In May 2017, I set off on an Eastern Europe rail adventure with two friends. Before going, I kept searching for an Eastern Europe itinerary for my trip, but I couldn’t find one. So I decided to share my EXACT 2-week itinerary, with ALL the costs and details, to help you plan your trip.
I feel compelled to begin this post with this: Yes, I realize “Eastern Europe” is a contentious term loaded with complicated socio-political history. I am also well aware Italy is nowhere near Eastern Europe, but most of my trip took place in the area of Europe most Americans call “Eastern Europe,” so for the sake of SEO, I had to use those terms so people who were searching in Google would find what they needed. I am very sorry if this offends anyone! Much love to all.
*Some of the links below are affiliate and referral links, meaning I get a commission or credits if you choose to purchase through my links—at no extra cost to you.*
Table of Contents
My 2-week Eastern Europe Itinerary: An Overview
|Day 1||Venice||Start in Venice. Nearest airport is Marco Polo. Nearest train station is Santa Lucia.|
Stay in Venice 1 night.
|Day 2||Venice-Salzburg||Explore Venice.|
Then take the train from Venice to Salzburg.
Spend day in Salzburg.
Then take the train from Salzburg to Vienna.
Stay in Vienna 2 nights.
|Day 4||Vienna||Explore Vienna.|
|Day 5||Vienna-Budapest||Explore Vienna.|
Then take the train from Vienna to Budapest.
Stay in Budapest 3 nights.
|Day 6||Budapest||Explore Budapest|
|Day 7||Budapest||Explore Budapest|
Then take the train from Budapest to Prague.
Stay in Prague 3 nights.
|Day 9||Prague||Explore Prague.|
|Day 10||Prague||Explore Prague.|
Take train from Prague to Krakow (or fly).
Stay in Krakow 2 nights.
|Day 12||Krakow||Explore Krakow.|
Then take the train from Krakow to Warsaw.
Stay in Warsaw 2 nights.
|Day 14||Warsaw||Explore Warsaw.|
|Day 15||Depart Warsaw||Explore Warsaw.|
Then fly home!
How Much It Cost to Travel By Train Through Eastern Europe for 2 Weeks
*Note: For days 1 through 9, that lodging price was split among 3 people. For days 11 through 15, I didn’t pay for lodging (stayed with friends).
|City||Train Ticket Cost||Lodging Cost|
|Venice (1 night)||$126|
Salzburg (1 night)
Vienna (2 nights)
Budapest (3 nights)
Prague (2 nights)
Prague (1 night solo)
Krakow (2 nights)
Warsaw (2 nights)
|Train Ticket Total Cost||$218.48|
|Lodging Total Cost||$367.40|
“Should I Get a Eurail Pass?”
It depends. Sometimes it saves you money; sometimes it doesn’t.
Here’s what I recommend. Go to Eurail.com and enter your trip itinerary and find out how much it would cost for a Eurail pass. Then, go to the various countries’ rail sites and add up how much it would cost if you just bought each individual ticket separately (like I did). Go with whichever is cheapest!
As you can see, if I had gone through Eurail pass, I would have paid $387. Without a Eurail pass, by booking each ticket individually, I paid $218.48. That’s a savings of $168.52! So be sure to do the math and check to see which option is cheaper for you. It varies depending on the itinerary.
Favorite Things I Packed for My 2-Week Eastern Europe Trip
- Timbuk2 Aviator backpack. This is the one carry-on backpack I traveled across 5 countries with!
- Runner’s belt to stash passport and cash. Trust me, when you’re hopping trains like every other day, you do NOT want to lose your passport in the shuffle. On this trip, I kept all my valuables (passport and cash) inside this runner’s belt.
- Chrysalis Cardi Multiway Clothing (Can be worn EIGHT PLUS ways!). When you’re traveling this much, you need to pack light, and you need something that can serve multiple purposes. Ladies, get
- the Chrysalis Cardi. I brought TWO of these on my trip (one in gray, the other in purple), and I practically lived out of them.
- Before starting the trip, I read this hilarious book about Eastern Europe, and it helped me appreciate these countries so much more!
My 2-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary: The Nitty Gritty Details
All right, listen up! To prevent this post from being 20,000 words, below I dive into a breakdown of what I did on each day. But for ALL THE DETAILS, I will link to other posts I wrote on how to get train tickets to specific destinations and destination guides. I hope this helps!
Day 1: Arrive in Venice
I had already been volunteering in another part of Italy, but decided to meet two of my American friends in Venice to begin our trip. I took a train from Padua and arrived at Santa Lucia station. They flew in from Florida and arrived at Marco Polo airport, took the bus from the airport and then walked to Santa Lucia station to meet me there.
- 11:30 a.m. – Meet at Santa Lucia station. From there, we took the vaporetto (water taxi) to our hotel, Da Marinella, in the neighborhood of Castello.
- Check in at Da Marinella. Finding affordable hotels or Airbnbs in Venice was a CHALLENGE. Da Marinella was the best bang for our buck.
- Eat dinner at Trattoria Ca’ d’oro-Alla Vedova (Michelin starred)
Trattoria Ca’ d’oro-Alla Vedova Address:Ca’ D’Oro a Cannaregio 3912,
Hours:Monday-Wednesday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 6:30–10:30 p.m.Sunday 6:30–10:30 p.m.Closed ThursdaysCozy retro ambience nestled in a calle, this traditional Michelin-starred restaurant has been run by the same family since the 19th century. It serves traditional Venetian dishes and is most known for its seafood and meatballs.What I ordered: Bavetta al Pesto, plus Grilled Season Vegetables. The pesto pasta doesn’t come with anything, which is why I highly recommend ordering the vegetables to mix in with it. The vegetables were lush, fresh, and tasty. Look at the size of those beans! Also, we discovered later, the meatballs here are “legendary,” so definitely order them. It was flavorful and tender. Just note, when you order a meatball, you literally get one meatball, so order more than one if you want to share or have an appetite!
All the staff spoke English, though I did practice my Italian just for fun. They automatically handed us English menus too.
- Grab gelato at Gelato Fantasy.Gelato Fantasy Addess:
Calle dei Fabbri, 929,
S.Marco, Venezia VE, ItaliaHours:
Monday-Sunday 10 a.m. to midnightIf you’re looking for good, homemade gelato, then stop by Gelato Fantasy. I got the small cone with chocolate and hazelnut (because, sadly, they did not have my all-time favorite flavor of Baccio). The cones were interesting, with a lemony flavor. If you, however, want Baccio, there is a little gelateria inside Piazza San Marco. I don’t remember the name of it, but I think it said “American” on the outside. That’s not helpful, is it?
- Grocery shopping at Coop. If you need to shop for groceries, I highly recommend Coop.
San Marco, 4173,
30124 Venezia VE, ItalyHours:
Daily 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Watch the sun set along the Grand Canal.
The Best Thing I Did in Venice
Woke up early (before 5 a.m.) to see the Piazza San Marco before the crowds arrive.
Where to Stay in Venice
I would recommend Da Marinella for a short stay in Venice. It’s budget friendly, something hard to come by in this city.
What I Would Have Done Differently in Venice
- I would have stayed in Padua and taken the 30-minute train into Venice. Padua is more up to my speed, a medium-sized college town.
- I would have gone in a cooler month. Venice was sometimes unbearably hot! Even at the end of May.
Day 2: Explore Venice. Then Take the Train from Venice to Salzburg
- 5:30 a.m. (or earlier) – Go to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) to experience the beauty and quiet of it before the crowds arrive.
- From there, walk to the famous Bridge of Sighs.
- After, grab coffee and a light breakfast at Ponte delle Paste (opens 6:30 a.m.).
- 9:30 a.m. – Get in line to see San Marco church when it lights up! Yes, it’s free.
- Grab lunch at Farini, famous for its thin crust pizza
San Lio – Castello 5602
Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday-Sunday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.Farini is a hopping little pizzeria/bakery in Venice. We only popped in because we saw it was always crowded, which must be a good sign, right? It turns out they’re famous for their thin crust pizza. For whatever reason, my pizza was thick crust, while my friend (who ordered the exact same pizza), got a thin crust one.
What I ordered: Salame Piccante pizza and Romana salad. I only ordered the salad because I missed avocado and felt like being healthy, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Definitely get THIN crust pizza here! Finding seating is a battle here because it’s so popular, and it’s mostly bar seating, no private tables. It might be best to get yours to go.
Taking the Train from Venice to Salzburg
We decided against the overnight train (exhausting) and opted for the afternoon train. We took the afternoon train from Venice to Salzburg via Innsbruck. Now, that’s important to note: We made sure to have a connection in Innsbruck. Why? This is the scenic route, passing through the breathtaking Brenner Pass, near the Dolomites.
During transfer at Innsbruck, go downstairs to the grocery store and buy food at the deli there. I had the BEST Salami sandwich of my life there. There is also a juice bar in the middle of the store.
For more details, check out my post about my train ride from Venice to Salzburg via Innsbruck.
Where to buy train tickets online: OBB (Austrian railway)
Which route to take: Santa Lucia Venezia to Salzburg HBF via Innsbruck (Scenic Brenner Pass)
1:50 p.m. – Depart Venice
9:04 p.m. – Arrive in Salzburg
Yes, my trip to Salzburg was crazy short—not even 24 hours. To be honest, I had no interest in seeing Salzburg, but my friend really wanted to see it, so this was more her stop.
Where to Stay in Salzburg
We stayed at Amadeus Residence in Salzburg, and this was one of my favorite apartment rentals of the trip! Everything was impeccably clean, and the apartment is so well constructed you don’t hear a SOUND. We were also able to walk to Old Town, though it did take about 30 minutes; I didn’t mind! It was only about a 10-minute walk from the train station, so this was a huge plus for us. Click here to check the latest rates of Amadeus Residence in Salzburg.
- If you arrive by train, stop by the SPAR grocery store inside the train station. It’s fairly extensive, and it’s a great place to stock up on drinks and foods for your trip before you head to your hotel. It’s open till 6am to 11pm every day, so even though we got in late, around 9, we were able to stop by!
- The Salzburg train station DOES have luggage lockers, so if you have an awkward gap of time between when you check out of your hotel and when your train departs, you can lock up your luggage inside the station and use that time to explore Salzburg. Word to the wise: The luggage lockers are tricky! Read my post on How to Use the Luggage Lockers Inside Austrian Train Stations.
Day 3: Explore Salzburg by Day. Then Take the Train to Vienna (Optional: Stopover in Linz)
Okay, admittedly, I did very little in Salzburg. My friends were the ones who got up early to explore the museums and downtown. I opted to sleep in, head to Sunday mass at 11:30 a.m at Salzburg Cathedral, and then explore downtown by foot for just a little while.
Why You Should Take WESTbahn Instead of OBB from Salzburg to Vienna
I highly recommend taking the WESTbahn train from Salzburg to Vienna, NOT OBB! WESTbahn is a privately owned rail company (OBB is government owned. Here’s why I preferred taking WESTbahn to Vienna:
- Flexible times – You can buy a WESTbahn ticket last minute without any price hikes!
- Easy to purchase – You can buy tickets onboard! With credit card! It’s awesome
- Way nicer – OBB trains are actually really nice (especially for Eastern Europe), but WESTbahn is even nicer
A Quick Stopover in Linz, Austria
We did a quick stopover in Linz, Austria, to see a friend whom I met in Toronto! Small world, right?
If you do stop in Linz, highly recommend this ice cream shop: Eis Greissler. They have very eclectic flavors! I got asparagus, goat cheese, and hazelnut!
Where to Stay in Vienna
We stayed at this lovely one-bedroom apartment Airbnb. I highly recommend it! Thomas was awesome, and even provided us with a mobile hotspot we carried around the city so we always had Wi-Fi!
What We Did in Vienna on Day 3
- Explore Vienna by foot. When we arrived in Vienna, we were pretty spent. We went for a walk through the city just taking photos of the glorious architecture. Then we grabbed dinner at
- Grab comfort food dinner at Kolar Beisl – Kleeblattgasse. This cozy pub is situated in a cobblestone side street just off posh Stefansplatz. We opted to sit in the cozy outdoor seating, complete with little folded-up blankets in the wooden chairs. Kolar Beisl brews their own beer and specializes in savory filled pita sandwiches. Sounds simple? Maybe, but it’s delicious. Whatever you get, make sure it has sour cream (you can ask for it to be added to any of the pitas, on the side). The sour cream makes it!What I ordered: The pita with tomato sauce, salami, pineapple, and Camembert cheese. I also ordered sour cream on the side, which I’m not sure how much that cost (if any) to add on. My friend ordered the pita with sour cream, turkey, lingonberries, and Camembert cheese, and while I loved mine, I think hers tasted even better! Definitely order a pita with that sweet and savory combo. SO GOOD.Also, if you’re wondering whether you should get the regular size or the small, I was pretty hungry and ordered the regular size and was able to finish the entire thing.Cost: 7.30 euros
Day 4: Explore Vienna
I was NOT expecting to love Vienna as much as I did; in fact, it was probably my favorite stop on the trip. I only added Vienna to our itinerary because EVERYONE said I couldn’t miss it.
On the morning of day 4, my travel companions grabbed a swanky breakfast at Cafe Mozart, while I stayed in daydreaming about living in Vienna and pursuing my writing career full-time. Seriously, I LOVED this apartment.
- Breakfast at Mozart Coffee House.
Address: Albertinaplatz 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
- Walk around the city. The park, Karlsplatz, by the metro station in front of the church is beautiful.
- Lunch at Naschmarkt. As overwhelming as the offerings at the famous outdoor food market Naschmarkt were, the quality of the foods we chose were underwhelming. We tried gyros, fruits, pastries, and more, but nothing was truly spectacular. It’s still fun to go and sample things.
- Tour Belvedere Gardens and Palace.
Address: Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria
- Stand in line for standing room tickets at Vienna Opera House. We got to watch Swan Lake ballet! It was absolutely breathtaking.
- Leave the ballet during intermission and go to Cafe Landtmann for cake.
Address: Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien, AustriaWalk there because Vienna is super walkable and gorgeous! On the way, admire the rose garden, Parliament, and Rathaus (City Hall).
- Grab a hot dog (with mustard!) from Opernwurst Stadl and walk home to eat it. We went to a really sketchy Wurstelstand (hot dog stand) simply because it was the closest to our Airbnb and near the opera house. It’s called Opernwurst Stadl. It was good (I mean, as good as hot dogs can be), but it was uncomfortable because it was late at night, and it was only older men at the stand. We three women, dressed up coming from the opera house, felt out of place. Here’s a list of the top hot dog stands in Vienna.
Opernwurst Stadl Address:
1040 Wien, Austria
The Best Thing I Did in Vienna
Waiting in line for standing room tickets at the Vienna State Opera House was by far the best thing we did in Vienna! The experience is one you can’t miss. Check out my full post on How to Get Standing Room Tickets at the Vienna Opera House.
What I Would Have Done Differently in Vienna
I REALLY wanted to participate in a Vienna Coffeehouse Conversation event! It’s where strangers sit down in a coffeehouse together with a menu of questions. You should totally do this if your Vienna trip dates align with the event dates!
Day 5: Take the train from Vienna to Budapest
- Grab breakfast at cute cafe nearby, Vollpension. Okay, I didn’t actually get to eat at Vollpension because of a nasty episode of food poisoning. Remember our little hot dog stand adventure? Well, I made the mistake of eating the leftovers the next day, and even though I had refrigerated them, they must have gone bad. Almost as soon as they hit my stomach, I felt like hurling. So…I didn’t feel like eating.
- Grab a cream cheese strudel (Topfenstrudel) and latte (Melange) from Cafe Goldegg. Then walk to the train station, which is nearby.
How to Take the Train from Vienna to Budapest
Where to buy train tickets online: OBB (Austrian railway)
Route: Wien to Budapest-Keleti (direct)
Travel time: 2 hours 40 minutes
2:39 p.m. – Depart Vienna
5:19 p.m. – Arrive in Budapest
- Check into this Airbnb. I LOVED staying here. Seriously, I wanted to live here for the summer.
- Eat dinner at Beszálló. This was an eclectic place with an unexpected twist: Hungarian-Asian fusion! Sad news, though, as of April 2018, they have closed. On their Facebook page, they said they might reopen in a different location, though.
Day 6: Explore Budapest
- Start the day with brunch at Zoska. There’s a lovely little park just a few steps away.
Ferenczy István utca 28.
Budapest, Hungary 1053Hours:
Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
CLOSED SundaysWhat I ordered:
The pear and goat cheese scrambled eggs and a latteCost: 1780 HUF ($6.79 USD)
- Stroll to the antique bookstore down the street. This is a good place to buy Hungarian language book souvenirs. Even if you’ll never be able to read them, they make for great conversation starters when sitting on your coffee table back home!
- Go on a guided audio tour of the House of Terror. Allocate at least 2 hours. It’s very overwhelming due to the sheer amount of information and the sadness of it all. Add the audio tour guide so you can better understand what you’re looking at. Otherwise, you can read papers printed at the entrance of each exhibit.House of Terror Address:
1062 Budapest, Andrássy út 60.Hours:
Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Cost:
Admission: 3,000 HUF ($11.44 USD)
Audio guide (optional but recommended): 1500 HUF ($5.72 USD)
- Grab lunch at Panineria. This is RIGHT by the House of Terror, so it’s a great place to stop by after your tour.
Budapest, Andrássy út 52, 1062 Hungary
What I ordered: Cheesy chicken wrap and a bottle of waterCost: 1860 HUF ($7.10 USD)
- OPTIONAL: Spend the day at the Turkish baths. We simply went to the Sczechenyi Bath to look around. We did not go into the baths.
- Peek inside the Opera House. We didn’t attend an opera, but we went inside the opera house to admire its beautiful interiors.
- Stock up on snacks at Spar. Look for Turorudi candy bar, a popular Hungarian treat. The Hazelnut one is tasty!
- Play with the cats at Whiskers Cat Pub. While walking around, we stumbled upon a cat pub—yes, you can get alcoholic beverages and play with cats inside a playroom. Fun stuff.
- Walk along the Danube across the Chain Bridge. I didn’t expect Budapest to be so romantic! Strolling along the Danube was one of my favorite things I did there. Definitely go before sunset and stay till after sunset. The day versus night views are both beautiful, but so different.
- Enjoy a light dinner and an Aperol Spritz at a Dubarry restaurant overlooking the Danube.
Day 7: Explore Budapest Some More
- Visit the Great Market Hall (Central Market). Great place to purchase paprika. Early morning the food stalls and souvenir shops on the 2nd floor aren’t really open yet. So don’t expect to eat breakfast here if you go early.
- Grab breakfast at Gerlóczy Café. Sit outside. This little cafe is a taste of Paris, complete with outdoor seating for people watching along the sidewalk. I loved the little newspaper menus.
Gerlóczy Café Address:
Budapest, Gerlóczy u. 1, 1052 Hungary
What I ordered: Salami omelette with tomato and basil. It is served kind of like an egg pizza! I also ordered a latte. My friend ordered the Viennese sizzling sausage and it looked so good.Cost: 2430 HUF ($9.27 USD)
- 10:30 a.m. – Take the Budapest Free Walking Tour. Yes, there is no charge to go on the tour, but here’s the catch: The tour guide is compensated in tips, so be sure to tip him/her at the end of the tour. The tour lasts around 3 hours. Bring water and maybe a snack. If you go in May or June, it will get HOT. You’ll end at the famous St. Matthias church. Everything around there is pricey. So head back down and across the bridge into Pest to get food.
- Eat one of the BEST and CHEAPEST dinners you will ever have at at Frici papa kifőzdéje.Frici Papa Address:
Budapest, Király u. 55, 1077 HungaryWhat we ordered:
– Rántott sajt (fried cheese)
– Vörösboros marhapörkölt (famous goulash! Beef with red wine)
– Nokedli (noodle) – Not the noodle you’re thinking, though. This is also known as Spätzle or Hungarian Dumpling. It’s a chewy, lumpy egg noodle. Tastes DELICIOUS! You eat it with the goulash.
– Király palacsinta – We ordered this for dessert. It’s basically a crepe with chocolate sauce, vanilla sauce, and whipped cream on top. It wasn’t that good though, so I wouldn’t recommend ordering it.
– Vilmoskörte Pálinka – Ah, pálinka, the national alcoholic drink of Hungary. We ordered it just to try it. It is a very strong fruit brandy.Cost: 4230 HUF ($16.14 USD!)
- Take a joy ride on a river taxi on the Danube, passing in front of Parliament at sunset. Get off the tram at Árpád Híd, walk to Népfürdö Utca. Get on #12 ferry headed SOUTHBOUND. Get off after you pass Parliament (stop is Petöfi Tér). ONLY free to BKK pass holders on WEEKDAYS, not weekends.
- Head to a Ruin Pub (Anker’t).
- Grab a late-night snack at Retro Langos. This is a famous little food stand in a lot with other food stands. There is outdoor seating in front of it. It’s open till very late at night. Get the classic: Sour cream and cheese!Retro Langos Address:
Budapest, Podmaniczky Frigyes tér 4, 1054 Hungary
Where to Stay in Budapest
David and Sophie’s Airbnb in the trendy shopping district of Budapest was PERFECT for three people! And if you leaned out the window and looked at just the right angle, you could see the Danube. Seriously, consider staying here.
The Best Thing I Did in Budapest
The best thing I did in Budapest was definitely anything along the Danube at night.
Is Uber Available in Budapest?
No! But it’s pretty walkable and the trams/subways were fine.
What I Would Have Done Differently in Budapest
- There’s a church inside a cave in Budapest, and I wish I’d gone to see it!
- There’s also Memento Park, an open-air museum where old remnants of Communist Hungary are on display for the world to remember what it was like. This is located a bit outside of the city, so thanks to my poor planning, we didn’t have a chance to go. I would’ve loved to see it though. It makes a fitting complement to the House of Terror.
Day 8: Take train from Budapest to Prague
Where to buy train tickets online: MÁV Group (Hungarian railway)
Route: Budapest-Keleti to Prague
Travel time: 6 hours 41 minutes
11:25 a.m. – Depart Budapest
6:06 p.m. – Arrive in Prague
What We Did in Budapest and Prague
- In the morning, go to Fruccola and grab some snacks for the train ride.
- 11:25 a.m. – Take train from Budapest to Prague. Wi-Fi worked well for majority of trip!
- 6:06 p.m. – Arrive in Prague.
- Walk to Old Town – I got dinner from street food vendor at a festival by a church. Then we got a Kielbasa with spicy mustard at a stand in Wenceslas Square—very good. It was a Friday night and VERY rowdy with streets packed with stag parties. This was a surprise to us. It felt a lot like Vegas…
- Cross the Charles Bridge. It will be crazy crowded, nothing like the Chain Bridge in Budapest. There are often street performers on the bridge too.
- Visit astronomical clock.
Where to Stay in Prague
My friends and I stayed in an Airbnb that I wouldn’t recommend. After my friends left, though, I checked into this Airbnb, which I really liked!
Does Prague Have Uber?
Yes! But we had issues with reliability. On the way to the airport, I had to request several times because drivers kept canceling on me!
What I Would Have Done Differently in Prague
- I would NOT go on a weekend during the summer. The beautiful city is trashed by drunk bachelors.
- I would stay in the Vinohrady neighborhood, which is off the beaten tourist path.
Day 9: Explore Prague
- Get breakfast at La Boheme. Ah, this is definitely the kind of coffee shop you spend all afternoon lounging in, sipping your artisan coffee, and sketching in your sketchbook. The decor is rich, the coffee is perfect, and the food is delicious.Address:
120 00 Praha 2-Vinohrady
Czech RepublicWhat I ordered:
- Granola and yogurt
Cost: 210 CZK ($9.86 USD)
- Buy one-day tram ticket. Buying a tram ticket was a good choice for us to get around quickly. We really only needed it for one day.
- Visit Mucha museum. If you love art nouveau, this is a must-see, a museum dedicated to the work of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.
Mucha Museum Address:
Kaunický palác Panská 7 110 00 Prague 1
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: 240 CZK for 1 Adult ticket
- Buy souvenirs. The shops along the streets where the Moka museum is have lots of little souvenirs, particularly if you prefer the edible kind.
- Get rose gelato at Amorino. It was HOT that day, so some gelato was a nice refreshment.
Malostranské nám. 38/24, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czech Republic
- Catch a symphony inside an old chapel Mozart once played in: Klementinum Mirror Chapel. We bought these tickets online about two months in advance.
- Dinner at Restaurace Kulový blesk. Okay—this might have been the BEST meal of the entire trip (it rivals the meal we had in Budapest at Frici Papa).Address:
Sokolská 13, 120 00
Nové Město, Czech RepublicWhat we ordered:
- Beef in red wine sauce served with dumplings
- Potato salad
- We each ordered beer. I had the Mazak coffee stout
Cost: 230.66 CZ ($10.83 USD!)
Day 10: Explore Prague
At this point, my traveling companions left me and I was burnt out from a month of travel.
I went to get breakfast at McDonald’s—I know, I know. But hear me out: I was sick of traveling and rather missing home, which is funny, because I never eat McDonald’s in the U.S. This meal was unremarkable.
Then I went to the 11 a.m. mass at St. Thomas Catholic Church. HIGHLY recommend going. It’s beautiful.
Then I checked into this new Airbnb.
Then I went to a local supermarket and bought frozen pizza to make dinner at my Airbnb. Woohoo! Craazzyy times in Prague!
Day 11: Arrive in Krakow
Originally, I was going to take a train from Prague to Krakow, but after almost 2 weeks of grueling train travel, I decided to change my plans last minute and fly to Krakow with a layover in Berlin.
You CAN take a train from Prague to Krakow if you want though.
Where to Stay in Krakow
Thanks to my lovely friend, Winnie, we got a sweet room at the Sheraton Grand Krakow—and oh my gosh, luxury.
We had a floor-to-ceiling window view of Wawel Castle! The best part was the free food in the lounge, which was enough to serve as meals for us when we didn’t feel like going out to eat. They also serve a complimentary breakfast that was out of this world, including made-to-order omelets. Highly, highly recommend staying here.
Sheraton Grand Krakow
31-101 Kraków, Poland
- Walk around Wawel Hill. There is a statue of a dragon that breathes fire!
- Walk around Old Town.
- Go inside the beautiful St. Mary’s Basilica. The interior of this church is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. It is free to go inside to pray and attend mass, of course. If you want to go inside as a tourist though, there is a small fee.
- Dinner at Pod Aniolami
Grodzka 35, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
What I ordered:
– 5-piece dumplings
– Pork loin
– Bread with lard
Cost: 172 PL
Is Uber Available in Krakow?
Yes! I used Uber to get from the airport to the hotel and also to get from the hotel to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy.
What I Would Have Done Differently in Krakow
Day 12: Explore Krakow
- Half-day tour of Auschwitz. We booked a combination Auschwitz/Salt Mines tour through Viator, and while the tour leaders did their best, it was one of my bigger regrets of the trip. The gravity and solemnity of Auschwitz really requires the whole day. Afterward, you’re emotionally spent and trying to process so much. To rush from that to the Salt Mines (which is a humorous tour) feels really messed up.
- Half-day tour of Salt Mines. If you’re claustrophobic, I do NOT recommend going on this tour. I’m not claustrophobic, but by the end of it, I felt very panicked and wanted desperately to get back up to the earth above (you go 400 feet underground to do this tour. No sunshine. No natural air.). The guided tour is very humorous and upbeat, and obviously, the salt mines are awe-inspiring, but I found it all a bit creepy too.
- Early dinner at Cafe Camelot.
Świętego Tomasza 17
33-332 Kraków, Poland
What we ordered:
- 7 dumplings cabbage and mushroom and spinach almond
Cost: 20 PL
Day 13: Explore Krakow. Then Take the Train From Krakow to Warsaw
- Visit the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. We took an Uber from the Sheraton Grand Hotel to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. It was surprisingly difficult to find much information on this place, despite its huge significance. When you arrive, you’re free to roam the grounds. I recommend:
– Visit the chapel.
– Visit adoration chapels.
– Go inside the church. You can go to confession. This was confusing because the confessionals didn’t have anything to indicate what language the priest spoke. So I approached an employee/security guard and asked. He directed me to a priest who spoke English.
– Attend mass after.
– Visit souvenir shops nearby.Sanctuary of Divine Mercy address:
Siostry Faustyny 3,
30-420 Kraków, Poland
How to Take the Train From Krakow to Warsaw
Where to buy tickets online: PKP (Polish State Railways)
How much it cost: 135 PLN ($38 USD)
Route: Krakow Glowny to Warsaw
Duration: 2 hours, 31 minutes
4:49 p.m. – Depart Krakow
7:10 p.m. – Arrive in Warsaw
Where to Stay in Warsaw
We stayed with a family friend just outside of Warsaw in the country.
- Dinner at Mango Vegan Street Food. Okay, so where was the first place we dragged my family friend who is a Polish man in his 60s? Why, to a trendy, hipster vegan restaurant, of course! And he actually liked the food, even though he said, “Had you told me I’d be eating at a vegan restaurant tonight, I never would have believed you.”Mango Address:
00-001 Warszawa, PolandWhat I ordered:
Pita Falafel Ananas + Awokado, which is a pita filled with falafel, pineapple, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickled radish, and other delicious things. Highly recommend it!
Cost: 16.90 PLN ($4.76 USD)
Day 14: Explore Warsaw
- Explore Polish supermarkets and be amazed. You might find it odd that going grocery shopping is one of my “must-dos” while in Warsaw, but you have to see it to believe it. I’m American, so I know supermarkets. But Polish supermarkets will blow anything you ever knew about megamalls and Walmart Supercenters out of the water. The selection is overwhelming! My theory is that it’s a direct result of the fact that Poland was under communist rule for so long, when it was common to go to the grocery store to find empty shelves. Now, Poland has swung in the opposite direction: bountiful stores with abundant options.
- Visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
Warsaw Uprising Museum Address:
00-844 Warszawa, PolandHours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 10 am.-6 p.m.
Cost: 25 PLN (FREE Admission on Sundays!)
Tour Wilanów Palace grounds.
- Eat dinner at Kuznia Kulturalna. I had some sort of fish atop a bed of pureed carrot, topped with a bundle of green beans. It doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore. You can check out their menu here.
- Grab dessert at a nearby ice cream shop. Here is a very important Polish word for you to learn: “lody”! It means ice cream, and it’s pronounced “LO-dee.” We grabbed lody at a lody shop just across from Kuznia Kulturalna. You can find many of these around the palace grounds.
Day 15: Fly out of Warsaw
And that was my whirlwind 2-week Eastern Europe itinerary by train! It was a LOT to pack into just 14 days. I had to kind of recover from it all after the trip. It was a GREAT way to try out each city in the hopes of returning for a longer period in my favorite places. I liked to think of this Eastern Europe trip as a “sample platter” of sorts. :) Enjoy your trip!