Interrail plan / 2 weeks in eastern Europe - advice needed
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Mar 21, 2012 4:29 PM Last Post By: smn1973
Mar 15, 2012 9:42 AM
Interrail plan / 2 weeks in eastern Europe - advice neededHi,
My friend and I (We are both English, male, 22) have 4 weeks in July and August and a budget of about £1000 each. We wanted to get to Asia or South America but flights are just too much in the summer holidays so we're now thinking of using interrail to make our way east (out of the euro zone) and then flying home from Istanbul or someplace after spending a week or two in the sun relaxing. We're pretty laid back so not desperate for parties and night-life just looking to see more of Europe and relax before we start careers in September(!). Would like to find a quiet beach at the end of our trip. Have heard there aren't many good beaches near Istanbul and that east coast of Bulgaria gets far too packed with domestic holidaymakers? Any recommendations for quiet stretches of nice sandy beach in that part of the world that will be cheap would be much appreciated. I know Greece is nice but with the euro I think it will be too expensive.
Anyway, we're looking at a 5 in 10 days travel inter-rail pass and our itinerary is this, please tell me if this is realistic / worth it:
Fly London to Amsterdam
Amsterdam 2 days - activate pass
train to Prague, few days
train to Vienna, few days
train to Budapest, few days
train to Sofia (end of inter-rail pass)
Get's vague here. Maybe night train to istanbul? Or Bulgarian/Albanian coast? Suggestions please! We want somewhere very cheap where can chill out with a few beers and relax. We would then fly home to London so can't just wing it too much!
Are there any stretches of that journey where night trains run / would be advisable?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Mar 15, 2012 10:04 AM
1If you want to chill on the beach...Bulgarian coast is a good idea for a week.Its much cheaper than Greece or Croatia in general,and you can find everything from very crowded tourist beaches to more relaxing places.If you post this on the Eastern Europe branch you will get some good specific suggestions.
Istanbul is a great destination too..but not for beaches obviously.
Mar 15, 2012 1:22 PM
2Hi.... *samob - and welcome to Thorn Tree.
I hope you have a very happy and long stay here, with us all.
On the subject of Interail etc....
Please check the price local tickets over buying a pass.
Interail, Eurail etc., quite often work out more expensive, than buying tickets locally.
Much more so in Eastern Europe - where many train fares are very cheap.
Good luck with everything.
Mar 15, 2012 1:23 PM
Mar 15, 2012 2:21 PM
and that east coast of Bulgaria gets far too packed with domestic holidaymakers
'All' of Bulgaria's coast is on the East coast.
Mar 15, 2012 2:51 PM
5Still going back to your original plan...
Both Asia (I suppose it's SEA you had in mind) and South America are much cheaper than anywhere in Europe. Think of food and accommodation. You may easily find a double room for US$15-20 anywhere in Colombia or even cheaper in Peru, Ecuador or Bolivia, lunch US$ 2-2.50. That would be impossible even in Bulgaria, being the cheapest country in your European itinerary.
In four weeks the differece on food and accommodation would probably compensate the more expensive flight tickets to Lima or Quito. Add also cheaper local travel and tours.
You'd easily live on less than £ 1000 pp for four weeks, all included (except flight ticket).
I'm not recommending SEA though as summer is monsoon period.
Mar 15, 2012 3:00 PM
6You may easily find a double room for US$15 anywhere in Colombia or even more in Peru, Ecuador or Bolivia. That would be impossible even in Bulgaria
Not everywhere - but not impossible.
Rooms last summer between Shumen and Veliko Tarnovo.... 20Levs... €10.... Approx US$14.
Price included breakfast - too.... Bread, ham, cheese, juice, water, tea/coffee and fresh fruits.
Was basic (shower/wc along the corridor), but comfy - and the food was OK.
Again, not everywhere - but not impossible.
Mar 16, 2012 1:26 AM
7Agree with the others, it may be cheaper to buy point to point in E Europe than use a train pass. refer to http://www.seat61.com which can give you links to the relevant train websites. the earlier you book the cheaper it is, but it does restrict you to certain trains if you go down pre advance train booking. http://www.bahn.co.uk will also help you to get an idea of travel duration times.
Mar 16, 2012 7:39 AM
8Hey thanks for all the replies!
Will definitely look into buying the tickets individually. the interrail pass is £154 so that's the target to beat.
Fieldgate I spent nearly four months in 2010 in peru, colombia, costa rica etc so I'm aware of prices etc out there but don't really want to go to the same countries (that's a lie, I do want to but not yet - see some others first!) but the budget is a total so flights would have to come out of it and would only leave us a few hundred each for a month, which is so tight I think it would take some of the fun out it.
As for the Bulgarian coast what about the possibility of a holiday apartment rental? If it's going to be upwards of $30 a night for us both that's over $200 p/w anyway. Could we get a small apartment near the coast for that do you think?
MTL I have friends who are recently back from Greece and the cost of drinks / food / accom just all seem too high to warrant going. I do know that having the same currency doesn't mean having the same prices!
Any comments on the cities listed for the interrail route? They are all places I'd love to see but having never been before they may not be all they're cracked up to be, would you substitute any?
Thanks again for the help it's much appreciated!
Mar 16, 2012 7:45 AM
9Hi again.... Have you got a preferred location in Bulgaria?
Mar 16, 2012 8:18 AM
If costs is such a big issue, Bulgaria and Turkey are going to be your best bet. They are not going to be much cheaper than Greece though- maybe 20% but not half...
and beaches tend to be the more expensive parts of those countries- for obvious reasons. July/August is high season and prices reflect that. if you want a cheap holiday stay away from the crowds- go inland. Romania and Slovakia would be other good options.
Mar 16, 2012 8:44 AM
11After reading all this I think you need to ask/answer a much more basic question to begin with. Is it reasonable to expect to get 4 weeks out of 1000GBP?
I don't think so, regardless of where you go or how you travel. Received wisdom here on the TT is that a backpacker staying in hostels and eating from supermarkets needs around 50E a day in W. Europe and 35-40E in E. Europe. So as MTL wrote, things won't be that much cheaper in Bulgaria or Turkey, etc.
You are considering the train presumably because you figure it will be cheaper than flying return to somewhere. I disagree with that assumption. It will in fact no doubt cost more when you add in other costs associated with spending several days on a train. You would for example no doubt buy some overpriced sandwich from the cart that goes up and down the aisle and most likely an over-priced beer if you are an average Brit. Trying to avoid paying for a bed by using a night train is a common thought. But if you don't pay for a sleeper berth you will have a very uncomfortable night indeed. Where's the fun in that?
The cheapest holiday for a Brit is and has always been to buy a cheap package tour to somewhere. But you cannot find any that are for more than 2 weeks. For example, you could probably find a package to Turkey in August that you could afford and have enough left for spending money.
In my opinion your budget is simply not enough to cover 4 weeks plus travel anywhere.
Mar 16, 2012 9:06 AM
12Certainly Amsterdam and Vienna are not cheap...you can still find very reasonable prices in Prague,,Sofia and Budapest if you stay out of the main tourist areas.Two years ago we paid €22 a night for a double in Prague (more like a few private rooms than a hotel,but very nice)and you can eat cheaply too....again,if you avoid tourist hangouts.
In Bulgaria there are plenty of dorm hostel beds for €8 a night (or less)and double/twin rooms for less than €15...and food is not expensive by Western European standards.
Mar 16, 2012 9:26 AM
13Further to my #5 post, another comment from someone who has travelled extensively in Europe and South America.
You can get a flight London- Lima (or Quito) for around £1000 in July/August.
Your costs in South Am will be by at last a half lower that in Europe. You can survive on €25 day (food and accommodation) without problem. That will give you a difference of € 750 over four weeks, which would cover the difference in more expensive flight ticket.
Add another factor that July/August are the holiday months all over Europe. Prices get higher and accommodation is harder to find and not always available at prices that you want to pay.
Might be still worth to consider South America?
Mar 16, 2012 9:37 AM
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