Central Europe is a fantastic region to travel for a short trip. All of the countries in the region are well-connected, meaning that you can easily fly out of a different city than where you arrive and effortlessly travel by train between destinations. This four-week Central Europe itinerary allows you to experience a fantastic blend of big cities, smaller towns, and nature as well as a number of unique cultures. If you don’t have four weeks then you can easily cut this itinerary to a short trip or alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to have additional time, there are no shortage of fantastic places that you can add to your Central Europe itinerary.
Week 1 – Germany
It doesn’t really matter where you start your Central Europe itinerary. Any of the capital cities in Central Europe often have great flight deals however if you have flexibility than the German capital, Berlin, would be where I would kick things off!
There are so many cool things to do in Berlin including explore the famous alternative scene and gazing at Berlin’s famous street art that I would suggest spending at least 4 to 5 days in the German capital. Whilst I don’t think you can ever spend too many days in Berlin, 4 to 5 days should give you enough time to get a great feel for the city as well as exploring some of the historical sites. After Berlin, hop on a train for a couple of hours and visit Dresden for 2 days. Spend one day in Dresden exploring the rebuilt Old Town that was destroyed in WWII and your second day exploring the alternative area of Neustadt.
Week 2 – Czech Republic
From Dresden, you can take a direct train to Prague, the Czech capital. Whilst Prague is certainly firmly on the tourist trail these days, it’s still worth stopping here for about 3 to 4 days if you haven’t visited before. This will give you enough time to not only explore the main sites such the Old Town & Prague Castle but also get a bit off the beaten trail and explore outer suburbs such as the alternative Žižkov district.
After Prague, spend 2 to 3 days exploring some of the smaller Czech cities such as Brno or Olomouc. My favourite of those two is certainly Olomouc, which offers travellers an Old Town as beautiful as Prague’s but without the tourists. Olomouc also has a thriving student population which ensures there are plenty of affordable places to eat and drink in the city!
Week 3 – Slovakia & Hungary
From the Czech Republic, a Central Europe itinerary will often suggest heading to Vienna, however, as this is one of my least favourite cities in Europe and not as budget-friendly as other countries in the region, I suggest spending the next week in Slovakia and Hungary.
Consider spending a day or two in Bratislava, the Slovak capital before heading to Budapest. Similarly to Berlin, there are so many cool things to do in Budapest that I suggest spending at least 4 days in the Hungarian capital. This will give you enough time to check out the historical Buda side, party at one of the famous ruin bars, explore the thriving Pest side and slowly begin to understand why Budapest is truly a backpacker’s mecca.
If you have an additional couple of weeks on your trip, consider detouring south from Budapest and exploring the undiscovered city of Pecs before adding on one of our suggested Croatian itineraries! Otherwise, from Budapest head back north into Slovakia and spend a 2 to 3 days getting in touch with nature while basing yourself in Ždiar in the Tatra Mountains.
Week 4 – Poland
From Ždiar, it’s only a short bus ride to Kraków, one of Poland’s most visited cities. Whilst Kraków sees its fair share of tourists these days, I think it’s worth spending at least 3 days here to explore the beautiful Old Town as well as possibly taking day trips to Auschwitz or the Wieliczka Salt Mines.
From Kraków, spend 1-2 days exploring a lesser-known Polish city such as Wroclaw or Poznan. Both cities offer a significantly more relaxed experience compared to Kraków and it’ll enable you to see a different and relatively untouched side of Poland.
If you don’t want your trip to end just yet, consider heading east and exploring Warsaw, the Polish capital before heading to the Baltics. Otherwise, you can hop on a train back to Berlin for one last doner kebab or currywurst before going home!
Exploring Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland is the perfect Central Europe itinerary that enables travellers to have a varied trip which includes visiting large cities, exploring smaller untouched towns and getting lost in nature!
Are you planning a trip to Central Europe? What is your Central Europe Itinerary? Add a comment below!