Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Something different for my 6th trip to Europe? Slovenia + Poland?

Something different for my 6th trip to Europe? Slovenia + Poland?

Jul 22nd, 2010, 04:29 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Something different for my 6th trip to Europe? Slovenia + Poland?

I'm getting the itch again to go back to Europe this fall (don't laugh - I never plan my trips to Europe more than a month or two in advance). I've still got a list of places I'd like to see/never been but the list is getting shorter or I'm starting to change my preferences the more I see. It would be another solo trip for me.

On past trips I've done London, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, and Vienna as well as highlights of Italy north of Naples. Last fall (in case you missed my trip report), I visited Italy briefly (2nd visit), Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Croatia. To be honest, I think Ljubljana was my favorite of that entire trip, and I'm starting to think I might want to back and spend more time just exploring the tiny country of Slovenia, at least as a starting point. I'm hoping not to avoid tourists but to avoid places that are mobbed with tourists. Ljubljana last September seemed more mobbed with students than tourists - and I like that feel a lot better. (Dubrovnik was beautiful but wow, it was just mobs and mobs of tourists especially when the cruise ships came in.)

I'm kind of "spit balling" this, but I'm thinking of going back to Ljubljana, renting a car, and puttering around Slovenia for a few days (last year, I visited only Ljubljana, not Lake Bled or anything, before moving on to Croatia). Then train up to Austria - Graz at least - before heading up to Czech Republic and eventually back to Prague. Then maybe east over to Krakow, maybe up to Warsaw and home. (Tacking on a few cities in Ukraine is intriguing too but scares me, not knowing the language or the alphabet and going solo!) I may not even do this in 2010, may wait til 2011.

I'm kind of hoping to avoid the tourist mobs, though I know I'll see them in Prague - but I loved Prague so I'm willing to put up with them again. Salzburg is supposed to be beautiful but is ultra-touristy, isn't it? It's so hard to judge whether I'm going to like a place from other people's experiences because everyone has such different tastes.

Any thoughts on this - particularly Slovenia and Poland? Insights, stray comments? Yeah, I've been browsing past posts and trip reports and such...but if you've been planning a similar trip or just been, I'd love your feedback!
Andrew is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2010, 05:12 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8,379
I think you would like Poland Andrew. I was surprised to be drawn to Krakow maybe even more than Prague, and went back again (really liked the Poles). I tried to mumble a little Polish, but in the cities language is not a problem. Warsaw is of course about 90% rebuilt exactly as it was before bombing; didn't but should have gone to Gdansk, and probably Talinn Estonia too. To me Salzburg doesn't make sense with this grouping, but you are covering a lot of ground. I think Slovenia has an airline with routes to Poland.

I often travel in November and avoid the mobs; it can be cold and a little bleak, but I like that. Slovenia, Croatia and Romania are on my list.
Fidel is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2010, 05:18 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,201
How late in the fall? Does weather matter?

I haven't been to Poland in many years, but I enjoyed Krakow very much. It gave me a little of the same feeling as Prague with one foot in the east and one foot in the west. Lots of beautiful, old architecture/neighborhoods. Warsaw has an interesting WWII story and a great museum on The Uprising, but much of the architecture is post-War and just awful.

Our visit to Salzburg was in the second half of October. Skies were gray, but it didn't rain and temps were comfortable. We only spent two days there, but no where we went felt overly touristy. Yes, Mozart is everywhere, but you can't blame the town for exploiting their home boy. We especially enjoyed a long walk on the Monchsberg and great views of the city.
Jean is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2010, 06:31 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Thanks you guys. Weather is somewhat important as I want to take pictures (I'm a photographer). Last fall I hit Croatia at the beginning of October and had excellent weather until the end (about October 15 on the dot) when things suddenly turned stormy and cooler, but of course, you can never tell with the weather. This year I was thinking early to mid September. In Croatia, mid-October was clearly the end of tourist season and a lot of things started to be harder to access but that may not be true in Poland I suppose...

I love trains and I don't mind covering a lot of ground with them. I know, Fidel, it's a ways from Slovenia to Poland, but the only really super long train ride I'd have (I prefer to avoid nigh trains) is the one from Prague to Krakow. Otherwise, looks like about 4 hour train or bus rides per day tops and that sounds fine. Warsaw is probably not somewhere I'd put at the top of my list, but I think it may make sense to depart out of there home. (I'm hoping to fly Delta or partners via Amsterdam since they have direct flights to and from Portland.)

Salzburg is slightly out of the way from the mapping I've done - but not horribly. Just a bit of backtracking. If I start in Graz I could go north up to Cesky Krumov directly or detour over to Salzburg. Just not sure yet. Graz looks pretty as well. You can't do everything on a trip, of course. However, I sometimes regret now having skipped Krakow in 2005 when I was in Prague, but at the time THAT seemed too out of the way...
Andrew is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 10:24 AM
  #5  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,785
I've visited most of the places you've mentioned and enjoyed my solo trips to them very much. How long to you plan to travel?
kja is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 10:34 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,662
Loved Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Krakow, Slovenia! Here is some info on our 2008 trip from my trip reports with photos: While in Bled, make the short side trip to Vintgar Gorge.

http://web.me.com/tomfielding1/Tom_%...ague_2008.html

http://web.me.com/tomfielding1/Tom_%...%B3w_2008.html

http://web.me.com/tomfielding1/Tom_%...vnik_2008.html

http://web.me.com/tomfielding1/Tom_%...enia_2008.html

maitaitom is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 01:46 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Thanks for the trip report links, Tom! I've been to some of those same places already. Nice pictures and great detail in your descriptions.

Cesky Krumlov is indeed on my list. I regret that I missed it last time when I visited Prague. But I'm still struggling with the basic idea for this trip. Though I've been to Europe a few times now and have become an ace at planning trips, I still find pitfalls with my style of (solo) travel. After a couple of weeks, I get quite homesick and weary, so if I stay longer than two weeks, I need the destinations at the end to be high energy enough to keep my attention - or limit my trip to about two weeks!

So far the basic itinerary would be starting in Ljubljana, seeing the Julian Alps and Bled, perhaps a day trip to Trieste, then head NE up to Maribor and Ptuj. Then, north to the Czech Republic (via a nigh in Graz, Austria), see Cesky Kromlov and a brief return to Prague. Then head east to Krakow and fly home out of Warsaw. With 2-3 weeks or so.

I'm torn between going to Poland at all or just doing Slovenia and Czech Republic (and Graz). I'll rent a car in Slovenia only and take the trains and buses between countries. Seeing a lot of two countries would be very different from what I've done in the past, which is to skim the big highlights of a lot of places. (In 2009: Milan, Parma, Venice, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Baska Voda, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Korcula, Split, and Paris in three weeks!) Seeing Slovenia and Czech Republic and saving Poland for next time seems pretty appealing. But...I'm always tempted to "tack on" a little more. Adding Krakow after Prague and flying out of Warsaw seems quite doable - but I'd need about two weeks to get to that point. Maybe I should start in Poland and work my way down to Slovenia? (Sigh.)

Thanks again for everyone's feedback!
Andrew is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 02:20 PM
  #8  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,785
If you do go to Krakow - and from your reaction to Prague, I think you might enjoy Krakow - then flying out of Warsaw, with a day or two there, would make sense. But you wrote that "After a couple of weeks, I get quite homesick and weary, so if I stay longer than two weeks, I need the destinations at the end to be high energy enough to keep my attention," and I'm not sure I would call Warsaw a "high energy" destination. (But it's been a very long time since I visited it, so maybe it has changed.) Since you've already been to Ljubljana, you can judge for yourself with it would have a sufficient level of energy for you.
kja is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 02:41 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Right, Warsaw was not really high on my list of destinations - but it is the most practical city for me to depart from after Krakow (I can fly back to my home city from Warsaw with just one change in Amsterdam, for a decent airfare). I was thinking of spending 2-3 nights in Krakow but just a single night in Warsaw before flying home from there early the next morning.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 03:12 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,785
I'm guessing that you would be unlikely to return to Warsaw, so it would make sense to give yourself time to see the things there that do interest you - maybe a day or two.
kja is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 03:51 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
I totally understand what you are saying, kja, and on past trips I might indeed have chosen to give Warsaw extra time at the end or even tack on a quick trip up Gdansk. But I'm trying to learn from past trips, and I have learned that after two weeks I'm probably not going to want to continue unless the remaining places are amazing. I expect Krakow to be awesome, but after that I'm expecting Warsaw won't be in the same league, so it might make more sense to taste Warsaw just briefly.

And I indeed may return to Poland. I want to get over to Ukraine eventually, too. If I enjoy Poland maybe next time I'll return, see more of Poland and add some of Ukraine and return to Warsaw if it charms me more than I expect.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 04:24 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,201
Andrew, where is 'home'? There are non-stop flights from Krakow to Chicago and to the obvious European hubs (Frankfurt, London, Paris, even Munich which is one of my new favorites).
Jean is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 05:02 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Home is Portland, Oregon. There is one direct flight from Portland to Europe, a Delta flight into/out of Amsterdam. I'm really trying to connect to this flight both ways and stick to a single connection, and if I book my ticket on KLM, I can book PDX-LJU/WAW-PDX as a single open jaw ticket for a good fare. If I try to fly out of KRK, I have to connect in O'Hare with United - not something I really want to do. Plus getting to Ljubljana on the inbound would harder if I am flying on United and partners.

I'd rather take the last day in Warsaw anyway. At least I'd get a taste for it and see one other place in Poland besides Krakow.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 26th, 2010, 07:06 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 67
I recently posted this on another thread, but since you mentioned the Julian Alps and Bled, I thought I'd mention it again here.

We stayed in Kobarid for a few days back in 2007. They have some beautiful hiking trails through old WWI bunkers and fortifications. The mountains were simply amazing. Getting out of the area is pretty easy with the car train that runs from Most na Soci to Bohinj. You literally drive your car onto a flat-bed train car and the train takes you the whole journey (there are some low rails on train cars that are raised for the journey). It cuts travel time between the regions basically in half and allows you to see some more rural parts during the "drive" - as the driver on the trip, I particularly enjoyed being able to soak in the scenery.

We used the car train to get from Kobarid to Bled and really enjoyed the different mode of travel.
akrobat is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 07:21 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,764
Huh, car train - wow, I had no idea that existed as an option there. Thanks for sharing that!!!
Andrew is online now  
Jul 27th, 2010, 12:40 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,087
Hi Andrew

Sounds an exciting trip! I can't offer any helpful advice, but am marking this thread as Poland is nearly at the top of my to-go list, and there's already been some most useful information posted.

It's Warsaw and the surrounding areas I'm most interested in, particularly Zakopane - I quite fancy a ski trip there.

Look forward to hearing more about it all.
julia_t is offline  
Jul 27th, 2010, 03:22 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,614
Hi Andrew; You can download information on many of the cities you will be visiting on this site, including Warsaw, Krakow and Prague. Richard www.inyourpocket.com
iris1745 is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:39 PM.