2 Weeks in Eastern Europe: 5 Itineraries

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Despite being frequently overshadowed by its Western counterparts, Eastern Europe deserves a slot on your travel bucket list. From charming towns, natural beauty, and vibrant culture, I’ll highlight why this region should be on your radar.

The Caucasus Mountains, Adriatic, Caspian, and Black seas on the South and the Barents and Baltic seas on the North border the Eastern part of Europe. The countries within Eastern Europe include Bulgaria, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, and the Western portion of the Russian Federation.

You can see a lot of places in just 2 weeks in Eastern Europe. Choose countries that are near one another to save some time. Go see some castles, eat local dishes, go wild swimming or rent a boat and enjoy the ocean.

ALSO READ: 2 weeks in Poland and Things to know before going to East Europe

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING EAST EUROPE

4 images - Mostar Old Bridge, Dubrovnik, Uvac Meanders, Bratislava Castle - 2 Weeks in Eastern Europe Itinerary

Eastern Europe is a massive region. It’s understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed planning your trip. Creating a travel itinerary and researching each destination shouldn’t be too stressful of a task. It should be exciting, something to look forward to.

To help you ease some of the stress and confusion, I put together some tips and things that you should know about spending a holiday in East Europe.

When is the best time to go to East Europe

Depending on the activities you plan to do, you can visit Eastern Europe anytime. For example, if you prefer to spend time on the beach and the coast, spring to summer are two great time to visit. The destination perfect for this time of the year is Greece, Montenegro, Albania, and Croatia.

But if you want to do some hiking in the autumn season or skiing in winter, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Poland offer affordable yet fantastic ski resorts.

Are 2 weeks enough for East Europe

14 days is not enough time to explore an entire European region. Sure, the continent is small with a fantastic transportation system, but there is so much to see. To make the most out of your time, it’s best to decide first which activities you want to do, attractions to see, and country you prefer.

With that information, you can plan your 2 weeks in Eastern Europe much better. Choosing the right mode of transportation will either make your trip better or worse. For example, although most parts of Europe have an open border policy, not all countries in the east practice this.

Meaning if you rent a car in Croatia, bringing it all the way to Albania might be an easy task. I’ll discuss more about transportation in the next section.

Getting around

If you want to rent a car, consider leasing from major brands such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, and AutoEurope. From there, you can check which companies will allow you to take the vehicle in all the countries you want to see.

Let’s say you picked up your car in Zagreb, but your trip ends in Tirana. Ask AutoEurope if you can pick up from Croatia and drop off the vehicle in Albania.

But if that sounds like too much trouble, another option is to rely on buses, trains, and planes. You can also rent a car in each country as you discover the things on your list, drop it at the airport or any city before you cross the border, and then get another car at your next destination.

Language and currency

Eastern European countries under a single currency called the euro include Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, and Slovakia. Whereas Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia are the countries that have decided to remain with their own currencies.

Visa

Many Eastern European countries are members of the EU and implement the Schengen State visa policy. This means that if you’re travelling to Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Estonia, and your hold a passport from the US, UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and many places in Latin America, you can enter and travel for up to 90 days.

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia are not part of the Schengen State (although some are part of the EU). These countries pretty much have the same visa policy as Schengen, with some differences.

For example, Albania allows US citizens to stay for up to 1 year, while EU passport holders can stay for 90 days. Serbia allows some other countries, such as Russia, to stay for 30 days.

On the other hand, many of these countries (non-Schengen member) allows substitute visa. This means that if you hold a valid visa from the UK, US, and Schengen, these visas are valid in these countries too. Each country accepts different substitute visas and validity of stay, so check these before going.

What is the average cost for 2 weeks in Eastern Europe

The Baltics and probably Greece might be the most costly in Eastern Europe, but it’s still cheaper than in West and Central Europe. Food, transportation, and tours are pretty much the same cost across the eastern region. The accommodation is where you’ll notice a bit of difference.

For a mid-range budget, $1,300 is good for 14 days in East Europe. You can enjoy a private room and eat out throughout your trip. If you need to travel on a shoestring budget, you can do it at $900 while sleeping in dorm rooms and most eating street food or dining at local restaurants.

If you plan to spend 2 weeks in Eastern Europe as a celebration, you can do it as a luxury trip with a budget of $2,000. With this budget, you can stay in four or five-star hotels, eat out, and enjoy private tours.

Other basic travel tips

PINNED MAP OF TOP THINGS TO SEE IN EAST EUROPE

Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary:

Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia:

Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google

2 WEEKS IN EASTERN EUROPE ITINERARY

If you are planning to travel for 14 days in East Europe but need some direction, this guide is for you. With the help of this two-week itinerary for East Europe, which highlights the best sights, you can plan the perfect getaway with your friends, family, or even yourself.

Eastern Europe has lovely mountain villages, magnificent castles and palaces, and stunning beaches. To help you devise your itinerary, I’ve provided 5 sample itineraries that you may select from and adjust to match your 14 days in East Europe.

Itinerary #1: The Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

The Baltics, commonly known as the Baltic States, are three nations: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, located on the Eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. In addition to providing a fairy tale experience in its small villages and forests, the Baltic countries give a more authentic look into the history of Eastern Europe.

From its medieval roots to the tragic battles for independence. Your 2 weeks in Eastern Europe trip here will captivate you at every turn. We have a specific article on how you can spend 2 weeks in the Baltics, there are two itineraries you can choose from.

3 images - Trakai Castle in Lithuania, Riga Old Town, and Tallinn Old Town -

Estonia for 5 days

Start your adventure in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, where you may stroll around The Old Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and features ancient churches and cobblestone streets. There is much to see and discover outside the city, including the Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, the pink Toompea Castle, and the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour Museum.

Latvia for 4 days

Riga, the capital of Latvia, is a crossroads of many countries and civilisations. To discover the city’s diversity, visit Riga’s Central Market, the biggest indoor market in Europe with over 3,000 stalls. Here, you can choose souvenirs, sample authentic street food, or consume fresh goods from nearby Latvian farms.

Lithuania for 4 days

End your vacation in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, where you can begin your day with some pastries from the historic Hales Market. Ensure to visit its primary landmark, the 14th-century Trakai Castle, in the middle of Lake Galve. You can stop by the historical Gate of Dawn and check out the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights during your stay here.

Begin your trip in Estonia, and take a 50 min direct flight from Tallinn to Riga to reach Latvia. Afterwards, fly from Riga to Vilnius for around 50 min to arrive in Lithuania. Alternatively, you can opt for bus services such as Lux Express or car rental for convenient transfer between countries, which often takes roughly 4-5 hr.

Itinerary #2: The Beach – Greece, Croatia, Albania or Montenegro

If you’ve been daydreaming about pristine beaches and considering travelling to a unique location, take this as your cue to get tickets. If you visit Eastern Europe’s magnificent cities and attractions, you’ll discover more than just its numerous islands and breathtaking beaches. Although tourism is still growing in this region, it offers a cheap and beautiful getaway.

3 images - Parthenon in Greece, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and Sveti Stefani Island

Greece for 5 days

Greece is best known for its fascinating culture and natural beauty. It is home to some of the world’s most significant historical sites and over 6,000 islands. The top sights to see on the mainland, besides the capital Athens, are the monasteries of Meteora and Ancient Delphi. However, most visitors travel here to board a ferry for one of the famous islands, which include Crete, Corfu, Mykonos, Santorini, and Zakynthos.

If you’re looking for an island that has it all but is not too far from Athens, how about Milos? It’s rich in history but also offers a unique landscape due to volcanic activities in the past. There are minerals, lava rocks, and fantastic beaches. Stay in one of the best hotels in Milos facing the beach and enjoy the stunning Aegean Sea for the sunset. In the morning, you can visit the island’s Papafragas Caves and archaeological sites.

Croatia for 5 days

Croatia’s most famous beach, Ziatna Rat, is also known as the Golden Horn or Golden Cape because of its distinctively shaped shoreline and scattered sparkling pebbles lined up with umbrellas and sunbeds that line the beach during summer.

The Banje Beach in Dubrovnik is big enough for groups and romantic enough for couples. It offers a chance to dip yourself in the water and is a great place to watch the sun go down. If you just want to spend time in Croatia, we have two weeks in Croatia guide featuring 3 itineraries.

Albania for 4 days

Among Europe’s best-kept secrets, Albania provides a long stretch of coastline called the Albanian Riviera and famous beach towns like Dhermi and Ksamil. The Budva Riveria, which stretches down the Montenegrin coastline, is a popular summer beach resort for tourists and locals. This area has several outstanding beaches, with Mogren Beach being the one nearest to Old Town Budva.

Getting from one place to another

Begin your 2 weeks in Eastern Europe trip in Greece, and take a flight from Athens to Zagreb that takes 3 hr 50 min to reach Croatia. The best way to get from Croatia to Albania is to fly from Zagreb, which takes 2 hr 39 min. To reach Montenegro, take a nonstop flight from Zagreb to Podgorica for 1 hr 10 min.

Itinerary #3: Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary

Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary offer you exciting culture, unique dishes, and very diverse culture. As you can see, These three countries are not too far from central Europe. This means that while travelling this region, you can clearly see the fascinating transition from Western Europe, to Central, and then entering Eastern Europe.

3 images - Charles Bridge, Rocky Mountain in Slovakia, and Fisherman's Bastion

Czechia for 4 days

Despite being one of the smaller countries on the continent, travellers seeking some of the top destinations in Eastern Europe won’t be let down by the Czechia, formerly known as Czech Republic. The Prague Castle, home to the stunning St. George’s Basilica, the Powder Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Golden Lane, with its ancient workshops, serves as the main attraction for most tourists here.

Slovakia for 5 days

Slovakia is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, known for its national parks, beautiful hiking trails, and numerous caves, several of which are UNESCO-protected sites. With an astounding 19 natural reserves, more than 350 caverns, and hundreds of canyons and gorges, the Slovak Paradise National Park ought to be at the top of your list of places to go while you’re there. Alpine skiing is particularly common in this area, and you may experience it in both the Low Tatras and the High Tatras mountain ranges.

Hungary for 5 days

Hungary is bordered on both sides by the lovely Danube River, and the Freedom Bridge offers some of the prettiest sunset views of the river. Suppose you’re seeking a trip that mixes some rest with a solid cultural experience. This country is for you since it is home to numerous old spa towns and facilities, including Lake Heviz and Szechenyi Thermal Bath. While touring Budapest, swing by the Hungarian Parliament Building, as it has a regal appearance and is beautiful at night when lit.

Getting from one place to another

Take a 1 hr 10 min nonstop flight from Prague to Budapest to get from the Czech Republic to Hungary. Take a 2 hr 55 min trip from Budapest to Kosice to travel from Hungary to Slovakia.

Itinerary #4: Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia

Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia are a fun trio to spend 14 days exploring. You can visit beaches, go hiking, learn about the history, party, and also explore the gastronic culture of the Eastern Europe.

Since all of these countries share a land border, it’s very easy to cross from one place to another. You can do it by bus which would be the cheapest way, but there are also trainlines and flights.

3 images - Bran Castle, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and Uvac Meandres

Romania for 6 days

Romania is one of the cheapest travel locations in Europe, particularly if you plan to go hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. Among Bucharest’s most stunning structures include The Old Town, Arch of Triumph, and Revolutionary Square. Don’t miss The Palace of the Parliament, which features over 3,000 rooms built with marble and steel.

Bulgaria for 4 days

Another inexpensive destination is Bulgaria, where you can enjoy a summer holiday by the Black Sea. For outdoor enthusiasts, you can find a variety of hiking trails and beautiful views at the famous Vitosha Mountain or the Central Balkan National Park. Some of Sofia’s notable attractions that you should visit include St. George Rotunda Church and Boyana Church.

Serbia for 4 days

Serbia, abundant with wonders just waiting to be discovered, is a great place to end your journey. You can start exploring the Town Halls and the Presidential Palace, but a trip down Kneza Mihaila street is a better way to take in historic structures. Other attractions are Nikola Tesla Museum, Belgrade Fortress, and the Great War Island.

Getting from one place to another

To get from Bulgaria to Serbia, take a nonstop flight from Sofia to Belgrade, which takes 1 hr 10 min. After your trip to Serbia, take a nonstop flight from Belgrade to Bucharest, which lasts an average of 1 hr 25 min to arrive in Romania.

Itinerary #5: Off-the-beaten-path – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania

Make your trip memorable by skipping Europe’s typical destinations and heading off the beaten track. While Western European countries swarm with travellers worldwide, these countries are just as stunning and historical that often remain uncrowded.

With various unique attractions, consider these overlooked European gems for your upcoming holiday. Most of these places are in Southern Europe, so if that’s the region you’re interested in in, this itinerary will suit you.

3 images - Kotor, Rozafa Castle, and Mostar Old Bridge

Bosnia and Herzegovina for 5 days

Discover the Old Town of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes the Mosque of Mostar and the Stari Most, and dip in the pools of Kravice Waterfalls. Keep your camera ready as you walk past the gorgeous Neretva River. The central city of Sarajevo is within a short drive from a range of affordable ski resorts, including Jahorina and Babin Do.

Montenegro for 4 days

The 15th-century village of Sveti Stefan, encircled by pink sand beaches, and its seafood restaurant have established this region as a popular tourist destination in Montenegro. The greatest way to experience Tara Canyon, the second-deepest canyon in the world, is on an exhilarating whitewater rafting adventure. Don’t forget to visit the Pavlova Strana viewpoint to admire the Rijeka Cronjevica River.

Albania 5 days

Hiking the Albanian Alps is considered one of the highlights of touring Albania because of its gorgeous snow-capped peaks, lovely valleys, and breathtaking canyon. To see the breathtaking sunset over the entire city of Tirana, take a cable car up to the summit of Dajti Mountain. I highly urge visiting The Sunset Restorat Bar, a restaurant perched atop a cliff above Filikuri Beach with views of Himara’s coastline and the Southern Albanian mountains.

Getting from one place to another

You can begin your journey in Albania and fly from Tirana to Podgorica in 3 hr 20 min to reach Montenegro. Take a 5 hr 35 min flight from Podgorica to Sarajevo to get to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

This section lists the best things to do and places to see in each country to help plan your itinerary. Everything is categorised by country. After this section, you’ll see a list of must-try dishes in each country.

Albania

  • The Blue Eye/Syri i Kaltër 
  • Skanderbeg Square
  • Llogara National Park
  • Rozafa Castle
  • Amphitheatre of Durrës
  • BUNK’ART
  • Good Cave (Shpella e Mirë besh)
  • Preza Castle
  • Vjosë-NartëDelta Protected Area
  • Berat Castle
  • Castle of Gjirokastra
  • Et’hem Bej Mosque
  • Ulza Regional Nature Park
  • Parku Kombëtar Shebenik
  • Pyramid of Tirana
  • Buna River – Velipoja

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Mostar Old Bridge
  • Latin Bridge
  • Sarajevo Tunnel
  • Baščaršija
  • Jahorina’
  • Mlinčići/Jaice
  • Sarajevo City Hall
  • Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
  • Dervish House
  • Štrbački buk Bosnia
  • Avaz Twist Tower
  • Pliva Waterfall
  • Vrelo Bosne
  • Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge
  • Apparition Hill
  • Kozara National Park
  • Kastel Fortress
  • Bjelašnica – skiing and mountain biking

Bulgaria

Croatia

  • Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls – join a walking tour
  • Trsteno Arboretum, Trsteno near Dubrovnik
  • Dubrovnik’s Lovrijenac Fort
  • Visit Game of Thrones filming locations – book a tour
  • Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb
  • Diocletian’s Palace in Split – enjoy a walking tour with a local guide
  • Mulini Beach in Rovinj
  • Blue Cave, near Split – book the 5 island boat tour
  • Museum of Broken Relationships
  • Krka Waterfalls, near Split – visit on a boat tour
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park near Zadar
  • Kornati National Park near Zadar
  • Euphrasian Basilica in Porec
  • Pula’s Roman Arena
  • Swim at Galebove Stijene in Pula
  • Explore Brijuni/Brioni National Park near Pula
  • Great Waterfall
  • Golden Horn Beach
  • National Park Kornati
  • Paklenica National Park
  • Rector’s Palace
  • Cathedral of Zagreb
  • Pula Arena
  • Katedrala sv. Jakov
  • Crkva sv. Donata
  • Trakoscan Castle
  • Dubrovnik Cable Car
  • The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
  • Park Maksimir
  • Skradinski Buk Waterfall
  • Temple of Augustus
  • Park Šuma Marjan
  • Stone Gate
  • Hvar Island

Czechia

  • Sightseeing Dinner Cruise
  • Prague Castle
  • Charles Bridge
  • Prague City tour
  • Prague Astronomical Clock
  • St. Vitus Cathedral
  • Medieval Dinner
  • Dancing House
  • Old Town Square
  • Brno Walking Tour
  • Lennon Wall
  • Národní Muzeum
  • Karlštejn Castle
  • Petrin Tower
  • Church of Our Lady before Týn
  • The Powder Tower
  • Sedlec Ossuary
  • Vyšehrad
  • Karlštejn Castle
  • State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov
  • Klementinum

Estonia

Greece

  • Acropolis of Athens and Acropolis Museum
  • Parthenon
  • Meteora
  • Navagio
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Balos Beach
  • Elafonisi
  • The archaeological site of Mycenae
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  • Panathenaic Stadium
  • Archaeological Site of Sounion
  • Melissani Cave
  • Porto Katsiki

Hungary

  • Budapest hop-on-hop-off bus
  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • Budapest’s Széchenyi Thermal Bath – book a full-day spa
  • Buda Castle
  • Buy souvenirs at Central Market Hall
  • Take a boat cruise Danube River in Budapest – check cruise prices
  • Matthias Church in Budapest
  • Esztergom Basilica
  • The Caves of Lillafured near Miskolc
  • Lavender field at Tihany
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • Széchenyi Chain Bridge
  • Heroes Square
  • Central Market Hall
  • Matthias Church
  • Gellért Thermal Bath
  • Dohány Street Synagogue
  • Vajdahunyad Castle
  • Shoes on the Danube Bank
  • Szimpla Kert
  • Rudas Baths
  • City Park of Budapest
  • New York Café

Latvia

Lithuania

Montenegro

Poland

Romania

Serbia

Slovakia

WHERE TO STAY IN EAST EUROPE

This list of accommodations in Eastern Europe will help you find the one that suits your budget and level of comfort a lost easier:

Vilnius, Lithuania

Riga, Latvia

Tallinn, Estonia

Athens, Greece

Zagreb, Croatia

Tirana, Albania

Prague, Czechia

Bratislava, Slovakia

Budapest, Hungary

Bucharest, Romania

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Podgorica, Montenegroo

MUST-TRY EASTERN EUROPEAN DISHES, DRINKS, AND SNACKS

The cuisine in East Europe has lots in common, but still, there are plenty of dishes that only exist in specific countries Don’t forget to sit down at a local restaurant and try as many as you want.

Dishes:

  • Borscht (Ukraine) – A beetroot-based soup
  • Pierogi (Poland) – Dumplings with various fillings
  • Ćevapi (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – Minced meat sausages
  • Moussaka (Bulgaria) – Layered eggplant, potato, and meat casserole
  • Pljeskavica (Serbia) – Meat patty, often served in a somun (like pita bread)
  • Goulash (Hungary) – Meat stew seasoned with paprika
  • Koldūnai (Lithuania) – Meat or vegetable-filled dumplings
  • Sarmale (Romania) – Cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice
  • Šopska Salata (Bulgaria) – Tomato, cucumber, and cheese salad
  • Mămăligă (Romania) – Cornmeal porridge, similar to polenta
  • Chvarci (Serbia) – Fried pork rinds
  • Kotlet Schabowy (Poland) – Breaded and fried pork cutlet
  • Lecso (Hungary) – Pepper and tomato stew, often with sausage
  • Njeguški Stek (Montenegro) – Pork or veal steak stuffed with cheese and ham
  • Tavë Kosi (Albania) – Yogurt and lamb baked casserole
  • Souvlaki (Greece) – Grilled meat skewers, often served in pita bread with sauce

Desserts:

  • Chimney Cake/Kürtőskalács (Hungary) – Cylindrical spit cake
  • Sernik (Poland) – Cheesecake made with quark
  • Túró Rudi (Hungary) – Chocolate-covered curd bar
  • Papanasi (Romania) – Fried doughnuts with sour cream and fruit preserve

Drinks:

  • Kvass (Ukraine, Baltics, Poland) – Fermented bread drink
  • Živovoda/Slivovitz (Czech Republic) – Plum brandy
  • Palinka (Hungary) – Fruit brandy
  • Borovicka (Slovakia) – Juniper berry liqueur
  • Compot (Ukraine) – Fruit drink made by boiling various fruits

SUMMARY OF 2 WEEKS IN EASTERN EUROPE

From hidden waterfalls, unspoiled mountains, and magnificent beaches, Eastern Europe offers a variety of natural beauty. If you’re looking for an epic journey that isn’t your conventional European vacation, this region will satisfy your adventurous heart.

Here, you can experience any type of climate. Enjoy the summer heat on Bulgaria’s Black Sea, go hiking in Slovakia’s High Tatras, or relax in a forest in Romania. Your two weeks in East Europe trip will take you through one of Europe’s most culturally diverse locations.

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Discover Eastern Europe's charm on holiday: explore medieval cities, stunning landscapes, and rich history. Visit Prague's historic streets, Budapest's thermal baths, and the beautiful Adriatic coast. Experience diverse cultures, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality in this captivating region. via @twoweektraveller