I'm doing a two month (could be longer) trip around eastern europe starting off in warsaw and working my way down to Belgrade. I aim to see cities that are off the beaten track. Can anyone provide suggestions on places to visit? Places to avoid? Etc? I aim to see budapest, brasov, sofia and anything in between.
I was also advised to do the trip by rail, are there other services worth considering like buses?
Good choice. Cheap, interesting.
Brasov - check out the local pool, it's like a spa resort with great facilities but admission costs peanuts.
Can't think of anywhere to avoid apart from city centres with hiked prices to separate gangs of lads on stag weekends from their money - this can happen anywhere, usually where Easyjet and Ryanair are flying in, but usually easily avoided by going a street or two back from the centre.
I've only travelled this area by rail so can't advise on buses.
For all of them look for the free walking tours as an intro and to meet your first local - all tend to be led by students.
Good advice from AndyF on the walking tours. I have some experience of Bulgaria and the free walking tour in Sofia is well worth the trouble.
I'd also recommend Veliko Tarnovo (the old capital) for a couple of days. It's a big university town with a lively evening culture. The laser show over the fortress at night is an unexpected pleasure.
Plovdiv gets good reviews but I'm personally less familiar. Ruse (Rousse) has little to recommend it IMHO.
Buses in Bulgaria are cheap, frequent and comfortable and I've always found Sofia central bus station well organised. Plenty of online resources. Language can be a barrier but most people are very helpful and if the guy at the ticket counter doesn't speak English, the woman in the queue behind you probably will.
As with everywhere, the cost of living outside major cities is considerably cheaper.
You can also visit Kraków and Tatry mountains in Poland.
In Poland you can also try Polskibus and Luxexpress (cheaper than train but still comfortable bus operators). Also you can try Ryanair and Wizzair.
Have a great trip!
I agree with dxdwro, you can go to Krakow. Amazing city, amazing, only person which be there understand what I mean. My friends have a very interesting travel agency -snip- . You can go tu Salt Mine in Wieliczka, Auschwitz Birkenau, visit Jewlish Town Kazimierz etc. Chceck.
But also you can go to Lviv, Warsaw, Lublin, Wroclaw, Gdansk.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Good choice! I spent over 3 months in Eastern Europe and the Balkans last year and it's easily my favourite area in Europe. I agree with all the previous recommendations; especially dxdwro's Tatry idea - I stayed in a small village just over the border in Slovakia, named Zdiar. Beautiful scenery and some great hiking!
Also in Slovakia (seeings as you generally have to go through there anyway) I can recommend Poprad; really nice place to be with some lovely architecture. It's also close to the little town of Levoca and also Spis Castle (Spissky Hrad) which are well worth a look. In Hungary, near the Serbian border, Szeged is a lively university city and a wonderful place to visit. You won't be pushing through hordes of tourists in these spots.
The rest of the Balkans are also very well worth a visit - Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. All have something to offer and all are relatively small so are easy the navigate.