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quick trip report: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Krakow & Zakopane

quick trip report: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Krakow & Zakopane

Old Sep 30th, 2006, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,237
I've visited all the places you visite, with some additonal in the area thrown in because we made this into several different trips (and we've been to Krakow twice). I thought I hated Zakopane so much because it was mid-August and peak tourist season. Apparently the crowds are all the time. One of our lest favorite places in Europe to visit.
julies is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2006, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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AandED thanks for your great trip report. We intend to do exactly the same trip next May but after Zakopane intend to continue on down through Slovakia and finish in Budapest.

I had been considering two nights in Cesky Krumlov. Do you think that is a good idea or should we drop one night an add an extra night to Krakow? At the moment I am planning on four nights in Krakow. I might also add that we usually do prefer smaller towns/villages to the larger cities. We will probably have five/six days in Prague (staying with friends).

I would also love to know a bit more about how you got on with the car as this is my biggest worry at the moment. I have been concerned about driving into Krakow and the parking there which you mention was a bit of an issue for you. I have been wondering whether it would actually be less stressful to train it CK and then over to Krakow and only pick up the car when we leave Krakow. It would also mean that we are saving about five days rental. Did you have a big fee to pay for doing a one way rental, dropping off in another country? Would also love to know if you found it hard with finding where you wanted to go - so many of the places names sound so much alike. I'm assuming it is quite a bit more difficult navigating than Western Europe (and we have managed to get lost there a few times over the years!)

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't really enjoy Zakopane. Fortunately when we go there shouldn't be any real crowds as it is too early in the season. In fact, our problem may well be that it is still too cold down there, lake will be frozen etc.
shandy is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 02:28 AM
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shandy is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Oh my goodness, I am remiss! Sorry for the delay in my response (been catching up at work, I'm afraid). Okay, here we go:

Leely: if we had to cut from the 12 days we had to 9 days without travel, I'd cut out Zakopane (sorry fans) for sure, and one night out of Prague and one out of Krakow. We had a very leisurely pace with 12 days (read: up around 8am each day to get a jump on crowds to see the sites, but by lunch were often just hanging out in cafes!)

Firedrago: Trecius was a great value, esp. for the location and again the lovely service - $62 for a double, $40 for a single, plus an additional 10% off after your 3rd night there. I don't know what you like to do, but we loved the 5 full days we spent there. Again, it was leisurely. If you're hardcore, you can easily do it in 2 or 3 full days, but that would be a pity in my mind as I believe you'd miss the 'local feel' side (you'd be hanging with fellow tourists going from sight to sight - not my favorite).
Personally, I would not go to Warsaw at all - go to Gdansk instead! I hear not great things about the former (lack of charm after its post-WW2 rebuild, etc.), and my work friend (from Warsaw!) tells me Gdansk is not to be missed.

Cambe: we stuck almost exclusively to Italian food after the 'Chlopski Incident' as well, how funny! Guess that speaks to the quality of Italian food there... or the lack thereof of the Polish food, ha ha.

Basingstoke1: We did eat at a few Kampa Island restaurants while in Prague but the food was not memorable (we did NOT go to Kampa Park though, which I hear is great - they were always reserved out when we were there), although the charming atmosphere was (you'll know these places when you see them - sorry I don't recall the names).

Shandy: given you like smaller towns, definitely spend 2 nights in CK (of course I would take one night from Prague, not Krakow - but you will probably have a unique local experience with your friends living there, so no worries). Really great - and again, don't worry when you see tourist crowds during the day - they're gone by 6pm latest!

On the car: I would pick it up when leaving Krakow. You will save big $$$ (drop off fee of car rented in CR dropped in Krakow: EUR 120; gas driving from CK to K: easily EUR 100; all-in cost including rental: almost $500 - sorry to mix currencies!) and a LOT of hassle. You might get away with $300-400 (we had to get a bigger car - 3 passengers with a lot of gear) but you only save 3-4 hours in travel time vs. train. And the train would be more relaxing and worry free. (If you are booking a few months in advance, I would get cheap planefare, all said and done though (LOT sometimes has deals and there area few discount airlines that go into Krakow) - quotes I've seen match the train fares!). Oh yeah, we were quoted that parking costs in a secured lot in Krakow are $25/night.
If you do drive, regarding getting lost - it is possible! Detailed updated maps are hard to come by (lots of roadwork now that both countries have joined the EU, so good roads but not yet fully documented). No problems on the dual carriage ways if you have a decent co-pilot, though, and if you drive during day light. I love to drive in Europe (since having a bad driving experience in Accra, Ghana years ago, everything looks fantastic by comparison!) but I am a speed demon (the left lane of Italy's autostrade is my favorite - if I'm in a car with enough guts to hang with the locals!) so I'm not sure if I'm your best source on this.

Good luck and have fun!
AandED is offline  
Old Oct 5th, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for your response AandED regarding the car. I will now seriously look at training over to Krakow before picking up car. Unfortunately we won't actually save the one way drop off fee because we would still be picking up the car in Krakow and dropping off in Budapest.
shandy is offline  
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