Route: Berlin Krakow Prague Cesky Krumlov Vienna Bratislava Budapest Belgrade Zagreb Ljubljana Zadar Split Dubrovnik
Duration: 35 nights
Transport: This route is a 36 day trip and you’ll spend 34 nights in your accommodation and one on a night train. The rest of the time, you’ll travel by train or bus during the day.
Sustainability: This trip only creates 231.7 kg of carbon emissions! To fly the same route would cost 1015.4
Reviews: All independent reviews
The Eastern Trooper is a great value option if you want to see some of Eastern Europe’s top cities on a budget – choose our 5 week option to see them at a leisurely pace. Each city has a great combination of nightlife, culture, and foodie treats to discover, plus you’ve got a week at the Croatian coast at the end of your trip for some well-deserved chill-out time.
Don’t have 5 weeks to spare? Check out a similar route as a guided tour and our other Eastern Trooper durations below:
On this route, you’ll get to take in the best of Eastern Europe essentials. Exploring amazing countries that were off-limits until quite recently in Europe’s history, this fast-paced 5-week Eastern Europe interrailing trip covers a real mix of destinations from grand old cities to stunning Adriatic coastal towns.
Hit the ground running in bohemian Berlin, one of Europe’s most historically rich cities. With more incredible museums than you can shake a stick at, you’ll have plenty of the city’s history to explore! Wander around its streets and pass what was the border between Eastern and Western Europe before the Berlin Wall fell. Counter-balance the culture and history lessons with bar-hopping and partying at the city’s many clubs – from the edgy to the downright bizarre. If you’re lucky enough, you might even get into Berghain…
Then you’ll head to Krakow, Poland. Packed with imposing and impressive architecture, homely eateries and luscious green parks – there’s plenty to fill your days with. With the city’s natural beauty, it’s hard to believe that it’s also bursting at the seams with amazing and vibrant nightlife. Whilst there, be sure take an unforgettable day trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau. We guarantee that it’ll be one of the most moving experiences you’ll ever have on your travels.
Next, head to magnificent Prague where you can soak up the fairy-tale atmosphere alongside plenty of cheap and locally-made beers. Continue along in the same vein in Cesky Krumlov, where you can explore the perfectly preserved old town. Then you’ll head to Vienna, the musical capital of Austria where coffee and cake reign supreme. A short hop across the border takes you to Bratislava to see its brilliant buildings and Disney-esque castles for yourself, before following the blue Danube as you make your way to the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Take a dip and relax in a thermal bath before sinking a glass of the local wine, Tokaji. You’ll appreciate some relaxation before carrying on the party at one of Budapest’s many amazing Ruin Bars. The final port of call along the Danube is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and one of Eastern Europe’s most interesting and underrated destinations.
Next up, you’ll head to Croatia, calling first at the vibrant capital of Zagreb, before popping into Slovenia for a few days in Ljubljana. This cute and colourful city has plenty of history of its own and is the perfect base for a day trip to the jaw-dropping Lake Bled – not to be missed!
Now you’ll head back into Croatia but this time you’ll head south to Zadar. Listen to the Sea Organ (yes, really!) and watch sunsets that some claim are the world’s most beautiful, before continuing to the stunning city of Split perched on the shores of the Adriatic. Visit Krka National park, take a ferry across to Hvar or Brac islands, or just wander around the beautifully preserved Roman old town. Finally, wind your way down to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik (home of Game of Thrones), where you can chill with a cocktail and watch the sun set on the trip of a lifetime!
Prefer to fly back from Split rather than Dubrovnik? No problem – you can add the return bus journey to Split at check-out, just make sure you’ve allowed yourself enough time to get there and check in (the bus is around 5 hours).
Berlin is the alternative, cool kid of Europe and a pro at being edgy. It’s how people dress, their liberal attitudes, the graffiti, the skaters and BMXers, the art, the clubs, and the food. Berlin is also crammed full of fascinating WWII history around every corner so there’s something for everyone.
See a section of the old Berlin Wall
Climb the dome of the renovated Reichstag
Discover the nightlife of Schoneberg and Kreuzberg
Trains to Krakow – 10 hours
Krakow escaped being reduced to rubble in WWII, preserving the postcard-perfect Old Town and the cellars housing its famous bars and clubs. That’s not to say it doesn’t share a chapter of history in the nearby Auschwitz Concentration Camp which demands a humbling visit.
See Europe’s largest medieval market square
Take photos of Poland’s best-preserved city
Find one of many Gothic cellar bars open until late
Night Train to Prague – 9 hours
Prague is stunning, there’s no better word to describe it. On any side street or square you’ll find unique buildings full of colourful detail. The Czech Republic is also the home of Pilsner beer, with no lack of establishments to sample it.
Cross the enchanting Charles Bridge
Marvel at the curvy design of the Dancing Building
Try all the Czech Pilsner beers in the Old Town pub
Train to Cesky Krumlov – 3 hours
Cesky Krumlov is often sighted as the “undiscovered” Prague. We’re not sure how undiscovered it really is, but it certainly makes a great value addition to your stay in the Czech capital. Enjoy the pretty pastel buildings, slow pace of life, and quieter (but just as quaint) Old Town.
Try out Night Rafting – head out with a trained guide and discover the river after dark
Head underground to discover the old mines which made Cesky Krumlov rich
Visit the Eggenburg Brewery to see how their tasty Pils is made.
Train to Vienna – 5 hours
Vienna is crisp, clean, and chic with its biggest draw factor being the multitude of classical palaces and grand imperial buildings. Whether you’re into your royal history or not, the sheer scale of it here will be encapsulating for all, whilst not forgetting the great bars and eateries.
Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna
Eat real apple strudel and wiener schnitzel
Go to a classical concert in a city renowned for music
Train to Bratislava – 1 hour
Bratislavans are incredibly friendly and, as the city has not yet been discovered by the mainstream tourist (stag-dos aside), food, beer, and wine are still cheap here. It’s just as beautiful as its neighbouring Eastern European capitals, but smaller, quieter, and with an idyllic medieval feel.
Climb up to the 19th century castle
Take a night tour to admire Bratislava’s beauty
Do some folk-art shopping at Úľuv
Train to Budapest – 3 hours
Proudly guarding the Danube, the once twin cities of Buda and Pest show off every architectural style from Baroque to Art Nouveau. With its rickety trams and turn-of-the-century feel you’ll be charmed by its past while you cure your hangover in any of the multitude of hot baths.
Relax in the 15th century thermal spas
Take panoramic photos from the scenic Buda castle
Go to Sziget rock and indie festival in August
Bus to Belgrade – 9 hours
The capital of Serbia won’t disappoint you. Visitors from surrounding countries come here for the all-night party scene and friendly atmosphere. Tourists also come to see the world’s largest Orthodox church or just wander around the bohemian town centre, with its arty cafes and hipster foodie hangouts.
Visit the 18th century Belgrade Fortress
Climb the cobbled streets of Skadarlija
Float down the Danube on the splavovi party boats
Bus to Zagreb – 6 hours
A city of flowers and fountains with a curious Mediterranean feel, Zagreb is a year-round destination with a museum-café-theatre culture by day and a lakeside party by night. In winter, a tram ride out of the city provides scenic hiking and skiing opportunities.
Catch a 360-view from the Lotrščak Tower
Have a coffee in Kino Europa, Zagreb’s oldest cinema
Stroll through the beautiful Mirogoj Cemetery
Bus to Ljubljana – 3 hours
Ljubljana is a colourful chocolate-box city with a café culture that brings to it a festival atmosphere all summer long. See the castle perched above the city or take a day trip out by train to the picturesque Lake Bled, where you can hire a rowing boat and visit the island in the middle. We’ve given you extra time here, so you can chill out and enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
See the 16th century castle on the hill
Wander through the colourful streets
Take in 360-views from an art-deco skyscraper terrace
Bus to Zadar – 7 hours
Like many of its Adriatic cousins, Zadar has plenty of amazing beaches and blue skies. From here explore amazing Croatian Islands such as Pag, or take a trip to Plitvice Lakes.
Listen to the magical Sea Organ cut into Zadar’s beaches
Embark on an epic pub crawl with new friends
Take a trip to Pag Island, just north of the city
Bus to Split – 3.5 hours
Even though Split is a port for many Croatian islands, sitting elegantly between the Adriatic and the mountains, the country’s second city has two Unesco World Heritage sites within its walls, a marble waterfront walkway, and a buzzing atmosphere around its bars and pubs.
See the amazing ruin of Diocletian’s Palace
Admire the city as you approach it from the sea
Stroll along the glittering waterfront
Bus to Dubrovnik – 3.5 hours
Dubrovnik is an absolute pearl with its wonderful marble streets and Baroque buildings. You won’t be anything but awe-struck at its beauty, a medieval city perched against the Adriatic and positively beaming with charm.
Wander the streets of the walled Old Town
Take a day trip to beautiful Mostar in Bosnia
Sip cocktails at the Troubadour Jazz Café as the sun sets
The quickest way to get to and from the UK will be to book a flight. Travelling by train from the UK to Berlin could also work, but travelling back by train/bus from Dubrovnik will take you a long time so bear that in mind!
If you’d prefer to fly back from Split (rather than Dubrovnik) then you can include the bus back to Split at check-out.
Need extra time in Split at the end as well? Let us know and we’ll customise this for you!