Tips for 2018 Eastern Europe trip

Old Jul 26th, 2017, 07:23 PM
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Hi Steve,
We took the trip you mentioned last year and yes, we managed to get to St Gilgen while we were in Salzburg. Had a fantastic holiday.

Now we're in the final days of our current holiday - spent 6 days in Moscow then travelled to Romania for just over two weeks and now we're finishing a week in the Mosel/Rhine area (staying in Cochem and Bacharach) before heading home.

Enjoy your travels and planning!
Amanda
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 07:31 AM
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Hi Steve,

If you are interested in Eastern Europe's still very present Communist/Cold War history, I recommend you this walking tour in Budapest: https://www.facebook.com/coldwarbudapest/

It is based on my 4 year long research of recently declassified dossiers in the Hungarian State Security Archives, the National Archives in near Washington and all surviving U.S. diplomats posted in Budapest in the 1950s. I did the research for an upcoming book.

It may seem too serious or too academic, but actually it is super thrilling and fun. The tour focuses on the spy games between the communist secret police and counterintelligence of Hungary and U.S. diplomats, some of whom were of course also under cover. These stories are totally unknown and unpublished, I talk about them on location, even showing archive secret surveillance photos and unpublished photos I obtained from the diplomats and their families. All this takes place on both sides of the Danube, in downtown, beautiful location. The tours can be as personalized as you wish if you have special requests.

Check out the facebook page if you are interested and feel free to contact me if you have questions.

And in any case, have a great trip!

Ivan
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 02:15 AM
  #23  
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Hi Ivan,

Thanks for offering the walking tour, but I think we will pass, I'm sorry. Over the course of my European Travels (including the time I spent 18 months on a working holiday 40 years ago), I have had the dubious honour of visiting:

Dachau, near Munich, Germany
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, near Krakow, Poland, and
Mauthausen, near Linz, Austria

I think I am about war'd out.

Regards, Steve
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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Hi,
There are direct daily flights from Budapest to Moscow by Wizzair

https://wizzair.com/en-gb/flights/ti...017-08/2017-08
and daily or even twice a day direct flights by the Russian carrier Aeroflot
http://www.aeroflot.com/ru-en
Also WIZZAIR flyes direct to St. Petersburg every other day.
You can by the Wizzair tickets both for Moscow and St. peters-g RIGHT now.
From Santorini to Dubrovnik all the available flights involve at least 1 stop. In Thessaloniki or Athens. Flights total is aprx. 11-12 hours, cost around 200-300 Euros a piece.
As for Visa, it depends very much on the country of application. Unfortunately I have no info on Australia, but I think four_maccas has explained all the procedure quite well.
In Hungary it is very complicated to get the Visa at the Embassy, so only extremely cost cautious people obtain it from there. There a few Russian owned tour operators in Budapest and they can help you get one for a 25-30 Euros extra.
Total cost is around 110.00-115.00 (proceeded within 7 business days) Euro for a regular one week But I think it is still much better to have it done back home.
NOW! A little piece of VERY Important information for your Russian visit!!!
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held where?
YEAH, You guessed it right in RUSSIA! From June 14 to July 15. Both Moscow and St. Petersburg are among the participating cities.
So, from June 10th and on, expect EXORBITANT prices for accommodation and CROWDS of fans (quite a few tough guys among them) from all over the world!
Better be warned.

From Ljubljana to Budapest it is probably better to take the bus. 6 hours versus 8. the night bus runs for 15.00 Euros, the daytime for 28 or so.
https://shop.flixbus.com/search?rout...6_14=0&pupil=0
Reliable company, modern comfy buses.

Well, concerning Plitvice lakes as a day trip from Zadar, I dunno know... It takes 2 hours to get there and another 2 to return. Over there you need at least 5-6 hours. Probably the only way to do it like that, will be using services of a tour company. By public transportation almost impossible or will be a kinda "hurry up" tour.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 01:57 PM
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My research (for my own holidays) has found that there are more flights between Greece and Croatia during the peak summer season of July and August. Even in peak season, I highly doubt you'll find direct flights between Santorini and Dubrovnik. Try Croatian Air and Aegean Air, with potential stops in Athens and/or Zagreb. (or use skyscanner). An alternative routing might be via Rome.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 02:46 AM
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Hi,
No offense or anything personal, just to admit that:
The OP travels in May and June, not JULY or AUGUST. Timetables and flight between May and August may vary significantly.
Also in the previous post I have clearly written that there are no direct flights from Santorini to Dubrovnik. Mostly via Athens or Thessaloniki.
Flying via Rome would be like flying from Miami to NYC via Denver.
Usually, I never comment on anything without carefully going through all the previous posts
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 03:03 AM
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steve_Australia,
Also I forgot to mention:
If you are in Dubrovnik, I would strongly recommend visiting the neighboring Montenegro. Kotor town and Kotor bay are beautiful and you will have a chance to see (while I consider it very exaggerated and deeply misleading)"The French Riviera before the tourist boom". Usually Western media applies it to Croatia, the country that had been overrun by billions of tourists since the nineteen sixties!!!
Montenegro definitely retained a lot of its old charm still, while Croatia, and especially Dubrovnik has turned into something kinda "Disney Landish" if you know what I mean. I've been visiting Croatia on a regular basis since 1992. Stopped going there as tourist (only driving through or sometimes taking travelers from Hungary) since the beginning of the early 2000-s. Now for Adriatic Holidays, I only consider Montenegro or Albania.
Well at least your visit will be in May/June, so you won't be hit by the serious summer crowds.
Also I would definitely recommend a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia. Seeing the beauty of the town, the restored world famous bridge, still lots of reminiscences of the Yugoslav war of 1991-1995 etc, etc. Probably will be the highlight of your trip. Both Kotor and Mostar can be easily done as a day trip from Dubrovnik.

Now for Budapest or Hungary proper.
As a private guide I could recommend you quite a few "must-sees" and any "gotchas", but its difficult doing this without knowing your personal preferences, tastes etc.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 03:10 AM
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I meant that flights outside of the summer season are less frequent (in some cases a lot less so). And flying via Rome is not as silly as it sounds as there are direct flights from Santorini to Rome and Rome to Dubrovnik - timetables may not line up but I would not dismiss it out of hand in a situation where there may not be a lot of alternatives.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:46 AM
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Well yes, but there are daily flights via Thessaloniki and Athens, making the Rome detour pretty much longer, meaning the actual time spent on board.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:41 AM
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I agree that a visit to Mostar is well worth considering, but I would strongly encourage an overnight stay there -- even in May it can be overwhelmed by tourists during the day. In contrast, it can be absolutely magical in the evenings. Once can travel there from Dubrovnik by bus and then from there to Split by bus.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:22 PM
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Okszi:

Thanks very much for your information and suggestions. I will take a look at the bus over train option to Budapest.
Both you and <i>dreamon</i> have convinced me to look at flying direct from Athens to Dubrovnik. I was trying to avoid spending another night's accommodation in Athens but think the alternative is way worse!

Our new plan is to spend 3 nights in Athens. Fly to Santorini for 3 nights. Ferry to Naxos for 4 nights (take a day trip to Delos and Mykonos while we are there). Fly back to Athens and then take a flight from there to Dubrovnik. What to you think?

The information you gave me about the 2018 FIFA World Cup is quite significant! I have never had advice from a Fodorite poster before that has caused me to seriously consider dropping one of our planned destinations :'(

With regard to Montenegro - yes, a day trip there from Dubrovnik was already planned and researched. I didn't plan Mostar, however.

kja:
Ditto, I hadn't even considered Mostar - sounds like I should. You will be pleased to hear that I am now seriously thinking about saving a visit to Russia for another trip. This would give us more time for the destinations still on our agenda
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:00 PM
  #32  
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OMG, steve_Australia, skipping Russia for this trip would open up SOOoooo much space to actually see / experience the other things on your agenda -- ooooh, WHAT a worthy thought -- IMO !!!!!!

Russia will be there when you are ready to visit it....
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:36 PM
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Yes, as you suggested previously, we are now considering marrying up Russia with a future Scandinavian trip

So, would you just suggest longer in each Croatian base or adding Zagreb and a few Croatian islands to the agenda?
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:47 PM
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No no no no no NO no NO! Do NOT add to your itinerary! Give yourselves some time to actually see that places you plan to see!

But I say that with a bit of well-maybe-not in mind -- it's YOUR trip and ONLY you can decide. Think through your priorities, map them out on a calendar, and see how things are shaping up.

JMO.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 11:04 PM
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kja - ha ha. When I've been fishing I've never got a bigger bite than that! The first thing I said to my wife was that this would give us more nights in each place to experience them more thoroughly. But I couldn't resist, sorry!
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 11:08 PM
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I guess I should take it as a compliment that I've been the biggest bite you've gotten to date. ;-)

And where would we be if we resisted ALL urges!?!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 09:10 PM
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Hello again. Can anyone recommend a nice hotel in the Saint Georges Beach, Naxos Chora area on Naxos?

The Ilion Hotel came highly recommended, but unfortunately is already booked out for next May.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 09:28 PM
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>>but unfortunately is already booked out for next May.<<

Did you actually contact them or is it just the calendar shows no availability? I find it very common for some places to not be booking this far out?
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Old Aug 4th, 2017, 12:29 AM
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Hmmm...janisj could be right, and I certainly wouldn't be booking a hotel on Naxos this far in advance. I did go on Ilion Hotel's own website, and plugged in random dates for next May, getting a notice that rooms were sold out for that date. It seems that Naxos hotels that are often recommended on travel forums get booked up first.

There are dozens of hotels in the St George Beach area, and nearly all will have vacancies in May. Naxos Resort Beach Hotel is a large modern property near the beach: http://naxosresort.gr, but I prefer to stay in more traditional small domatia hotels.

It's been a few years now, but I've stayed several times at Hotel Argo, a block off St George Beach. There is no sea view to speak of, but the hotel is very clean and has excellent showers, two factors high on my priority list. Their room rates are very reasonable, and they have an optional continental breakfast on premises. The hotel is run by a very nice Greek-Swedish family who go out of their way to be helpful. Last time I stayed there, during the month of June, I booked my room 2 hrs in advance over the telephone while waiting at the port on Paros.
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Old Aug 4th, 2017, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for the info. I will look at Hotel Argo and see how I go.

While we're on the subject. Can anyone recommend a good apartment or hotel in Athens - preferably in the old town area close to The Acropolis and all of its associated historic sights?
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