I just got back from the trip of a lifetime – travelling 5 weeks around Europe.
Our journey started in Amsterdam and ended in Dubrovnik, and consisted of a lot of travelling. We got a 3 week interrailing pass (10 travel days in 21 days) and for the rest of the trip we relied on buses to take us to the next destination.
There were quite a few things I expected, and quite a few I didn’t. So here’s a run down of Eastern Europe in case you’re planning on taking a similar trip! The Croatian leg needs a separate blog post I’m sure.
Our itinerary looked like this: Amsterdam>Brussels>Cologne>Berlin>Wroclaw>Krakow>Budapest>Ljublijana>Bled>Zagreb>Zadar>Split>Brac>Dubrovnik
All in all we visited some amazing places and learnt alot history wise- there are many good museums and exhibitions to visit across Europe which may teach you some things you didn’t know about European history; and some are good just for the experience.
Amsterdam – we stayed with a friend here so she knew the ins and outs, without her we would have been lost! Obviously we took a wander around the red light district (weird) and went to a coffee shop (weird) but the biggest thing about Amsterdam is the beauty of the city – it really is gorgeous. Overrun with bikes and canals, watch where you’re going. Get a ferry aross to the other side of the city too- it’s bigger than you think.
We didn’t love Brussels if I’m honest, however there is some spectacular architecture in the city and I’m sure if we had stayed somewhere better it might have been a different experience.
There is a huge cathedral in Cologne right next to the train station – you can’t miss it and it’s the highlight of the city. We found on Sunday evening there was a salsa class going on on the bridge which connects to the chocolate museum – and I love Europe for random things like that.
An obvious one. There is loads to do and see in Berlin. The highlight for me was The Jewish Museum: a museum with a difference. The architecture of the building is created in such a way to make you ‘feel’ how the Jews did in the war – disorientated. Build in 3 axis, each vcorridor has an art installation at the end to encompass the feeling of the axis. I’d definitely recommend it, and I have done to everyone!
Actually pronounced ‘vratswaf’ – be aware of this, as we weren’t! A nice little town where you can take a day following the gnomes around the city on a map. We stayes at ‘Grampa’s Hostel’ – SUPER cheap and clean and all round amazing. We got a night train from Berlin to Wroclaw and arrived at 5am in a dark and rainy Poland; after 12 hours on the horror trainw e weren’t best pleased. The walk to the hostel was equally as grim as was the building… but when we opened the door it was gorgeous. They let us check in at 6am and sleep which is a rarety – and that night we got very drunk with an irish guy and 80p shots. Lovely.
One of my favourite cities. Poland may not be known to be beautiful (or so I thought) but it really was, and I defiantly want to go again. An trip to Auschwitz took up one day for us, but we ended up staying longer just so we could do more wandering around the city. The nightlife is great too.
Unfortunately our budget didn;t let us visit the baths which is a shame as I’ve heard they were amazing. One thing I would recommend in Budapest is The Terror House – in my opinion this was the most eye opening of all of the museums we visited depicting WW2. An eerie atmosphere but you can learn alot here about when the soviets occupied Hungary.
Pronounced ‘lubliana’, again good to know! Absolutely beautiful city again. Mostly all sightseeing can be done in a day, go up the funicular railway and then walk back down – amazing.
My all out favourite place ever, GO HERE. Lake Bled is situated in the small town of Bled in the middle of the mountains. All I can say about here is that everywhere I went I wanted to take a photo as it was so picturesque. You can swim in the freshwater lake and get a boat to the monastery on a little island in the middle. It was really hot when we were there, many travellers and an all round good chilled out atmosphere.
As for interrailing, expect long trains that will not always have seats available, but otherwise it is a great way to get around. We found a lot of young people doing very similar routes to us, so we met a lot of great people in hostels. If you take an iPhone/iPad/anything internet related, download the hostelworld app and book a couple of days ahead, we found this worked fine for us and gave us some flexibility!
I could write a 10 page post on all things to do and recommendations and tips but I doubt anyone would read it.. so if you are planning on going to any of these places then give me a shout… 🙂