3-Weeks in Central Europe Itinerary

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Central Europe is one of the regions stretching from the Baltic Sea to the north of the Adriatic. It has some of the world’s oldest and most well-preserved cities, some of which include Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Geneva, Ljubljana, Munich, Pague, Vienna, Warsaw, Krakow, and Hamburg, among others. Aside from that, Central Europe is very rich in heritage and has tons of languages because of the different countries comprising the region.

Are you familiar with Wes Andersen’s The Grand Budapest Hotel? It is an amazing film with surreal cinematography and a setting that is actually modelled on the Grandhotel Pupp in the Czech Republic.

Central Europe consists of countries that tourists would be interested in seeing. This comprehensive itinerary is for 3-weeks in Central Europe that will guide you into clusters of countries next to each other, as well as the activities and tourist spots to enjoy.

BASIC TRAVEL TIPS FOR CENTRAL EUROPE

4 images - lake in switzerland, thermal bath of Hungary, downtown Prague, and old houses in Germany - 3-Weeks in Central Europe Itinerary

Before we proceed with the list of tourist destinations in those countries, let’s first discuss transportation in Central Europe. Just like with the rest of Europe, getting around isn’t hard at all as there are tons of public transport available. You can get around by train, bus, plane, or rent a car.

When is the best time to go to Central Europe

Depending on what you plan to do Central Europe could be a great place to spend your 3-week holiday any time of the year. If you want a proper beach holiday, you probably shouldn’t go to Central Europe. Enjoy your 3-week vacation in Italy or 3-weeks in East Europe where beaches are desired.

For winter, Central Europe is an amazing destination. If you want to do some skiing during your 3-weeks in Central Europe, you can head to the skiing capital – Switzerland. If that’s not within your budget, Czechia and Poland also have great slopes.

I personally like going during spring or just before summer or after summer just before autumn. During this time, the crowd is smaller and the accommodations and flights can even be cheaper.

Getting around

Travelling by train is the most scenic way to travel in this region. When planning to ride a train, it’s better to book online. You can opt to buy point-to-point tickets if you’re just planning on a short trip, but if you’re travelling across multiple countries, getting a rail pass is better.

Travelling by bus is the cheapest option, but there’s a chance that you might sit on cramped seats and get off the bus for an inspection when crossing borders. 

If you’re heading to famous tourist destinations, book at least a month in advance. Especially during peak season, which is the summer. 

Language and Currency

The countries in Central Europe speak different languages except for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland which share the language of Deutch (however, different accents should be expected). All countries in Central Europe use Euro while Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc.

Communicating in Central Europe is pretty easy. Most people especially in big cities speak English. The only time you probably have to pull out your translation app is when in rural parts and need to ask for directions.

If you are driving a rental car, the road signs might be in the local language. Simply ask a local if you need some help.

Visa and COVID-19 policy

A travel visa is easy as well. If you are from North America, some parts of Latin America, Oceania, and Asia – you can enjoy a 90-day visa for free. If you need to apply for a visa, you will get a Schengen visa which is valid in all EU states and other non-EU countries including Switzerland.

Although Europe is open to tourism in general, each country has their own entry requirements and policies. Some might request for tourists to be fully vaccinated and others allow non-vaccinated to follow specific protocols.

The same goes for wearing a mask. Some places might still require you to have your mask on while in public places while other countries have removed this mandate.

When it comes to entry requirements and COVID-19 protocols, make sure to do your research since this information changes quite often.

Other travel tips

Here are some quick tips on tools you might need when planning your itinerary for Central Europe. These are the websites I usually use when booking accommodation, renting a car, finding great tours, and more:

MUST-SEE PLACES IN CENTRAL EUROPE (pinned map)

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

3-WEEKS IN CENTRAL EUROPE

Now that all the basic things you should know about travelling to Central Europe, let’s dive into two different travel itineraries. You can follow this as you wish or get some insight and create your own 3-week travel itinerary.

Itinerary #1: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic

2 images - trees with bent trunks and Neuschwanstein castle - 3-Weeks in Central Europe Itinerary

The first triad country for a 3-week vacation in Central Europe is Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic since they are all neighbouring countries. It is very easy to travel from one country to the other. 

For those who love the heat or are fond of taking a dip, Germany and Poland have some beaches but Czechia is landlocked.

Week 1: Germany for 7 days

I’m sure that you’re excited now that we’ve unveiled the first triad countries and you’ll even be more excited once you read about some of the interesting things about Germany. Starting off with food, this country has more than 1,000 varieties of sausages, so foodies wouldn’t run out of sausages to sample. 

Oktoberfest originated in this country and is a must-attend event for beer lovers. There are more than 20,000 castles in this country, there’s so much to explore.

Must-see places in Germany:

Week 2: Poland for 7 days

Poland is the fifth most populous member state and has the sixth-largest economy in the EU. It currently has 17 UNESCO world heritage sites and is filled with WWII history and medieval architecture. So much so that you’ll feel as if the time has turned back.

The best way to get to Poland from Germany is by train. You could also ride the bus or fly, which is the fastest but most expensive option. 

Must-see places in Poland

Week 3: Czech Republic for 7 days

The Czech Republic or Czechia has the most castles in Europe and is the seventh safest country to live in the world. It also has the largest ancient castle, and its most popular sport is ice hockey.

Just like the transportation from Germany to Poland, the most recommended form of transportation from Poland to Czech is via train. Other options include riding a bus, rideshare, or driving a car rental.

Must-see places in Czechia:

Itinerary #2: Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary

2 images -giant ferris wheel of Austria and lake in Switzerland - 3-Weeks in Central Europe Itinerary

The second cluster of countries for your 3-week holiday in Central Europe are Austra, Slovakia, Hungary, and Switzerland.

The winter months in these countries are from December to February, so the perfect months to travel to these countries if you want to enjoy the snow and do some snow-centric sports and activities are from late December to late February. 

Week 1 Switzerland and Austria for 7 days

3-weeks in Central Europe is simply incomplete without visiting stunning Switzerland. It is a mountainous country that has numerous villages, lakes, and the high peaks of the Alps. That’s why the perfect mode of transportation when getting around this country is through a train so that you’ll get a chance to take in all of the scenic routes.

It is also home to two of the most liveable cities in the world, which are Zurich and Geneva. 

Another country on this list is Austria. This country is also mountainous like Switzerland. And along with Switzerland, they form what people call the neutral core of Europe. Austria has the world’s oldest zoo in the world and is well-known for its mountain railways and trains. 

Must-see place in Switzerland and Austria

Switzerland:

Austria: Get a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket for Vienna to travel around easier, if you enjoy exploring on your own, get the Vienna Pass to must-see places in the city.

Week 2 Slovakia for 7 days

2 images - thermal baths of Hungary and Devin Castle of Slovakia - 3-Weeks in Central Europe Itinerary

Slovakia is a country filled with historical cities, enchanting castles, and wine-growing valleys. This country has the highest wooden altar in the world in the Basilica of St. James which is located in the town of Levoca. You can also find the tallest cave column here called Krásnohorská cave. Both of these became UNESCO world heritage sites. 

For art lovers, they have the second largest collection of Andy Warhol’s works. The recommended mode of transportation to get to Slovakia from Austria is through riding a bus. Aside from that you can also board the train, drive a car rental, or use rideshare.

Must-see places in Slovakia:
  • Bojnice Castle
  • The Blue Church
  • Bratislava – bus tour or walking tour
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Dobsinska Ice Cave
  • High Tatras
  • Devin Castle – join a tour
  • Slovak Karst National Park

Week 3 Hungary for 7 days

Hungary is a landlocked country where the world-famous city Budapest is located. It has a cityscape filled with neoclassical buildings, castle hills, and other architectural landmarks. It is one of the oldest countries in Europe, founded in 895.

Budapest has the most thermal springs in the world, ideal for those who want to unwind and relax. The recommended option to travel to Hungary from Slovakia is via train. Other than that, you can also ride a bus, drive a car or use rideshare.

Must-see places in Hungary

SUMMARY OF 3-WEEKS IN CENTRAL EUROPE ITINERARY

You’re now familiar with the various tourist destinations in Central Europe. But before we end this article, I want to provide you with some tips when going to central Europe, especially for first-timers.

First, make sure that you check if visas are required for each country because while some of them don’t there are still some that require them and it might ruin your 3- weeks in Central Europe vacation plan.

Next is to travel during the off-season because that’s when accommodations are less expensive and you get to avoid crowds as well. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes as you’ll do a lot of walking if you want to explore the scenic cities.

I hope that you found these itineraries for 3-weeks in Central Europe holiday helpful in creating your own itinerary.

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