Eastern Europe two week jaunt
May 1, 2012 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan my Eastern Europe trip this Summer

So here's the deal: I booked a flight to Budapest on June 5th, returning from Zagreb on the 19th. Originally, a Ukranian friend was going to accompany me and we were going to go to either Lviv or Kiev to catch some Eurocup soccer, meetup with some of his local friends and head over to his beachouse on the Croatian coast. His travel status is in question so I'm wondering if going to Ukraine solo in the host cities is worth it (granted he may hook it up with some of his friends). I'm an experienced traveller but this is my firs trip to Eastern Europe. Relevant languages I speak are English and French (conversational). I'm interested in cities that represent a good balance between partying, culture and eclecticism.

Here are four options I generally thought about, but I was wondering specifically what people think the atmosphere will be in the Eurocup host cities (Lviv, Kiev): will there be rampant gouging and a less than ideal atmosphere or will it be a kickass party of epic proportion? Anyways here are the options:

1.) Budapest (4 night) --> Lviv (3-4 nights) --> Odessa (3 nights partying) --> Zagreb/Croatian beach (3-4 nights)

2.) Budapest (4 nights) --> Bratislava (3 nights) --> Vienna (3-4 nights) --> Zagreb/Croatian beach (3-4 nights)

3.) Budapest (4 nights) --> Kiev (3 nights+nightrain) --> Odessa (3 nights) --> Zagreb/Croatian beach (3-4 nights)

4.) Budapest (3-4 nights) --> Belgrade (3-4 nights, note I have a friend over there) --> Saraejvo (3-4 nights) --> Zagreb/Beach (3 nights)

5.) Your choice taking in account the in and out cities...


Any tips about travel (train/bus/metro within cities), accomodations (hostels), must-dos in the potential cities and budgeting (I'm thinking $1300-1500 USD budget) would be super appreciated.
posted by Hurst to Travel & Transportation around London, England (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Poland - especially Krakow, which isn't hosting any matches - might be a more stable, more ready-for-tourists place to visit. All the big cities in Poland will have "fan zones" with giant screens in main squares. And what about going to Crimea for beaches/sun instead?
posted by mdonley at 5:27 PM on May 1, 2012

No idea about Eurocup but some general thoughts on travel in the region: I think that might be an aggressive itinerary, depending on how you're traveling. If you're flying between some of your cities you can do it, but if you're going by train I would stick to no more than 3 cities with the time you have.

I did a somewhat similar trip with 3 weeks to spend : flew into Belgrade (3 nights)-->Sarajevo/Mostar (4 nights)-->Dubrovnik-->(3 nights)--->Brasov (Romania) (4 nights)--->Budapest (4 nights) & flew home from there. If I did it over again I would skip either Belgrade or Brasov: Brasov for the time it took to get there and Belgrade because it was my least favorite (to be fair, I caught a terrible cold there. It might be a lovely place if you're not sick!)

Brasov was amazing but it was a long long train ride (20+ hours). Some of your itineraries look like they'll have equally long rides. With only 2 weeks, you might want to keep your inter-city transit time down. Here's a great site for figuring out train options: www.seat61.com/Europe-train-tickets.htm.

Sarajevo is one of the most wonderful cities I've ever visited and I wish I'd spent more time there. If I could send you to only one of the places on your list, that would be it (Budapest would 2nd). I only passed through Zagreb train station, so no comments on that, but Dubrovnik is really nice - I sort of pooh-poohed it as a tourist destination but once I got there I saw the charm. Split is nice too. You could very happily spend 2 weeks just in Bosnia and Croatia with a few days in Budapest. (If you stick in that area, you can also go to Mostar and there is a tour there - if it is still running - that really is a must do: Bata's Tour, google for details.).

I can give hostel recs in Dubrovnik and Belgrade; I stayed in pensions in other places. I think I stuck pretty closely to a $1500 budget (not counting airfare to and from) and I splashed out for private rooms even in the hostels.

It's a beautiful region & worth savoring at a somewhat slower pace. Wherever you end up going, you'll love it.
posted by tinymojo at 8:49 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you tiny!
posted by Hurst at 6:33 AM on May 4, 2012

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