eastern europe in 14 days??

My BF and I are taking 2 weeks to travel thru eastern Europe this summer. We will be starting in Geneva, and flying home from Prague. We are at odds as to how much we can see in 2 weeks. Is it possible to see Switzerland, Venice, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow, Berlin area, and Prague in 2 weeks? He has been to Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, but neither one of us has been to the other countries. Im feeling like this is way too ambitious, spending barely 2 days in each place, but curious what other more experienced travelers might say. He has traveled extensively and feels that with a Eurail pass and lots of energy we can do it!

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

The short answer is a big "n-o". Are you really doing "Eastern Europe"? These cities are all over the board including Western Europe, Central Europe, and "Eastern Europe". If I spend roughly 2 weeks someplace what I do is pick a region or some area with a cluster of places I want to see - mainly to minimize travel time and maximize time on the ground. Rarely is any city, especially some of the large ones you listed here (especially Berlin), adequate in 2 days. I did Rome in 3 days and ran myself ragged (and I was under 30 at that time and on my feet 12+ hours a day). I think you should realistically sit down, plot out 3 cities (4 max) you want to see and set your itinerary by what makes sense distance-wise. Consider open jaw tickets as well so you can fly into one city and out of another without having to backtrack.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

Lydia, Go to Amazon and buy a copy of Rail Map Europe and use it to do your planning. I don't think you can possibly do what you intend in two weeks, just as the above advisor told you. No way, and having a Eurail pass won't make it any easier. The farther east you go in Europe the more distance there is bewtween cities.

Posted by Lydia
Woodland, Ca, usa
4 posts

thank you Agnes and Monte!
I will go back to the drawing board.. Im thinking that Venice and Krakow might be the ones to leave out...

Posted by James
Frisco
1765 posts

I am curious which of these one would consider to be Eastern Europe. Outside of the U.S. you won't find many that considered any on the list to be in Eastern Europe. Our definition is an old cold war carry over. The list is Central or Western Europe. But I have to admit that even I promote my rental places in Budapest to be in Eastern Europe from time to time. Sounds more dramatic but doesn't please my friends in Budapest. I dropped Italy and Switzerland and Germany and concentrated on the heart of Central Europe and came up with 17 days. Remember if you are taking two weeks off work you have 16 days to play with between the Friday before you leave and them Monday after your return. If you eliminated Bratislava and added an extra day in Prague then this works. I would play around a little with the order of the trip. Krakow is the tough one to fit in but I think you can do all this with trains and maybe Orangeways bus. Day 1 Leave the US Day 2 Arrive Vienna Day 3 Vienna Day 4 Vienna Day 5 Vienna to Bratislava Day 6 Bratislava Day 7 Bratislava to Budapest Day 8 Budapest Day 9 Budapest Day 10 Budapest Day 11 Budapest to Krakow Day 12 Krakow Day 13 Krakow Day 14 Krakow to Prague Day 15 Prague
Day 16 Prague Day 17 Prague to Home I checked flights from the US direct to Krakow a few weeks back and was impressed with the rates. you might look at going into Krakow, run your tour and then go out of Prague. But what ever direction you run it, it will be a good trip.

Posted by Lydia
Woodland, Ca, usa
4 posts

thank you James!!! I so appreciate your taking the time to reply, and have enjoyed reading your posts of various other topics. You are obviously very knowledgeable. I love your plan, and you are right, we would have 16 days. The thing is, however, we have already purchased the ticket to fly into Geneva, and to fly out of Prague 15 days later. For sure I need to leave out Italy, looks like, and reduce a day in Bratislava and /or Krakow, to squeeze in a day in Berlin? Geneva Vienna Bratislava Budapest Krakow Berlin Prague ? still too much???? thank you for your thoughts...
Lydia

Posted by James
Frisco
1765 posts

You are still pretty scattered. You will either spend a lot of time in a train or you will have to buy some more plane tickets, or change your list a little. How about Geneva, Zurich, Munich, Salzburg Vienna, Budapest Krakow, Prague; in that order? Berlin is way out there if you are starting in Geneva going through Vienna and trying to end in Prague. But hey, do the research and if you can pull it off in a way you think you will enjoy then go for it. What have you got to loose? It's all an experience.

Posted by Lydia
Woodland, Ca, usa
4 posts

thank you again... and you are right! the experience will be amazing no matter if we make it through all those cities or not!! cant wait!!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2684 posts

Hi, I would suggest dropping Geneva. Maybe even Bratislava. With the rest of cities on the list, it's doable depending upon they are lined up to be visited, more so if you're willing to take a night train, say from Berlin to Budapest or vice versa.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1454 posts

IMHO 4 destinations in 14 days are still realistic. I would not try to squeeze in more. Considering logistics and geography it could look like this: Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest or vice versa. Flying open jaw.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

Lydia, do a reality check. Go to the German train website, bahn.de, and look at the train schedules for your destinations. Then allow 1 hour from hotel (even if you are out and about, you need to return to the hotel to get your bags) to train and about the same from the train to your next hotel (you'll need time to change money and get oriented, buy tram tickets, etc). Then you'll see how much time you really have in each place. I like to ride trains in the evening as much as possible, so I have my days for sightseeing. After that, it depends on your personal style. If BF gets antsy after 48 hours in one place, no matter how much there is to see, then maybe that's the way to go. I'd make a list of what I'd like to see in each place, and about how much time I need, allow for some wandering time and knowing that there's always more to see.

Posted by James
Frisco
1765 posts

She already has her tickets; arrive Geneva and depart Prague so it has to work around that. They appear to be young and will probably enjoy Berlin so as out of line as it is it may still be worth it. Kids might enjoy the over night trains for the experience otherwise I would suggest at least one flight in the process. I'm sure they will figure it out and love it.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
1832 posts

You should go to Rick Steves Tours and check out his itinerary for Eastern Europe to see what is realistic is 14 days.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

We did Vienna-Budapest-Plitvice Lakes-Split-Ljubljana-Vienna in 19 days. It was a circle tour. Vienna - 4 days, with day trip away Budapest - 5 day, with day trip away Zagreb - Plitvice Lakes - 1 day Split - 2 nights Ljubljana - 1 night Austrian countryside - 2 nights Vienna and Budapest - OK for stay Ljubljana - way too short - 2 nights, maybe 3 were needed
Austrian countryside - again too short Doing it again, I would cut out Split, spend 3 nights in Ljubljana, and add another night in the Austrian countryside. If you stay more than 1 night in a place, you can really enjoy things. Rushing around is not what satisfies me. I would cut my list to 4 places, make them as close together as possible, and put the remainder on the bucket list for the next trip. You will go back, won't you?

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

I think James' itiniery above is pretty good. Bratislava is an easy afternoon. It's a pretty small town.

Posted by James
Frisco
1765 posts

She already has her tickets; arrive Geneva and depart Prague so it has to work around that. They appear to be young and will probably enjoy Berlin so as out of line as it is it may still be worth it. Kids might enjoy the over night trains for the experience otherwise I would suggest at least one flight in the process. I'm sure they will figure it out and love it.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2684 posts

Lydia, No doubt that you can do this trip as regards to energy covering the capitals in Central and East Central Europe. But keep in mind that the Eurail Global Pass omits Poland. So, you'll have to buy a tickets covering going to/exiting from Krakow, a city which I very much recommend, a good walking city. Given your tight time constraint of 14 days, I would consider the flying option, which normally I don't do, esp if you don't drop Berlin. Budapest-Berlin, Berlin-Vienna, Berlin-Krakow are all in excess of ten hours, day or night train, and depending on how you tailor your route. If you do skip Berlin this time and assign the two days to somewhere else...logistically it would be easier... save Berlin for the next trip when you can devote a week or two to the place.