We are big fans of Eastern Europe! After a trip in 2015 through Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, we were inspired to return to see a little more of this beautiful part of Europe in 2017.
Our latest Eastern Europe itinerary took in Poland, the Baltic States and Russia. It was a 5-week trip flying to Europe via South Korea, with a few added highlights (including Prague and Berlin). We can highly recommend this trip.
Korean Airlines: Sydney – South Korea – Prague
Firstly, we found a good value for money flight from Sydney to Europe (Prague) on Korean Airlines. An added bonus was an overnight stopover at Incheon Airport (South Korea) on the way – a good break on what is otherwise a very long flight to Europe.
We left Sydney on a morning flight arriving at Incheon Airport 11 hours later in the early evening ready for a good night’s sleep. As the overnight stopover at Incheon Airport was an enforced stopover (STDP), Korean Airlines paid for our accommodation (Central Park Hotel Songdo), evening meal, breakfast and transfers to and from Incheon Airport.
We continued our trip to Europe the next day, taking a Korean Airlines flight to Prague (another 11 hours) where we arrived early evening, feeling rested and ready to go.
Prague, Czech Republic
We had 4 nights/3 days in Prague, staying at the well-located Perfect Days Charles Bridge apartment.
Highlights of Prague:
- Charles Bridge
- Prague Castle
- Old Town Square
- Jewish Quarter
- Sandemans Free Walking Tour of Prague
- Concert at the Rudolfinum
- Day Trip to Cesky Krumlov
From Prague we took a morning train to Berlin (4.5 hours travelling).
5 nights in Berlin at Mercure Hotel Berlin City
Highlights of Berlin:
- The Free Berlin Walking Tour
- Day trip to Potsdam
- Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour – Western Berlin, Eastern Berlin and River Cruise
- Museum Island
- KaDeWe Department Store Food Hall
- Alternative Berlin Walking Tour
From Berlin we took an AirBerlin flight to Krakow, Poland (1.5 hours).
3 nights in Krakow at Apartment Grabowskiego
Highlights of Krakow:
- Krakow Free Walking Tour
- Old Town Square, Cloth Hall, St Mary’s Basilica
- Wawel Castle and Royal Cathedral
- Walking Tour of Jewish Quarter
- Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Auschwitz Concentration Camp can be visited as a day trip
From Krakow we took a morning train to Warsaw (3 hours).
2 nights in Warsaw staying at Kazzperia BestSpot Apartment
Highlights of Warsaw:
- Free Walking Tour (2 hours)
- Old Town – Market Square, Royal Castle
- New Town
- Krakowskie Przedmiescle Royal Avenue
- Polish Jewish Museum
From Warsaw we flew LOT Polish airline to Vilnius (1.5 hours)
Note: there is a one-hour time difference between Warsaw and Vilnius (for example, 9.30am Warsaw is 10.30am Vilnius).
2 nights at Rentida Apartment in Vilnius.
Highlights of Vilnius:
- Walking Tour of Vilnius: Town Hall, Jewish quarter, Republic of Uzupis, St Anne’s Church, Street of Literature, Presidential Palace, Cathedral Square.
- Walking Tour of Vilnius Communist Era – includes Green Bridge, Planetarium, Hotel Neringa, Opera House.
From Vilnius we took a morning bus to Riga (4 hours).
2 nights staying at Elegant Apartment in Riga.
Highlights of Riga:
- Free Walking Tour of Riga Old Town
- Town Hall Square, House of Blackheads
- St Peters Church
- Art Nouveau district
- Central Markets in old Zeppelin hangars
From Riga we took a morning bus to Tallinn (4.5 hours).
2 nights at Delta Apartments Old Town Family in Tallinn.
Tallinn has an Upper Town (Toompea) and a Lower Town. It is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in northern Europe
Highlights of Tallinn include:
- Free Walking Tour of Tallinn – takes in upper and lower town
- Toompea Castle (upper town)
- View from Kohtuotsa (east corner of Toompea hill)
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Russian Orthodox)
- Kiek in de Kok (tower and museum)
- Dome Church or St Mary’s Cathedral (upper town)
- Tallinn Town Wall
- Old Town Square and Town Hall
- St Catherine’s Passage
- Masters’ Courtyard
- St Olav’s Church and Tower
- Town Hall Pharmacy
- Freedom Square and Freedom Monument
- Kadriorg Park – Kadriorg Palace
From Tallinn we took a morning ferry to Helsinki (1 hour, 45 minutes).
2 nights at Experience Living Apartments in Helsinki.
Highlights of Helsinki:
- Green Cap Free Walking Tour
- Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
- Senate Square
- Helsinki Cathedral (Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral)
- Kluuvikatu pedestrian street including Karl Fazer Chocolate Shop & Café
- Esplanadi Park
- Old Market Hall
- Market Square (Kauppatori)
- Russian Orthodox Cathedral
- Helsinki Art Gallery
- Seurasaari Island
From Helsinki we took a morning train to St Petersburg (3.5 hours).
4 nights at an Air BnB apartment in St Petersburg.
Highlights of St Petersburg:
- Church of the Spilled Blood
- St Isaac’s Cathedral
- Peterhof Palace
- Faberge Museum
- Catherine Palace
- Cruise of canals
Where to eat in St Petersburg
We ate at some very good restaurants (English menus) in St Petersburg including Gastronomika, Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant near the Hermitage, and a special outing to Nasha Dacha – about one hour out of St Petersburg. These restaurants are part of the Ginza Project – an international restaurant group that own and manage more than 100 restaurants in St Petersburg, Moscow, London and New York.
From St Petersburg Moskovskiy Station we took a morning train to Moscow’s Leningradskiy Station (4.2 hours).
4 nights at Hotel Mayakovka House in Moscow.
Highlights of Moscow:
- Free Walking Tour
- Kremlin Tour
- Metro Tour
- Hop On Hop Bus Tour (Green Line)
- Moscow River Cruise
- Red Square
- GUM Department Store, Red Square
Moscow – Seoul – Sydney: Korean Airlines
From Moscow we took an evening flight to Seoul, South Korea. We spent two nights/three days in Seoul. Our accommodation was Hao Guesthouse, Hongdae – a lively, student area of Seoul.
From Seoul we took an evening flight to Sydney.