We are about to explore the fastest, the lowest cost tour to visit at least 5 beautiful countries in the Central-Eastern Europe in 1 week. Considering you have only 1 week vacation + 2 weekends, where can you can go in Central-Eastern Europe and visit a lot of things?
-cheapest (drive by car)
-has the safest route (no war zone)
-contains many beautiful/must see places (historical or natural viewpoints)
-maximum driving: 6 hours/day.
The route is starting from: Romania (Maramures)-Hungary (transit)-Poland (Cracow)-Czehia (Prague)-Austria(Vienna), then come back via Hungary(Budapest)-Romania(Oradea-Cluj). We also transit Slovakia but is not included in this tour because of limited time.
Day 1. Maramures – Most Relaxing places
There is no place in Europe where you can feel welcome as in north of Romania. We started from this places: border between Maramures and Bucovina, the most hospitable and most low cost regions. Prices are lower than anywhere in Central Europe and the quality of service if very high. The only inconvenient there are no highways, so the distances take a lot of time. Pictures talk for themselves.
Day 2-3. Cracow – Things to do
Cracow is a city reborn from the ashes of the Holocaust. Cracow is not only about history but also about culinary experiences, teenagers and students, a colorful city trying desperately to recover from the darkest history in the world. There are few major must see places before you leave Cracow: Cracow Palace, Oskar Schindler Email Factory and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (1h away from Cracow).
The culinary experience in Krakow worth a try, because Cracow has several local delicious dishes as fried duck or roasted pork on cabbage (Black Duck and Old Town Restaurant and Wine Bar ). If you make a reservation you can try to use a discount coupon from TripAdvisor here.
Moving further to Oskar Schindler’s Email Factory, the one you saw in movie Schindler’s List. Although Schindler was a controverted character, today is the only Nazis declared National Hero of Israel saving 1200 Jews from death (today they are almost 10000 descendants of initial survivals; as Talmud says: Those who saves one live save an entire world)
The gate of terror where it says: “Work will free you” (Arbeit macht frei) from entering concentration camp on Auschwitz.
Day 4-5 Prague – What to do
The capital of Czech Republic is a remarkable piece of architecture from medieval time. No wonder Prague is called the Golden City. The building remind you of kings and princes. We recommend to stay very close to Old Town center so you can visit by foot most of the historical places: Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague Castle or attend to a classical concert (we recommend 1h evening concert offered by national orchestra; while Vienna is considered capital of classical concerts, we recommend Prague because prices in Prague are lower; you can find tickets for evening near the cathedrals entrances, each day during the summer)
At the end of a exhausting day we recommend Gruzie Restaurant the best restaurant in Prague, although is not a czech:
Day 6-7 Vienna – Things to do
Vienna is the most beautiful city in Central-Eastern Europe with a majestic architecture, where museum are like castle and each building reminds you of wealthiest families in Europe from Habsburg Empire, but also about the heritage of Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. You can’t miss: St Stephen Cathedral catacombs, Natural History Museum and Museum of Fine Arts. Vienna has a lot more things to see, but if you have a limited time is are the best to see.
Day 7 Budapest – What is famous for
From Vienna to Budapest is just 3h driving. The capital of Hungary is more than we expected. The entire culture reminds you of the older sister, Vienna, but seems more vibrant. The city is crossed by Danube (same river crossing Vienna) and city is surrounded by small hills, perfect spot to see the city from above. Budapest is famous for caves and hot springs, Parliament Building, Széchenyi Baths and Pool.
Day 8 Cluj – A culinary experience
Cluj-Oradea and surrounding areas are amazing from natural point of view but as a culinary experience. Cluj is one of the most vivid city in Romania, from the same heritage from Austro-Hungarian Empire. We must say the reason we started this trip from Romania and we come back in the same place is because we consider Romania a fairy place in Europe. Not only is the cheapest choice for tourists, but also is the most relaxed environment. We need a dedicated blog to describe the real beauty of the place.
Traveling tips in Eastern Europe
-Pay vignette for transit or you risk a high fee (for Hungary, Romania buy online for Austria at borders); pay attention to this subject to see if your transit requires vignette.
-don’t exceed speed limit in Austria because penalties are quite high (don’t confuse Austria with Germany where there are highways without speed limit);
-visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau is recommended to book tickets in advance it with a guide (the only place we recommend a professional guide); the other places you don’t need to book in advance because even the online tickets appear as sold out they are still available to buy on the spot.
-always book your accommodation in the old city, even it is hard to find a private parking (it will cost ~20Eur/day)
-food price at restaurant in Eastern Europe (15Eur/person), Central Europe (25 Eur/person); street food is most of the times more expensive than in restaurant because in Europe there is no culture for street food as in Asia (we recommend only restaurants with over 4.5 stars marked on google maps).