Costs and time of Year for Eastern Europe
Q1 is Mar-May or Sept-Nov the best option - obviously we would go s-n or n-s as appropriate! I'm assuming Jun-Aug is a no go zone in Eastern Europe as well as western - I hate booking hostels and tours in advance.
We are a couple, experienced backpackers, in 2000 in Spain we found it was cheaper to stay in a hotel with a toilet down the hall than stay in a hostel - are we likely to have the same experience in Eastern Europe? We don't really do dorms anymore but happily stay in private room in hostels in Australia - are these common in Eastern Europe? We intend to travel by bus and train 2nd class is fine, we prefer to eat out and drink moderately but will often self-cater lunch as its easier and quicker. I guess we are upper budget travellers - so of course
Question 2 : what sort of budget are we looking at: my current thinking is around
50Euro for room
50Euro for food & booze
50 Euro for land transport , entrance fees
150Euro total/day / 2 people .
We are planning on hitting Vienna, Budapest, Prague which i know will cost more but just looking for an average figure to start saving towards .
Costs of getting to our starting/ending cities are of course extra! Not looking at doing the rest of Turkey on this trip - have been there before but we will end up spending at least a week in Istanbul.
If you go march start in istanbul, but if you go sept start in tallinn (Estonia)
in tallinn make sure you check out the 'hellhunt' bar
the best sheppards pie I've ever had for a pound Â£1
http://www.hellhunt.ee/ and the beers (particularly the dark beer) are some of the best I've tasted..
Your spot on about prices for hostels, prices in a budget hotel, or a chain such as ibishotels.com can be much cheaper, than for a double in a hostel.
I guess in hostels you get to meet more people, and they only focus on themselves and other hostels
the money situation looks good, and I'm sure you'll easily get by on 150 euro's per day, (you won't be travelling everyday so the 50 euro's travelling budget can be saved up for a cold wet day) as long as you do stay east.
maybe 200 a day would be better for dubrovnik, prague, vienna, berlin
try to get to slovenia ljubljana / lake bled are dangerously cheap for their ideal location
Accommodation varies. Many places (i.e. Croatia) its cheapest to get a "private room" normally in some family/grandma's house. They run about 15/Euros a person--depending on the location and season. In more soviet countries you'll find cheaper ex-soviet (i.e. Moldova) hotels 25/Euro a night should get you a decent room in a two-star hotel there. In the EU states chain hotels like easyhotel.com and etap can be very economical (from 20/Euro a night). Hostels often have doubles. In fact, in less-touristy parts of Poland, traditional hostels are common and beds are normally offered up in doubles for around 20/Euro a room.)
It will be hard to hit everything in fair conditions. Some countries are not touristy and thus it doesn't matter when you go: base it on your weather preferences. For instance you'll not have any trouble in Moldova or Ukraine with booked-out hotels and tours. Others are definitely touristy like Croatia. There there is a huge variety and supply of tours and rooms so you wont need to really worry about that unless prices are a huge issue (they're higher may-october) or the hoards of sun-seeking tourists are not your cup of tea. Most places are nice in warm weather, but one might find, for instance the Baltics beautiful in Winter. It will be hard to see all the best countries without doing some loops. Spring can be rainy. Summer is very hot in the south. Fall can get cold fast. Fall is probablly nicest weather-wise. Spring might be nicer as far as natural beauty. Here is the plan I would make assuming you want to hit a good variety of countries and that you want to go March-May.
Prices are per-room/per-night for hotels and per-person for transport.
Week 1: Istanbul
>Cheap hotels. â‚¬30
>Bus to Varana. â‚¬25
Week 2: Varna. Sofia. Skopje.
>Vacation rentals. â‚¬30
>train or WizzAir to Sofia. â‚¬20
>Hostel Mostel. â‚¬30 hostelmostel.com
>Bus to Skopje. â‚¬15
>Cheap Hotel. â‚¬25
Week 3: Albania
>Bus from Skopje â‚¬20
>Domestic Trains/Buses â‚¬20
Week 4: Montenegro
>Bus from Albania â‚¬20
>Domestic Trains/Buses â‚¬20
>Hotels/Private Rooms. â‚¬25
Week 5: Southern Croatia, Bosnia
>Bus from Montenegro â‚¬15
>Private Accommodation â‚¬30
>Bus/Train to Bosnia â‚¬25
Week 6: Bosnia, Northern Croatia
>Hotel or Hostel â‚¬35
Week 7: Slovenia, Austria
>Train from Zagreb â‚¬30
>Bus/Train to Vienna â‚¬50
>Hostel/Chain Hotel â‚¬50
Week 8: Czech Republic, Slovakia
>Bus to Prauge â‚¬15 studentagencyexpressbus.com
>Bus to Brno â‚¬5 studentagencyexpressbus.com
>Bus to Bratislava â‚¬15 studentagencyexpressbus.com
Week 9: Budapest, Belgrade, Timisoara
>Train/Ferry/Bus to Budapest â‚¬30
>Hotel â‚¬20 easyHotel.com
>Night Train to Belgrade â‚¬40
>to Timisoara â‚¬30
Week 10: Transylvania, Moldova
>Train to Transylvania â‚¬25
>Night Train/Bus to Cishinau â‚¬30
>Hotel â‚¬20 try Hotel Turist or hotels in that area
>Cricova tour â‚¬50/day
Week 11: Ukraine (Kiev, Lvov)
Week 12: Eastern Poland
>Train from Lvov â‚¬25
Week 13: Baltics
Week 14: Baltics
--Okay, thats over 3 months by a week or two but you can't miss any of these countries.
So from my estimations your â‚¬150 a day should be decent if you are budgeting well, it could even be closer â‚¬100 if you were extremely careful. The time frame seems reasonable too; make some rural stops if possible, rural and urban have stark contrast in Eastern Europe: its more so that many places.
Now, i've found a nice budget hotel, right near the main train station and they have wonderful discounts.
Here's a link to it: Dominik Panzio
It has the bathroom down the hall but has 3 such bathrooms on each floor and has only 1 or 2 beds in a room. So really neat. Also you can use the Internet for free -which is why i chose this one. 5 nights for 2 persons adds up to $112 which is just AWESOME!
~"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Confucius
Whatyado.. yes slovenia is definitly on the list and at least a week in Istanbul - I have been there before but want to show it to my partner - I think in 5 days staying in the hostel opposite Haga Sofia we were never more than about 300m from the hostel doing all the local sites - the best laid out town for tourists anywhere!
Flew into Istanbul, stayed there a while,
bus to Sofia, Bulgaria
then train to Belgrade, Serbia, flew back home
I had a wonderful delightful time, Sofia is a really nice and fun city, especially for young people. Istanbul is huge and has so much to see, you could spend weeks there. Belgrade is big too, very nice also, laid back and virtually no tourists, same with Sofia, although I am sure that is changing. All were pretty cheap in relation to USD and speaking English was no problem (although it is respectful to learn a bit of the local languages)
I stayed at the Art hostel in Sofia, it was decent and good.
Hope that helps
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