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Eastern Europe Itinerary Help (24 Days)

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Aug 29th, 2011, 11:35 AM
  #1
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Eastern Europe Itinerary Help (24 Days)

Hi folks, my girlfriend and I are planning the tail end of a 6.5 month europe trip. We've done all western europe but we have 24 nights and the end and we want to see Eastern Europe. I'm flying into/out of Budapest and renting a car from Budapest. So far on this trip we've done a fair amount of one week rentals, 4 or 5 night stays, etc which is usually our pace. However on this one I want to get a bit more agressive and try to see as much as possible. Here is the tentative itinerary:

4 nights Budapest
2 nights Bratislava
3 nights Krakow
3 nights Prague
1 night Cesky Krumlov
3 nights Vienna
3 nights Ljubljana
1 night Budapest before return flight

For those of you counting this is a toal of 20 nights, so I have 4 more nights to fill. Are there any interesting places to add in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czeck, or Slovenia? It would be particularly helpful for a destination between Krakow/Prague or Budapest/Krakow or Ljubljana/Budapest. BTW I'm not necessarily set on seeing Bratislava, I skip that and day trip it from Vienna and stay somewhere else in Slovakia for 2 nights. The places on this list are larger cities for the most part, so I was thinking about mixing in some smaller to medium size towns/cities.

Thanks all!
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Aug 29th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Since you are staying in several large cities, Krakow/Prague/Vienna/Budapest I would think a car would be a disadvantage to this trip. There are trains that take you between all those options and parking will be very expensive and navigating busy city traffic where you don't speak the language sounds very difficult.

I have heard multiple times that Bratislava is good for a daytrip from Vienna but not really to stay there.

I would add a night to Cesky Krumlov, Krakow and Vienna. In Vienna you can daytrip to the Melk Abbey also.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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i am so jealous that you can take a 6 1/2 month trip to europe with your significant other. enjoy! sorry i have nothing to add other than that as i have not been to eastern europe.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Lindy27

Thanks for the suggestions on adding nights in those spots. Also Melk Abbey looks like a great day trip - just checked out some pictures.

Parking will be expensive in the cities but I'm sticking with the car. For me it's just the preferred means of travel...trains aren't my thing.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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May I just ask if you have a passport from an EU country that enables you to stay in Europe for 6.5 months? All the countries you list are in Schengen and if you have already spent over 5.5 months in Western Europe you are exceeding the Schengen limit of 90-in-180 days, unless you have interrupted your Schengen stay with 3.5 months outside, such as in UK and Ireland.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Alec, I'm aware of the schengen requirements thanks. Really just looking for advice on the eastern europe itinerary...
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Aug 29th, 2011, 12:40 PM
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As long as you will have a car and be driving, consider trading off time in some of those cities with some time in smaller towns. Several years ago, we made a trip that began in Prague. Upon leaving, we picked up a rental car, then spent two nights each in Telc, Olomouc (both in the Czech Republic), Levocin (eastern Slovakia), Eger (Hungary), then ended up in Budapest. We were primarily interested in visiting castles, of which there are many in that part of the world.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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I have just noticed I have already commented on your visa status back in February when you were asking us to help with your trip planning. While you stay within Schengen, chances are your overstay will probably won't be detected, but the crunch comes when you leave Schengen to fly home to US. I have noticed that external border is quite strictly controlled, and there is a likelihood of getting stopped and questioned. As I've said, even with an Italian residence permit, you can only stay in other Schengen states for 90-in-180 days. I suggest you leave Schengen from Italy to minimise the chances of detection.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Lexma90, thanks for the suggestions. Of 3 smaller towns, which one would you recommend the most?
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Aug 29th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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If you are keeping the car, I would consider dropping a few of the larger cities to see some smaller towns or countryside where your car will come in use and not just sit in a parking spot.

Possibly do a Prague to Krakow to Budapest loop, stopping along the way. I've never been to smaller towns along that way but I know the Czech Republic has a ton people love and southish of Krakow is a mountain range that people also like to visit.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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I recommend Zakopane in Poland for a night or 2. It isn't that far from Krakow and is a beautiful mountain village.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 02:09 PM
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If you are after more specific advice on itinerary, the roads in Central Europe are significantly worse than in the West and paucity of motorway/expressway means roads are more congested and slow moving. This is particularly true of Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in my experience. Journeys to and from Krakow will particularly be slow, so I suggest you put in some intermediate stops and rejig your plan somewhat. Good place to stop includes Olomouc. The road from Slovak border to Krakow has no motorway, with heavy lorry traffic and will be very slow, with frequent stoppages because of accidents or roadworks.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 03:05 PM
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hi burke,

well, we liked Bratislava [ended up there as it's ryanair's "vienna" airport] and loved the hotel we stayed in. you could use it as a staging post between Vienna and Budapest - the hydrofoil from Vienna takes just over an hour.

the hotel we stayed in was the Hotel Marol's [still don't get the apostrophe!] just outside the very centre but close enough to walk there and to walk to the hydrofoil dock. it's a very interesting place, lots of nice restaurants and museums, but mainly with just a lovely atmosphere.

if you can, I would add a night to Vienna or [as you will have a car - I just spotted that!] stay nearby for a night - Baden is a lovely place, or a place we liked was Gumpoldskirchen, about 30 minutes south of Vienna. it's full of Heurige - wine taverns that serve their own wine - and if you stay overnight, you can enjoy their offerings to the full!
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Aug 29th, 2011, 08:38 PM
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I haven't been to Bratislava or Cesky Krumlov, but I've been to (and enjoyed) all the other destinations you list. In general, I like your time allotments EXCEPT that I don't believe you are including travel time. Or rather, I would like your time allotments if they were the times you actually have in each destination. You might consider spreading your extra 4 nights around to cover you travel time. Enjoy!
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Aug 30th, 2011, 06:36 AM
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HI Burke30,
For smaller cities/towns, I highly recommend Telc, Cesky Krumlov and Karlovy Vary. If you wish, you can click on my name to read my trip report from August 2009.

After staying in Prague for 4/5 days, we rented a car & drove through the Czech Republic. We loved CK & stayed there 2 nights. We spent one night in Telc & I highly recommend staying there. It is such a very pretty place, with a gorgeous town square, (one of the prettiest I've seen), a beautiful castle, & 2 lovely ponds. It is very peaceful. There are also lots of castles in this area.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Karlovy Vary. Architecturally, KV is very different from Prague & CK. We sampled the minieral springs, spent several hours at a spa, etc.
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Aug 30th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Tail ending...I'd subtract Bratislava and add a night in Vienna as suggested. Also consider as said a few smaller places. Also wonder about enough actual travel time. We (much older) did enjoy places you mentioned and wish you well in your adventuresome trip.
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Aug 30th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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If just going between main cities as seems consider eschewing the car and hopping the train - trains in those countires are getting better and better. And with those many places the Eastern Europe railpass could save a ton over car rentals. Great sites for planning a train trip in E Europe - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. And first class is well worth the extra money

cars are great for staying in the countryside but pose many problems in cities where they are more and more a liability - don't leave anything valuable in your car in some Eastern European cities!
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Aug 30th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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I loved Zakopane, Krakow, Bled (Slovenia), Cesky Krumlov and Prague. Just did a week in Croatia which was BEAUTIFUL from Dubrovnik to Split! Have you considered a day trip to Auschwitz when you are in Poland? Very sad and moving but glad I did it.

I thought Vienna was overrated...but dont change your itinerary on that observation!

We did it following the route of the Easter trekker trips (just to give you an idea - not recommending you do this).

http://www.easterntrekker.com/czechr...y-croatia-tour

AND

http://www.easterntrekker.com/croati...-czechrep-tour
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Aug 30th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Of the three towns I mentioned (actually four, Telc, Olomouc, Levoca (got the name wrong the first time) and Eger, it depends on what you like to do, and what works best into your itinerary

Telc - the cutest, with a bunch of nearby castles to visit
Olomouc - just a nice, non-touristy town. We visited other castles between here and Telc
Levoca - stay here if you're planning on visiting Spissky Hrad
Eger - Oh, this is the custest town too. Historic castle within Eger, wine-producing area (didn't impress us much), and we visited one nearby castle
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Aug 31st, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Follow up on Caroline_Jones idea...I always urge people to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau (I add the Birkenau as the large death camp built later by Nazis to better facilitate the killings). Let the world never forget and this includes tourists! Yes also to visiting Zakopane in the Tatra Mnts. Might be a day trip.

And old Jewish section of Krakow (Kazimierz) incl. Artistic Cafe in Hotel Alef where not only did Schindler visit with his wife but also where Spielberg relaxed during the filming. Was there in my birthday a few years ago!
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