Our Detailed Four Week Eastern Europe Itinerary

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Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Bonnie

We are firm believers that if you’re going to fly to Europe, you might as well spend as much time there as possible. For us, that generally means about a month. If you’re looking to do the same, this four week Eastern Europe itinerary is just what you need.

For our first trip to Europe in 2013, was planned WELL in advance. We had a tentative plan as early as two years before we went. We were on a reasonably strict budget for about a year before leaving to make sure we had enough money to cover a full month overseas.

Selfie in Triglav National Park
Selfie in Triglav National Park

This Eastern European trip was a LOT different. We hadn’t really thought about an overseas trip for that summer at all. Then, in October we each earned $900 in airline vouchers by getting bumped (voluntarily) off a flight on the way to a wedding AND on the way home! With not a lot of money saved up, we started looking for inexpensive places to visit. Ultimately, we decided to visit Eastern Europe.

So, this four week Eastern Europe itinerary was built for the budget traveler. We weren’t on a super-strict budget… we did stay in hotels and apartments, not hostels. We enjoyed drinks and dinner at restaurants. And, there were certainly a few splurges, mostly on food.

But, on the whole, we did our best to save money and not exceed our daily budget of $225. We were able to do this trip for $215 per day! Obviously, this was in 2015 and prices have gone up since then but still, this was a LOT more affordable than our time in Italy.

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Our Four Week Eastern Europe Itinerary

In setting our four week Eastern Europe itinerary, I used Rick Steves’ Eastern Europe Itinerary as a starting point, then customized it to our interests and timing. Our four week Eastern Europe itinerary visits 13 cities in 5 countries – Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. There are many other amazing cities and countries you could visit in Eastern Europe, but this four week Eastern Europe itinerary really worked well for us.

Sale
Rick Steves Eastern Europe
Rick Steves Eastern Europe
Steves, Rick (Author); English (Publication Language); 1180 Pages – 06/25/2019 (Publication Date) – Rick Steves (Publisher)
$12.83

Prague, Czech Republic

We flew into Prague, quite simply, because it was the cheapest flight. Due to the efficiency of the trains in Europe, we always suggest flying into the cheapest city in the vicinity of where you are going, then you can take a train if needed.

Four Nights in Prague

In Prague, we spent four nights at the Hotel Pav. It is about a 10-minute walk to the Charles Bridge and most of the attractions, which was perfect for us. There were a few restaurants nearby but was not in an overly touristy area. The hotel was very comfortable and served a traditional European breakfast.

Prague Castle from Petrin Hill
Prague Castle from Petrin Hill

We got in late the first day, so did not do anything other than eat dinner at a nearby restaurant. We spent two full days touring Prague. Because we really did a lot (maybe too much) those first two days, we decided to take a day trip to Kutna Hora on the third day. That was definitely an interesting side trip that we really enjoyed!

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

One Night

Many people visit Cesky Krumlov as a day trip from Prague, which is not a bad idea. We decided to stay the night so that we could really enjoy the city. Admittedly, we had more time than we really needed, but sitting in the parks by the river was a nice break, especially after several very busy days in Prague.

We stayed Pension Zámecká Apartmá – Castle Apartments, which was about a two-three minute walk from the main part of town at the bend in the river. Our room was a standard studio apartment rental… very comfortable and included breakfast.

One note about Cesky Krumov – we took the bus because we heard that it was easier than taking the train. While we do not know what the train experience is like, our experience on the bus was not a pleasant one. Granted, we were in the very back seat both going there and back to Prague, but after both trips, we were hot, nauseous, and generally not in a great mood. If we had it to do over again, we would definitely take the train, even if it is a bit longer of a trip.

Read more about our side trips to Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov here.

Night Train to Krakow

We returned to Prague and took the night train to Krakow. We had two bunks in a four-bunk cabin. There wasn’t much airflow unless the cabin door was open and the bunks felt like there was just a thin layer of fabric over metal… Very uncomfortable! The trip itself was ok, but not the best experience in the world.

Krakow, Poland

Two Nights

The biggest downside of the night train is that we arrived in town at 6:00 a.m. and couldn’t check into our hotel until after 3:00 p.m. We were able to store our bags at the hotel office but then we had to stay out and about all day.

We spent a full day touring Krakow and saw all the major sites, including Wawel Hill, Schindler’s Factory and the Jewish Quarter. Since we got such an early start, we actually had to hang out in a park for a while waiting on our room to be ready.

Once we finally got settled into the Krowoderska Apartments, we were very happy! This actually ended up being one of our favorite “hotels,” and was also the cheapest!

We had a king bed, small sitting area, small kitchenette and a full bathroom for less than $50 US a night! We were about a 15-minute walk from the main part of town, but we enjoy walking and experiencing the “everyday” part of a town, so that was not a problem for us.

On our second day we went to Auschwitz. It is a fairly easy train ride and a very easy day trip. While you can’t exactly describe it as a pleasant experience, it is definitely a worthwhile experience.

Night Train to Budapest

Our second night train experience was slightly better than the first, but really only because the beds were more comfortable. We again were sharing a four-bunk cabin.

Again, the worst part was that we had to be out of our hotel room at noon, but our train didn’t leave until about 10:00 p.m. that night. We spent much of the day hanging out in the park. Timing prevented us from going to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, but that is something we really wanted to do and have heard great things about.

Read more about Poland and the night train experience here.

Budapest, Hungary

Three Nights

We arrived in Budapest fairly early in the morning but by the time we got cash from the ATM and found our way to the hotel to drop off our bags, we just barely made it to our walking tour at 10:00 a.m. While we are not generally “tour group” folks, we really enjoyed the tour with Discover Budapest, which gave us an overview of the city. It was the best way we could have spent our first day!

We stayed at the Town Hall Apartments, which is in a great restaurant area and not far from the Opera House. A personal plus for us was that one of my friends lives in that building… Something I didn’t even know when we made the reservation. The apartment was a good-sized unit with a small kitchen, sitting area, bathroom, washing machine, and a balcony for a very reasonable price.

We spent two days touring Budapest and one day going to Eger, which was a very interesting town. We absolutely love getting out of the big cities and visiting small towns.

Budapest is HUGE, so you could easily spend more time there! We enjoyed our visit, but definitely have much more we’d like to see. It was extremely hot when we were there (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), so we didn’t do as much as we wanted to.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Two Nights

Ljubljana was a real treat for us! We stayed at the Best Western Premier Hotel Slon. We probably splurged a little when we chose this hotel because we were there on our anniversary.

The city is fairly small but full of charm. A day or two is really all you need to see everything, but you could easily spend more time here just enjoying the city and the surrounding mountains. Honestly, this is one of our favorite cities on our four week Eastern European itinerary.

How to Spend One Day in Ljubljana

Bovec, Slovenia

One Night

We rented a car in Ljubljana and drove into Triglav National Park, stopping in Bovec for the night. There was nothing very interesting about this town, but it was a good place to stop.

We stayed at the Apartments and Rooms Skok. It was basic but comfortable and reasonably priced.

Pro Tip: We stopped in Kobarid to visit the museum on our way to Bovec. The historical museum is small but interesting. We didn’t know it at the time but, apparently, one restaurant in Kobarid, Hisa Franko, is generally regarded as one of the best in the world. Had we known that at the time, we probably would have made a point to stay in Kobarid and visit that restaurant.

Julian Alps
Julian Alps in Triglav National Park

Bled, Slovenia

Three Nights

We spent three nights in the resort town at Lake Bled at the Best Western Premier Hotel Lovec. We spent a couple of days visiting the castle, walking around the lake and taking a Pletna to Bled Island. A quick side trip out to Vintgar Gorge, just about a 20-30 minute drive from Bled made for some amazing views.

This was a great place to relax and recharge after several long, stressful days driving through the mountains of Slovenia.

Read all about our Slovenia Road Trip through Triglav National Park and Lake Bled.

Rijeka, Croatia

One Night

After returning the rental car to Ljubljana, we took a train to Rijeka. There is not much train service through Croatia, so we just stopped here to pick up another rental car (taking a car across national borders can be very expensive).

We spent one night at the Hotel Jadran, which is RIGHT on the Adriatic Sea (Kvarner Bay).

Rovinj, Croatia

One Night

Once we had the rental car, we drove around the Istrian Peninsula, stopping in Pula, before arriving in Rovinj. We stayed at the Pansion Comfort Exclusive, a nice apartment/guest house about 10-15 minutes (walking) outside of town.

The main town is right on the water and has lots of interesting shops and restaurants. The views are amazing just about everywhere you go!

Grabovac, Croatia

One Night

From the Istrian Peninsula, we backtracked a little, heading back east. We stopped for a quick visit to Motovun, which is very reminiscent of an Italian hill town. After driving through several other small, rural towns, we arrived in Grabovac for the night.

We stayed at the Guest House Korita, which was very comfortable and well-appointed.

The next day, we got up early for a visit to Plitvice National Park, a definite highlight of our visit to Croatia. You can read about our visit to Croatia’s first and most popular national park here.

Split, Croatia

Two Nights

After returning our rental car at the airport in Split, we took the bus into town. We stayed at the Fabio Residence, which was a nice, small apartment building about 5-10 minutes from the main part of the old town. Sadly, it is no longer in business but there are plenty of other nice hotels in the city.

We did enjoy walking the main promenade, The Riva, which runs the length of the old town and is filled with restaurants and shops.

The biggest “attraction” is the Diocletian Palace, a former vacation home of a Roman emperor. While interesting, it only took us a couple of hours to feel like we had seen everything.

While we enjoyed Split, if we had it to do over again, we would probably not stop here.

Dubrovnik

Two Nights

We took a ferry from Split to Dubrovnik, which was a nice change of transportation. When we were there, they had just started a “fast ferry” for passengers only, so it only took a couple of hours, even with stops along the way. Several ferries can accommodate cars if you have one.

We stayed at the Peric Room Dubrovnik, which is in the “new town” and overlooks the ocean and the rest of the city. Old Town Dubrovnik, which is the real attraction, is located right on the coast, with the “new town” spreading up the hill.

Grant had his heart attack not long after we arrived in Dubrovnik (we didn’t know it at the time!). Due to the heart attack and extreme temperatures, we didn’t do a lot in Dubrovnik. We spent a couple of hours walking the Old Town Walls early in the morning. We also took the cable car up to the top of Mount Srd for dinner and sunset views. That was a great way to end the main part of our trip to Eastern Europe!

Get more details on our week in Croatia here.

Prague

One Night

After enjoying all these countries and cities, we did have to return to Prague for our return flight home. It was cheaper, even with having to get a local flight back to Prague (via Rome) than to do an open-jaw ticket, flying into Prague and out of Dubrovnik, or anywhere else in Croatia.

We spent our final night at Courtyard by Marriott Prague Airport, which was right at the airport. Seriously, for us to pass up a Hilton property, you know it must be a lot more convenient and/or a lot cheaper. This was both. The hotel was nice and certainly was convenient!

If I were planning the trip now, I would just book two one-way flights rather than a round-trip flight. While it used to be that round-trip flights were significantly cheaper, that is not really the case any more.

Final Thoughts on a Four Week Eastern Europe Itinerary

Overall, we really enjoyed Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic and Poland were certainly cheap, with Hungary and Croatia being a little more expensive but still reasonable. Everything was very safe, which was a big concern for some of our family and friends.

We would love to go back and visit northern Poland, Slovakia and even spend more time in Slovenia… It really is one of the prettiest countries we’ve been to!

For more details on our time in each city, check out the articles linked above or below:

While our four week Eastern Europe itinerary might not have been perfect, it allowed us to see the highlights and enjoy a lot of different countries and cities. Changing currency and language every few days was not easy, but that is one part of the adventure that we enjoy!


Travel Resources
What do you use to find a flight?

We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.

What do you use to find a hotel?

We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. You can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.

If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.

We recently partnered with Stay22 to add interactive maps to each of our destination posts. This will allow you to see a plethora of hotels and vacation rentals all in one responsive map of the area.

What if I need more space than I can get at a hotel?

We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.

Who do you use for rental cars?

As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.

How about booking a cruise?

We have found some amazing prices for booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.

What if I want to rent an RV?

We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.

What do you use for booking tours?

We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viator first.
Click here to book a tour.

Do you use anything to get discounts on the road?

We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.
We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.
Click here to get a AAA membership.

2 thoughts on “Our Detailed Four Week Eastern Europe Itinerary”

  1. I was disappointed to see that you did not visit Romania on your trip. It is a very interesting and beautiful country. I spent 6 weeks there in 2000 in the Fall when food was getting short as people prepared for winter. Even with food in short supply we had a wonderful time in Bucharest, Temesvar now known as Timisoara as the 700 year old town of my grandparents birth and marriage was part of Hungary but became part of Romania in 1918, Please continue to enjoy all of your trips.

    Reply
    • Thanks Suzanne!

      While we looked at visiting Romania, we just simply didn’t have time after teaching summer school. We left the day we got done teaching summer school, flew to Prague. We got back to Georgia on a Thursday and, despite the heart attack I had in Dubrovnik, were back at work on Monday. So, time was tight.

      Honestly, we can’t wait to go back to Eastern Europe. We also want to spend more time in Poland, visit Slovakia as well as Romania and more of the Balkan countries.

      Reply

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