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Itinerary Planning help for an October trip to Central & Eastern Europe

Itinerary Planning help for an October trip to Central & Eastern Europe

Old Jan 28th, 2014, 09:13 PM
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Itinerary Planning help for an October trip to Central & Eastern Europe

I need help please!
Ok so this is my third trip to Europe (1999 and 2010) and the main reason for my visit is to see my brother and his family in Bratislava but we also want to have 12 days exploring something in the surrounding areas. I am having trouble working out which cities to add to this trip.
We have visited the following cities already spending an average of 5-10 days in each
London (twice), Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice , Vienna (in 1999) , Munich and Salzburg
We loved all of these but perhaps Munich the least and Italy and Paris the most. This time I have 20 days not including travelling time from Australia and I have shortlisted the following cities;
Priorities are food, photography and architecture – a few museums if they are special but our last 2 month trip was a museum fest so we want something different this time.
I have two plans so far – I do not want to shorten the time in Bratislava as this is the reason for the visit 
Flying into Berlin - 3 days
Train Prague - 2 days
Train to Bratislava 7 days - Day trip to Vienna during this time and a 2 day 1 night trip to Budapest
Ljubljana - 3 days
Venice – 3 days (loved it – this time without kids!)
Milan 2 days fly home from here

Or
Flying into Istanbul – 3 days (fly to Prague evening of 3rd day)
Fly to Prague – 2 days
Train to Bratislava 7 days – day trip to Vienna and overnight trip to Budapest in this time.
Ljubljana – 3 days
Piran – 2 days
Venice – 2 days
Milan – 1 day and then fly home – kinda not that inspired by Milan but my airline flies from there.

Is this too rushed? Is there something else that would suit us better? Should I drop a city? Any suggestions or observations appreciated. Thanks
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 12:54 AM
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I don't think it is rushed and you are experienced so you know what is involved in the logistics.

Just a few observations;

Istanbul vs Berlin is really your call. Berlin makes getting to Prague a little simpler but you did not like Munich - could any of the reasons for that translate to Berlin?

You have Ljubljana for 3 days and Prague for 2 in both itineraries. For sights to see and things to do, Prague has it all over Ljubljana. Were you thinking that it Ljubljana was the best place to stop between Bratislava and Venice and you didn't want to spend 4 or so days in and around Venice?

I feel you on the Milan issue. Fortunately, it is easy to get there from Venice (2:30 direct) so you could take a late train and simply head straight for a hotel near the airport if your flight leaves early the next day.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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Thanks for your reply Aramis.

I put 3 days for Ljubjana so that I could see Lake Bled. Would it be too rushed to just have 2 days here considering 1 would be out to the lake?

I found Munich pretty but a little bit dull, it was nice but not standout. I like things a little crazier I think - It looked like there was more to do in Berlin?
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Thinking 2 nights in Prague (that's what you mean by "days", right?) is too short. But no matter what you're going to short-change Prague and Budapest so you might as well see whatever you can.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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Yes Russ - I mean 2 complete days and 2 nights - should I drop Slovenia and add the days to Prague and Budapest?
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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If you are willing to take a day from Milan and arrive late before your flight, you could add it to Prague and your itin would look like this (nights)

Berlin - 3
Prague - 3
Bratislava 7 - Day trip to Vienna during this time and a 2 day 1 night trip to Budapest
Ljubljana - 3
Venice – days (loved it – this time without kids!)
Milan 1 day fly home from here

Given your Bled day-trip, 3 nights in Ljubljana seems to make sense. You can always arrive late (which you probably will leaving from Bratislava) and leave early for Venice giving you two full days, so 1 day and 2 nights in Ljubljana and 1 day in Bled.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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Personally, I think it IS too rushed. IMO, it would be worth spending more time in almost all of these locations -- at least 5 days in Berlin (among other sites, the Egyptian Museum and Pergamon are must-see museums; with your interests, you might also consider a day at SanSouci); Prague deserves at least 4 days, Budapest at least 4 days, and Istanbul at least 6 days. For Ljubljana and Lake Bled, I think 3 days is on target.

That said, we all travel differently....
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 06:06 PM
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Whenever you make such a trip, remember that you lose a day of travel the first day, the last day and every day that you move to another city.

Bratislava is a pretty small town, and I'd want to spend more than one day in Vienna. The countryside of Slovakia would be interesting to travel--over to the east 130-150 miles.

Budapest is another absolutely fabulous city that's relatively close to Bratislava, and one that is worthy of 4 days. It's about as far as I'd want to travel with the time allotted.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 07:45 PM
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Thanks for your input everyone.

We have been to Slovakia 3 times and see the surrounds.

I have not included my first and last days in the itinerary and I find travelling between cities part of the fun so don't really feel like those days are totally lost - we also travel super light so packing up and moving is easy.

As an Aussie it pretty much takes us 25 hours and $2000K+ to get anywhere in Europe so there is a tendency to want to see more and perhaps "rush things" but we do not have the luxury of annual or even biannual visits

Will add an extra day to Berlin, Budapest and Prague and leave Istanbul for another trip. Pretty much what Aramis suggested! Thanks
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 06:31 AM
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I would personally recommend more than 1 night in Budapest, as it's an extraordinary city and it has so much to visit. Also, as other people mentioned, I think Istanbul it's a bit too much for this trip, you should include it in another journey.
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