Trip to E. Europe - Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatio, Bulgaria
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Jun 8, 2012 2:01 PM Last Post By: stwex
May 30, 2012 10:54 AM
I was wondering if anyone could lend me some general advice about planning my trip to Eastern Europe this summer. I have a 30 day continuous use rail pass, so I want to maximise my travel (starting at the end of my first visit, and finishing as I arrive at my last place) so that I get about 40 days travel.
So far my itinerary roughly looks like:
Berlin 4 days (after which my inter-rail pass starts)
Warsaw 3 days
Krakow 3 days
Prague on overnight train 3 days
Czesky Krumlov 2 days
Bratislava 2 days
High Tatras 3 days
Budapest 4 days
Ljubljana 3 days
Then on to Croatia (coastal villaes and dubrovnik)
Bulgaria and Montenegro
I haven't really had much time to think about it as I am revising for exams at the moment, so I would welcome any advice on places to go, changes to make to the above etc.
Thanks very very much!
May 30, 2012 12:06 PM
1Firstly this will almost certainly be cheaper buying point to point tickets as you go rather than a pass. If you have not bought it yet or can get a refund you should look at this option. Secondly the trains in Croatia stop at Split so you are going to have to use other transport to get to Dubrovnik and the surrounding areas.
Getting from Croatia to Bulgaria is a pretty long journey. Best to break it up by stopping in either Belgrade or Skopje. Although I would advise against going full stop if your plan is just to visit Sofia as I don't think it's worth travelling that far for. Bosnia is a lot closer and in my opinion offers more, so maybe worth having a look at that.
I would also do the Tatras as a trip from Krakow and skip Bratislava, again just personal preference.
May 30, 2012 12:36 PM
2Looks like a good itinerary to me, taking in all the major capitals and sights of the region, with some nature added in. Considering you want to maximize your pass, I don't think you are moving too fast. I'd say you have allotted the right number of days to most destinations.
If I had to find fault somewhere I'd say that Bratislava is not usually considered a highlight of the region, and that the High Tatras are quite out of your way between Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. As #1 said, you could consider visiting the Tatras on the Polish side near Krakow before going to Prague, dropping Bratislava altogether, and zooming back overnight from Prague to Budapest. That would free up a couple of days - which you might want to spend in another Polish or Czech town (could be Olomouc or Wroclaw for example). Alternatively, you could go from Krakow to Slovakia through the Tatras and work your way through Slovakia towards the Czech Republic.
If you have only ten days to travel after you get to Croatia, it will be too rushed to visit Croatia, Montenegro and Bulgaria. I guess I'd make the most of the pass by taking the train all the way to Split from Ljubljana, and concentrating on the area south of Split - which is probably the most scenic anyway - all the way to Montenegro. That will take most of your ten days, but I'm guessing you have to fly out of Sofia? You might have to rush there at the end and leave Bulgaria proper for another trip.
May 30, 2012 1:50 PM
3Agree with the guys above about going to the Tatras after Krakow...I wouldn't necessarily eliminate Bratislava altogether as the old centre is charming but you could take it in as an overnight stop between Prague and Budapest...
3 days is also a long time in Ljubljana and you should get out for at least one day-trip, possibly to Bled...
May 30, 2012 2:40 PM
43 days full days is too much in Lubljiana. Consider cutting a day here.
Ljubljana to Zagreb to Split will be the train routing. There are only 2 trains daily from Zagreb to Split. One during the day and one overnight.
From Split you have two options as the train ends there. You can take a bus or taxi to Ploce and travel by train to Mostar and Sarajevo and then Belgrade and on to Sofia
OR you can take a bus to Dubrovnik (4+ hours), then a bus to Kotor (once or twice a day) and then a bus to Bar. From Bar you can take a train to Belgrade. Again there are 2 trains, one during the day and one overnight.
In the end, rail passes almost always make no sense in this part of the world. If you haven't bought it, then don't.
You won't have too much time for coastal villages, perhaps a day or two in each place. By the end of this trip all the places you visited will likely be a blur.
May 30, 2012 4:12 PM
May 31, 2012 12:24 AM
7You're right! Don't write a comment in the middle of the night. Croatia, of course...
Jun 8, 2012 2:01 PM
8Hi, I generaly agree with the posts above, I will just add some comments you might take in mind when re-setting your plan:
1. In order to have the journey more direct go Berlin- Prague, there is a direct train. From Prague you can go and visit Cesky Krumlov, it is just a little town, but stuffed with beautiful houses, caslte, narrow roads... You can either go back to Praha or find your self a connection from Cesky Krumlov and go to Krakow. Skip Warszaw since Krakow is much more interesting. Use spared days to visit Oswiecim. Visit the former concetration camp there, it is almost a must to visit it beeing so close to it. Not at all a happy moment of a holiday but still it is necessary to know what happened and good to witness it this way to remember it for ever.
2. From Krakow you can easily continue to High Tatras, if you like mountain hikes, it will be a nice place to visit, not the Alps but still beautiful.
3. Continue east and instead of visiting Bratislava, where there is literaly almost nothing beside a tiny city centre and a castle in between concreete blocks, go and stop for a day in Kosice. It has beatiful UNESCO city centre, similar to Cesky Krumlov- style.
4. Head towards Budapest from Kosice then.
after that you have to decide, I would personaly exclude whole Bulgaria, if you are not interested in what realy a post-communist country can look like. There are nice mountains in central Bulgaria and sea, thats it. Dont go so far just see Sofia, not worth it at all. If you already choose going so far, take the Beograd-Istanbul express from Beograd in the morning and visit Istanbul.
If not, go t Beograd instead and from there you can continue either to Montenegro or Bosnia. Both beautiful. Mostar is a must if you are already in Sarajevo.
Again not so sure if Ljubljana is the best choice for Slovenia, there are many better places there, specialy nature in the west.
Good luck with your trip
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