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travelling through Eastern Europe

Old Mar 20th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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travelling through Eastern Europe

Hi,

We are in the very beginning stages of trip planning. We are attending a wedding in Bratislava for a week in mid July. We are a family of 4 - 2 adults and 2 teens (17/19). We are all very able bodied, like biking, and prefer to travel light. We are thinking of doing the following:

Arrive Vienna - 1 day - then bus to Bratislava
Bratislava - 6 days (wedding festivities) - perhaps time for Vienna here
Budapest - 3 nights
Croatia - on the coast - 3 -4 nights
Krakow - 3 nights
Prague - 3 nights
fly out of Prague

We are thinking of train travel for each segment with a (hopefully) sleeper train from Croatia to Krakow. I had chosen a bus to get to Bratislava as the bus will pick you up at the airport and take you to the town square in Bratislava. Is this itinerary reasonable or over loaded? Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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I think it's very much overloaded. Have you looked at the amount of time it will take you to get to these places by train? I'm thinking that you haven't planned this out.

You don't say from where in Croatia you're starting but I chose Zagreb (as it's a large town) to look at trains to Krakow and they take 17+ hours and make at least 3 connections. It appears there are only 2 trains a day to choose - one leaving at 12:30 PM and arriving the next morning at 6:43 and the other train leaving at 21:20 and arriving at 17:28. Neither would be my choice.

The train from Krakow to Prague takes all day - 8 to 8.5 hours.

Re-think Croatia since it's quite a bit south of other places you're going. You could add a night to Prague and Krakow.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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We are thinking of train travel for each segment with a (hopefully) sleeper train from Croatia to Krakow.>

yeh I think with exception of only the arrival day in Vienna, which arguably has the most to offer of all those cities in terms of things to see and do - but Bratislava to Vienna is only a one hour train trip - I just did Brat as a day trip from Vienna so perhaps add a couple of day trips to Vienna. There are also hydrofoils on the Danube linking Vienna and Bratislava.

For lots of great info on trains in those countries check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com. For schedules of any European train I always use the Wunderbar IMO German Railways pan-European train scheduling site - www.bahn.de/en will guide you there.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 08:14 PM
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You sound like outdoorsy types. Rather than all these cities, why don't you go hiking in Slovakia? You can take the train east from Bratislava, visit Levoca, which is a very charming small town, hike in the Tatras and then take the bus to Zakopane in Poland and go on to Krakow.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 08:37 PM
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I agree that it sounds a bit rushed. The idea of skipping Croatia (which can easily merit a trip of 3 weeks or more even without anything in neighboring countries) is worth considering. It would give you a bit of time to visit each of your other destinations.

Whatever you choose, you'll see some wonderful things -- enjoy!
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 09:30 PM
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Oops... Sorry... Posted by reply on your other question... I won't recopy it here... Let me know if I can help you with Slovakia.
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 04:04 AM
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ttt
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 09:42 AM
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Hmmmm.... Not sure where your other question went.... Perhaps I am dreaming...

I lived in Bratislava and it is a fantastic place to bike.... I also tend to agree, if you are sporty, etc... Cut out some cities and go to places like the Tatras... Or Austria.

In any event, I have blogged about lots of things in and around Bratislava.

Www.worldinbetween.wordpress.com
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 10:00 AM
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>

It was the same question as posted on this thread and it's gone.
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 10:44 AM
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This isn't Eastern Europe. Moldova, Russia, Ukraine are.

How much "wedding festivities" will there be? Vienna and Bratislava are really close - you can stay longer in the former if it interests you more. And why bus? Trains are faster and generally nicer. You shouldn't be staying at the airport your first night when you arrive in Vienna, you should be in town and the train will be . . . in town.

The outliers here are Croatia and Krakow. A train from Zagreb to Krakow, with quick connections, will take more than 18 hours. Why would you do this? Able-bodied people who like to bike don't sit on trains for 18+ hours. And you need to get to Zagreb from the Croatian coast to connect to the rest of Europe.

Krakow to Prague is an 8+ hour ride. These won't be TGV/AVE/shinkansen type trains. Think about what you can pare down and where you might want to stay longer so you have more time to explore surrounding areas (Prague, Budapest . . .).
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 11:18 AM
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Personally... I would never take the train from Vienna to bratislava... The trains are not very nice... They are no faster... They cost more... And they drop you into a completely dumpy part of Bratislava.

Not quit sure what the "this isn't Eastern Europe" comment was targeted at... But my friends in Bratislava and Hungary use the phrase "eastern Europe" when referring to their homes... They tend to describe Europe as just east and west.

It is a completely viable alternative to arrive in Vienna, bus to Bratislava, and spend the night there ( if that makes sense with your plans).
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Personally... I would never take the train from Vienna to bratislava... The trains are not very nice... They are no faster... They cost more... And they drop you into a completely dumpy part of Bratislava>

well if they have a car of course drive but having taken those newer trains I would not call them uncomfortable at all and it only takes an hour - yes from the other side of the Danube but you can also take some trains from Vienna directly to Bratislava's main station smack in the town center and these long-distance trains are very comfy.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:45 PM
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I guess to each his own... Until 2 weeks ago, I lived in Bratislava and went to Vienna regularly. Most of us wouldn't think of the train station as the town center. I'd much rather arrive at Novy Most and stroll into old town that way. But you can walk to old town in 10 or 15 minutes from the main train station.

But you do make a good point for those who do train to Bratislava - and one worth clarifying. Every 60 minutes a train goes from Vienna to Bratislava's Petrazalka station. Staggered, and also every 60 minutes, a train goes from Vienna to the main station. I would personally avoid going to Petrazalka - it is just less convenient.

Again, for me, the bus is consistently nicer, cheaper, equally fast, and does actually will arrive in town (assuming you take the Blaguss bus).

In any event, no matter which option you take, you will make it to Bratislava and there's at least a 90% chance you will live to tell about it.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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I was pleasantly surprised with Bratislava when I did a day trip there from Vienna, by train but I'm a train buff - bus sounds more practical perhaps - I thought I'd see the typical old fading Eastern European city showing its warts and scars from years of neglect under Soviet influence but what I saw was a placed all spruced up - spic-and-span clean - and the castle or fort or whatever it was on the hillside overlooking town looked nice as well but just day tripping I could not take all that time to get there (it was in January when days were short and admission hours even shorter) - so yes Bratislava should be IMO on more folks' radars.
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Old Mar 25th, 2013, 03:02 AM
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I could not agree more PalenQ (of course, I am biased). Each time I returned home from Prague to sit alone on the square drinking my coffee on a Saturday morning - I could not understand why more people didn't come to Bratislava. And if you have an evening there, the concert hall (the Reduta) is one of the loveliest in Europe.

So perhaps with a few more shout outs.. Bratislava will pick up another tourist or two.
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Old Mar 25th, 2013, 04:05 AM
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You can also take a boat on the Danube between Bratislava and Vienna, which is a nice way to travel. I'm guessing you'll be able to take at least one day trip (and perhaps several) to Vienna during your time in Brat.

As others have mentioned, Croatia and Krakow are the parts of your trip that will cost you the most time and trouble. Perhaps Dresden and Berlin, or Salzburg and Munich might be nice replacements? Berlin has great biking, and Salzburg and Munich great hiking.
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Old Mar 25th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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And boats on the Danube leave and arrive smack in the center of downtown Bratislava - not in some remote train station. Not sure but they may take longer though and cost more?
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Old Mar 25th, 2013, 04:51 PM
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If you want to take a boat... But maybe not go so far... I am pretty sure you can go just up to Devin Castle.... Which is a nice half day trip. You can get back from Devin by bus. I have even walked to Devin on a wooded path up in the hills above Bratislava ( and then took the bus back).

Bratislava has fantastic biking... Half day trips, full day, multi day... It is on one of the main cross European paths.

There is also a modern art museum on an island in the Danube just south of town which is reachable by boat ( or a nice bike ride.). There are little beer huts along the path.

Hike up to Slavin and have a beer in Funus.

I could go on and on..... The only times we went to Vienna was to take our guests. Otherwise, I so preferred being in Brat.
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