26 days in Eastern Europe

Old Jul 14th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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26 days in Eastern Europe

New to the forum, first time traveler. I'd love to get some feed back on a trip I have planned in September/October.

9/25 Split, Croatia
9/26 Hvar, Croatia
9/27 Hvar, Croatia
9/28 Hvar, Croatia
9/29-10/01 Croatia

We hope to check out Krka, Plitvice, and eventually make our way to Zagreb. So between the 29th and 1st we hope to do that. Any suggestions on what to do/where to go would be helpful!

10/1 Budapest
10/2 Budapest
10/3 Budapest
10/4 Budapest
10/5 Krakow
10/6 Krakow
10/7 Krakow
10/8 Krakow
10/9 Prague
10/10 Prague
10/11 Prague
10/12 Prague
10/13 Berlin
10/14 Berlin
10/15 Berlin
10/16 Berlin
10/17 Amsterdam
10/18 Amsterdam
10/19 Amsterdam
10/20 Amsterdam

We plan to take overnight trains for the most part. Any side trip ideas would be appreciated as I feel were spending too much time in the large cities.

I should add that my group are three male, 26 year old Canadians, who want to experience the culture, food, and nightlife that each of these cities/countries have to offer. We enjoy drinking but also want plenty of downtime. So please, throw everything you've got at me! Any input and ideas are very much appreciated! What am I missing? Should I avoid anything I have planned?

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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Sorry - none of these places is eastern europe (you need a better map). Most are central europe and Germany and Netherlands are western europe.

You need to check is overnight trains are available for the routes you want and the prices for berths - unless you plan to sit up all night (not possible on some trains) and risk theft of your belongings.
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Just time for a quick comment (Yes - none of your trip is "Eastern" Europe)

>>We plan to take overnight trains for the most part.<<

Most of those routes wouldn't require (and some may not have) overnight trains. One night train - maybe just for the experience. But a steady diet of them -- not the best idea. A lot of sleepless nights.

Check out http://www.seat61.com for ALL kinds of info/advice re European train travel.
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 07:57 PM
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Welcome to the forum and to travel!

I must admit that this itinerary is WAY to rushed for my tastes -- and I travel hard! I recommend that you consult guidebooks for each city/place you hope to visit, figure out your priorities, check opening hours, and then plot them out on a calendar. Also check your transportation options, and be sure to add at least 2 or 3 hours to either side of any relocation -- time you will need to get to/from your hotel, check in/out, pack/unpack, get oriented, etc. I think you will find that you will need to cut some destinations from this plan.

As nytraveler and janisj have noted, overnight trains may or may not be a solution for one or more legs of your journey. I strongly discourage using them with any frequency (even if they are an option) as they are unlikely to match your sleep needs all that well. As a result, you might end up not really seeing the places you have made such an effort to see because you are too tired to actually process any of what you are doing while walking around in a daze. I speak from experience: I tried two consecutive overnight trains on my first trip to Europe.

"9/29-10/01 Croatia ... We hope to check out Krka, Plitvice, and eventually make our way to Zagreb. So between the 29th and 1st we hope to do that."

A visit to the Plitvice Lakes is not to be skipped while in Croatia, and really requires an overnight, preferably before your visit to the park. Then plan on 6 or 7 or even 8 hours in the park. (Part of what makes this park so spectacular are the differences between the lakes, and you can really only see that if you go far enough into the park to see a lot of them.)

By Krka, you mean the Krka National Park? It is lovely, but I don't think you have time to get there -- or at least, I'm not seeing how you would do so.

Zagreb itself is worth several days -- again, I don't see that you have left any time for it.

"Any side trip ideas would be appreciated as I feel were spending too much time in the large cities." -- Again, check some guidebooks, identify your options, and plot them out on a map.

For the guidebooks, I recommend The Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet as good starting places. Check your local library or bookstore or amazon.com These two series provide particularly comprehensive coverage of your options in each location, generally have great information about side trips and transportation options, and good maps. And you'll want to be sure to read their sections on what to expect in terms of lodging and food, local norms (including tipping norms), local transit, a few words and phrases, etc.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Most of those routes wouldn't require (and some may not have) overnight trains. One night train - maybe just for the experience. But a steady diet of them -- not the best idea. A lot of sleepless nights.>

You can take overnight trains between Budapest and Krakow and Krakow and Prague and IMO this is the best way to go if not flying as the distances are long and the scenery after a bit tedious - my experience with overnight trains is that yes go for it - when I was your age I rode overnight trains many many times - sometimes nights on end - you're young - what older folks may find an anthema you may find exciting.

You can even often book up a triple - private compartment in the Sleeping Car and much better than a multi-sex strangers mixed in couchette - never sleep in ordinary seats as theft can be a real problem in open-air cars at night where everybody can come and go.

I never failed to get a good night's sleep on night trains - of course I always bring some vino along - you can bring anything you want to drink or eat onto night trains (and day trains) so you can kind of make a party of it.

You can also I think take an overnight train Berlin to Duisburg, Germany and in the morning connect to Amsterdam from there. And Zagreb to Budapest probably has one too. So except on one of your legs there are TMK overnight trains available - and to me that is a great idea for your ages - save travel time and a night in a hostel or hotel.

For lots of great stuff on European trains and night trains yes check www.seat61.com and also www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. You can usually book night trains as you go along but at times they can be booked up (unlikely more to have triples booked up but not all trains have them either) - triples cost more p.p. than does a couchette - on top of the train fare if you have some kind of railpass that covers train fares - and you may want to look into some kind of flexipass - great if you want to chose which trains to take once there - in those countries hop any train anytime - you may get discounted tickets on trains and night trains if you book far in advance thru the national rail sites of each country involved.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/int...ern-Europe.htm

Just time for a quick comment (Yes - none of your trip is "Eastern" Europe)>

Baloney - you were right to use Eastern Europe for all your countries save Germany and Holland - at least the experts linked to above consider them Eastern Europe - of course Fodor's 'experts' know more than they do!

Google Eastern Europe and you will see umpteen sources confirming that you were right in your terminology.

Oh about the Eastern European Railpass - I do not think you are traveling quite enough to make it pay off but check regular fares vs the pass which does let you just hop on any train anytime.

And there is an Eastern European Railpass valid in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary - why is it called Eastern Europe because that is the common name most people refer to these countries as - so yes Eastern Europe is the proper term there -
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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PQ -- I just love it -- you troll for any phrase or sentence of mine to parse and pick apart. Since my comment was agreeing w/ nytraveler . . . at least be a equal opportunity kvetcher . . .

(I still agree w/ nytraveler -- these countries are in Western and Central Europe)
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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janis those countries are in Eastern Europe in the common vernacular - just like Chunnel is the vernacular for Americans using the Channel Rail Tunnel, another word that seems to get your knickers in a twist. And you're the pot calling the kettle black here with your charge.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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Sorry - none of these places is eastern europe (you need a better map).>

OK to be fair yes many of those countries are considered by folks more expert than you, I hypothesize anyway: http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/int...ern-Europe.htm.

Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic are usually referred to as Eastern Europe even though technically they may not be in eastern Europe. And that's why they call it the Eastern European Railpass too.

(I still agree w/ nytraveler -- these countries are in Western and Central Europe)> well Google and you will see that you are in a small minority of folks deeming them so.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 05:35 AM
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We plan to take overnight trains for the most part. Any side trip ideas would be appreciated as I feel were spending too much time in the large cities.>

Yes use big cities as nice bases from which to hop to smaller gems nearby - like in Berlin be sure to go to Potsdam for a day - Sans Soucci Palace - the Prussian Versailles - is fantastic as it the huge park it sits in. Just a short S-Bhn ride out.

https://www.google.com/search?q=sans...w=1393&bih=952

Or go to Sachenhausen - about a 30-minute train ride out - the Nazi Concentration Camp that is now a memorial with gas chambers left as is, etc.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article....uleId=10005538
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 07:35 AM
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Amsterdam also abounds in sweet day trips - favorites of many go to Delft, a neat old Dutch regional town known for its Delftware ceramics but just a picturesque canal-laced town; Haarlem - right on Amsterdam's door step - Zaanse Schans - a large grouping of behemoth wooden windmills a short train ride from Amsterdam (can easily be combined with a visit to Haarlem)

https://www.google.com/search?q=zaan...w=1393&bih=952

Amsterdam is great but is cosmopolitan - Dutch regional towns like Haarlem, Delft, Leiden, etc are much different, being the real Holland and all pleasant easy day trips from Amsterdam, a neat base to return to at night.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 08:13 AM
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Sorry P I don't think of them as Eastern Europe either. The Urals are wayyyyy over there. That the people of North America still "see" the iron curtain and so have influence Wiki is just another political issue we have to deal with in Europe.

What worries me more is are "multi-sex strangers mixed in couchette" worse or better than "multi-gender strangers mixed in couchette"?
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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Who said About.com were experts in geopolitics?

Sorry - my degrees are in modern european history - and about have simply eliminated an entire section of europe (central europe) which is very different politically, economically and historically - from eastern europe (Russia and the Ukraine).

Without a rationale they are just using the iron curtain - which lasted for less than 50 years - as a measure of quite a few centuries of culture and history.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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nytraveler . . . don't try logic on PQ -- after all, everything on the inter web is correct
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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Without a rationale they are just using the iron curtain - which lasted for less than 50 years - as a measure of quite a few centuries of culture and history.>

You mis-read my posting as I said technically you were correct (not sure about janis' pedigree on this!) but vernacular - what people really use - is more Eastern Europe - why do you think they call it the Eastern European Railpass?

It's like Americans using the word Chunnel for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - everytime that pops up janis and other are sure to upbraid the user that that ain't acceptable on Fodor's - the reason I think having two folks in order reprimand the OP here - was off topic because it was irrelevant, especially since the vast majority of folks would call it Eastern Europe.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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PQ - I know you don't think so but most of us DO try to help posters. The reason it was 'relevant' was because when the OP first posted this the countries were not tagged (apparently the editors added the country tags later). So folks who know about the Czech Republic , or Germany , or Hungary , or the Netherlands , or Poland likely wouldn't even open the thread.
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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BTW - my comment was very benign -- I was simply saying that overnight trains would not be necessary on most of those routes . . and that the OP really isn't traveling to Eastern Europe.

But then the whole thread gets hijacked w/ 'yes it is because this link says so', and the Chunne,l and yada yada.

You really do need to chill . . .
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Old Jul 16th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Have never heard any American say "chunnel". I think this is another fantasy of yours.

And see no point in reinforcing incorrect information.
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 04:03 AM
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nytraveler - there have been umpteen uses of the word Chunnel on Fodor's by Americans.

And that Raileurope would headline their Eurostar London to Paris/Brussels tickets as "Chunnel Train Tickets" is more than proof of what I say.

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