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Planning a trip to Eastern Europe, could use your help.

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You guys were very helpful while planning, and during, our last trip (7 weeks to Turkey and Greece last spring), so I'd like your thoughts and suggestions while planning our next trip.

We're planning a trip to Eastern Europe next fall (leave beginning or mid September), for as long as it takes to complete our itinerary (hopefully, not longer than 6 weeks). We've just started to plan the trip, and there is so much (actually, everything) that we need to firm up, and your help would be greatly appreciated.

We've cobbled together a preliminary itinerary that looks like it would work geographically (although maybe not logistically?). Here it is (remember, everything's fluid at this stage, question marks where I could use your suggestions):

Fly from Denver to Helsinki (3 days in H. ?);
Ferry (or train?) to St. Petersburg (5 days in S.P.?);
Ferry (or train?) to Tallinn (2 - 3 days in T.?);
Train to Riga (2 - 3 days in R.?);
Train to Vilnius (2 - 3 days in V.?);
Train to Warsaw (is it practical to get a car in Vilnius - we'll probably want to drive for most of the rest of the trip? If not, we'll pick up a car in Warsaw). (3 days in W?);
Drive to Krakow (3 days in K.?);
Drive to Prague (4 days in P.?);
Drive to Budapest (4 days in Budapest?);
Drive to Ljubljana (2 days in L.?);
Drive to Dubrovnik (or is it better to catch a boat, maybe from Trieste?). (2 - 3 days in D.?)
Boat to Montenegro (haven't chosen a city here, Podgorica looks like it's inland; any suggestions?)
Boat to Corfu. (2 - 3 days in C.?)

At this point, we'll have seen what we wanted to, but haven't yet chosen an exit strategy (i.e., how do we get back to Denver?).

It's pretty clear that the estimated number of days in each place puts us at 6 weeks (not counting travel days), so we'll need to trim some time from the trip, either by cutting back the time in some of the cities (your suggestions will help a lot here), or cutting back on the number of places (perhaps breaking this into 2 trips?). We're not pressed for time (I'm retired), but we've found that 6 weeks makes for a comfortable trip.

Logistically, is it practical to rent a car to travel between countries, and drop it off at a different location? Also, best way to get from Helsinki to St. Petersburg to Tallinn?

What visas are required in advance?


There's a lot to decide and we're just beginning. I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

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