4-5 weeks in Central/East Europe

7th trip to Europe. Have seen Scandinavia and all of Western/Mediterranean Europe. Is this doable? 7 days in Budapest 2 days, 1 night Bratislava 4 days Vienna 5 days Prague (+1 day trip to Terezin) 2 days, 1 night CK 5 days Krakaw day trip to Auschwitz 5 days Warsaw 3 days Gdansk Anything I must see in those countries? I'd really like to go to Sofia, Bulgaria but know very little about it. How many days should I allot? And train or fly from Budapest? Interests are art, wine, soccer, WW2, communism, train, short flights over long bus rides
Disinterests are partying, tour groups, long bus rides Budget is ~100 Euros/day for food, hostel, sights + transportation Also, where should I fly into/out of?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1470 posts

Based on your interests I can give you few tips for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Art: Prague is full of art, see at least Mucha museum. Wine: http://www.salonvin.cz/en/ , you can get there on your way from Vienna to Prague. Change trains in Breclav. About 10 minutes train ride to Valtice, 10 min.walk from the train station to the chateau where the cellar with the best wines of the C.R. is. In Prague there are several famous soccer clubs, TI will certainly advise you which one gives tour. WWII: About one hour plus by bus from Prague there is a concentration camp Terezin. Even closer there is a memorial to Lidice. The village was burnt by Nazis, all men were shot, women and children taken to concentration camps as a retaliation for assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich. Village had nothing to do with it. Church of St.Cyril and Methodius in Prague was a last stand of assassins against Nazis. The biggest battle of WWII in Czechoslovakia was Dukla Pass battle. It's in Slovakia now. You can google it. You find more information about eventual tour of it here: http://www.dukla-battlefield.com . Communism: visit Museum of Communism in Prague. When you are wine tasting in Valtice you can also visit Museum of Iron Curtain. Train: Technical Museum in Prague. They have also other stuff besides trains. As a source of information you can try Rick Steves book Eastern Europe. You can do all your itinerary by train easily. Especially when train is in your interests.

Posted by Love to Travel
San Diego, CA
126 posts

oops. I meant 100 Euros/day for food/hostel/sights and then transportation on top of that.

Posted by john
columbus, nc
282 posts

7days in Budapest? 3-4 I think is plenty. There are smaller cities you might want to consider.

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1000 posts

I agree with the previous poster - shave off 3 days from Budapest, at least one from Krakow and probably 2 from Warsaw and use them to hit some other places in the vicinity.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2702 posts

Hi, I'll reserve my comments on your trip to Gdansk (Danzig). Presumably you're taking the train from Warsaw to Gdansk central station. After the first two stops going to Gdansk, you enter the area that was formerly East and later West Prussia. I took the train from Berlin-Gdansk, changed twice at Angem√ľnde and Szczecin (Stettin), took ca. nine hours, basically the whole day on the train. Trains in Poland are slower but punctual. I was there in July 2003, spent almost a week in Gdansk, stayed at small hotel in the Stary Miasto (the former Altstadt of Danzig)...very nice, not at all pricey. Gdansk is well suited for walking everywhere. Since you're interested in WW II sites, go to Westerplatte, where the attack began. A definite day trip ca. 50 mins by train is that from Gdansk to Malbork (Marienburg), huge fortress stemming from the Middle Ages. If you're motorised, see some of the other small former West Prussian towns in the lower Vistula area, some of them escaped the war undamaged. Lovely area and lovely hospitality.

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
800 posts

Lake Balaton is a nice resort area outside Budapest. The Herendi (in Herend) factory museum is also interesting if you consider porcelain art, it was beautiful.
Outside of Prague is Karlovy Vary, a nice spa town with great crystal and garnet shopping. Popular with Europeans and Russians. Personally liked it better than CK.

Posted by Ross
Denver, Colorado, USA
143 posts

I would agree with other posters about shaving off a day or two from the major cities and seeing other places in the area. For example, I would add Cesky Krumlov to your Czech travels. Easy trip from Prague by bus or minivan. You might enjoy the Terror Museum in Budapest (headquarters of both Nazis and police during the Soviet area) and the Museum of Communism in Prague. Also, there are numerous wineries in Hungary, with some very good "Bull's Blood" wines. Think I would fly into Prague and out of Budapest, or vice versa.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
186 posts

Hi, My wife and I love Budapest. I would do an overnight or two nights in Eger. We actually took a bus there and a train back. Eger at Christmas time was so romantic. A small trip to 1930 except for the small McDonald's sign. During the summer the wine tasting caves are open. The wine is OK, but the actual tasting is a bit of a surprise. Locals in T-shirts with empty Evian bottles paying less than a USDollar for two litres. If you visit Momento Park where they have quite a few Soviet era stautues. If you take the local bus to get the local flavor, the trip would occupy a half day. Expect to spend half a day at the City Baths in Heros Park (Horos ter?). The Geller t is beautiful but the City Baths are for locals. They have NO body issues at the three outdoor pools. Come one, come all. A night or two at the Opera is mandatory for us. Last trip we saw La Boheme. Many of the scenes were like Bruegel paintings. And tier three cost $5 each. $5 each, got that. A tour of the Opera cost something like $12. There are enough coffee houses to keep you busy or in caffeine coma for a few days. Lake Balaton...Hungarians go there, I would skip it. wayne iNWI

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1470 posts

Why not Venice? It's about the same distance from Budapest as Salzburg. Just kidding. Stay in the vicinity.

Posted by Love to Travel
San Diego, CA
126 posts

hi everyone! Thanks for everyone's posts!! Love reading everyone's thoughts! PS...I have already been to Venice and Salzburg...

Posted by Don
Kent, WA, USA
29 posts

Unless you have specific reasons for staying longer than maybe 4 nights in a place, keeping a stay to that makes sense to me, as others have suggested.
My wife and I are visiting Europe our 3rd time this year, spending some independent time either side of Rick's Eastern Europe tour ending Oct 1 in Slovenia. For our planning, I came across a site that has helped with our Adriatic plans, but includes a section on Bulgaria. The author seems to know the greater peninsula area pretty well, and since nobody commented on Sofia, give a look at: www.Balkanology.com

Posted by Paula
Berkeley, CA, USA
28 posts

5 days in Prgaue seems like a very long time to me, I would think 3 full days would probably be enough. Maybe use more of those days for side trips. This is very unhelpful, but Sofia is one of my dream destinations :)