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Eastern Europe Tour??

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Hi guys! My brothers and I are all in our early twenties and we're interested in traveling around Eastern Europe for 16-17 days sometime in late August or early September. We're interested in visiting Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania and were wondering how accessible this region was by train or car?? We have family friends in Dubrovnik and thought that might be a good place to start and then enroute North to Ljubljana we'd stop by Split. We were considering visiting Traglav National Park and the cave systems in northern Slovenia, but someone mentioned that the quickest route to Budapest was via Zagreb so there'd be good deal of back tracking. After Budapest, we were interested in visiting some towns in Transylvania (Cluj-Napoca, Brasov & Bran) enroute to Bucharest which will be our end point. Are hostels reliable in any of these cities or would hotels be a wiser choice?? How widely is English spoken in these cities?? Between the three of us, we have conversational French and Italian covered at least which will help. There don't seem to be any direct flights from the US to Croatia or Slovenia, but we figured we'd fly direct to London and then transfer to Stansted which offers budget flight via Easyjet or Ryanair down to Croatia. We might be totally crazy for attempting this (go ahead and say it haha!), but we've road tripped across the US in as much time with about as many stops on our trip and found it fine. Any feedback would be much appreciated!

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