wachau valley). i felt I had plenty of time in each city and was not rushed. I could have spent a day less in Vienna, but that is just me. i wasn't "wowed" by Vienna. I spent 3 days in Krakow with half a day in Auschwitz. Loved Krakow and 3 days was good for me to see it all with down time to spare. There is 19 days here not including travel time.

Posted by Lexma
568 posts

I think that would be a lot to squeeze in, and involve a lot of travel time. For a guesstimate on that, get out a map and use google maps or another similar website, and calculate travel times in between your possible destinations.

Two years ago, we visited central Europe. We began in Prague, 4 nights there (including our arrival; we got there early evening). Then picked up a rental car, 2 nights in Telc, and 2 nights in Olomouc, both in the Czech Republic. Then drove east, a long day, across Sloakia to spend two nights in Levoca, near the huge castle of Spissky Hrad. From there, two nights in Eger, Hungary, which we all loved. That's in eastern Hungary. Then drove west to spend one night in the Danube Bend area (if I had it to do over again, we would not do this), finishing the trip with 4 nights in Budapest. Three nights in Budapest would have been ok.

We had the mixture that we prefer, time in the country and in the city, and didn't feel rushed.

Posted by Paul
Parkland, Florida, USA
44 posts

We were in Poland last month and had a wonderfull time with my relatives. You can spend a few days in Krakow visiting the Old Town. There are many places to stay there and we found a nice apt which held 8 of us for a relatively sheap price. Everything you want to see is witin walking distance or a golf cart ride.

Auschwitz will be a full day affair and it may be easier to go with a tour from Krakow to be part of a group since they require guides to keep the crowds moving smoothly.

I would heartily suggest that you spend some time in the Zakopane mountains. The village is a great place to visit, the peaks are on the border with Slovakia, hotels are fairly new and cheap. The cable car ride to the summit is great and you can eat at the peak. Once at the top you can hike for an hiour along the ridge. Many people ride one way up the cable car and hike down the trails back to the base of the cable car.

I do not know if you are going by car or train. Poland is in the middle of building and modernizing their highways. Krakow is very congested because of the construction. The drive from Krakow to Zakopane once you leave the city is pastoral and part of the beauty of Poland. Driving from Zakopane to Auschwitz will take a few hours since it is via local roads.

The Krakow train station is near the old town and I did see rail lines to Zakopane. Polish rail service is being upgraded, but is not yet at the level of what you will find in Western Europe.

Travel very light if you take transit and enjoy Poland. It is a very optimistic place now and full of color instead of being black and white under Communism's boot.

Make sure that you have a GPS . Most young people know English. However, like any other country, talking in the native language in greeting someone will open people up. Watch out for Gypsy scams.

Posted by Brad
Greeley, CO, USA
305 posts

Ashley do not miss mikulov. I put a post on here about it. its 150 southwest of prague in the wine country. i have a great place to stay there. good spot if you need someplace half way between budapest and prague.

Posted by Janice
2 posts

Just got back from trip to Hungary, spent timein Budapest, Vienna and Hungarian countryside. Met with people from Czech Republic-very poud of Prague and Poland- very proud of their country also. I think after a while some of the big cities tend to blend together and Vienna almost seems to fairy tale to be true. A ood place to stay in Vienna is Hotel Akademia which is a college style dorm with great views and service and very helpful staff.

In any place wandering into an unbusy church or building can lead to the most memorable time.
If you have time, go to Pecs, Hungary, the 2010 Euroopean culture capital. It is friendly, beautiful and easy to manage on foot. The Hotel Foenix (yes that is how it is spelled) was affordable, clean and comfortable.

We just spent three weeks in this area and if I had to change anything, I would've spent more time out of the big cities. Englilsh is not usually a problem but a good Hungarian translation useful- had to ask for buttons and needle and thread. Transportation is fairly easy.

The beer there is GREAT!! My companion also liked the wine.

Posted by Debbie
Delray Beach, FL, USA
108 posts

Everyone I know said 2 days in Vienna is enough or more than enough, so we will be doing Budapest 3, Vienna 2, Prague 3 + travel days. Hubby doesn't want to do overnight train.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3911 posts

Ashley, Definitely set aside ample time for Krakow, a lovely and poignant place which I visited in 2001. I would skip Cesky Krumlov. Vienna needs at least 3 full days, four would be even better. I find Vienna absolutely enchanting yet very haunting and fascinating as you walk and see the sites. In the mid-1970s I used to think Vienna was a depressing city unlike other capitals. I went back there last summer and also in May of this year. It was comfortable but July would be better.

Posted by Helene
Brentwood, ca, USA
115 posts

Ashley, We did this trip in 2006. Krakow 2 nites, Auschwitz, Zacaplane Prauge 2 days, then train to Cesky Krumlov(Loved it so much)dont miss it. On to Budapest for 3 nites, which was plenty, Vienna (forget the order of things) one nite which is plenty,then we traveled to Solvenia and Croatia which was the highlights of the whole trip. Loved those beautiful areas. So much scenic things to do.

Posted by turnip
owatonna, mn, usa
17 posts

Ashley, I have a trip report covering several of those sites. PM me with your email and I would be happy to share it with you. Cheers, the turnip