Interrail Prague - Vienna - Belgrade - Zagreb - Budapest ...

Ian @ 26-07-2007 12:44

First of all, thanks Peter for going to so much effort to create such a great site. 🤣

O.K., I'm planning to follow the above route from 25th August to 16th September, and welcome thoughts of any kind. (I'll be flying from London to Prague.) I will be staying with friends in each city except Prague and so will be in each for at least two days, and more in some cases. Any recommendations for where to stay in Prague for one night?

If I buy my ticket at a main London railway station, am I right in thinking that it should be quite easy? I don't want to buy it on line as I want to do so after the 21st (pay day) and don't want to risk it not arriving in time.


Ian @ 09-08-2007 15:59

I have edited the above post to reflect changes to my plan. Any thoughts are still very welcome, for example anywhere that I might stop off between the cities specified. Detours to interesting places are also more than fine, so long as I can stick to ten days' travel.

admin @ 10-08-2007 11:23

Hi there

You can easily visit Auschwitz when you are in Krakow. You don't need to use a railpass day to do so. The bus station is very close to the railway station in Krakow. The buses, taking around 70 minutes, are frequent and cheap; around 7 Zloty (1.20 GBP) each way. Entry to Auschwitz is free, with a free shuttle bus between both camps. You can book a tour, which will bus you there and back and will talk you round some of the camp but you can go independently and just listen-in to the guides. I met people who had paid 90 Zlotys for their tour so I'd recommend just taking the bus on your own.

Have a great trip.

Ian @ 10-08-2007 11:39

Thanks for the reply. I've actually been to Cracow/Krakow [in case you're wondering, I just like using language-specific forms of placenames, and this also avoids the problem of missing the accent off the O... 😉 ] before - it's the only place on the list I have been to previously. I went to Auschwitz then - before watching the World Cup final in the market square in Cracow, which made for a strange contrast. I encourage anyone visiting the city to do the same, and heartily agree with what you say - there is no need to go on a tour and indeed I would think it would depersonalise the experience. I was very relieved that it hadn't been jazzed up into a modern museum, and the corridors of portraits were particularly moving. The city itself is just amazing and highly recommended to anyone for a visit.

admin @ 10-08-2007 12:41

Yes, I think Krakow was probably the nicest surprise of my tour; with the lovely, crumbling buildings and churches of the old town. I even preferred it to Prague.

I went to Auschwitz partly because my ancestors were Jewish. I did my M.A. dissertation on Anti-Semitism and, in my research, found people with my name who were killed there. So when I visited I felt it was all the more meaningful for me. I really appreciated the fact that visitors can just walk around freely. In doing so I walked for perhaps five hours and was astonished at the scale of the place.

I, too, am interested in the pronunciation thing and wanted to be able to pronounce it like local people, but when I listened to people talking around me, I heard Krakow, Krakov and, even, Krakovia, so I'm still not certain as to local pronunciation!

Next year I might go back to Poland and perhaps Zakopane. I'm sure you know it's often referred to as the Polish Switzerland - surely Switzerlandski would be better! - but I'd welcome any other suggestions for visits that you might have.

In Prague, the Welcome Hostel Hlavcova, is nice and quiet and is very near the river and metro. It's just 20 safe minutes walk from the old town and a few weeks ago I had a single room for 17 GBP a night. I booked it through and I think there's a discount for booking on-line.

Have a great trip.

All the best.

Ian @ 10-08-2007 13:05

Some of the different versions of 'Krakow' are because Polish has cases, although the -ovia one might be the Latin form (although if you heard it in speech I suppose not). I tend to thing of the -ow pronuniciation as being the anglicised 'Cracow' and the -ov one as being the Polish 'Krakow' (with an accent on the O, although at least one of the cases doesn't have the accent...) I only know all this because my friend there is pretty fluent in Polish!

We were going to go into the mountains last time, but things cropped up, so perhaps that will happen this time. I'll report back. The main tourist thing I didn't do was the salt mines, which are apparently beautiful, so maybe that'll happen too. I did go to Krispinow Lake, and it was really nice to be able to go swimming despite being so far from the sea.

Thanks for the Prague hostel tip - sounds good. I'm quite excited about stopping off there now. It has only happened because when I was trying to book my flight to Vienna the price jumped from 105 to 145 pounds. :/ It seems to have worked out well. :P

Ian @ 22-08-2007 14:00

I am now flying back from Berlin on Sunday 16th September. Unfortunately, it's Berlin-Schönefeld, south of the city in Brandenburg and at 10 a.m.

My whole trip will be 23 days, so should I have my InterRail ticket cover the journey from Prague airport or the one to Berlin-Schönefeld? I assume the latter would be better, but would appreciate any advice.

Ian @ 22-08-2007 14:01

N.B. The official enquiries line misinformed me the other day. It is indeed the case that you cannot buy InterRail tickets from British railway stations - even the huge ones in London. :/

Ian @ 22-08-2007 14:17

O.K., there's no railway station at Prague airport, so that decides that! 😧

Ian @ 25-08-2007 10:06

I just thought I'd drop in to record that my trip has started and I have arrived in Prague. The hostel that Iain recommended came up second on Hostel Bookers, but in the end I went with the one that came up first, the Czech Inn. So far I'm very impressed - the bedrooms are of course small and basic but the whole place is very stylish, and has lots of facilities. Definitely recommended.

Ian @ 07-09-2007 17:53

I have now been through Vienna, Belgrade and Zagreb, after which I added the Croatian island of Krk. Unfortunately there was a lightning storm on my second day there, and it has been raining a lot of the time since, but I am still having a great trip. Serbian border guards are scary though!

Anyway, I am now in Budapest and my next proper stop is Cracow. What is the best route there. I would quite like to stop in Slovakia for one day, if there is somewhere picturesque on the way - especially if it has a nice castle. Any ideas?

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