Hey guys, I wish to travel eastern Europe during Christmas/New Years. So far I just have my return tickets from Singapore-Vienna-SG booked.
Appreciate some suggestions on the means of transport within Europe.
Here's my tentative itinerary: Vienna->Budapest->Romania (Oradea)->Prague-> Wroclaw (might do 1 more country after this before coming back to Vienna)
What's the best way to travel? I see there are some Eurail passes available at (http://www.raileurope.com.sg/rail-products/rail-passes/article/european-east-pass), but routes like Romania to Prague would take a day and I'm not sure how comfortable they would turn out to be via trains. But I do have to take the prices in account, wondering if there are any budget airlines connecting the above countries. I know a few but most of them have restrictions (even if they travel to these countries, they only do so from a very few limited places). So if I were to keep the same itinerary, should I opt for trains? (I don't mind being flexible as long as it isn't a bid de-route.
Also, for Romania, I'm visiting a friend in Oradea during Christmas. Not sure how good/beautiful the connecting cities are? But do you recommend visiting other places in Romania too (like Bucharest)?
Would be really helpful if you could also advise on the trains/timings that would serve best (easier/quicker/scenic) for the above mentioned journey.
Many thanks in advance.
Hello ,i can give my help for Romania ,the rest ,let's hope others will join your thread.
Oradea is your typical small border town in Transilvanya (well ,closer to Banat actually) ,it should take a day to see ,but if you are with a friend ,maybe this can be better then the rest, alone. The town itself has a lot of hungarian influence (like arhitecture) ,so if you had seen Budapest (wich is grand) ,Oradea will just be another european experience. If you could give more time for Romania ,Timisoara and Cluj ,both around 200 km from Oradea ,your Romanian experience would improve dramatically. Both of theese towns are large ,university centers with a lot of history and nightlife. So if you could ask your friend from Oradea to join some 1-day trips (the base being Oradea) ,i think you will enjoy a lot more Romania.
The best way to travel would be... ,for Romania at least :
1) Rented car (29-35 eur/day) ,fast ,heated and independent. If you buy a GSM pre-payd card with internet ,you can activate you GPS from the phone ,and you can drive your way around the country. If you rent a small sedan ,the gas for a 600-700 km trip ,Oradea- Cluj ,Oradea- Timisoara ,would be somehere around 70 euros.
2) Busses. There are inter-city busses ,fairly cheaper than trains. Just ask your friend. Most young romanians use the bus to travel intercity ,also the view is better as bus routes go trough small ,sleepy transivanian towns
3) trains ,but only expensive ones ,like IC or Rapid trains. A lot more expensive than bus ,fairly confortable but slow. The bus route allways gets you there 1-2 hours before the train.
4) planes. Low cost lines are not naturally present between these towns. Usually the low cost lines take people from poorer countries and take then where they work in Western Europe. The only western country you have in your itinerary is Austria ,and you might find good low-cost lines from Wien to all the other towns but surely none between the other towns themselves.
For this trip i would reccomend just seeing your friend in Oradea ,and maybe see Cluj and/or Timisoara. Romania is a superb country ,but better to see in Spring-autumn...winters are really harsh in this part of Europe. You should assign a full 10 day trip only to Romania to see the whole country ,wich ,besides Poland is the biggest and by far the hardest when it comes to fast&reliable transport ,wich at this point in time....we don't have ,especially in winter.
So ,if i were you : low cost train from Wien to Prague (short distance ,good trains) ,spend 50% of your time in theese two ,superb cities but quite expensive during hollydays. Then train/bus from Prague to Budapest ,spend some time here also ,because it is as good as Wien and Prague ,maybe better in some aspects and a lot cheaper. Then take a bus (faster ,cheaper and has good heating) from Budapest to Oradea. There are many low-cost bus lines between them as Hungarians in Romania do travel a lot in Hungary. Spend time in Oradea with your friend ,maye see by bus, car (no way train) ,Cluj and Timisoara ,come back to Oradea and take a train to Wroclaw (safer). Then Plane back to Wien.
But....you could scrap Wroclaw (bad connection between Wroclaw and Oradea) and see more Romania (Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu) ,or scrap Oradea and see more of Poland (Kracow is stunning). Either way it will be COLD ,take care!
Hey mate, thanks for the reply. That was quicker than I expected. And really very useful. Appreciate all of that.
I will definitely take your advice on doing Cluj with Oradea. Also, I think you're right - it makes more sense to travel inter-city via bus/car. So roger, point taken. Planes are absolutely out of the itinerary now.
I know it's not the best time to visit, but Christmas/New Years is only when all my friends are back home. In fact I have a friend to show around in Hungary too.
As far as Poland is concerned, I might or might not go there (the thing is my company's office is there, and I was thinking of maybe working from there for a day), but anyway, if I do go to Poland, I'll make sure to devote time to Kracow (point taken)
However, my order still remains the same because of friends' availability.
I am still a bit confused on how to travel between countries (inter city - definitely bus/car).
But can you suggest based on your experience, how easy/cheap is it to get bus tickets on the spot (especially during Christmas/New Years) between these places?
The other option that I have is to buy this Eastern Europe rail pass (http://www.raileurope.com.sg/rail-products/rail-passes/article/european-east-pass) that covers all the above countries except Romania: 5 day pass for 160 Euros. I'll have to buy a separate bus/train ticket from Hungary to Romania in this case.
I just which would be more economical.
Another question: If I do visit Poland, my return flight is from Vienna again, what's the best/cheapest way (maybe airline) to fly back from Poland (Wroclaw/Kracow) to Vienna?
Thanks a lot in advance mate, you really helped!
Vienna to Budapest is best done by train; tickets start around €20 if you book with some time in advance (which you can do on the Austrian railways site ).
If you want to save even more you could go by bus even though it's slightly less comfortable. For instance you could use the Orangeways buses; tickets cost around €12, you can book on their site.
Budapest to Oradea is best done by bus. Orangeways has buses on this route (with tickets at about ~€15) but there are also other companies.
For Oradea to Prague the best way is to take the bus back from Oradea to Budapest then catch a train to Prague (tickets start at €19 if you book with at least a week in advance; you can book on the Hungarian railways site )
Of course it's also possible to do Budapest-Prague by bus (~€17) but the trip takes over 7 hours, it's more comfortable by train.
From Prague to Poland you could again use trains. There are discounted tickets for the Prague-Warsaw route at about €20 on the Czech railways site; you could get off after you cross into Poland and head to either Krakow or Wroclaw.
For all these trips if you're going to travel around Christmas/New Year it would be preferable to book tickets in advance
Regarding possible trips from Oradea deeper into Romania, although Cluj or Timisoara are interesting options, maybe you could take a break from visiting cities and do/see something a bit different.
For instance you could do a day trip from Oradea into the nearby Apuseni mountains - catch a bus from Oradea to Stana de Vale or Arieseni (small resorts 2-3 hours away) and do some hiking or skiing if there's enough snow.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Oct-2012, at 06:19 by rmm ]
I think the best is to take a bus from Prague to Wrocław:
It is comfortable and non-stop.
I think it would be more expansive and longer traveling by train.
Hope it will help.