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Planning Eastern Europe Trip- advice please

Planning Eastern Europe Trip- advice please

Mar 15th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Planning Eastern Europe Trip- advice please

Good day,

I am a student in Scotland and am planning a trip to Eastern Europe from around mid-May to mid-June. I am interested in seeing as much as I can but don't want to rush it. I am interested in old cities and architecture especially, in addition to places that have a generally great culture and good food! Right now I am planning on flying into Tampere, Finland.
Day 1: fly into Tampere
Day 2: to Helsinki
Day 3-4: in Helsinki
Day 5: to St Petersburg
Day 6-8: in St Petersburg
Day 9: to Tallinn
Day 10-11: in Tallinn
Day 12: to Riga
Day 13-14: In Riga
Day 15: to Vilnius
Day 16-17: in Vilnius
Day 18: to Warsaw
Day 19-20: in Warsaw
Day 21: Krakow
Day 22-23: in Krakow
Day 24: to Prague
Day 25-26: in Prague
Day 27: to Vienna
Day 28-30: in Vienna
Day 31: to Bratislava
Day 32: in Bratislava
Dat 33: Fly out of Bratislava

I know it is very ambitious to see 9 countries in 33 days. Right now that plan is extremely flexible. I will be travelling by train and bus. Should I spend more time in certain places or should I spend less (Does St. Peters need 3 days to see effectively)? (Is there much to do and see in Tampere)?

I know right now I am just seeing the major cities and capitals; what other smaller cities in these countries or eastern europe would you recommend seeing?

Any feedback, suggestions, or comments from your own personal travels in this area would be highly appreciated. thank you.
ac464 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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Well, I've been to Krakow, Prague & Vienna. This summer we are planning to visit the Baltics. I think you are trying to see way too much and should eliminate some things so you can lengthen your stay in some places. You will spend your entire trip moving around and trying to get oriented.

Prague deserves at least 4 nights. You probably will also enjoy Cesky Krumlov and Karlovy Vary nearby. Krakow is also easily 4 nights. I just talked to a woman from Warsaw who tole me that if one is interested in older architecture, Warsaw isn't the place to go; she suggests Krakow and Gdansk for Poland. I don't think Bratislava has nearly as much to offer as some of the other places on your list, and I'd eliminate that in favor os something else. The Baltic sea area around the Kuronian Spit national park area in Lithuania is also supposed to be very nice.

Do a search here for how many nights people recommend in each of these places.
julies is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Good day to you;
Vienna is a city where you would want to spend at least 4 days...plenty to see and do. The food is wunderbar! The wine and beer are excellent and there is plenty of old architecture to be seen, especially in the old Spittleburg area. You can rent a bike and take a ride up the Danube to Klosterneuburg and check out the old monastery there, they have a great old altarpiece by Nicolas of Verdun. I have some good links on my page for eating and lodging as well:
e-mail me through the site if you want some more info.
Operaman is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Lonely Planet's guide to Eastern Europe would be very helpful for young on your own traveler in these places.
PalQ is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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thanks for all the replies so far. I'll keep that in mind about Warsaw. I was debating about Gdansk and it is a possibility. Like I said before, I know that my original plan most likely would be way to cramped and will most likely knock off 2 or 3 of those places in order to spend more time in others.

If anyone has further feedback to offer, please do, i appreciate it a lot.

Does anyone have feedback to offer in terms Riga, Tallin, Vilnius? or Helsinki and St Petersburg? thank you
ac464 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Posts: 361
Skip Warsaw - go see Gdansk - you have more fun there - from gdansk you can take overnight train to Krakow which will maximize a bit on what you able to see in your very tight schedule - for trains within Poland check - http://rozklad.pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en?
also Krakow or area (Zakopane etc...) may need few extra days... also St.Petersburg would definitly need extra days - since there is so much to see there ...
Looks like you are trying to fit 2 trips into 1 ;-) even with night trains that is a one ambitious schedule
PeterB is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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thanks for all the comments so far, it's been really helpful. I plan on now dropping warsaw and picking up gdnask. I was looking thourgh info and pictures of Gdansk today and seems absolutely stunning. Exactly the type of place I love. I was too afraid to cut something so I just lengthened my trip as follows:

Day 1: fly into Tampere
Day 2: to Helsinki
Day 3-4: in Helsinki
Day 5: to St Petersburg
Day 6-9: in St Petersburg, overnight train to Tallinn
Day 10-12: in Tallinn
Day 12: to Riga
Day 13-16: In Riga
Day 17: to Vilnius
Day 18-20: in Vilnius
Day 21: to Gdansk
Day 22-24: In Gdansk, overnight to Krakow
Day 25-27: in Krakow
Day 28: to Prague
Day 29-31: in Prague
Day 32: to Vienna
Day 33-36: in Vienna
Day 37: to Bratislava
Dat 38: Fly out of Bratislava

I'm trying to spend some more time pretty much everywhere, spending atleast three fulldays in everywhere and some four. I am not sure exactly how many days I will have (still waiting to find out when exams are over!), and I know it may be criminal, but i may have to cut out Poland because that was lower on my list. Do you think I should spend time in Poland and cut out other places?
also can anyone offer tips on transportation: are the train services reliable? should i book tickets ahead or is it fine to just show up at the station and buy them there? again, thanks for all the help
ac464 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:10 PM
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Posts: 28
I wish you a nice trip, but while in Finland try not to refer to the country as "Eastern Europe". While geographically true, the term has a cultural and political meaning, namely countries that were on the wrong side of thew Iron Curtain (in addition to older stuff like certain feudal practices). Finland has always been a part of western Europe.

Personally I found Warsaw to be unappealing, perhaps you should cut a day from that and stay longer in Prague?
HunterGatherer is offline  
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:16 PM
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Oops, should have read the entire thread, you already cut out Warsaw. Don't miss Krakow though, it's wonderful.
HunterGatherer is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 01:00 AM
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I am also researching a similiar trip. Be sure to check out the information on Lonely Planet's "Thorn Tree". It has lots of information on those destinations--mostly by young people (which I am assuming you are as a "student")!!
JaneB is online now  
Mar 17th, 2006, 02:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 559
Hi there!

I will hold my tongue on the Eastern/Western Europe topic, but I want to recommend that you spend maybe one more day in Saint Petersburg. Depending on what day of the week you arrive, certain things are closed on different days, and it would a shame to miss them. Also, several beautiful palaces deserve a day trip a piece- such as the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Tselo (Pushkin) and Petrodvorets (Peterhof).

This would leave you two days for the Hermitage, plus the other fantastic sites within walking distance of Palace Square in Piter.

Let me know if you have further questions!


katya_NY is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:30 AM
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thanks for all the help. It's so hard to decide, I will most likely have to split this trip in two in order to see everything effectively and either do the baltic states and coast or austro-hungary, and then go back in a few years to see the places I have time to this time around. thanks again for all the feedback and advice
ac464 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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I would cut time in Helsinki and would definitly visit Poland... You also have a good idea of splitting those into 2 trips - since there is so much in between to see which on rush be missed and not given a chance to even sync in ... you also going mid-May mid-June - which is a peak season for all other students taking their vacations ... so you need to plan more and make extra effort on reservations etc. for over night trains I would at least reserve once you reach any of the destinations from which you be leaving from after few days for you next city ... but best be to reserve way ahead of time due to the fact that all those are popular destinations and you have a tight schedule.

PeterB is offline  
Mar 17th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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I don't think there are any trains from SP to Tallin--only buses. There are trains, however, from SP to Riga. I have had to rearrange my trip using buses from SP to Tallin to Riga.
JaneB is online now  
Mar 17th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Thanks, I certainly have no problem with buses. Well definitely not a big enough problem that I would miss Tallinn because of it.
ac464 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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Here is something for you to ponder. If you use Helsinki as a base, of sorts, you can travel to St. Petersburg and back via Finnsov Tours <http://www.finnsov.fi/> and go to Tallinn on your own via the Silja Line <http://ext1.silja.com/?ChangeLang=english>.

I have never been to Tampere, but if you are interested in old cities and architecture, Turku definitely has what you are looking for.

I agree with the recommendation of julies regarding Cesky Krumlov. It is an easy 3-hour drive from Prague and not to be missed. While there, gaze down into the moat of the castle and see the live bears.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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I think you've got more time for Vilnius than necessary, especially relative to other places, although 2 days is sort of a bare minimum to get even a taste of any city. I'm not as big a fan of Prague as most seem to be, and think 2 - 3 days is enough. Vienna is a place that could take a week easily. Whatever you decide though, you should get an excellent experience
Rod is offline  
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