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20 days in Central Europe (female traveling solo)

20 days in Central Europe (female traveling solo)

Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:12 AM
  #1  
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20 days in Central Europe (female traveling solo)

Thanks in advance for all your help.

I'm turning 40 in a few weeks and decided I want to head to Europe for two or three weeks. I've been to Turkey, Bulgaria, UK, France. I want to explore some new areas.

The only "must" for my trip is Prague. I'm not one who parties, so nightlife doesn't matter to me. I prefer exploring cities on foot, enjoy architecture and impressive historical sites. Cobblestone streets, everything in close proximity (or a metro), all a huge plus. I'm not into museums, etc.

I've considered Vienna, Brussels, Budapest, Krakow, Amsterdam, Zurich, and a few other areas.

I'll be flying into London (air miles), so I will either take a hop flight to the next city or go the rail route.

I will have 14-20 days to explore. The more I can see the better, but I don't want to feel rushed and I'd like the flexibility to tweak my travel dates if I like the city I'm exploring.

Thanks for all your input in advance.
joym25 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:39 AM
  #2  
 
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With 20 days, and Prague a must, I would do Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Krakow. Fly from London to Vienna and then back to London from Krakow. or vice versa. Just looking at a map suggests this order, IMHO. This would give you four days in each city and four days travel time. Even better would be to cut out one of those cities and add more time to the others.

On a recent trip, I had five days each in Krakow, Prague and Budapest and felt as if I barely scratched the surface. I took a day trip from each one as well as exploring little streets. Budapest and Krakow were my favorites. I visited Vienna a long time ago as part of an educational trip (even had some "education" that was not intended), and have always wanted to go back.

I'm sure that you will get all sorts of answers here.
irishface is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:45 AM
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Definitely Krakow. It's one of my favorite cities. 5 full days is a good amount of time here as there is lots to do. There's a beautiful main square and if you stay off the square you can walk to most sightseeing. It's also a wonderful place for an evening drink to watch the action.

Make this your last stop as it's difficult to get anywhere from Krakow by train so you'll need to fly out from there.

I agree with irishface on the destinations. You won't want to do more than that as there are trips outside the city but close to the cities that you might find interesting

Have you looked into air miles into Frankfurt? It would put you closer to your destinations.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 08:46 AM
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Of these suggested both Zurich and Brussels are clean, secure and generally lacking in interest. Despite having visited them and having friends who live there I cannot suggest you spend one minute in either of them. I might put up Luxembourg instead of Brussels which is an interesting city partially built into a cliff.

Prague works well if you fly into it and buy a public transport carnet. The trams are fun and I'd recommend staying between the President's palace and the river as being a bit quieter but a good place to get about.

Krakow is certainly more interesting than Warsaw but once you've seen the golden centre, the concentration camp, the salt mine and the slapdash main art gallergy you will be running out of things to do. Budapest is more interesting with a spa culture worth taking advantage of, great torte and sweet wine with some good local food. I'd recommend the area from around the Opera out away from the river for accomodation and evening meals. I'd also suggest the Segway tour to get to know the place.

You might also like
Bruges (a bit heavy on the touristy like Prague) but worth it non the less
German cities are worth a visit, partially because the locals tend to speak excellent English. I'd look at a variety of areas to include Hamburg, Wurzberg, Hanover, Middleburg, Dresden
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 09:49 AM
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I've not been to Budapest, but I am right around your age and thought 6 days Prague, 5+ Krakow were terrific. I never even made it to the salt mines.

Amsterdam is a wonderful destination if you like museums.
Leely2 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 10:13 AM
  #6  
 
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or go the rail route.>

In eastern Europe there is a cheap railpass - the European East Pass that covers trains in Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - pretty much hop on any train anytime - if taking 3-4 trips the pass can pay off and more if you want full flexibility.

Check these superb IMO sites for loads of great stuff on European and Eastern European trains - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. There are also overnight trains between Amsterdam and many German towns and Zurich and in Eastern Europe say between Krakow and Budapest or Prague - long hauls thru mostly boring scenery in daytime.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 11:40 AM
  #7  
 
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Make this your last stop as it's difficult to get anywhere from Krakow by train so you'll need to fly out from there.>

or take overnight trains to places that may be cheaper to fly out of - like Budapest or Prague, etc.

Krakow is an outlier but such a wonderful place like many above say. Auschwitz-birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mines just south of town are a UNESCO World Heritage Site - well the salt mines that is not Auschwitz - about an hour by bus or train or tour bus from Krakow.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 11:51 AM
  #8  
 
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Thank you for the train links PalenQ.

Can anyone recommend Prague and Budapest neighborhoods and places they enjoyed the most in these two cities? I'll have 5 days in each next month.
ofasho is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 12:35 PM
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Pest would be my choice in Buda Pest - if I have them right - the castle area on a hill overlooking the town center - some nice hotels and a youth hostel up there.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 4th, 2014, 12:26 AM
  #10  
 
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Prague is a must. 5 days should be sufficient. Another beautiful town south of Prague is Cesky Krumlov, my favorite place in the Czech Republic. Vienna is also another good choice. If you are going to Vienna, I would hit Bratislava for about 1/2 day. It is only 40 miles from Vienna. Budapest is nice with trips to Eger and Pecs. Then you could go up to Krakow and a day trip to Auchwitz.
brendonb29 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2014, 04:24 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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I've been to all of the places you mention except Brussels as a solo female traveler and think they would all fit with your stated interests. Too, each of these cities offers a wide array of options, so you might consider planning about 4 or 5 days per city (or perhaps a tad less if you don't plan on any day trips). So sit down with a map and figure out what combination best suits your anchors of London and Prague.

You'll see some wonderful places no matter which you choose!
kja is offline  
Mar 6th, 2014, 12:58 PM
  #12  
 
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some suggestions...

10 days Vienna, 5 days Florence, 5 days Prague.

Vienna is gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, awesome...!!!
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Did I say Vienna is gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, awesome?
apscoradiales is offline  
Mar 6th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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Re: Budapest. i would stay in Pest, although PalenQ has it backwards. Buda is the side with the hill and the castle, Pest is the side with the better transport, the better views ( since you are looking AT the castle) and more eating options.

For my most recent visit, including lodging, start here (links at the top of the page): http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/...g-in-budapest/
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 7th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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thursdays - thanks for correcting me - I always confuse Buda and Pest - now I got it Buda has the castle.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 17th, 2014, 12:46 PM
  #15  
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Thanks for all your help and advice. I will save this information for a future trip. My plans have changed... I will be heading to Italy for warmer weather and relaxation with less running around.
joym25 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2014, 05:57 AM
  #16  
 
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I highly recommend you to do that trip:

Prague>Krakow>Budapest>Vienna

All these cities are absolutely stunning and unique, they are the most important cities in Central Europe.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2014, 06:41 AM
  #17  
 
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There are overnight trains between Prague and Krakow and Krakow and Budapest - long ways between those places - all day on a train or half-day flying or arrive in morning on a night train.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 18th, 2014, 12:25 PM
  #18  
 
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I prefer exploring cities on foot, enjoy architecture and impressive historical sites. Cobblestone streets, everything in close proximity (or a metro), all a huge plus. I'm not into museums, etc.

I've considered Vienna, Brussels, Budapest, Krakow, Amsterdam, Zurich, and a few other areas.>

Werll from your likes don't even consider Zurich or Brussels - exactly the opposite IME of what you are looking for - Prague yes, Krakow kind of, Budapest yes - Amsterdam for sure.

Maybe do a day trip from Prague to Ceske Krumlov - an old town that will fulfill your wishes - buses or trains a few hours each way however - but if going to Austria it is just off a main rail route from Prague to Linz/Salzburg (another city you will love).
PalenQ is online now  

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