Ideal 16 Day Central European Itinerary

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Jul 14th, 2018, 12:57 AM
  #1
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Ideal 16 Day Central European Itinerary

Greetings,

I want to know, for those that have been, what would be your most ideal itinerary for a first time male solo traveler to Europe, with 16 days and Berlin as a home base. Here is what you are working with to plan the itinerary:
  • Fly into and out of Berlin (TXL) via Icelandair - this is not changeable
  • 16 days, arriving Sunday, Oct 7th at 1:05pm; departing Tuesday Oct 23rd at 2:05pm
  • Any city where getting back to Berlin to fly home will not be a hassle is fair game for the itinerary
  • Late-30s traveler that's active and high energy. Enjoys history (especially WWII and Cold War), culture, food and coffee, walking/biking neighborhoods and seeing as much of a city as possible.
  • A balance of indoor stuff (museums, art and theater) as well as outdoor stuff (walking, biking, exploring/sightseeing, some light hiking). I'm the type that leaves the hotel at 7am and doesn't return until 10-11 at night.
  • A budget conscious traveler (i.e. moderately priced hotels, airbnbs, or nicer hostels), not a lot of late night partying, cheaper eats (will splurge on a great meal or two). Looking for other cities that can be done well on a budget.
Obviously flying into and out of Berlin, there will be some time spent here. But given the time frame, what would be your ideal itinerary of cities or places to see besides Berlin? How much time to allocate to these places given my interests? What would be the most efficient means of travel between different places on your itinerary? I already have a good idea of what my final itinerary will look like, but what would those of you that have spent time in this part of Europe choose to do for 16 days with Berlin as a home base? I look forward to your responses. Thanks!

Last edited by jeverett; Jul 14th, 2018 at 12:59 AM.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 03:44 AM
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<<I already have a good idea of what my final itinerary will look like,>>

Well why not share it so people don't have to waste their time proffering potentially useless suggestions?
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Jul 14th, 2018, 06:06 AM
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What would be the most efficient means of travel between different places on your itinerary?>

for a solo traveler presumably going largely to large cities as most are want to do trains are best and great- for lots of train info check www.bahn.de/en - German Raiwalys site - book own discounted tickets online for trains involving Germany - where to go by train and a wealth of info on them - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. And yes possibilities are limitless so need some guidance.

Last edited by PalenQ; Jul 14th, 2018 at 06:55 AM.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:04 AM
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Your post reads like a travel blogger looking for inspiration for your next article. With all due apologies if you are instead someone who is overwhelmed with the idea of planning a holiday.

This said, perhaps conduct some research and draft an itinerary to share on the forum, as suggested above?
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:29 AM
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You say you like outdoor activities, so your itinerary should include time in the countryside and small towns not only cities.

When we visited the area, we wanted our visit to include lots of castles, as that's an interest of ours. We started in Prague, then rented a car and headed to Telc and Olomouc, then made a long drive to Eastern Slovakia, including Spis Castle. Then south into Hungary, including a couple of days in Eger, then ended in Budapest. Research those destinations to see if they appeal to you.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
Your post reads like a travel blogger looking for inspiration for your next article. With all due apologies if you are instead someone who is overwhelmed with the idea of planning a holiday.

This said, perhaps conduct some research and draft an itinerary to share on the forum, as suggested above?
Or perhaps this person is just interested in how experienced travelers would plan a trip. Your post seems very presumptuous for no apparent reason.

Last edited by vagabond_jeb; Jul 14th, 2018 at 08:42 AM.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by vagabond_jeb View Post
Or perhaps this person is just interested in how experienced travelers would plan a trip. Your post seems very presumptuous for no apparent reason.
The OP already has a tentative itinerary. Why not share it so that "experienced travelers" can help tweak it to his preferences?
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Jul 14th, 2018, 10:37 AM
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Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia

I take that to be the tentative itinerary we should be commenting on and tweaking?
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Jul 14th, 2018, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
<<I already have a good idea of what my final itinerary will look like,>>

Well why not share it so people don't have to waste their time proffering potentially useless suggestions?
Please let me explain the rationale behind my post, since some of you think I am wasting your time or have ulterior motives for my post (I wish I had the time and means to be a travel blogger). Not sure why this is the case, or the need to be negative. This is my first trip to Europe. I have been planning this trip on my own without a lot of input other than reading travel guides and reading trip reports/advise on various travel websites. I do have an itinerary in mind (see below), but what I really want are ideas on places I may not have thought of or considered from those that have traveled this area before. I felt posting my itinerary would lead to bias in people's responses. I wanted people to have an open mind when responding, rather than people responding based on what they think I want to hear.

Here is my tentative itinerary:
  • 10/7: Arrive Berlin 1:05pm
  • Berlin for 6 nights (including day trip to Potsdam)
  • 10/14: Fly to Budapest via RyanAir in the morning
  • Budapest for 3 nights
  • 10/17: Night train to Prague (arriving morning of 10/18)
  • Prague for 3 nights
  • 10/21: Morning train to Dresden from Prague
  • Dresden for 2 nights (including day trip to Gorlitz
  • 10/23: Early morning train to Berlin from Dresden (arrival approx: 8:45am. Depart from Berlin (TXL) 2:05pm back to USA.
I have considered multiple itineraries, and this seems like the best one to me logistically. I have considered adding Vienna or Krakow to my trip and eliminating a couple of days from Berlin as well as the Dresden leg to add one of these cities. I'm very interested in the cafe culture and history in Vienna, and have wanted to see Krakow and visit Auschwitz for years.

I have also considered reverse engineering the order of my itinerary, doing it Berlin (5 nights) ---> Dresden (2 nights) ---> Prague (3 nights) ---> Budapest (4 nights). Then flying back to Berlin from Budapest the morning of 10/22 and spending my last night in Berlin (and not having to worry about any hassle making my return flight home).

I do appreciate the interest and desire to help with my itinerary. I just wanted to see how others would plan this trip that have experience traveling in Europe. I appreciate any constructive feedback anyone has to offer. Thanks!
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Jul 14th, 2018, 02:28 PM
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have wanted to see Krakow and visit Auschwitz for years.>

Sachenhausen Camo/Memorial in Berlin suburbs (trains go to near its gates) is not substitute for Auschwitz but nevertheless is a grim reminder of such camps - gas chambers still visible - 6 days seems a lot for Berlin so yes cut a few here and take overnight train Prague to Krakow - too bad you are stuck with return air ticket to Berlin - ideal to fly back from say Budapest. You could still stop in Dresden for a few hours en route to Prague - throw bags in station locker and head for the riverfront with many historical edifiest on it.

3 nights in Krakow would be sweet and can take overnight train to Budapest.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:06 PM
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From what you say of your interests, I think you have a generally good plan. IMO, 3 nights is basically bare minimum for Budapest and for Prague, but I’m not sure you have any good options for shifting more time to those cities. I always recommend staying in your departure destination the night before your flight, just in case anything goes wrong, so you might want to consider shifting all your time in Berlin to the end of your trip -- push on to your first destination ASAP upon arrival.

IMO, you do NOT have time to add Vienna or Krakow -- or anything else!

It really helps knowing what people are envisioning for their trips, so thanks for adding that detail.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 08:34 PM
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I, too, would begin with your first destination and put Berlin at the end of the trip; it is easier to adapt should something go afoul with your travel. Plus, the day is effectively given up for travel and jet lag anyway, so why not push on to Budapest?

If you decide to keep Dresden, you'll be shortchanging the city with the day to Görlitz (unless there is a compelling reason to visit). Just my €0,02.

Since you have an expressed interest in Vienna, perhaps drop Budapest and Dresden and head directly to Vienna from Berlin at the start, then make your return through Prague?
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Jul 28th, 2018, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
From what you say of your interests, I think you have a generally good plan. IMO, 3 nights is basically bare minimum for Budapest and for Prague, but I’m not sure you have any good options for shifting more time to those cities. I always recommend staying in your departure destination the night before your flight, just in case anything goes wrong, so you might want to consider shifting all your time in Berlin to the end of your trip -- push on to your first destination ASAP upon arrival.

IMO, you do NOT have time to add Vienna or Krakow -- or anything else!

It really helps knowing what people are envisioning for their trips, so thanks for adding that detail.
Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
I, too, would begin with your first destination and put Berlin at the end of the trip; it is easier to adapt should something go afoul with your travel. Plus, the day is effectively given up for travel and jet lag anyway, so why not push on to Budapest?

If you decide to keep Dresden, you'll be shortchanging the city with the day to Görlitz (unless there is a compelling reason to visit). Just my €0,02.

Since you have an expressed interest in Vienna, perhaps drop Budapest and Dresden and head directly to Vienna from Berlin at the start, then make your return through Prague?
Thanks for the useful advice. After considering these options, I did some research and tweaked my itinerary accordingly, shifting all of the Berlin leg of my trip to the end and departing from there. One of the deciding factors in deciding to do this, besides the logistical ease of departing from Berlin, is the hotel I wanted to stay at was about 35% cheaper during those dates. So it seemed like an obvious choice to make. So here is my final itinerary:

OCT 5th - Depart PDX for Reykjavik (KEF)
OCT 6th - Iceland
OCT 7th - Arrive Berlin (TXL) at 1:05pm from KEF - then depart TXL at 5:00pm to Budapest via EasyJet. Arrive Budapest at 6:40pm
OCT 8th - Budapest (booked Brody House Hotel)
OCT 9th - Budapest
OCT 10th - Budapest
OCT 11th - Budapest (night train to Prague)
OCT 12th - Prague (arrive in a.m. via overnight train from Budapest)
OCT 13th - Prague
OCT 14th - Prague
OCT 15th - Prague/Dresden (may stay in Prague a 4th day or move on to Dresden in the morning - haven't decided)
OCT 16th - Dresden (depart via train in evening for Berlin)
OCT 17th - Berlin (booked Max Brown Hotel in Ku'Damm)
OCT 18th - Berlin
OCT 19th - Berlin
OCT 20th - Berlin (will mix in some day trips outside of city, maybe Potsdam, Sachsenhausen, Leipzig or Gorlitz)
OCT 21st - Berlin
OCT 22nd- Berlin
OCT 23rd - Berlin - Depart TXL 2:05pm via Icelandair for return home

I struggled with whether or not to add Krakow or Vienna. I decided to save them for a future trip, as I feel there's plenty to see with this itinerary without feeling rushed or short-changing the places I visit. Now my only issue is figuring out the Prague/Dresden part of my trip and deciding on some good day trips from Berlin. Based on what I've read, Dresden seems worthy of at least two days. Or instead of Dresden, I could throw in a day trips from Prague/Dresden, like Kutna Hora, Pilsen, Saxony Switzerland (if weather is good), or Gorlitz. I haven't booked anything in Prague or Dresden yet to allow some flexibility there. Thanks again for the valuable advice and any further suggestions.

Last edited by jeverett; Jul 28th, 2018 at 01:49 PM.
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Jul 28th, 2018, 04:25 PM
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Better!

I think you are wise to leave Krakow and Vienna out this time -- IMO, you really do NOT have time to add anything. As already noted, I think you are giving both Budapest and Prague the bare minimum with this plan, and whether you can see / experience what you want without feeling rushed really depends on what you want to see and do; you should at least have time to see a number of their highlights. You might consider shifting one day from Berlin to Dresden. Honestly, I would worry less about day trips from Berlin than making sure you have time for the places you do see -- you can always decide on day trips once there.

Perhaps you aren't aware that many reservations made through booking.com are fully cancellable up until about 24 hours in advance? Not all reservations are cancellable, and if so, the time frames vary, but they are IMO quite clearly stated -- you just need to be sure to pay attention to the cancellation policies.
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Jul 29th, 2018, 08:39 AM
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Lots of great day trips from Berlin in addition to Sachenhausen and Potsdam - Schwerin is a great town with dreamy lakeside castle - - I even day tripped one day to nearby Poland - and at Lubenau you can take popular punt boat trips through canals - research that neat day trip very popular with Germans. And Lutherstadt-Wittembourg - nicely restored old town with lots of Luther sites as he allegedly posted his demands here to the church door, etc.

Lubeau punt tours:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Lube...h=541&dpr=1.75
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Jul 29th, 2018, 04:14 PM
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Saxon Switzerland is gorgeous and most folks Prague to Berlin just go thru on train (sit on east side for best views by far) but it takes a full day from Dresden - can go by boat, train and get off to clamber up to some clifftop fortresses and weird red sandstone pinnacles. Something different from large cities - Dresden itself should have a full day for its highlights - another day trip is nearby Meissen and its famous Meissen porcelian factory/museum and hilltop old castle/church popping out of town center. I'd cut a day off say Budapest and add in here perhaps.
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