What is the best way to plan a trip to Eastern Europe which will begin in Prague and end across the Adriatic in Italy?
The very best way is to have a fabulously wealthy relative who will finance the trip, and a boss who gives extraordinarly generous paid vacation time. Endless curiousity and lots of personal energy would also help. Seriously, Irene, give us some ideas about your interests and your time and financial limits.
Money is not really an issue, however, I dont' like fancy hotels, I prefer pensions or B&B's. I prefer train travel and backpacking to car travel. I've been to Europe several times, but never Eastern Europe. I must add that the trip will start in Prague, where I'll be running the marathon and will have a couple of weeks to travel.Thanks!
Let me take you a bit away from Prague after your run. (And don't call it an Eastern Europe visit, despite the forum name - all these places are in Central Europe):
First, how are you traveling (or are you running the whole way). Either travel south through Tabor (medieval Hussite capital), Ceske Budejovice/Budweis (town center) and down to Cesky Krumlov/Krumau (World Heritage town everyone has suddenly discovered). From there you could continue on into Austria, stopping at Freistadt (medieval city), Linz (major city with Roman castell), maybe Mauthausen (KZ) and then along the Danube down to Vienna, stopping to see Abbey Melk, Dürnstein fortress (Richard the Lionhearted slept there - in prison!), all in the Wachau wine region.
If going east, try to visit Kutna Hora (St. Barbara cathedral), Jihlava (medieval) and down to Telc (incredible town center). From there to Brno (capital of Moravia w. fortress) and then Vienna. You could take trains to Bratislava, just 30 mi. away and embark on a cross-Slovakia journey. The huge castle at Spissky hrad is yet to be discovered. Kosice is the next town and quite picturesque. Then travel down to Hungary. Miskolc is in the Tokaj region (wineries), the puszta steppe lands just to the south near Debrecen. You could go farther east to Romania, ending in Cluj, a large university city. Fantastic churches, interesting folklore.
Or you could go east from Vienna to Budapest and spend days in Vienna's sister city, maybe head south to Lake Balaton for a swim and even farther south to Pecs and the folklore capital of Kalocsa before heading back to 'Western' Europe.
Enough hints for a start?
First, I would get a good map of the area and determine which cities you want to visit. Use Martin's suggestions if they meet your needs.
Call it Easter Europe because that's what everyone calls it and I know what you mean and others will also.
Read some guide books to list the sights you want to see. Or do a search on the web for sights in each country. There will be a lot that will interest you but might not interest Martin.
Once you list the towns you want to visit and you know how many miles to travel, you will know how much time that will take.
Plan each day of your trip so you can cover the area and the sights you want to see and write it in an itinerary.
Martin and Carl, thanks for your tips. Gives me a very good starting point.
Have you checked out the Graffiti Wall/Archived Topics/Eastern Europe yet?
No, but I will. Tx.