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Ravidel
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So I’m currently in the process of planning a 2-2.5 month trip through Scandinavia and Central Europe next summer. I know most of the “major” places I want to go, but I’m interested in some advice/ideas about some of the slightly less known stuff.

My last Eurotrip, I hit up the big cities of Western Europe, but some of the best gems of my trip were Mont St. Michel, Carcassonne, Cinque Terre, Interlaken, Marburg (I had a friend there), and Ios. These were all places I discovered as I started planning the trip, but really in many ways made the trip — I’m sure many of you are laughing, because these aren’t exactly “hidden” destinations, but they’re a little less well known than say, Rome and Paris.

I’m hoping some people might give me some similar suggestions for something that is loosely compatible with the following itinerary (it’s far from finalized, so I’m open to changes… but not something on the other side of Europe, please!):

Norway -> Sweden (Stockholm) -> Estonia (Talinn) -> Latvia (Riga) -> Krakow -> Czech Republic (Prague + Cesky Krumlov) -> Munich -> Austria (Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna) -> Hungary (Budapest) -> Slovenia (Ljubljana + Bled) -> Croatia (a large number of places here!)

Basically any suggestions of “must sees” or even better, “must dos” would be greatly appreciated. I’m certainly doing my own research, but I don’t want to miss out on any spectacular natural or artificial treasures.

Thanks!

Don
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Norway must-do: the train trip between Oslo and Bergen in one direction or the other. The scenery is spectacular. In summer, you’ll have daylight from before 6am until past 10pm; just don’t do it in the dark or you’ll miss the main reason to do this train trip. I think Bergen and western fjords are what people are looking for in Norway. Oslo, in my opinion, should be at best a mediocre “Plan B” for Norway.

Sweden: Stockholm in summer, get a ferry day pass for the archipeligo and take a picnic lunch with you.

I’ve been to Prg, Bud, Vie, but probably couldn’t advise beyond normal tourist stuff. Prague has a superb hostel called Sir Tobey’s. Slovenia—I’ve only connected in the airport on way to Macedonia, but we had a long slow descent straight in, and the scenery was stunning. It looked like a place to rent a car and just explore next time I go back.

No Denmark? Skagen and Copenhagen are great in summer.

oldlady
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Riga is a real favorite for me. The occupation museum, the night lighting at the square/ bridges around city hall were highlights, the huge market that’s in 4 mammoth Zeppelin hangars and the thousands of acres of parks and green spaces were highlights. Since you don’t seem to have any other locales where there will be a Russian Orthodox church, I’d put the one in Riga as a “must see.” A day trip would be nice (maybe Daugvapils near the Lithuanian border— although fairly distant for a day trip) as Riga is somewhat more Russian (70% of Riga residents speak Russian: the result of sending locals to the Gulags in Siberia and shipping in Russians during the Soviet era) than less urban parts of Latvia.

How are you getting from Riga to Krakow? Vilnius, Kaunus, or Trakai in Lithuania would be nice stopovers if you’re taking the bus.

Ravidel
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Let me first say thanks for the suggestions!

Don: The Western fjords (and the trip from Oslo to Bergen) are definitely what I had in mind for Norway, especially for the summer. I’m not planning to spend much time in Oslo… it’s just the most convenient (at least, that I’ve seen so far) for me to fly into. On the topic of Sweden, is there anywhere that’s not accessible from Stockholm that you’d highly recommend? I’ve tentatively scheduled 4-5 days for Stockholm.

I’m sort of on the fence about the renting a car idea… I know the huge advantages, unfortunately I have VERY little experience driving a standard car. Unless I can get some practice in before hand, it’s a pretty big obstacle.

As for Denmark, I’d love to… right now, it just doesn’t fit my itinerary, but maybe I should think about flying into Copenhagen and then taking the ferry to Oslo. My dates aren’t totally fixed (I have most of the summer off)… but I have a soft cap on the total length of time I can be away for.

Oldlady: I’d definitely like to hear more about Riga and Talinn, since I’ve heard they’re really great to visit but I know very little about them. My current plan was to fly from Riga to Krakow (or possibly to Warsaw and train from there) to save time, somewhat dependent on the cost. That said, I’m going to have to look into Vilnius, Kaunus and Trakai and see if those look worth switching my plans around for.

Thanks so much for the suggestions!

oldlady
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Flying from Riga to Krakow is a good idea. Sign up at Air Baltic. They send e-mails about their frequent sales.

Tallinn is a charming city. The walled old town is a combination of quaint and trendy. Our first morning there was quiet and plesant. Several cruise ships docked in the late morning which added a lot more tourists to the mix, and the weekend brought lots of Finns taking advantage of fast and frequent ferry service and lower prices on booze. We visited city and national museums, and generally just wandered around. Tallinn to Riga won’t be as easy as it looks on the map. You may want to look into flying that, too. If there’s ferry service, it will be a comfortable trip, but bus will be fairly long and uncomfortable and train nearly impossible.

Cil
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As you probably already know, there are a lot of possibilities within and around Croatia.
Out of Dubrovnik, there are trips to Bosnia, Montenegro etc.
We rented a car and took a day trip to the Bay of Kotor, it was well worth it.