Eastern Europe trip - pls give feedback

Mar 13th, 2007, 08:49 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 91
Eastern Europe trip - pls give feedback

I posted an earlier message on this; Initially traveling with someone but now am going solo. Had to make changes, and here is my current travel plan:
This is my first trip to Eastern Europe!!

My trip duration: 3/27 - 4/18.

3/27 - 4/02: Berlin (will be on biz trip)

4/02 - 4/08: Vienna, Hotel: Hollman Beletage Boutique Hotel or Das Tyrol
AirBerlin flies to Vienna ($153)
Daytrips: Bratislava (should I train it or take the TwinCityLiner hydrofoil?), and Salzburg (train?)

4/08 - 4/13: Prague, Hotel: Domus Henrici
CzechAir flies to Prague ($166)
Daytrips: Cesky Krumlov, Kutna Hora

4/13 - 4/15: Ljubljana, Hotel: Lev Hotel
Adria Airlines flies to Ljubljana ($148)

4/15 - 4/18: Budapest, Hotel: ArtOtel or Starlight Suiten
Malev Hungarian Airlines flies to Budapest ($215)



Questions:
1) Should I fly or train it within Eastern Europe? I prefer speed+comfort over cost. I took trains in Itally, France nd Zurich years ago, and my experience was good to bad (dirty loos, loud talkers, pushing, etc). I would prefer not to sit in trains for 4-6 hours, unless the train option is faster than the low-cost airlines.

For those who have taken the trains:
How is the Berlin to Vienna train?
Vienna to Prague train? A cousin told me the Vienna-Prague train is "old, noisy and ugly" and she was pickpocketed at the Holevice station.
Prague to Ljubljana train? This one is a LONG train ride.
Ljubljana to Budapest is and even longer train ride.

2) I use Die Bahn for train info - is this the best site to use?

3) Has anyone used any of the low-cost airlines mentioned above?
Which website do you guys use to purchase low-cost tickets within Europe?

4) If I fly, should I buy my tickets here now in the States or wait til I get to Berlin? Is there a cost-savings buying there (despite the euro-dollar rate?)

5) Has anyone stayed in any of the hotels above? Are the surrounding areas safe for a female traveling solo?
I prefer staying in "city central", perhaps in a small, new-ish (modern décor, amenities) hotel.

6) Weather shows 50's - 60's. I've lived in south Florida the last 3 years… so should I bring a heavy coat? Wear only boots?

7) Is my timing between cities too tight? Or is this manageable? I realize that the travel in-between cities will take half-day to 1 day from the sightseeing, but I do prefer to see a lot.
This trip is also mainly to see the big cities to get a feel for the places, and daytrips to see smaller towns.


Thank you for your feedback.
mistik321 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,397
I think your trip sounds wonderful! One question: Will you have any time to explore the great city of Berlin?
kja is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 10:33 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8,379
Hi mistik, I agree with you about trains vs. planes...Malev and CzechAir are not "low-cost airlines," and I don't think AirBerlin is, either. Go to www.whichbudget.com and plug in your destinations because you should be able to save some $$ and still fly. And I'd stay a night or two in Cesky Krumlov and Salzburg, but maybe that's too much moving around for you. Artotel in Budapest is modern style and on Buda side north of the Church, etc. Just me, I'd stay in Pest approx across from the Castle to be more "central". They rave about the Alchymist Hotel, I think in Buda by the Castle, also a better vantage point imo as solo traveler. You will be very comfortable in Vienna and Budapest.

There are a lot of knowledgeable train people here; after you get more things nailed down I'd do a post like "Need Advice on Trains to Salzburg and East Overshoe." Search this forum and TripAdvisor for hotel reviews.

You're going to Central Europe btw.
Fidel is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #4  
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Correction: My cousin now says it was the VENICE to Prague train, and not the VIENNA to Prague train, that was "junky".
Still want to hear from the train riders about the trains' quality.

Hi kja:
Yes, I will have time to tour Berlin (Pergamon Museum and the bust of Queen Nefertiti awaits, among other sites

Hi Fidel:
Thank you. I will check out the Pest side - read it's the more vibrant side.
The Starlight Suiten is on Pest side and got great reviews on tripadvisor.
Also will check out Alchymist Hotel.

I did use whichbudget.com to find airfares within Europe. Perhaps because I am buying from here in the US, the prices are higher? I was expecting less than $100 for one-way "low-cost" airfare. Oh well, still would rather fly than train it.
mistik321 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2007, 02:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8,379
No, airfares are not more expensive because we're in the US. The prices just seemed high to me, but if you've checked alternate airports and so on, you would know. I am going from Krakow to Vienna and there are no flights so I HAVE to sit on the train 5 hours. Oh well, the burden will be heavy.

Look at www.RailSaver.com to see requirements for Passes; point to point may be cheaper. I think your overall timing is very good. They say don't carry too much luggage on the trains because the doors/passageways are small, there's stairs everywhere, etc.
Fidel is offline  
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