View Full Version : Can you help with train travel in Eastern Europe?

13-05-2004, 18:37
I went to the travel agency today to get help with a trip I want to take. The fact that I'm here now posting for help should tell you that my vacation inquiry.....was not a raving success.

What I would like to do is take a train trip through eastern Europe. No special itinerary. Want to go through the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, etc. Leisurely ride, take a week or two, tour around. The travel agent stared at me as though I were a madwoman. She said "Where do you want to go?" I told her again that I wanted to see Eastern Europe, former Soviet countries, by train.....I could see the inevitible 'nyet' was on its' way.

Anybody done this? I know there are trains galore. The travel agent told me that I had to pick a destination, go there, and return. Or two or three destinations, make a straight line between each, ticket from one place to the next. No touring. One town, one hotel, one train ticket. Next town, next hotel, etc.

I know that these countries just joined the EU last week. News of changes may be slow in leaking out. Can such a trip be made? Am I dreaming the impossible dream?

13-05-2004, 18:49
Try www.raileurope.com - not sure how far east it goes and try www.guideforeurope.com

Backpackers always know these things !!

Poland is easy to get around by train - that much I do know !

13-05-2004, 19:02
of course not. its just you might have to book the tickets in each place as you go along.

i would try moscow - st petes - helsinki -short ferry to tallinn - bus to riga - vilnius - warsaw - prague - bratislava - budapest - belgrade - bucharest - kiev - moscow.

of course this is just capitals, much more to see in each country, and you could make it much longer or shorter depending on time constraints.

13-05-2004, 19:42
agree with Shaun. the only thing is that travelling by train to Belgrade and Bucharest is not safe. I know this from my friends' experience. Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia are on the contrary very nice and safe, and it's very easy to buy tickets there, you don't really need to book anything in advance. If you wish to go to Romania, it's better to go by bus from Budapest or other Hungarian cities like Debrecen. This is how locals travel, there are no tourists so there no people interested in robbing tourists on those buses. And the small cities and villages in Romania close to Hungarian border are exeptionally beautiful.

13-05-2004, 20:05
Same advice as Guest777
+ Ljubljana (Slovenia) is also worthwile visiting !!
Very nice city and very safe !

By the way, please don't think that the new EU - countries are underdeveloped or so ! You will be surprised of what they have here and how nice they are !

13-05-2004, 20:31
I really had wanted to put the trip together before leaving rather than get to one place and then try to get a ticket somewhere else.....my husband would never take a footloose adventure like that and I am planning to take him along.

We have traveled in Russia only a little and have found so far that to get a room on short notice can be difficult, sometimes nearly impossible. I don't want to be stranded in some country where I don't speak the language to find that the nearest available room is in Azerbaijan.

Do I need visas for these countries? Anybody know of a travel service that might work with me on this? Any word on travel in Eastern Europe now that they're EU? Thanks to all who reply.

13-05-2004, 21:43
You don't need visas to travel to any of the so-called Eastern European countries. Crossing Belarus is another matter.

Don't know what the current situation is in Hungary and Romania. I was there 4 years ago, traveled by train quite extensively with no problems. Downtown Bucharesti is beautiful, but the best part of Romania is up to Sinaia and Brasov. The scenery is stunning.

13-05-2004, 23:32
So, why don't you go from capital to capital by train? Then you can see the countryside!
eg. fly from Moscow to Poland (Warsaw) and then take the train to Prague (Czech Republic) and then to Bratislava (Slovakia), from there to Vienna (Austria) (Vienna is only 60 km from Bratislava), then to Budapest (Hungary) and then to Ljubljana (Slovenia). you can even go to Croatia (very beautiful).
And indeed, Bucharest is very nice.

There are plenty of good international hotels in every capital (even Hilton, Marriot, ... whatever you want) for how many nights as you want (also 1 night)!

In short, EASTERN EUROPE is 'in better shape' than RUSSIA.

I am currently in Prague and everything is just great !

13-05-2004, 23:41

if you want to book the hotels in advance :

just look at the websites of the hotel you prefer and see if it has a hotel in the city you want to go to !
also try : www.accorhotels.com

and concerning trains : look up the tel.number of the national railway - company and give them a call or send them an email. but don't worry. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BOOK THE TICKETS IN ADVANCE !!

Next Friday, I will back for the expat night. so, if you want some more advice, just let me know!

14-05-2004, 10:32
isabelinha, to be sure I am looking forward to meeting you and talking more. Thanks for your suggestions.

14-05-2004, 11:02
visit www.lonelyplanet.com and place your question on their "Thorn Tree" bulletin board under Eastern Europe.
You should get a few good answers there too.