Eastern European Trip

Discussion in 'Europe' started by edekba, Aug 9, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Hi All; I was thinking of going to Eastern Europe either as our honeymoon or prehoneymoon. Not sure yet the order of things but we hope it will happen next year.

    As it stands I just sorta began to research where/how/what to goto and stay & hopefully anyone who has been to these places listed has suggestions or what not for us.

    The idea right now is to fly in B class via one of the start stop points listed below. Then move from city to city via RailEurope and stay in each city for 2 to 3 days. (looking at a total of 14day trip as that's all our work will allow us.)

    • Warsaw
    • Krakow
    • Budapest (maybe)
    • Bratislava
    • Vienna (via river ferry from Bratislava)
    • Prague
    • Dresden
    • Berlin
    • Brechtesgaden (not sure if its feasible to throw this city in somewhere. Lucky's pictures looked amazing.)
    If anyone has any tips/idea on how to throw in a one-way between the cities or something to maximize our miles that would be superhelpful, since I know UA allows a stop-over and we're already going to utilize an open jaw. If we went with AA then most likely we'll have just use the stopover in JFK/ORD/etc and that's fine.

    Thanks
     
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  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    To make your trip more memorable, I would limit the exposure to 3-4 areas. The locations you listed are packed with historic landmarks and local flavor, so you'll have a lot to absorb. Train travel sounds very appropriate for a honeymoon :). There is a high speed and inexpensive train service connecting Munchen (Berchtesgaden) - Vienna - Budapest. Poland & Slovakia don't have high speed rail, so an overnight connection might be a better option.
     
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  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Thanks. Any idea on what area I should take out?
    Vienna/Brast could be considered one; Budapest I guess I could take out. Berlin/Warsaw are more of my enter/exit cities... I don't know
     
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  4. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Perhaps you already have one or two favorites that you want to visit. Then you can add the others based on the logistics of travel. I personally prefer to avoid the over-promoted "must see" locales, as they are too crowded with tourists and expensive. Prague might still be in that category. Warsaw is at the edge of your target area, but I'm not sure if it's a good place to make use of your AA miles (*A might work there). I kinda like Berlin and Budapest as places to visit on a honeymoon. I guess you should also consider your preferences, if you want to limit yourselves to city centers or visit nearby countryside as well for some outdoor pursuits.
     
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  5. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Thanks!

    Warsaw was more of an exit city, I didnt really care either way about it. I really wanna see Prague/Vienna/Krakow w/Dresden & Berlin as on the way type stops. Also that would work in terms of AA miles too I believe, since airBerlin flies to Berlin & Krakow.

    Budapest i hear a lot of things, some say its overated, other say its a must see. I really don't know what to believe. And seeing the route map, it is sorta out of the way.

    As for what we want, I graduated in History w/Emphasis in Europe. So i want to see all the cities, buildings, roads, etc. However seeing that I am from LA/SFO getting out in the country side and actually getting fresh air would be a nice change of pace.
     
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  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Five cities in 14 days may be ambitious, but your picks are not very far from each other. So it might work out comfortably after all. You can always return later to those places you liked the most. Speaking of fresh air, Berlin occupies a huge area, and has lots of vegetation. Some boulevards are so heavily wooded, you can't see from one side to the other. I'm sure you know that all those places suffered heavy damage during the war. But outside of Germany, it's still possible to occasionally come across an original medieval building that survived intact. Most important landmarks had to be rebuilt from original drawings.

    Hope you really enjoy your honeymoon. Putting it together is half the fun already. ;)
     
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  7. WilCo
    Original Member

    WilCo Silver Member

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    Always happy to chat about Budapest. It is my home for the last 2 years. Consider Wizz Air to move between cities also. Really inexpensive, but far better than Ryan Air from an attitude perspective.
     
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  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Thanks! I looked around on Wizz Air none of their flights go in the direction/locations I'm really looking for. I do see RyanAir has a T,R, Sat flight from BUD to KRK which could work. Most of my connections are 2H train rides which are okay except for PRG -> VIE which is a 5H Train or a 6H Overnight. Only flight it seems Austrian Airlines but priced out to be ~13k CZK= $600 which is outrageous
     
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  9. WilCo
    Original Member

    WilCo Silver Member

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    Check bus between cities also. Sent my brother on orangeways.com between Budapest and Prague. I think it was 25 or 30 usd. I would be very careful with Ryanair. They will make up for the price of the ticket with a combination of fees and stress. It may be cheaper in the end, but most people I talk to that have flown them have said the money saved was not worth it.
     
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  10. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    The more I look into it; what M7V0 said is very true. I do not think I can fit that many cities comfortably. Not to mention looking at award flights ... KRK seems like a very bad city to fly out of. Looking for flights in is also very confusing, with the whole BER/TXL/etc switch going on, I don't know what to believe in terms of flight schedule.

    Since you're from BUD, which of the following hotels would you recommend or not recommend? I have status/point in these programs so I could stay here for free/cheaply.

    Radisson Blu Beke Hotel
    art'otel budapest
    Park Inn by Radisson Budapest
    Le Meridien, Budapest
    Hilton Budapest Hotel
    Hilton Budapest Westend

    Thanks!
     
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  11. WilCo
    Original Member

    WilCo Silver Member

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    Radisson Blu Beke Hotel - great location from a public transport perspective. Not as beautiful part of town as others though.
    art'otel budapest - would have a beautiful view, especially at night. Transportation ok, nut better to stay on the pest side in my opinion for transportation reasons. That Said, it is very close to a metro underground stop so would still be very easy from a transport standpoint.
    Park Inn by Radisson Budapest - no due to location
    Le Meridien, Budapest - likely a good choice. Close to largest metro station (all 3 underground lines connect) and tourist shopping. Plenty of restaurants, etc.
    Hilton Budapest Hotel - in the castle district so would be fun/ probably good view, but you will be done with most castle stuff in 1/2 day. Not great from a public transport option
    Hilton Budapest - in major tourist upscale mall. Transport good, but would avoid as have other good options. This is the only one that I have stayed in and I checked out early, mainly due to excessive Internet charges. Room was comfortable and clean. With status, I'm guessing Internet charges are not a problem.

    All else equal, I would probably try the art'otel.

    Once you arrive, would recommend the hop on hop off tour to get a good overview of the city. Probably 6-10 spots you definitely want to get off and explore. In the castle district, be sure to do hospital in the rock. Best Budapest experience by far. House of terror should be on the list. Ice cream at daubner. Ive got another post here somewhere with lots of ideas http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/budapest-hungary.1611/#post-1244794. Happy to help if you come.

    Don't abandon krakow if you can help it. I am going this weekend so will know for sure soon, but I am told by friends it is their favorite European city they have visited so far. We are driving and will also stop at auschwitz along the way.
     
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  12. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    yeah everyone I've talked to said Krakow is a real gem. Plus there is auschwitz ... Just it's really hard to fine OW flights out of KRK.

    Lemme know how it goes.

    Thanks again
     
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  13. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Also any thoughts on InterContinental Budapest?
     
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  14. WilCo
    Original Member

    WilCo Silver Member

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    Good location. Right on river. Colleagues use it sometimes and seem pleased. Used to allow smoking in room so just double check that if important to you. Would be my # 1 or 2 of the ones you mentioned., based on location alone.
     
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  15. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think I figured 85% of this trip out already ... but using RailEurope.co.uk as a pricing/source for train rides prices me to about 990 EUR for two people. Is this normal? Expensive? Routes quoted/looked at are as follows (for one person only)

    • BER -> DRE 88EUR
    • DRE -> PRG 64EUR
    • PRG -> VIE 118EUR (Overnight)
    • BTS -> BUD 58 EUR
    • BUD -> KRK 148 EUR (Overnight)
    Grand total so far is
    • ~$1,700.00 ($195 in UA Taxes/fee, $300 in SPG C&P, 990 EUR for Trains/Ferry)
    • 200,000 UA Miles (2x RT Bus Class)
    • 100,000 HHonor (2x WA Berlin)
    • 88,000 Club Carlson (2x Radisson Blu Alcron @ PRG)
    • 60,000 IHG (2x IC:Budapest)
    • 37,000 SPG (1x Westin Bellevue Dresden, 2x Hotel Imperial Vienne C&P, 1x Sheraton Brastava, 1x Sheraton Krakow)
    Good deal? Oh and is late march/early april a good time for this part of EU? We like the cold, as long as its not freezing.
     
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  16. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I have only been to four of the places you mentioned. I would not miss Vienna or Prague. Berchtesgarden is very nice and there is a salt mine tour close by that is worth seeing.Budapest is in my opinion a short stay only. The castle if beautiful at night, but the city still has lots of decay and the other three cities are worlds above Budapest.

    If you can get to Salzburg, it is well worth the trip.

    Hope this is helpful to you.
     
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  17. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    My main focus was PRG/VIE with Budapest cuz I heard lots of good things about it but also Berchtesgaden as well. After reading more about Berlin/Dresden I definatnely want to spend a night or two there, they're just so much history.

    After doing some recalcs
    ~$1670.00 vs. ~$1715.00
    40,600 SPG vs 37,000

    And I get one more night @ Hotel Imperial, 2 nights @ Le Meridien Munich, 2 nights @ IC:Berchtesgaden Resort w/a B class from VIE to MUC thrown in.

    Hmm so much to ponder.
     
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  18. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    The quoted train fares seem way too high. I would stay away from RailEurope.co.uk. It's best to buy tix directly from the service provider. For example, German Rail quotes the following advance rates for many dates:
    BER-DRE: 29EUR
    DRE-PRG: 19EUR
    http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

    If you're also considering buses, the following might be of interest.
    https://www.berlinlinienbus.de/index.php?lang=en

    If you're looking for next year, they may not be able to quote that far in advance.
     
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  19. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    That helps a lot. Thanks!
     
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  20. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Just redid the train portion via DB Bahn, 362 EUR for both of us. Not that bad.

    I might just spring for this.

    Has anyone sat on SAS or OS Business Class seats?
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have strong views, as probably do most of us who've been to all these cities and/or lived/worked in them. So, I'll offer a perspective from someone who's also passionate about European history.
    First, this is your honeymoon and you've two weeks only. So...I'd go to the places that have the most to offer for history and romance.

    Krakow- the music, the architecture, the cuisine, the history are astounding. If you can I'd make this the last stop and allow a minimum of three days, especially if you want to make the decidedly unromantic days trip to the concentration camp. IMHO every human being should see one of them, knowing that mankind still does things like this, just not with industrial efficiency.
    Warsaw- given the time limits I'd skip it entirely, which makes me sad because I do love Warsaw
    Budapest- I love also, but I'd skip it for the same reason as Warsaw
    Bratislava- a definite skip unless you really want to see how much the communist era can brutalize cultural heritage. During two weeks there's not enough time
    Vienna- Here is heresy. If I had only two weeks for this tour and had your priorities I'd skip Vienna because the undeniable history and beauty is deeply entouristed so much of the charm is a trifle sterile. It hurts to miss it, but in two weeks??
    Prague- two days for certain
    Berlin- I cannot conceive European history without Berlin for a minimum of three days. It also embodies modern Europe in a way not possible in most other cities IMO.
    I would add either Talinn or Riga, else you'll not emotionally know the major role of the Hanseatic League.

    If you're determined to keep moving and not take any time to appreciate the local flavors, I'd add back Vienna.

    There are so many ways to get between these places that I'll make no suggestions. I do have opinions about taht too, but others are better qualified than am I for that advice, primarily because I usually drive in Eastern Europe.
    In terms of incredible beauty and romance there are a couple places that define "honeymoon" for me in this region. One is Lake Bled (check the photos) in Slovenia. The other is Split, Croatia for Diocetians Palace at the Hotel Vestabul Palace.

    I apologize for making it worse by adding most must do's to the list.
     
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  22. WilCo
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    WilCo Silver Member

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    Lake Bled is supposed to be gorgeous. Instead of Split, I would add Lake Plitvice National Park in Croatia. Perhaps because we have kids, I'm biased against some of the cities jbcarioca mentions, For example, Vienna is great, but is just seems like a large town to us. We prefer the smaller, haven't been completely redeveloped side of Europe. Regardless of what you select, I don't think you can go wrong by honeymooning in Europe. We are also quite partial to cruising and have enjoyed some fantastic cruises leaving from Venice and Rome.

    Re: train travel, we have not done much yet as, again with kids, we think it might be harder to confine them and don't want to disrupt others (or wear ourselves out trying to avoid it).
     
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  23. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    What's the weather like is Late March through April in those cities? there's a lot more avialiblity but we don't want to be stuck in the snow.
     
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  24. WilCo
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    WilCo Silver Member

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    Shouldn't be a problem weather-wise by that time (for sure not in lower altitude).
     
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