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Eastern Europe - Help with itinerary critique

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1. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 6y

Hi All,

I haven't posted on this forum for what seems like forever. I am heading to business school this Fall and figured I should probably blow off some steam over the summer and travel. I figured I'd do a trip that combines Croatia, Bosnia, and Poland. I only have a little over 3 weeks to do this trip. I have a rough sketch of what I want to do. I was wondering if you could offer your comments on my itinerary. Here goes:

June 3: Fly in to Zadar
June 4: Zadar
June 5: Take the morning bus from Zadar to Split, Take the evening ferry to Hvar
June 6: Hvar
June 7: Take the evening Ferry to Korcula
June 8: Korcula
June 9: Take the bus from Korcula to Dubrovnik
June 10: Dubrovnik
June 11: Dubrovnik
June 12: Take the bus from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo
June 13: Sarajevo
June 14: Sarajevo
June 15: Bus to Mostar - spend the day there.
June 16: Bus from Mostar to Sarajevo
June 17: Morning flight to Vienna, take the evening train out to Krakow
June 18: Arrive in Krakow early morning
June 19: Explore the Tatras area (not sure where specifically yet - any tips are welcome)
June 20: Tatras area
June 21: Zakopane
June 22: Krakow
June 23: Leave Krakow for Dresden (Germany)

Any thoughts on the itinerary? Does it seem too rushed? Do I need more time in any of the places above? Am I spending too much time in one place? Any thoughts on how I can buy my train tickets from Krakow to Dresden ahead of time a the right price (not the RailEurope price of $126).

Your thoughts are welcome. I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks in advance!!

Regards,

Pranav

2. Posted by portela (Budding Member 11 posts) 6y

Everything looks good except one thing in order: Mostar is much closer to Dubrovnik than Sarajevo. As you have flight from Sarajevo, you should first go by bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar and than from Mostar to Sarajevo. You will avoid 1 hole day of needlessly bus travelling.

3. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 6y

Hey portela...thanks a lot. I absolutely agree with you. I don't know why I did not think of that before. Thank you once again.

Pranav

4. Posted by galka_mak (Full Member 169 posts) 6y

Hi Pranav! You itinerary seems great! You've chosen the very interesting places to visit.
My recommendations here:
1) In Split region try not to miss Trogir and Sibenik. It's close to Split but you need one more day anyway. I haven't been myself to Zadar - so you could check if it's really worth the day spent or you can also come for example to Trogir on the way to Split.
2) I would also recommend to visit national park Lakes of Plitvice in Croatia but it's not so close to your route to my regret...
3) I have just driven through Bosnia but I'm also not sure if it needs so many days there. It's up to you but maybe to take 1-2 days more for Croatia or to come from Dubrovnik to Montenegro - Kotor and surroundings are the great must-see!
4) In Polish Tatras have a look at Morske oko lake. The Slovak part of High Tatras is also easily accesible from Zakopane. What would you like to do in Tatras - hiking or just sight seeing?
I've been almost everywhere on your route - so the questions are welcome :)
Gala

5. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 6y

Quoting galka_mak

Hi Pranav! You itinerary seems great! You've chosen the very interesting places to visit.
My recommendations here:
1) In Split region try not to miss Trogir and Sibenik. It's close to Split but you need one more day anyway. I haven't been myself to Zadar - so you could check if it's really worth the day spent or you can also come for example to Trogir on the way to Split.
2) I would also recommend to visit national park Lakes of Plitvice in Croatia but it's not so close to your route to my regret...
3) I have just driven through Bosnia but I'm also not sure if it needs so many days there. It's up to you but maybe to take 1-2 days more for Croatia or to come from Dubrovnik to Montenegro - Kotor and surroundings are the great must-see!
4) In Polish Tatras have a look at Morske oko lake. The Slovak part of High Tatras is also easily accesible from Zakopane. What would you like to do in Tatras - hiking or just sight seeing?
I've been almost everywhere on your route - so the questions are welcome :)
Gala

Hi Gala,
Thank you so much for acknowledging my post.

1) It was suggested that I pick either Zadar or Split as opposed to doing both. The reason being that the two are fairly comparable. Zadar seemed like a good choice since I found decent flight deals straight there and because of the whole "sea organ" thing which I thought was quite unusual and distinct.

2) Plitvice definitely looks like a stretch for me given my time limitations.

3) You made an interesting comment about Bosnia and suggested that it might not warrant as many days. I was basically thinking in terms of 3 nights/2 days in Sarajevo and 1 day/1 night in Mostar. Does that seem like a lot? If so, please do let me know. I am relying on the expertise of people like you to get my itinerary to make logical sense.

4) I am so glad you commented on the Poland part of my itinerary. I have made this post on two other forums and most people have commented a LOT on the Croatia part but no one has mentioned a word about the Poland leg of the trip. In the Tatras, I really want to do a combination of hiking and sight-seeing. Maybe just one day-long hike and devote the rest to sight-seeing. Any thoughts on how I could get an overview of the "Tatras highlights"?

Once again, thank you so much for your input. This is really helpful. I hope to hear more from you - especially since you have traveled to these places and can offer a personal perspective on my plans.

Regards,

Pranav

6. Posted by portela (Budding Member 11 posts) 6y

You can visit Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir and Split from June 3 till June 5 when you go to Hvar becouse they are very good connected. I would do this:
jne 3: I don't know when you will arrive but Zadar airport is only 10 minutes from city center. On the evening you can enjoy in the sunset on seaorgan and expire nightlife in Zadar.
June 4: in the morning you can go to sightseeing of churches, chatedrall and museums. After lunch (3pm) you should take a bus to Sibenik. You are there at 4:10 pm. Bus station is in city center of Sibenik just 3 minutes walk from unesco renesanse chatedral. Than at 7pm take a bus to Trogir, you will be there at 8pm. Trogir old town. it's a small town on one island connected with 20m long bridge and hole town is unesco protected. Trogir is only 30 minutes from Split.
June 5: You can be all day in Split and than take a ferry to hvar.

7. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 6y

Quoting portela

You can visit Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir and Split from June 3 till June 5 when you go to Hvar becouse they are very good connected. I would do this:
jne 3: I don't know when you will arrive but Zadar airport is only 10 minutes from city center. On the evening you can enjoy in the sunset on seaorgan and expire nightlife in Zadar.
June 4: in the morning you can go to sightseeing of churches, chatedrall and museums. After lunch (3pm) you should take a bus to Sibenik. You are there at 4:10 pm. Bus station is in city center of Sibenik just 3 minutes walk from unesco renesanse chatedral. Than at 7pm take a bus to Trogir, you will be there at 8pm. Trogir old town. it's a small town on one island connected with 20m long bridge and hole town is unesco protected. Trogir is only 30 minutes from Split.
June 5: You can be all day in Split and than take a ferry to hvar.

That sounds brilliant!!! Thanks a ton for this. My flight to Zadar gets in late afternoon. I haven't booked it yet but given that my starting point for the trip is Germany, I think all those flights get in around 5 p.m. I'll be lucky if I can squeeze in the "Sea organ" thing that evening. If I can't, then I will have to push it to the next day. I am considering adding a day to the Croatia leg of my trip. That way, I don't have to worry about cramming Sibenik and Trogir into a single evening. I can spread it out a bit. Thanks a ton for putting the relative travel time/distance in perspective for me. I really appreciate the input.

8. Posted by galka_mak (Full Member 169 posts) 6y

To my regret I'm not the expert on Bosnia so let's wait for the comments from more experienced travellers :)
As for the Poland and Tatras I can recommend the following plan:
1. If you arrive to Krakow early in the morning by train - you can take this day for exploring the city. The train station is only in few minutes of walk from the old city center and the center itself is quite small. One day is quite enough to visit the main attractions - Wawel castle, St.Maria's cathedral, Sukennice market place, University - and have a walk by the old streets. If you choose to spend another day in Krakow I would recommend to visit the salt mining Wieliczka http://www.kopalnia.pl/
At the train station in Krakow you should pay attention to the possible ways of moving to Zakopane. You can go by train (~4 hrs) or by bus (2-2,5 hrs). You should only pay attention to the bus schedule because I know that the buses go every 1/2 hour in winter but I don't know about the summer season. The bus stop is at the left side of the train station and don't be afraid also of the private buses where you'll buy the tickets from the driver - it's safe and comfortable too.
2. Zakopane will be the good base of staying when you explore the Tatras region. Zakopane itself is a small city where you can find lot of inexpensive pensions, have cheap and tasty dinners and spend the nice evenings. But it's nothing to do there more. If you wish to go hiking the maps will be available in Zakopane. If you wand the day walks or sightseeing you can go to:
- Kasprowy Wierch -almost in Zakopane, you can go by feet or take the bus to cable car station Kuznice.
- Morskie Oko lake and the hiking route around it with the spectacular views - regular bus from Zakopane bus station
You can also go by bus to the Slovak part of Tatras - it's only about 50 km from Zakopane to Poprad and you even don;t mention the border crossing :) In Poprad you can take the regular train to Tatranska Lomnica (45 min) where you can take the cable car to Lomnicky Stit and the lake Skalnate pleso. http://www.vysoketatry.com/ciele/lstit/en.html If you want just to have a look you can make it in just one day from Zakopane but if you decide to go hiking then you shoul move to this region - many beautiful places in Tatras and good and fast train connection - better than in Poland.
3. On your way from Krakow to Dresden I'd recommend visiting Wroclaw - as for me it's the most beautiful city in Poland and University there is a must see! (for example google for Aula Leopoldina - and it's just one of the auditoriums!)

Having noticed that your departure point to POland and Tatras will be Wien you can also consider the following way of reaching this region:
- You can take the direct train from Wien to Poprad (IC 405 TATRAN Wien Westbahnhof dept. 08:20, Poprad -Tatry arr. 14:21)
- You can go from Wien to Bratislava and then take the train from Bratislava to Poprad
- You can take a fast train from Wien to Liptovsky Mikulas (I can't find the timetable but I remeber the train that goes around 4 p.m. and it took 3,5 hours to Mikulas). From Liptovsky Mikulas there's the regular train connection with Strebske Pleso-Smokovec-Tatranska Lomnica- Poprad
So in this way you have possiblity to start exploring Tatras from Slovakia and then move from Poprad to Zakopane and then to Krakow. THat's just another option for your consideration...

9. Posted by galka_mak (Full Member 169 posts) 6y

Quoting pranavc

I am considering adding a day to the Croatia leg of my trip. That way, I don't have to worry about cramming Sibenik and Trogir into a single evening.

If you have that one day more for Croatia - that would be great! But anyway you can make Zadar and Sibenik in one day, spend few morning hours in Trogir and the lasts of the day in Diocletian palace in Split. Sounds quite possible :)

10. Posted by galka_mak (Full Member 169 posts) 6y

Just have seen your question regarding the trains from Krakow - have a look here http://rozklad-pkp.pl/
And I still recommend to go through Wroclaw.
I never had problems in buying the tickets in Poland on the day of making the trip so I'm not sure in necessity of the reservation.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Apr-2010, at 14:36 by galka_mak ]