Planning a 2-week Central Europe itinerary is one of the best ways to see some of the most beautiful towns and cities on the continent without breaking the bank. The countries of Hungary, Czechia, Poland and the like have so much to offer visitors including fairy-tale-like Old Towns, beautiful natural scenery, and unique national cuisines.
If you want an introduction to Europe, are keen to dip your toe into Eastern Europe or are just interested in this unique and beautiful part of the world, you can’t go wrong with exploring the lovely nations that make up Central Europe.
Dotted with fascinating and, at times, heartbreaking history, gorgeous old towns, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant cities, Central Europe is a dynamic and interesting region to visit on the continent. The region has so much to offer visitors and it is just as welcoming to a budget backpacker as it is to a luxury traveller. Boasting unique cultures, delicious cuisine and refreshingly affordable prices, there is no way to no to enjoy yourself while on a trip to Central Europe.
So whether you have many weeks to spend in Central Europe or are just keen to plan the perfect 2-week Central Europe itinerary, we’re here to help you plan your ideal trip to this incredible region.
How Long to Spend in Central Europe?
One question that many potential visitors ask themselves before they go to Central frequently is how long they should spend in the region. And my answer is that it really depends on what you want to see and how many places you want to visit.
The region is vast and encompasses a number of different countries and sub-regions and one could easily spend months in Central Europe and continually find new things to see and do.
However, most people don’t have an endless amount of time to spend traipsing across Europe and want to know what the ideal length is for a Central Europe trip. So, if you only have a short amount of time to play around with and want to get the most out of your trip to this region, I would recommend planning to spend no fewer than 10 days (and visiting no more than 3 cities) for your trip.
A 10-day Central Europe itinerary is enough to give you a good feel for the region, however, it will likely prevent you from digging deeper and visiting more offbeat areas or spending longer in various destinations.
If you can, we think that the ideal period of time for a short trip is 2 weeks. Spending 2 weeks in Central Europe will allow you to hit some top cities in the region and also give you the chance to really get to know various countries and smaller towns and municipalities.
You can both get the opportunity to dig a bit deeper and gain a good understanding of the region while also still whetting your appetite for where you can visit next time you get a chance to travel to Central Europe.
Obviously, if you have more time to spend, then you can’t go wrong with taking advantage of it. There are so many options available to those who have time for a 3-week or 4-week Central Europe itinerary and you can easily combine some of these 2-week itineraries or following the suggestions in the ‘Have more Time’ sections.
However, if you only have time to allow for a 2-week trip, you can certainly cover a lot of ground and really get to know the region and the destinations you choose to visit.
One thing to keep in mind no matter how long you have to dedicate to your Central Europe travel itinerary is that it is impossible to see absolutely everything so make sure to prioritise what you want to visit.
Getting Around Central Europe
Now that we’ve taken the time to discuss how long to spend in Central Europe, we need to discuss how you plan on getting around while you’re there. In general, it depends on your budget and which countries you plan to visit in Central Europe to figure out the best transport options, however, there are a number of different routes you can take (no pun intended).
If you’re planning to rely on public transit while on your Central Europe trip, then your best bet in most countries would be to plan to get from city to city by the wonderful train. Train travel in a lot of Europe is some of the best in the world and, for the majority of Central European countries, this region is no exception.
Trains are typically reliable, reasonably quick, and comfortable and there are ample routes between major municipalities that you’re unlikely to be standard or have to make a million connections so long as you’re not going too far off the typically trodden path.
Train travel is the most viable in Central Europe if you’re planning on visiting cities in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia. Trains are generally fairly affordable, however, if you want to get the best prices, it is always a good idea to book your journey at least a few days, if not a few weeks, in advance. We recommend using a service called Omio to do this — it aggregates most routes and will show you the cheapest prices available for your travel dates.
The bus is another good, viable option for intercity transit in Central Europe. Bus routes and plentiful and the typical quality of the coaches are good, as well. Bus journeys tend to be slightly more affordable than train journeys, however, they are also not nearly as comfortable and tend to be a bit slower as you have to contend with traffic, etc.
If you want to have a bit more flexibility, have an easier time at getting off the beaten path, or simply don’t want to be at the mercy of inconvenient train or bus timetables, then renting a car could be a good option for you.
While you really don’t need a car in big cities and towns in Central Europe (all of the city centres are incredibly walkable and public transit is quite good), it can be really helpful if you want to get out into nature or visit some areas with fewer public transit connections.
If you’re interested in hiring a car in Central Europe, we recommend using RentalCars.com in order to find great prices on a car rental. We also suggest taking out an excess insurance policy with iCarHireInsurance in order to make sure that you don’t pay anything out of pocket should any damage happen to your vehicle and save you money compared to taking out a policy directly through the rental company.
No matter how you choose to get around during your Central Europe trip, you’re sure to fall in love with the incredible places that you visit.
Central Europe Itinerary: 2 Weeks
As discussed, the ideal short period for a Central Europe itinerary is 2 weeks. These four different routes are the ideal itineraries to follow if you want to explore a number of countries in cities in this period of time. If you are looking for a 3-week Central Europe itinerary, then you can easily combine some of these itineraries with others and pick and choose which places appeal to you most.
The most iconic of the Central Europe itineraries is arguable a route through the incredible cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Visiting the capital cities of Czechia, Austria and Hungary is sure to leave you starry-eyed and ignite your wanderlust to explore the region in more depth.
Taking 2 weeks for a Budapest-Vienna-Prague itinerary is quite ideal as it allows you to explore these three incredible cities at a great depth, not only seeing the top tourist sites but also really getting to know more local neighbourhoods and hidden gems within these three incredibly popular and touristed cities.
While this itinerary is listed at a Prague-Vienna-Budapest itinerary, it can just as easily be reversed to a Budapest-Vienna-Prague itinerary, spending the same amount of days in each city.
Days 1-5: Prague
Sart this classic Central Europe itinerary in the incredible, iconic Czech capital of Prague. This city is incredibly famous and popular for a reason: it is absolutely beautiful, deeply historic, easy to navigate and packed with fun and interesting things to do. Because you have four full days to spend in Prague, you also have the opportunity to cover quite a bit of ground and really get to know this great city.
Of course, make sure to take the time to visit all the top spots in Prague including the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall and much more. It’s also vital that you take the time to sample some traditional Czech cuisine and, of course, the inimitable Czech Pilsner.
Czechia has some of the best beer in the entire world and it is such an important part of the culture that you really can’t miss sampling some of this iconic beverage. Oh, a pint is also famous for being cheaper than a bottle of water — so make sure to enjoy those affordable prices in Prague!
If you’re interested in seeing more of the Czech Republic beyond its capital, use one of the days in this itinerary to go on a day trip. There are countless amazing places to visit from Prague and it is sure to give you a great view of what life is like in Czechia.
If you want to get a bit off the typical tourist trail, it is possible to head to the incredible town of Olomouc as a day trip. If you’re happy to spend the night somewhere, consider heading to the lovely town of Cesky Krumlov south of Prague. Other popular day trips are Kutna Hora and Karlovy Vary.
After enjoying a number of great days in Prague, it’s time to head on to your next destination!
Where to Stay in Prague
There are a number of great places to stay in Prague that will suit any travel style. If you’re looking for a great place to rest your head, check out our top suggestions:
Miss Sophie’s Downtown – This quaint boutique hotel in Prague’s first district is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a cute and romantic option. They have a range of rooms available, a fantastic, central location, and great amenities to ensure your trip to Prague is a great one. Click here to check their availability
Grand Hotel Bohemia – One of the best-rated hotels in Prague, they have a range of stylish and elegant rooms and are located in the heart of the Old Town. There is a restaurant on-site and breakfast is included in the daily rate. Click here to check their availability
Hostel One Miru – A small family-run hostel in the Vinohrady neighbourhood that makes for a great base for exploring Prague. The staff make a real effort to share insider tips on the city and they also have affordable private rooms. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Prague.
Days 6-9: Vienna
One of the most iconic cities to visit on any Central Europe itinerary is Vienna, Austria’s gorgeous capital. Known for its grand architecture, fantastic cafe culture and beautiful cityscapes, Vienna is really an incredible city to visit no matter what kind of European route your find yourself on.
Take at least two days to explore the city to its fullest, taking in all of the main sites like the Vienna State Opera, Schonbrunn Palace, the Spanish Riding School, Belvedere Palace and many others.
Also, no visit to the Austrian capital would be complete without spending a least a little bit of time relaxing in a streetside cafe and experiencing the famous coffee and pastry culture that Vienna is so well known for.
Because you have the time if you’re following this particular itinerary, it is also a great idea to go on a day trip from Vienna. One of the most popular is to the Slovak capital of Bratislava, which is only about an hour from Vienna. You could also head to Austria’s lovely second city of Graz, which is also a great place to visit as a day trip (or to spend more time if you want to extend your trip)!
Where to Stay in Vienna
There are countless fantastic places to stay in Vienna no matter what your budget or travel style may be. If you’re wondering where to rest your head in the Austrian capital, check out these suggestions:
Motel One Wien – Hauptbahnhof — A great, centrally located hotel that is situated close to the main train station. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms and there is an option to include breakfast in the morning. Click here to see their availability
Hotel Brauhof Wien — If you’re after a bit of luxury in Vienna, then this 4-star hotel is a great option for you. Centrally located, they have numerous chic, clean and comfortable rooms available and great amenities to make your stay in Austria’s capital a great one. Click here to see their availability
Hostel Ruthensteiner — A great, family-run hostel that is perfect for budget backpackers and solo travellers. They have both private rooms and dorm beds available and great common areas to meet other travellers. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Vienna hotels!
Days 10-14: Budapest
One of the most iconic cities to have on any Central Europe itinerary has got to be Budapest. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Budapest is full of incredibly interesting things to do and offers so much beyond its main sights.
Take your first few days in Budapest to visit the top sights un the Hungarian capital, including the Parliament Building, Andrassy Utca, the Citadel and Fisherman’s Bastion, the Dohany Street Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter and the moving shoes on the Danube memorial.
Of course, no trip to Budapest is complete without taking the time to visit at least one of its iconic bathhouses, taking a leisurely stroll along the Danube River, and partying until dawn at the famous ruin bars. There are so many things to do in Budapest during the four days allotted in this itinerary that I wouldn’t even recommend taking a day trip during this time.
Where to Stay in Budapest
There are countless great places to stay in Budapest that you are spoilt for choice in the Hungarian capital. If you’re wondering where to rest your head in the city, check out these suggestions:
Butterfly Home Danube – A lovely boutique hotel located close to the banks of the Danube on the Pest side of the city. They offer a range of private rooms with breakfast included daily. Click here to check their availability
Monastery Boutique Hotel – An wonderful luxury option, this boutique hotel is located a stone’s throw from Fisherman’s Bastion in the quiet Buda side of the city. They are a range of plush rooms on offer and numerous other amenities to ensure that you have the best time in the Hungarian capital as possible. Click here to check their availability
Lavender Circus Hostel – a small cosy hostel that is well located and the staff go out of their way to ensure travellers meet each other and have a good time. Click here to check their latest availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Budapest!
Have More Time?
If you have more than two weeks and want to expand on this Prague-Vienna-Budapest itinerary, then you have a lot of options available. First off, you could visit a few more places in the Czech Republic — including Olomouc, the second-largest city of Brno or the industrial city of Ostrava.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Austria, consider heading south to the country’s second-largest city of Graz or onward to cities like Salzburg.
If you’re more interested in heading a bit off the well-trodden path of a Budapest-Vienna-Prague itinerary, then this is a great route for you! Starting is the wonderful city of Budapest, this itinerary instead winds you through Slovakia, into the imposing High Tatras and onto some charming Polish cities.
Days 1-4: Budapest
Begin your itinerary in Budapest, which is an excellent starting point when exploring this area of the world as it can act as a gateway to Eastern Europe. And while I think that the more days you have to spend in Budapest, the better, the three full days allotted in this itinerary is more than sufficient to get a great feel for the city, see its top sites, and even venture a bit deeper into the Hungarian capital.
Days 5-6: Bratislava
From Budapest, hop on a train or bus (or rental car!) to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava! This capital city is quite small and often only visited as a day trip from Vienna, however, you can a bit more out of the city if you opt to spend a night and one full day here.
You can take your time when it comes to visiting the top sites and wandering through the charming Old Town, where you would be a bit rushed if you only had a day trip here. While Bratislava certainly isn’t the most beautiful or exciting of Central European capitals, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth visiting and you’re sure to enjoy yourself in this lovely, compact city.
Where to Stay in Bratislava
Smart&Green Living by Ambiente — This is a wonderful place to stay in Bratislava if you want a clean and comfortable self-catering apartment with hotel-like amenities. There are a range of different apartments available and its central location is ideal for exploring the Slovak capital. Click here to see their availability
Hostel Folks — If you’re travelling on a budget or solo, then this hostel is an excellent choice. There are a range of dorm beds available, great common areas, and a convenient central location making it the perfect base to explore Bratislava. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bratislava hotels!
Days 6-8: High Tatras
After spending a day in the Slokavian capital, it’s time to head to the incredible High Tatras that straddle northern Slovakia and southern Poland. These beautiful mountains are popular retreats for locals but tend to see fewer foreign tourists, especially on the Slovak side.
If you’re interested in visiting the Tatras in Poland, one of the most popular and developed towns to is Zakopane, which is great as a summer retreat for hiking and mountain sports and also an affordable winter skiing destination.
On the Slovakian side, consider heading to sleepier Ždiar, which doesn’t get nearly the amount of tourism as Zakopane but has its own charm and is very much worth visiting. It is also a ski resort in the wintertime.
Days 9-12: Krakow
From the chilled-out vibes of the mountains, it’s time to head to another of the most iconic cities in Central Europe — Krakow. This beautiful city is compact and absolutely charming and very much worth exploring for a few days.
We recommend planning to spend 3 days in Krakow, which is plenty of time to see the Old Town and castle, explore the trendy Kazimierz quarter, visit some of the city’s moving museums and to go on a day trip or two.
Where to Stay in Krakow
If you’re looking for a great place to stay while in Krakow, make sure to check out our suggestions:
Q Hotel Kraków – a great mid-range hotel, located a little outside the city centre but well connected by public transport. There are a range of clean and comfortable rooms to choose from with the option to include breakfast. Click here to check their availability
PURO Krakow Kazimierz – An excellent luxury option in Krakow, this cool hotel is located in the hip and trendy Kazimierz neighbourhood of the Polish city. They have a number of chic rooms available and even a spa and wellness centre to take the stress out of all of your travels. Click here to check their availability
Mosquito Hostel – one of the best hostels to stay at in Krakow if trying to keep costs down. They offer a delicious free breakfast and nightly social activities that are a great way to meet other travellers to experience Krakow’s famous nightlife. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Krakow
Days 13-14: Wroclaw
On your final stop, it’s time to get a bit off the beaten tourist path in Poland and head to one of the country’s most charming cities, Wroclaw. This city is compact but oozing with personality and classic Central European vibes that you’re sure to fall in love in the short time you have here.
Known for being a vibrant student city, Wroclaw also has a lot of quirks hidden throughout it’s classic Polish Old Town. One of the most fun things to do in Wroclaw is to go “dwarf hunting.” Basically, there are countless small dwarf statues scattered throughout the city centre and they’re always up to something different.
There are also many lush parks and even some islands in the river to hang out on, as well.
Where to Stay in Wroclaw
Though not as visited as many of the cities in this itinerary, there are still plenty of places to stay in Wroclaw that are sure to suit any travel style and budget. If you’re looking for a great place to stay, check out these suggestions:
PURO Wrocław Stare Miasto – A modern hotel located a few hundred metres from the Old Town Square, this is a great place to stay in Wroclaw for couples or solo travellers. There is an option to include breakfast in the daily rate. Click here to check their availability
Grampa’s Hostel – a budget travellers dream as it offers free breakfast, free dinners some days of the week and also organises a range of great social activities that make it easy to meet other travellers. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Wroclaw
Have More Time?
If you have time for a 3-week or a 4-week Central Europe itinerary, consider spending more time exploring Poland, including heading to the capital of Warsaw, onto the charming town of Poznan or even to the historic Baltic port town of Gdansk.
If you have lots of time to play around with, you can always combine this itinerary with the extended stops in Poland and then onto the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
If you’re looking to dig deep in a couple of destinations on your 2 weeks in Central Europe, consider spending time in both the Czech Republic and in Poland. These countries have quite a bit to offer visitors and so many tourists don’t venture beyond the most popular cities.
Days 1-4: Prague
Begin this itinerary in Prague, the Czech capital. Spend your first couple of days exploring the city and then maybe another day on a day trip to one of the many places surrounding the capital.
Days 5-7: Olomouc
From Prague, hop on a train or bus to one of our favourite cities in the region, Olomouc! This small Czech city is absolutely beautiful and it has yet to be “discovered” by mass tour groups, so you can really enjoy all of its traditional charms.
Olomouc has a large student population that gives it a young and vibrant energy and a lovely old town that is sure to take your heart. There are lots of things to see and do in Olomouc and make sure you take the time to really enjoy the laid-back vibes of this unique and beautiful city.
Where to Stay in Olomouc
Though Olomouc isn’t the most visited city in the Czech Republic, it doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of great places to stay. If you’re wondering where to stay in Olomouc, have a browse through our suggestions:
Miss Sophie’s Hotel – An excellent boutique hotel in a renovated house that offers a range of private rooms suitable for couples and families. There is the option to include breakfast in your daily rate and the staff can help organise your time in Olomouc. Click here to check their availability.
Poets’ Corner Hostel – a funky hostel that is spread across two floors in a renovated apartment in central Olomouc. There’s a large common room and the staff have plenty of recommendations on things to do and day trips in the area. Click here to check their availability.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Olomouc.
Days 8-11: Krakow
From Olomouc, it’s time to head to Krakow and enjoy a few days exploring this iconic city. Make sure to take in the main site, enjoy the vibrant nightlife and trendy culture, but also take the time to learn about its heartbreaking history.
Spend three full days in Krakow before heading onto…
Days 12-14: Wroclaw
End this 2-week Central Europe itinerary in the charming city of Wroclaw and enjoy its more laid-back vibes and quirky personality.
Though we love Wroclaw and actually find it to be one of our favourite cities in Poland, you can also choose to end this itinerary in the Polish capital of Warsaw.
Have More Time?
If you have more time to devote to this itinerary, then you can easily spend more time and see more cities and towns in both the Czech Republic and in Poland. In Czechia, consider visiting some other cities like Brno or Ostrava or even heading into nature with some hiking in the beautiful Jeseniky Mountains.
In Poland, you could easily spend time in the capital of Warsaw, head onto charming Poznan and spend some time wandering through beautiful Wielkopolska National Park. If you’re interested in history and seaside charms, then consider venturing further north to explore the Baltic port city of Gdansk.
Planning out the ideal Central Europe trip can be an overwhelming experience with so many different routes available. While there are countless things to see and cities to visit, spending 2 weeks in Central Europe (or more!) is never something you’re going to regret.
Are you planning a trip to Central Europe? Have you been to this beautiful region? Let us know in the comments!