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October: My Itinerary Is Stalled. Budapest, Krakow and a little Zagreb

October: My Itinerary Is Stalled. Budapest, Krakow and a little Zagreb

Feb 2nd, 2010, 01:41 PM
  #1  
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October: My Itinerary Is Stalled. Budapest, Krakow and a little Zagreb

This is my original itinerary.
Day 1. Arrive Budapest, pick up car and drive to Kosice, overnight
Day 2. Drive to Krakow, overnight
Day 3. Krakow, overnight
Day 4 Krakow, overnight
Day 5 Drive to Budapest, return car, overnight
Day 6 Budapest, overnight
Day 7 Budapest, overnight
Day 8 Budapest, overnight
Day 9 Return Home.

And then we thought "where else could we go?" So we thought:

Day 5 Drive to Zagreb instead of Budapest but stop overnight along the way.
Day 6,7,8,9.10 Zagreb
.Day 11 drive to Budapest and return car overnight
Day 12,13,14,15 Budapest
Day 16 Home

It dosn't seem to me that there is too much driving. But I cannot figure out how to get to these three areas any other way. I guess because going into and out of Budapest seemed easy. There are good flights, the car would be returned and picked up at the same location. There are two drivers and we could some of the surrounding countires along the way.which was the original plan of landing into Budapest and driving to Krakow.
Anyway. Anyone that has any other suggestions please help with this new plan.
Or if you think it is nuts, ok.
Sher is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 06:12 PM
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It's a hard, long drive from Krakow to Budapest. One possibility would be to fly into Warsaw and take the train to Krakow (it's a 3 hour trip). When you are finished with Krakow, either drive to Budapest or take the plane. We flew, although the plane goes north to Warsaw first and then you change planes. Just an idea.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 06:57 PM
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We will be driving from Budapest to Krakow but we are planning to stop one night along the way.
With the revised itinerary we will be driving from Krakow to Zagreb with a stop on the way.
Sher is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 08:59 PM
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Where are you flying from? There are plenty of cheap flights into Krakow from other European cities. There's a night train from Krakow to Budapest and a day train from Budapest to Zagreb if you don't want to drive. That seems like rather a long time in Zagreb, though.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 07:00 AM
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thrusdaysd. Do you think this is too much driving for the amount of time? I guess that is one of the things I am trying to figure out besides an alternate way of doing it.

We are really not staying the whole time in Zagreb. We plan to visit Zagreb, Plitvice and some of Istria. That is why we need a car.

We are flying from Pittsburgh. We want to mainly visit Budapest and Krakow which was fine with the driving. But then when we decided to extend to Croatia I got stuck on exactly how to do it and it seemed just easier to keep the car to do it and make a circle.
Sher is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 07:08 AM
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I took the train and buses, so I can't help with driving times. I believe that http://www.viamichelin.com/ is a good site for calculating driving times and the cost of fuel. Do you need a car for the whole trip, or just for Croatia? If you just have the car for Croatia you could fly open-jaw.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 07:18 AM
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I guess we really need a car for mainly Croatia. We could use the car near Krakow to do the salt mines and Auschwitz but we wouldn't have to have it.

I have checked michelin and if we break the trip up it seems reasonable ON PAPER. And we can pick interesting stops that will just add to the trip. But you know how those things are in reality sometimes.

With the original itinerary, people posted back and I felt reassured that it could be done. But since I added the other part I became not quite sure.
Sher is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 01:20 PM
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TTT.
Can anyone else comment, please?
Thank You
Sher is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 08:51 PM
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Krakow (old town) is closed to traffic - only deliveries are allowed, so car in Krakow be more of a pain then good - Salt Mines and Auschwitz have public transportation option also every single hotel in Krakow will have info or few options / excursions to those 2 places ...

Your crossing to Slovakia (from Krakow) be thru Tatry - so much much slower with sharing one lane with trucks...

In Budapest a car will also be more pain then useful - parking is not easy - and public transportation is all all over ... not to mention most is not far away from other sites ...

So unless You want to stop in Zakopane (Polish ski / hike resort between Krakow and Budapest) and some sites in Slovakia which again are worth it (btw I would suggest stop over in Slovakia vs Poland if on budget) then maybe best to fly from Krakow to Budapest and then driving from Budapest to Zagrab.
PeterB is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 05:23 AM
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PeterB. Thank you for answering.
We would like to see some of Slovakia and this is why we would like to rent a car and drive from Budapest to Krakow.

The reaaon we might decide to drive to Zagreb is that one way car rentals are expensive and this way if we travel from Krakow to Zabreb, we would see some of Austria also.

We would need a car in Croatia for the places we would like to visit.

We are flying into Budapest because it seems more simple than trying to fly into or near Krakow.

How is the drive from Zagreb to Budapest?
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 06:01 AM
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That is a LOT of driving for a week & be aware that the infrastructure in Poland is pretty bad and there are high mountains between Budapest and Krakow. The roads around Budapest are good & in Croatia & Slovenia.

Also, it seems you are talking about October. It was sooooooo miserably cold, rainy & sleet-y in Budapest this past October, that we cut our visit very short & headed south to Spain. Lesson learned, return when weather is good in short summer season. Even September in Croatia tends to be chilly & Krakow will be colder still. Touring & walking around in miserable weather puts a damper on everything.

We have been on an open ended world tour since 2006, so know Europe & these areas well. We do lots of driving, but can tell you that you will see very little of a country that you just drive through.

Krakow is small & you can see it easily in a weekend. We took a train from Vienna & stayed at this place that we liked very much:

http://www.soultravelers3.com/2009/0...get-hotel.html

It's a long train ride, but beats driving I think.

We rented a small car when we were in Dubrovnik to see Kotor for a day & it was cheap there & easy.

We love Croatia, but IMHO Zagreb is not the best it has to offer. Now Plitvice, Rovinj, Dalmation Coast, Dubrovnik, some islands like Hvar & Korcular, the Roman palace or harbor in Split, Istria hill towns are ....but weather will impact in October.

If you could move things up to September, you would be better off. Sometimes one lucks out in October in N Europe, but often it is quite miserable (we've found out first hand!) & we have even run into snow as south as Florence in October!!
WTnow is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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We can move things up to September. I thought we would be safe in October, the early part, but maybe not.

We plan to only do a day trip to Zagreb. The rest of the time we wanted to see some of Istria and also Plitvice. We didn't plan to do Dubrovnik because we felt it was really too far from our initial destination of Budapest. That is why we confined our trip to Croatia in the North.

My friend already has a trip planned for Ireland in May and I do not want to travel in June, July, August. But September is doable.

Thanks for the tip.
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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I went overland by public transport from Krakow to Zakopane to Stary Smokovec to Levoca to Bratislava and Austria (see http://wilhelmswords.com/eur2006/index.html for my TR) and highly recommend Slovakia. There are trains from the Tatras to Budapest - see bahn.de for train schedules - you can do Poprad to Budapest in less than five hours.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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thursdays. Part of my problem is that I have never used trains or buses to get around Europe. I always just rent a car. And that is why it is easiest for me to plan an itinerary with a car. Also, since there are two of us a car sometimes is not only more convenient but more cost effective.

The second problem with this trip is that it started out being just Budapest and Krakow. It was a week divided between the two cities with an overnight to and from for travel.

That seemed simple. The difficult plan came about when we added Croatia. We confined it to Istria and Zagreb. So that helped. I am trying to take into consideration my travel companion's wishes and she really wants to see Croatia even if it is just a little bit.

So do you think train travel will save us considerable time? I realize that you do not have a comparison by car but what do you think?
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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I love being able to take public transport rather than driving myself (which I have to do all the time at home). I'm especially fond of trains, which give you good views while allowing you to get up and move around, and usually take you from city center to city center. (They're "green", too!) So, I haven't driven myself in Europe for years, and never in the areas you're visiting.

So much depends on the state of the roads and the traffic. The road from Krakow to Zakopane (which I did by bus) seemed pretty busy. The roads from Zakopane to Poprad were pretty empty, but as I remember they were two-lane, mountain roads. I have no idea what the roads are like south of Poprad.

I took the train from Zagreb to Budapest and it was a long, slow, hot ride (on a Sunday, though). It looks like it now takes six and a half hours best case by train, so it may be faster to drive that stretch.

I really have no idea which way is quicker, but I do know which I find less stressful!
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 07:53 AM
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The less stressful part made me chuckle because I find trying to figure out all of those train routes more stressful!
I find it much easier to get a map, set my GPS and go. But it is greener by train.
I am going to sit down and rework this itinerary. First, I am going to look into an open jaw.
Secondly, I am going to look at the Krakow Budapest part by train and look at saving the car part for Croatia.
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 08:51 AM
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What will help with train travel -

www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml - this site has timetables for all of Europe
seat61.com - this site has links and info and photos for trains for most places in the world
www.ricksteves.com/rail/itinplan.htm - I've never used this part of his site, but I've seen recommendations for it

I use the Thomas Cook Railway Map to check for train routes - I'm still using the one I bought in 2004, but see tinyurl.com/cnumb8 and amazon.

I also recommend Lonely Planet guides for planning overland travel - you can chill out at your local Barnes and Noble with a cup of coffee and read them before (or without) buying. You can also buy individual chapters for download on the LP web site.

For Krakow to Budapest you're actually better off taking a bus if you want to stop off in the Tatras, but if you're going direct, I'd take the night train.

Good luck!
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Thanks. It is a long way off so I really have my homework.
I like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. I usually buy the guides. Rough Guide has a new Croatia coming out in April. And I already ordered the Lonely Planet plus a new LP Krakow Encounter.

Will. I bookmarked the Tango B&B as it has two units with a small kitchenette. This is really nice for snacks and a bottle of wine or juice. Too many great restaurants to even think about cooking full meals.

Thanks again to everyone and wish us luck.
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 01:59 PM
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thursdaysd. One more question because I started looking into trains.
I found the schedules, no problem. But how do you know how much the trip costs? All of the bahn.de schedules say no fare available.
Sher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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Sher - you probably need to go to the national rail sites - bahn.de doesn't price international trains. seat61.com has links to the national sites, and places to buy on-line - but be very wary of RailEurope, which usually only sells the most expensive tickets, with mark-ups. In Eastern Europe I've never bothered to buy tickets in advance, but for a night train you may want to as you'll need to be sure of getting a sleeper.
thursdaysd is offline  

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