Help with Easte Europe Plan

As always--Rick is right! There is a lot to be discover in Eastern Europe. We're in the planning stages of a trip involving Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. Thinking of renting a car in Prague and driving all around to Dubrovnik. I know Rick sort of mixes and matches public transportation and car driving in this area. Will some have done this? What will be advisable? Promise, as Rick generously does, share all the results of our trip.
THANKS IN ADVANCE. John

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1466 posts

Hi John,
how is Hanover? I lived there 1987 to 1991. Is it still so hot and humid? But to your question: you chose a lot of countries. How much time you have for it? Also realize that renting a car in one country and returning in the other is very expensive. You will also need freeway stickers for each country (if you are going to use freeways). Your rental car from Prague will only have sticker for the Czech Republic. Which months you want to do it? Going toward Adriatic in July and August you may encounter monumental traffic jams.

Posted by John
Hanover, Pennsylvan, United States
32 posts

Hanover, PA still sticky but we had a wonderful crowd with the Gettysburg 150th. We're planning four to five weeks. This is what we have so far: Plan #1. 1. Two other family members want to join but they'd like to try some of Italy. 2. In this case will be: a. Round trip Wash/Milan b. Rent a car in Milan and returned in Venice. c. Cinque Terre d. Cinque Terre to Venice. e. Venice Ljubjana by Bus. f. Rent a car in Slovenia g. Bled-Julian Alps We haven't decided where to go next but we'd like to incorporate some of the original countries. Plan #2 (relatives decided not to join!) 1. Round trip Wash/Prague. 2. Prague-Czesky-Krumlov. 3. Vienna 4. Rent and return cars in each: Hungary (Danube Bend), Slovenia (Julian Alps) and Croatia (Dalmatian Coast).
3. Dubrovnik: here we need to return to Prague, but we are sort of stuck ??? Help!!!

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1466 posts

John,
you can fly open jaw; for example you will fly to Prague and then fly back to Washington, D.C. from Dubrovnik. Open jaw is usually similar price as round trip. Another my advice is don't drive to Cinque Terra. I did and never more. The roads are treacherous, winding, steep and many times just one lane. If you meet another car, one of you is backing for a long time. Also expensive or nonexistent parking. The villages are connected by train, boat and walking trail but not by road, unless you drive all the way up to the highway and then back to another village. There is a good connection from Milan to C.T. by train. After you are done with C.T. rent a car in nearby La Spezia. My feeling is that your itinerary is too ambitious. There is a lot to see in European countries. For example Czech Republic is about size of South Carolina. But there is so much more to see there. Also despite usually higher speed on European freeways traveling the same distance by car takes longer in Europe than in US.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
186 posts

Hi, I rented a car in Slovenia, their capital more specifically, Ljubljana. We rented from ATET and it was the best car rental experience of my life. Practically a new car. A VERY low price. A stern warning that if I didn't return with a full tank that I would be gouged per gallon for their having to refill the tank. (all places tend to say this, but these guys were really serious about how bad it would be and how they thought it was too much) And I returned the car a day early and they gave me a refund for the unused day. Really, they did. It is a local agency.
wayne iNWI

Posted by John
Hanover, Pennsylvan, United States
32 posts

Thank you for the great input! I was working in Kayak trying to get an open jaw, like Prague Dubrovnik but it comes out expensive, not the same as returning from the same place. Finally I hooked up with a travel agency that Rick recommended and she is giving me a great deal (plus the human service that there is no money to pay for that!) So I imagine that eventually will go with her. Also, I appreciate the great info about car rental!

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

Your two plans are like chocolate and vanilla. I feel most comfortable with my knowledge as it pertains to plan B so that's what I will comment on. Plan #2 (relatives decided not to join!) 1. Round trip Wash/Prague. 2. Prague-Czesky-Krumlov. 3. Vienna 4. Rent and return cars in each: Hungary (Danube Bend), Slovenia (Julian Alps) and Croatia (Dalmatian Coast).
3. Dubrovnik: here we need to return to Prague, but we are sort of stuck ??? As I think you figured you can do trains and / or busses all the way to Budapest without much issue. The Danube bend tour is worth the effort and again you can use public transport and you don't need a car. I would also suggest a stop in Gyor between Vienna and Budapest to see the town and the Archabbey. Some people love the freedom of a car and if that lights your fire then there is no arguing it and you should do it. But the cost of a car is pretty steep between the actual rental, tolls, gas and parking it when not in use. My tendency is to want to spend that money on something more memorable than a 2011 diesel Peugeot for a week.

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

Dubrovnik is sort of out of the way for this trip. Substitute Varna or Bourgas if you want to lay on the beach. Substitute any one of a number of towns in Slovakia or Hungary or Romania or Bulgaria if you are looking for great settings in ancient architecture. Sibu, Sighasora, Plovdiv, either of the Slovakian Banska towns come to mind quickly. These can all be done on workable open jaw tickets (Prague and Budapest). One option is to spend a few days in Budapest then off to Romania or Bulgaria or Slovakia and then back to Budapest for another couple of nights and then home. Bulgaria requires a flight; Slovakia and Romania can be driven. Romania I know a guide who will pick you up in Budapest and drive you through Romania and parts of Bulgaria for about $350 a day including the cost of the hotel rooms. Pretty hard to beat.