Are you thinking of backpacking Eastern Europe but aren’t sure where to begin or how to plan your amazing adventure? Well, whether you want to spend 10 days, 2 weeks, or 1 month traveling around, here’s my guide to the ultimate Eastern Europe itinerary!
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After spending two months backpacking Eastern Europe, it has become one of my favorite parts of the world!
From historic Krakow and bustling Prague to picturesque Budapest and quaint Bratislava, Eastern Europe has a lot to offer each and every traveler. Not only is this part of Europe ridiculously affordable, it’s also packed with fabulous vegan food!
Although, if vegan food and affordability isn’t doing it for ya, here are a few other draws of traveling Eastern Europe:
✓ Captivating history at every turn
✓ Gorgeous cobblestone roads (Instagram loves this! 😉)
✓ Mind-blowingly beautiful cities and towns
✓ Cheap a** beer (I’m talking like $3 for a liter of beer)
✓ Awesome hostels (and hotels)
✓ Delicious food
✓ And… super affordable (yes, I’m mentioning it again because OMG, who wouldn’t want to travel for under $40/day for everything?)
Itching to get your Eastern Europe travel plan put together? I thought so!
Though you could spend decades exploring all the cool crevices and underrated spots of Eastern Europe, most of us don’t have that much time.
So, here’s my guide on the best Eastern Europe itinerary for 10 days, 2 weeks, or even one big fat awesome month!
ULTIMATE EASTERN EUROPE TRIP PLANNER
So, with all of these suggested itineraries, they start in the beautiful capital of Warsaw, Poland. A super duper handy city to begin in, it’s a great setting off point for the rest of Eastern Europe.
10 Day Eastern Europe Itinerary
This suggested 10 day itinerary is for those who want to see the best of what Eastern Europe has to offer but don’t have much time to head out to the lesser-known cities and destinations.
Thus, it focuses on cultural hubs and bustling cities with historic touches and lots of things to do!
Day 1-2: Warsaw, Poland
While I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Warsaw, there are a ton of things to see and do here! Plus, the main squares are super duper cute and most definitely worth a visit.
Not to mention, the vegan food in Warsaw is off the charts! Make sure to grab a few vegan pierogies while visiting this city.
Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland:
- Explore the Old Town
- Walk through Łazienki Park
- Have a pint in the Old Town Market Square
- Visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum (SO good!)
- Give your condolences at the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery
- Admire the views at the Palace of Culture and Science
- Check out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- View the Jewish Ghetto Memorial
Where to Stay in Warsaw:
- Budget: Press Hostel • €7-28 — OR — DREAM Hostel Warsaw • €10-41
- Mid-Range: Old Town Bridge Rooms • €35-49 — OR — Old Town Home • €47-52
- Higher-End: Pokoje Gościnne Dom Literatury • €57-93 — OR — PURO Warszawa Centrum • €78-200
- Luxury: Sofitel Warsaw Victoria • €149-304 — OR — The Westin Warsaw • €113-431
Not sure if visiting Poland is worth your time? Take a look at these 27 magical photos of Poland — I have no doubt your mind will be changed!
Day 3-5: Krakow, Poland
If you’re backpacking Eastern Europe, Krakow is a must! In fact, Dan and I loved this city so much we spent over 4 days here. And no, we didn’t get bored because holy moly, there is SO much to do here!
Best Things to Do in Krakow, Poland:
- Explore Krakow’s Main Square
- Visit Wawel Castle
- Have your mind blow at the Wieliczka Salt Mines
- Check out Oskar Schindler’s Factory (Schindler’s List)
- Day trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp
- Explore the historical Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz Neighborhood)
- Try some traditional (vegan) Polish food — click here to read my Krakow vegan food guide!
- Visit the beautiful St Francis’ Basilica
Where to Stay in Krakow:
- Budget: Lemon Tree Hostel • €7-10 — OR — Bubble Hostel • €12-46
- Mid-Range: Words & Swords Apartments • €18-32 — OR — Apartamenty Marco • €39-51
- Higher-End: Aparthotel Stare Miasto • €80-156 — OR — Hotel Wit Stwosz • €72-139
- Luxury: Hotel Unicus Palace • €155-271 — OR — Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem Hotel • €120-416
Psst, interested in reading my 1-week Poland itinerary? You’ll discover how to spend 7 days exploring Warsaw, Krakow, and the fairytale town of Wroclaw!
Day 6-8: Prague, Czech Republic
Another must-see city when on an Eastern Europe trip, Prague is a historical and cultural gold mine, not to mention it’s also pretty affordable for being such a popular destination!
Best Things to Do in Prague, Czech Republic:
- Wander about the Old Town Square
- Visit Prague Castle
- Explore the Jewish Ghetto Quarter
- View the Astronomical Clock Tower
- Have a drink of traditional Czech beer (super affordable!)
- Stroll across the Charles Bridge
- Marvel at St. Vitus Cathedral
- Visit the KGB Museum
- Admire the Lennon Wall
- Go cruising on the Vltava River
- Party up in Prague (the clubs are fantastic)
Where to Stay in Prague:
- Budget: Hostel Kaiser • €18-25 — OR — Hostel Franz Kafka • €8-38
- Mid-Range: The Republic Garden • €19-23 — OR — Pension Karlova • €65-95
- Higher-End: Historic Royal Apartment • €89-119 — OR — Ibis Praha Old Town • €73-85
- Luxury: Mordecai Twelve • €115-178 — OR — Hotel Pod Věží • €93-127
Day 8-10: Budapest, Hungary
Though Poland is hands down my favorite country in Eastern Europe, Hungary is a close second. Budapest is extremely picturesque and such a beautiful city with loads of awesome things to do!
Best Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary:
- Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica (make sure to go up to the top for a gorgeous view of Budapest!)
- Go for a dip at one of the many Budapest Baths (Gellert & Széchenyi Thermal Baths)
- Admire the Hungarian Parliament Building
- Walk the Danube Promenade (and check out the infamous shoes)
- Check out Heroes’ Square
- Explore the Fisherman’s Bastion (awesome spot for a photo!)
- Visit the Dohány Street Synagogue
- Party at some ruin pubs
- Go up to Buda Castle (head up in the funicular!)
- Check out the Hungarian National Museum
Where to Stay in Budapest:
- Budget: 2B Hostel & Rooms • €13-67 — OR — Activity Hostel • €18-20
- Mid-Range: Apartment Ginkgo • €35 — OR — Urban Rooms • €45-75
- Higher-End: Basilica Friends Apartment • €100-140 — OR — The Loft Budapest • €87-105
- Luxury: Prestige Hotel Budapest • €144-261 — OR — Aria Hotel Budapest • €347-500
Need some foodie inspiration? Click here to open a new tab to my vegan food in Eastern Europe post!
2-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary
This suggested two week itinerary focuses on a lot of the same cities and destinations as above but with a few more awesome places sprinkled in.
Additionally, a few more days are added to places like Prague and Budapest, where you can have more time to venture outside the city!
Day 1-2: Warsaw, Poland
Click here to visit the list of the best things to do in Warsaw and where to stay in the city above.
Day 3-5: Krakow, Poland
Click here to visit the list of the best things to do in Krakow and where to stay in the city above.
Day 5-6: Wroclaw, Poland
Wroclaw was absolutely one of my favorite places to visit in Eastern Europe!
An adorable, picturesque city straight outta a fairytale, Wroclaw features gorgeous pastel-colored buildings, cute little gnomes dotted around the city, delicious food, cool pubs, and more.
Click here to open a new tab for my 24-hour guide to Wroclaw, Poland.
Day 6-9: Prague, Czech Republic
In addition to the best things to do in Prague above (click here to see the list), an extra day in Prague gives you the freedom and time to either do more things in the city or head out on a day trip!
I personally recommend doing a day trip to the infamous Bone Church in Kutna Hora. You can find my guide on how to do a day trip by train to that cool destination here!
Day 10-11: Bratislava, Slovakia
In my humble opinion, Bratislava is one of the most underrated cities in Eastern Europe! Many skip over this little capital when traveling from Prague or Vienna to Budapest but it is SO worth a visit.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia but it’s so small it gives the feel of a small town (which I love!). Since it’s so small, you can spend little time here yet see tons.
Best Things to Do in Bratislava, Slovakia:
- Visit Bratislava Castle (and walk the beautiful gardens!)
- Explore the historic Bratislava city center
- Eat some delicious vegan food (Bratislava is surprisingly awesome for veggie travelers!)
- Admire St Elizabeth’s Church (Blue Church)
- Check out St. Martin’s Cathedral
- Wander about looking at all the gorgeous colored buildings
- Look for the statues dotted around the Old Town
Personally, when Dan and I visited, we went on a free tour with our hostel (Wild Elephants)! I highly recommend you do the same to see the best of Bratislava in a short amount of time.
Where to Stay in Bratislava:
- Budget: Wild Elephants Hostel • €11-15 — OR — DREAM Hostel Bratislava • €12-16
- Mid-Range: Zeitlos boutique hostel • €18-20 — OR — Downtown Apartment Nicole • €34-40
- Higher-End: Apartman Sv. Urban • €53-59 — OR — VIP Apartments • €73-81
- Luxury: Arcadia Boutique Hotel • €95-191 — OR — Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel • €122-383
Day 11-14: Budapest, Hungary
In addition to the list of the best things to do in Budapest above, with an extra day you can either explore more of the city and have a more relaxed time, or you can choose to do a couple day trips to fill the time.
Here are some Budapest day trips & tours I recommend:
- Half-Day Etyek Wine Tour from Budapest
- Danube Bend & Szentendre with Lunch: Day Tour from Budapest
- Szentendre Half-Day Tour from Budapest
- Budapest: Underground Caving Adventure Tour
After reading the 1-week and 10-day Eastern Europe itinerary ideas above, you might be wondering… what is the best way to get around Eastern Europe?
As someone who has traveled Europe several times now, I highly recommend either trains or buses to get between destinations!
Here are my two top ways to book Eastern Europe transportation:
- Flixbus — A ridiculously affordable bus operator that basically goes between every city in Europe. Whether you need to get a short bus to Budapest from Prague or a longer, overnight bus from Berlin to Munich, Flixbus probably offers that bus journey!
- The Trainline — Hands down one of the best sites to search and find the cheapest train tickets. Not to mention, their app is great for paperless tickets!
1-Month Eastern Europe Itinerary
If you have the time, this is my absolute favorite itinerary for Eastern Europe. Not only do you have the opportunity to see more, you get to travel slower, which is a big part of traveling sustainably. Cool, right?
Additionally, I left a couple days spare for you to play with. This could mean you spend a day or two more in a city you really enjoy or you could travel more slowly between places for even cheaper transportation.
Day 1-3: Warsaw, Poland
Click here to take a look at the list above for things to do in Warsaw and where to stay!
Day 4-7: Krakow, Poland
Click here to take a look at the list above for things to do in Krakow and where to stay!
Although, with a few days in Krakow, try passing the time with one of these day trips and tours:
- Full Day Tour from Krakow to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps
- Creepy Krakow: 2-Hour City Walking Tour
- Full-Day Zakopane & Tatra Mountains Guided Tour (SO awesome!)
- Half-Day Salt Mine Tour and Schindler’s Factory
Day 7-9: Wroclaw, Poland
Click here to read my Wroclaw, Poland travel guide, where you’ll find the best things to do and where to stay!
Day 9-14: Prague, Czech Republic
Ample time in Prague gives you more time to see this beautiful city! With 4 full days in Prague, you can relax and chill out, as well as see and explore a bunch of awesome sites, attractions, and more.
If you want to explore Prague with a tour or do a day trip, check out these:
- Český Krumlov Full-Day Trip from Prague
- 6 Hour Best of Prague Tour: Castle, Jewish Quarter, Cruise & Lunch
- Prague: Ghosts and Legends 1.5-Hour Walking Tour
- Kutna Hora & Bone Chapel Tour from Prague
None of those interest you? Take a look at more Prague tours here!
Day 14-16: Vienna, Austria
Although you could spend multiple days seeing the best of what Vienna has to offer, it’s a pretty darn expensive city so I recommend limiting your time here to save some dollars.
On the flip side, if you do have a good-sized budget for backpacking Eastern Europe, spend more time here! It’s a beautiful city.
Best Things to Do in Vienna, Austria:
- Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace (don’t forget to walk around the magnificent gardens!)
- Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral (go up to the top for a great view!)
- Admire the Rathaus (aka the Vienna Town Hall)
- Check out Hofburg Palace
- Visit the Belvedere Museum
- Explore the Vienna Natural History Museum
- Wander about the Naschmarkt
Where to Stay in Vienna:
- Budget: CH-Hostel • €35-47 — OR — Pension Dr. Geissler • €49-144
- Mid-Range: CH-Wellnessapartments • €89-114 — OR — Hotel Josefshof am Rathaus • €92-281
- Higher-End: City Pension Stephansplatz • €131-249 — OR — Boutique Hotel Das Tigra • €124-310
- Luxury: Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof • €205-921 — OR — Park Hyatt Vienna • €409 – a ridiculous amount
Want to explore the city with some tours? Check out some here!
Day 16-18: Bratislava, Slovakia
Click here to read my list of the best things to do in Bratislava and where to stay above.
Day 18-21: Budapest, Hungary
Click here to read my list of the best things to do in Budapest and where to stay above. Or click here to check out my list of Budapest day trips and tour recommendations.
Transportation Between Budapest and Cluj-Napoca
The next destination on this suggested Eastern Europe is Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Keep in mind, Romania is outside the Schengen Area, which means you’ll have your passport stamped when at the Hungary-Romania border.
The train between Budapest and Cluj-Napoca takes around 7-8 hours. This means an all day event (the Romanian countryside is nice to look at) or you can opt for a night train, which means saving money on accommodation.
Alternatively, you can also take a bus between the two destinations. Again, similar to the train, you an opt for a day or night bus. However, the night bus is a lot faster at around 9 hours, whereas the day bus takes around 11.
Day 21-23: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
A bustling city in central Romania, Cluj-Napoca is hailed for its University and exciting city life, as well as its beautiful churches and cathedrals.
With a beautiful blend of Eastern Europe history and Western Europe modernity, you can find lots of things to do, cool sites, and wondrous attractions here.
Best Things to Do in Cluj-Napoca, Romania:
- Check out the Cluj-Napoca Art Museum
- Relax at the Botanical Garden
- Explore the many churches and cathedrals (St Michael’s Church, Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, Piarists’ Church, Reformed Church)
- Wander the city on an affordable local tour
- Hike up Cetățuia Hill for a beautiful view of the city
- Chill out in Central Park (the city’s gorgeous green heart)
- Discover traditional Romania at the Ethnographic Park Romulus Vuia
- Learn all things strange medicine at the Pharmacy Museum
- Uncover ghosts and experience paranormal activities at the Hoia Baciu forest
Where to Stay in Cluj-Napoca:
- Budget: Zen Hostel by Pura Vida • €10-31 — OR — Retro Hostel • €14-37
- Mid-Range: Modern Central-Near Unirii Square • €34-54 — OR — Old Central Apartment • €36-42
- Higher-End: Camino Home • €53-67 — OR — Neo Apartment Eroilor • €52-63
- Luxury: Luxury Nook • €143 — OR — Cluj Lux Apartment Central • €101-105
Transportation Between Cluj-Napoca and Braşov
Between these two Romanian cities, you can opt for either train or bus. Train takes around 6-7 hours and a bus takes around 5 hours.
Although, as someone who has taken the train, I highly recommend it. It’s super duper slow but you get a sneak peak of the Romanian countryside (which is extremely beautiful, IMO).
Day 22-25: Braşov, Romania
Want to visit a fairytale town? (Other than Wroclaw, Poland, that is. 😉)
Head to Braşov and you’ll step foot into a magical land filled with cute little buildings, beautiful architecture, traditional Romanian settings, and, yes, even mysterious vampires (ever heard of Dracula?)!
Known as the gateway to Transylvania, Braşov is one of my favorite destinations and a must-visit on any Eastern Europe itinerary.
Best Things to Do in Braşov, Romania:
- Explore Piata Sfatului, Braşov’s main square
- Visit the Biserica Neagra (Black Church), which is the largest Gothic Church in Eastern Europe
- Hike up Tampa Mountain for a gorgeous view (you can also ride the cable car up if you’re not into hiking)
- Walk the narrowest street in Europe (Strada Sforii, aka String Street)
- Marvel Catherine’s Gate and Braşov’s Medieval Walls
- Simply stroll through the picturesque streets of Braşov
Where to Stay in Braşov:
- Budget: Old Downtown Hostel • €10-12 — OR — Boemia Hostel • €12-13
- Mid-Range: Studio Brasov • €25-30 — OR — All Season Studios • €36-44
- Higher-End: Casa Veche • €51-65 — OR — Hotel Bella Muzica • €50-94
- Luxury: Superb Historical Center Brașov • €97-141 — OR — Vila Katharina • €81-122
Pro Tip: Braşov isn’t massive so if you have seen all you want to see in the city, venture out and do a day trip to Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle), the Libearty Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti, traditional Romanian villages, or even into the Carpathian Mountains for some killer views.
Here are some highly-rated tours I recommend:
- From Brasov: Tour of Castles and Surrounding Area
- Romanian Mountain Villages Day Tour
- Bear Sanctuary and Bran Castle Day Trip
- Chauffeur Service in Brasov: You Decide where to Go
Day 25-28: Bucharest, Romania
The glorious capital of Romania, Bucharest has tons to offer in terms of awesome things to do, cool sites, and mesmerizing attractions. Not to mention, loads of food options!
In fact, due to its beautiful architecture, classical art, ample green space, cute little cafes and eateries, and captivating history, Bucharest is sometimes referred to as the Paris of Eastern Europe. Even cooler, the city was literally modeled after Paris (the French architecture is abundant!).
Best Things to Do in Bucharest, Romania:
- Admire the Palace of Parliament (the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon)
- Wander about the Old Town
- Marvel at the history and architecture of Victoriei Avenue
- Take a step back in time and visit some of Bucharest’s churches (a few of the best are Stavropoleos, Coltea, Zlatari, Bucur, and Radu Voda)
- Relax and stroll through the local parks (there’s a lot to choose from!)
- Visit the Village Museum to get a peak at traditional Romanian life
- Go on a free walking tour!
Where to Stay in Bucharest:
- Budget: Antique Hostel • €8-38 — OR — Hostel Bauhaus Bucharest • €16-38
- Mid-Range: Vila Ana • €33-57 — OR — Anathea Apartment • €36-40
- Higher-End: Filitti Boutique Hotel • €58-110 — OR — Concorde Old Bucharest Hotel • €70-150
- Luxury: Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest • €107-200 — OR — Hotel Cismigiu • €109-158
Holy freakin’ moly, what a whopper of a blog post, amirite?
There’s a lot of info packed in these suggested 10-day, 2-week, and 1-month Eastern Europe itineraries but I truly hope they help you figure out where you want to visit!
Are you considering backpacking or traveling Eastern Europe soon? Or just looking for some inspiration? If you have any questions or need some other tips, stick ’em in the comments below!
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Kovalska NataliJune 24, 2020 2:59 pm
If your time is limited but you want to get the most out of your trip in Europe, take a look at this itinerary. Everything is easily reachable by train.
Dinesh ChandelApril 2, 2021 1:24 pm
Planning to do 2 weeks eastern eruope tour…we are school mates aged 45 , 11 in numbers, who do reunions abroad…
We prefer nature, partying, adventure activities, ……def not into meausum and religious place visiting….
We intend to start from Istanbul, do Hungary, Romania, Ukraine …etc….
Inputs highly appreciated..
We would prefer budget model for exploration..
Thanks and regards