Backpacking Central Europe: Itinerary

Planning a trip to Europe can be quite overwhelming. So much so that I drafted 5 itineraries (maybe more) before I finally picked which one to submit to the embassy.

You see, even with its extensive rail networks, there’s just so much to see in each city/country that you can’t possibly visit them all in one Euro trip.

So for my first Euro trip (yes, I plan to go back!), I just focused in Central Europe. Why? Frankly because that’s only what my budget allowed haha

I was actually surprised people were interested with my itinerary because, according to them, it’s not the ‘usual Europe route’.

What I’m going to share here is my actual ‘itinerary’, and not the one I submitted to the embassy. I found that over the years, I have become less meticulous about making itineraries and following it to a T, so you may feel that it’s ‘too relaxed’.

Sure, I could have visited more cities/countries in 21 days, but I’m way past the stage of jamming as many sights/attractions in a day. I’m on vacation, after all, and not on a mission.

Anyway, here it is. Feel free to modify according to your preference.

DAY 1 – Arrived in Prague

DAY 2 – Joined a free city walking tour (Old Town Square, Estates Theatre, Wenceslas Square, Powder Gate, Franz Kafka Statue, Jewish Quarter, Rudolfinum etc.)

DAY 3 – Strolled along Charles Bridge, joined free Prague Castle walking tour (St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane etc.)

DAY 4 –  Was supposed to go on a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, but it was raining. Went shopping in Wenceslas Square instead. :p

DAY 5 – Prague to Vienna by train (4h10m, Praha hl.n.-> Wien Hbf)

DAY 6 – Schonbrunn Palace, strolled around Mariahilferstrasse

DAY 7 – Vienna to Salzburg by train (2h22m, Wien Westbahnhof -> Salzburg Hbf), Checked in at A&O Salzburg

DAY 8 – Walked to the Old Town and went on a day trip to Hallstatt

DAY 9 – Salzburg to Zurich by train (5h24m, Salzburg Hbf->change at Munchen Hbf->Zurich HB). I arrived in Zurich late in the afternoon and it was raining. I literally just spent a night, and went to Interlaken the next day.

DAY 10 – Zurich to Interlaken by train (2h3m, Zurich HB->Bern->Interlaken West), checked in at Balmers Hostel

DAY 11 – Day trip to Grindelwald (Interlaken Ost->Grindelwald) and Lauterbrunnen Valley (Grindelwald->get off at Zweilutschinen->Lauterbrunnen)

DAY 12 – Interlaken to Florence by train (6h23m, Interlaken West->Spiez->Brig->Milano Centrale->Firenze S.M.N.), check in at Hostel Gallo D’Oro, strolled in Piazza del Duomo

DAY 13 – Day trip to Pisa

I was supposed to do Pisa and Cinque Terre on the same day because the train passes by Pisa Centrale on the way to La Spezia anyway. However, I had an altercation with a bus inspector who tried to extort €50 from me earlier that day, so I had to take another bus which took a longer route on the way to Firenze S.M.N. In short, there were so many delays that I arrived in Pisa Centrale around noon. The tower is a 20-minute walk from the station so I figured I wouldn’t have enough time to explore Cinque Terre anymore, and just saved it for the following day.

DAY 14 – Day trip to Cinque Terre (around 3 hours depending on which train you take, Firenze S.M.N.->Pisa Centrale->La Spezia Centrale)

DAY 15 – I was supposed to go to Venice , but because I didn’t buy a ticket in advance, the ones leaving that day were very expensive I figured it wasn’t worth it.

Left without any plans that day, I decided to take a bus going to Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a square atop a hill that offers panoramic views of Florence. I actually didn’t know how to go back to town, and just happened to stumble upon the stairs  near the piazza. Before I knew it, I was already in Ponte Vecchio. I then strolled to Palazzo Vecchio, Piazzale della Repubblica, and eventually found myself again in Piazza del Duomo.

I checked Google Maps when I went back to the hostel and found out that I walked more than 3 kilometers that day. :-O

piazzale

DAY 16 – Florence to Rome by train (1h32m-2hrs, Firenze S.M.N. to Roma Termini), checked in at Freedom Traveller

DAY 17 – Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Fontana di Trevi

DAY 18 – Piazza del Popolo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

DAY 19 – Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona

DAY 20 – souvenir shopping, pack bags

DAY 21 – Roma Termini to Fiumicino Aeroporto (32m), flight FCO to AUH to MNL

In hindsight, I wish I spent less time in Italy and included Germany (which was part of my original itinerary) since I had to change trains in Munich anyway.

Other than that, I was very happy with the pace I traveled.

Have you been to Central Europe? Which region do you think I should explore next? 😀 

 

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