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 trip to a two week Central Europe itinerary 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.
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.
- Berlin – Sunflower Hostel located in trendy Friedrichshain is a great affordable option in Berlin and is close by to many great restaurants, bars, cafes and street art! They offer both dorms and private rooms – you can check out their latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com.
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Grimm’s Hotel or click here to browse the best deals for hotels in Berlin
- Dresden – I loved my stay in Lollis Homestay in the alternative area of Neustadt. The hostel has a homely atmosphere and nightly events that are great for meeting other travellers. Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Hyperion Hotel or click here to browse the best deals for hotels in Dresden
Central Europe Itinerary 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!
- Prague – Hostel Lipa is a small family run hostel in the Zizkov Quarter 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. Read the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Grand Hotel Bohemia or click here to browse the best deals on hotels in Prague.
- Olomouc – Funky Poets’ Corner Hostel is spread across two floors in a renovated apartment in central Olomouc. There’s a large common room and the staff have a plenty of recommendations on things to do and day trips in the area. Read the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Miss Sophie’s Hotel or click here to browse the best deals on hotels in Olomouc.
Central Europe Itinerary Week 3: Slovakia & Hungary
From the Czech Republic, a Central Europe travel 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 paradise for backpackers on a budget.
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.
- Budapest – There are many amazing hostels in Budapest, however, my favourite is Big Fish Hostel. Its small, cosy, well located and the staff go out of their way to ensure travellers meet each other and have a good time. Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Hotel Erzsébet or click here to browse the best deals on hotels in Budapest!
- Zdiar – one of the reasons why I travelled to the small village of Zdiar was to stay at the Ginger Monkey Hostel! There are only a handful of beds here however that means you’ll get to know everybody staying here quickly and enjoy the homely atmosphere! There’s also a delightful dog named Wally! Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld!
Central Europe Itinerary 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 ending your Central Europe tour!
- Krakow – Similiarly to Budapest, has many hostels to choose from however I suggest staying at Mosquito Hostel. 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. Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid range option? Check out the Grand Ascot Hotel or click here to browse for the best deals on hotels in Krakow
- Wroclaw – Grampas Hostel is 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. Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out PURO Wrocław Stare Miasto or click here to browse for the best deals on hotels in Wroclaw
- Poznan – Poco Loco Hostel is a fantastic cosy hostel that offers private rooms and dorms in a great location. There is also a large common room, kitchen and helpful staff! Check out the latest reviews on Hostelworld or Booking.com!
- Looking for a mid-range option? Check out Brovaria Hotel or click here to browse for the best deals on hotels in Poznan
Some ideas for a 2 week Central Europe itinerary
If you don’t have the time to take a four week trip through Central Europe, then don’t fear! You can still see plenty of this great region on a 2 week central Europe itinerary.
One option if you only have two weeks is to stick to one country and explore it in depth. You can easily spend two weeks purely in the Czech Republic, visiting off the beaten path places like Ostrava, Olomouc and the Jeseniky Mountains combined with the obligatory stop in Prague. Click here for more details on a Czech republic itinerary.
Another option is to do something in Poland. You could spend seven to ten days exploring the best of Poland, before adding a stop in Budapest or the High Tatras in Slovakia to round off your 2 weeks central Europe itinerary.
Alternatively, if it’s your first trip to the region and you want to stick to the main cities in the region then that is also entirely possible in two weeks! Why not spend 3-4 days each in Budapest, Prague & Krakow before taking your pick off one of the smaller towns in the region such as Olomouc or Wroclaw?
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!
Before setting off on your Central Europe trip, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy. We personally used World Nomads for our Central Europe itinerary however it’s important to read the policy details to ensure it’s right for you. Click here to get a quote from World Nomads!
Are you planning a trip to Central Europe? What is your Central Europe Itinerary? Add a comment below!