“On an entirely personal level I'd like to offer this advice to anyone even remotely interested in traveling: Just go. Do it. Whether it is with this company, or someone else, or by yourself, just go. Traveling will change your life. The friends and experiences that are made possible through traveling can not be replicated by any other means. Everyone has excuses for why they can't travel. My job, my dog, my significant other, my fear of flying. I understand the fear of the unknown that comes with taking that first leap, I had to deal with it myself, but I promise you that fear disappears the first crazy night and it does not return. It is replaced with an addiction.
Don't be the one saying "I should have,” be the one with the stories, the memories, the lifelong friends.”
Mike Risser - Escape-Backpackers
15 days, 4 countries
Berlin - Prague - Krakow - Budapest
-Walking Tours of each city
-Cookout including Free Beer overlooking Prague at beautiful Vyšehrad
-Excursion to see the incredibly unique Sedlec Ossuary (bone church)
-Day Trip to the amazing Gothic Castle Karlstejn built in 1348
-Visit Poland’s most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz
-Check out the East Side Gallery paintings on the Berlin Wall
-Tour Wawel Castle in Krakow
+Optional trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine (125m underground)**
+Optional day at the stunning Szechenyi Thermal Bath House**
**Items with asterisks are not included in the tour price.
-Taste the traditional cuisines in each city
-Try REAL absinth prepared in the proper Czech “fire ritual”
-Party in the ruins bars of Budapest, including the world famous Szimpla
-Tip back some German brews at a true German Beer Garden
-Dance until the sun comes up in Berlin’s unbeatable electro clubs
-Wander the Hungarian Central Market Hall
-Check out the wildest water party in the world, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath Party
-Take a stroll in the historic neighborhood of Kazimierz, Krakow
-Pour your own beers all night at The Pub in Prague
-Put your puzzle solving skills to the test in one of Budapest’s Escape Rooms
-Roam the 5 museums on the UNESCO protected Museum Island in Berlin
-Absolve your sins with a Holy Beer at Prague’s Strahov Monastary
"The City that Never Sleeps." Though this nickname is aptly attributed to a few different cities, from my experience Berlin is the most worthy namesake. Boasting arguably the best nightclubs in the world, the party scene in Berlin is unrivaled. At the same time, multicultural Berlin is known as "the city with more museums than rainy days." No longer divided into East and West, Berlin is a place where you can witness acknowledgment of a dark past and consistent progress toward a bright future. The city consists of many different neighborhoods with diverse and individual personalities, making it a dynamic city with lots to see and do.
"The Beer Capital of the World." Despite a turbulent history of oppression, occupation, liberation and independence, Prague has always remained one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Having been beloved by influential leaders such as Charles IV, Rudolph II, and even Hitler, Prague's amazing architecture from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque Era has managed to remain relatively untouched through World Wars and various tyrannical regimes. Prague today attracts countless visitors because of this, not to mention the cheap (CHEAP!) beer and endless entertainment possibilities.
“The European Capital of Culture.” With 6,000 historic buildings and monuments, and an incredible 2.3 million works of art, Krakow is rightfully referred to as the cultural capital of Europe (given this honor by the European Union). Between the Old Town Square being one of the first sites picked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Kazimierz, a Jewish quarter that comes alive at night, with the added benefit of good strong beer and many (amazing) national vodkas, Krakow is a great place to relax, sightsee, or hit the town.
"The Pearl of the Danube." The first recorded history of Budapest dates back more than 1,900 years. It was originally separated by the river into two different cities; Buda (old town) and Pest (downtown). Due to wars and flooding both were rebuilt many times. Since being connected and united in the mid 1800s, it has proven to be a delightfully balanced city known for its architecture, thermal baths and ruin pubs (which really need to be seen to be believed). As it stands, Budapest is the absolute perfect mixture of fascinating history and ridiculous partying. Truly a backpacker's paradise.
The Escape Backpackers team I have assembled are very knowledgable and experienced travelers teeming with charisma and energy. Together we have been to nearly 100 different countries and speak 8 different languages. We are anxious to take you across Central Europe and to share intimate knowledge on 4 of the greatest cities in the world. We will take you to all the important tourist hotspots during the days, and all the infamous local nightlife of Central Europe every night. Our team knows culture, our team knows how to party. It is my promise to you that the 4 days in each city will provide us enough time to give you the
full Berlin/Prague/Krakow/Budapest experience.
what to know
Before You Go
All four countries we will be visiting are members of Europe’s Schengen Zone so tourists arriving from the United States and Australia do not need to make any arrangements ahead of time. Passport stamps will be given upon arrival and are valid for 90 days in a 180 day period.
Passports are necessary for entry.
The cheapest days to fly are generally Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
Large Int'l Airports tend to have a greater number of airlines flying between them, which leads to considerably cheaper flights. When booking long haul flights it is almost always better to book from the largest hub (New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin etc.) near to your takeoff/destination points and then figure out how to get to and from those hubs separately.
Example: When I travel home to Milwaukee from Prague, booking Prague- New York City and then booking New York City-Milwaukee separately generally saves me about 500$.
It is important to be flexible with travel dates. Using websites like SkyScanner.com to search time periods will give you the absolute lowest prices. This website also allows you to search multiple airports (even every airport in the World at the same time). For example, you could search New York City to Everywhere for the whole month of July and it will tell you where in the world you can go for the cheapest prices.
Return Flights are not always cheaper than separate one-ways.
SIM cards can be purchased for very reasonable prices in each city, however each one will only work for the country in which it is purchased. They also will only work on an unlocked phone.
WIFI will be available at every hostel and all over each city so staying connected will not be a problem.
Call your bank ahead of time and let them know what countries you will be visiting so security measures are not taken on your card.
There is absolutely no reason to bring significant amounts of cash from home with the intention of exchanging it once you arrive in each city. A better, safer option is to simply take money out of the ATM whenever it is needed. The days of outrageous foreign currency fees are over. That being said it is quite important to make sure your bank isn't one of the outliers. If they do charge outlandish fees then it's time for a new bank because they are likely taking you to the cleaners at home as well.
If you MUST use a Money Exchange it is important to have a general idea as to the current exchange rates and calculate what you should receive ahead of time so you don’t get scammed. They can be sharks and once the money passes the window there is no recourse.
Tipping rules differ in every country, but the general rule for Central Europe is that anything is appreciated and 10% is more than generous.
Travel Insurance is a personal decision. If you do decide to get it and don't know where to start send me an email and I can give you some suggestions.
Do Not Buy the Eurail Pass! The Eurail Pass generally puts you on trains at odd hours with many changes. Europe is full of cheap airlines and bus lines to get you where you need to go for less.
Use Skype to call home for cheap. Of course Skype to Skype is free, but with an account you can call landlines for as low as 2 cents a minute and cell phones for as low as 10 cents a minute from anywhere in the world.
Take pictures of EVERYTHING in case of accountability or emergency. Taxi Cab name and numbers(important!), 'before photos' of any cars you rent, etc.
E-mail yourself a scan of your passport in case yours is lost or stolen.
Learn to sleep with headphones/ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It's an incredible space saver.
Pack an extra t-shirt and a pair of socks/underwear in your carryon.
Even though packing light is a necessity, bring one nice outfit. Even though you're a backpacker now there could be an evening when 'homeless chic' is not the preferred style.
Don't touch that bread on the table! You aren't in America anymore. Anything on your table that you did not order will likely cost you money. If you want bread, order it off the menu.
Bring an empty water bottle through airport security and fill it on your way to your gate.
Bring an Internet-Ready Device.
Pack Light, Pack Smart. See Suggested Travel Items Below.