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Eastern Europe?

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1. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Well, I'm planning a trip for several countries in Europe next year. I'm heading over for Eurovision, which I simply can't wait for.

I want my schedule to go SOMETHING like this: (Flexible except for Moscow's dates)

April 29th: Fly to Ljubljana, Slovenia
April 30th-May 2nd: Ljubljana, Slovenia
May 4th-May 7th: Kiev, Ukraine (With a tour in Chernobyl')
May 8th-May 10th: St. Petersburg, Russia
May 11th-May 18th: Moscow, Russia
May 18th: Fly home from Moscow

I left some days open due to traveling. My friend and I are looking for cheap transportation. I've tried looking into trains from Ljubljana to Kiev, but I can't find any, and I haven't found any that you get off at one city and board another train. The closest thing I've found would be Ljubljana-->Prague-->Kiev, but then I checked the Kiev train site, and they don't have any information regarding the prague train (It's listed as a destination, but no info).

What's the best way to travel between those two cities (Ljubljana and Kiev), and how much would a train be from Kiev to St. P, and a train from St. P to Moscow?

2. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 8y

Hi,
I wish I could help you but it's a really difficult one. It's one of those journeys that will require planning each step at a time with great care and attention. As you know you'll be hit with entry dates on visas and all the red tape that goes with that so be very careful if you don't want to get hit with extra expense.
I found a website that may offer some 'Real' help to you so have a look www.tompgalvin.com/features/train101_lesson_04.htm

I'm guessing from Slovenia you'll probably have to go to either Budapest or Prague to pick up any sort of connection towards Kiev. If you try the forums board on www.plotki.net they seem to have a lot of information available there.

Sorry I can't be more specific.

Zaksame

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 8y

I am not much of a help at all, but I would certainly spend more time in St. Petersburg than Moscow....

4. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Well, we're already pushing it for how long we can spend in Europe, and I want to hit both Slovenia and Ukraine. Eurovision (The reason we're going) is for that week in Moscow, so I either have to be there during those days, or just give up tickets and watch it on a tv (Which defeats the purpose of going).

5. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 8y

Eurovision eh!
If I was you I'd make sure and have accommodation booked in Moscow very soon. The city - for the size of it - doesn't have the greatest hotel capacity in Europe.

If you can afford 5 star hotels you'll be fine.... I've seen them from the outside and they look great!

Anyway, you'll have a blast, Moscow is a really great city!

6. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Well, I have a cousin who just happens to be living in Moscow for the next two years, and we're likely staying with her (She offered, I'm not just assuming), which will not only cut costs by a lot, but we don't have to deal with a hotel.

But I will be moving as soon as I can on the other cities... My friend and I might stay in a hostel in Slovenia, and then a cheaper (But nice) hotel in Kiev and St. Petersburg. The travel Agency I went with can't book anything until December, and they're also going to help with the visa process. Luckily, I don't need a visa for Slovenia or Ukraine.

7. Posted by luzian (Full Member 36 posts) 8y

The German railways site is a good starting point for train timetables all around Europe (not fares though, except if travelling in or through Germany).

For Ljubljana -> Kjev it doesn't give very good suggestions though, simply because there probably IS no very good connection, and it's a very long journey. The "least complicate" (ie least train changes) connection that I found is through Budapest: There's a night train from Ljubljana to Budapest (leaving 2:00am, takes 9 hours), then after 7 hours wait in Budapest there's a train at 18:15 that goes directly to Kiev.. and takes 24 hours (!) to get there. This connection doesn't show up in the search system though (you have to search for the individual legs to find them), because the total trip takes 42 hours and the system finds a faster connection with the same starting train (34 hours, but with 4 changes) - the system is always looking for the fastest connection which is not always ideal. The fastest connection it lists would be 31 hours but with 6 changes...!

It also shows a direct train from Prague to Kiev, but that alone takes 35 hours and you have to get to Prague first (min 11 hours). With an extra change you can cut down Prage-Kiev to ~27 hours.., but still the Budapest option is faster overall. Actually I just read on the Russian railway site (here) that there's a through connection Moscow-Kiev-Budapest-Ljubljana-Venice once a week.. not sure which day it runs the other way though, probably not very useful, but at least it confirms that Budapest might be the good point to connect ;)

Also be aware of the countries you travel through... Ljubljana-Budapest-Kiev goes through Croatia and Hungary, Ljubljana-Prague-Kiev through Austria, Czech Republic and (probably) Poland. Just in case to check Visa requirements (they are all EU members apart from Croatia).

Kiev-St Petersburg looks slightly easier, there's a direct train listed which takes 24 hours. St. Petersburg to Moscow should be fairly easy with a couple connections each day.

For fares it becomes even more complicated... I doubt the long international connections will be terribly cheap, but probably still cheaper than a flight. The Hungarian railways site lists some fares for trains from/to Hungary (search through timetable), but they are listed as "reduced international fare" and "return ticket already from ...", so I don't know how relevant the listed fares are / how and where you would get them. Within Russia I have no idea.. only thing I just found is a page on the Russian railways (here) that lists some international fares.. I would expect the connections within Russia and Ukraine to be significantly cheaper than most of these connections.

Also be aware that all this might change soon, most European train companies change their timetables (and fares) around mid December.

Good luck, hope it all works out!

8. Posted by BillyBons (Full Member 1 posts) 7y

Do u have any opinion about Ukraine?
I mean nuclear power plant. Could u give me some advises about this?

9. Posted by luzian (Full Member 36 posts) 7y

Quoting BillyBons

Do u have any opinion about Ukraine?
I mean nuclear power plant. Could u give me some advises about this?

You can visit Chernobyl (aka Chornobyl) if you like
http://www.ukrcam.com/tour/tour_3.html

Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it if you want to travel to Ukraine... it's as safe as any other country, apart if you try to check out the nuclear plant at Chernobyl on your own. Try http://www.travellerspoint.com/guide/Ukraine/ as a good starting point for travel advice! ;)

10. Posted by katarinajj (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

For someone who is traveling to Balkans there are a lot of things to be mentioned as a guide to a grate travel experience. First of all, I think that the politics of the region is something to be left out of the experience, as it is so difficult to understand where the truth lies and not offend someone along the way. If traveling through Balkans, you will notice that different nationalities living in neighboring countries are not so different at all. They share so much history and their looks, customs, food and other are very similar. It is important to be open minded when going to places like Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia etc, as there are so many ways to enjoy your stay just by avoiding prejudice. People are welcoming, food is grate, nightlife vivid, and culture very colorful and rich. If you would like to read a travel journal written by Iranian American that spent three months in the Balkans, and learn about people that live there, current political and economic situation in the Balkans and the world, you should look up The Age of Nepotism, a book by Vahid Razavi. There is also a site www.theageofnepotism.com