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Eastern Europe Itinerary Ideas: Best Places to Backpack in Europe

These Eastern Europe itinerary ideas highlight the best two-, three-, and 4-week backpacking Europe routes. Are you interested in planning an Eastern Europe trip but are unsure where to start? I recommend at least 10-14 days to experience the best places to backpack in Europe. If you have the time, four weeks is ideal for Euro backpacking trips.

I’m sharing recommendations for the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe to make your Eastern Europe travel experience as seamless as possible. We’ll also discuss the best time to visit Eastern Europe and other helpful tips for planning your trip. Depending on your interests and how much time you have to spare, you can choose the destinations featured in this Eastern Europe itinerary to create the perfect backpacking trip.

Exploring The Rich Cultural Tapestry: An Epic 4-Week Eastern European Backpacking Itinerary

4-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary

Eastern Europe Travel Tips

Poland is among the best Eastern European countries to visit, making Warsaw the ideal starting point for travel. Warsaw is easily accessible via plane, thanks to the city’s two major airports: Warsaw Chopin Airport and Warsaw-Modlin Mazovia Airport. Direct flights to Warsaw are available from many major cities throughout the United States and Europe. If you’re planning a 4-week Eastern Europe trip, Warsaw’s many flight connections from worldwide towns make it the perfect place to begin your travels.

Traveling throughout Eastern Europe for Euro backpacking trips is straightforward because most cities can be reached via train or bus. You can also fly into some destinations featured on this Eastern Europe itinerary to plan the perfect trip for your travel preferences. 

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Europe ToursClick here to check out the top Europe tours
Best Europe Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Europe
Best Europe Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Europe

The Best Time to Visit Eastern Europe

What’s the best time to visit Eastern Europe for backpacking? I recommend spring or early summer. The temperatures will be warm yet mild, making it ideal for outdoor adventures. Keep in mind destinations may be busy at this time, as summer is peak tourist season.

1-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary: Poland and the Czech Republic

Poland and the Czech Republic are some of the best places to backpack in Europe. Poland is easy to reach from the U.S. and other European countries, making it the perfect place to kick off your Eastern Europe trip.

Exploring The Rich Cultural Tapestry: An Epic 4-Week Eastern European Backpacking Itinerary

Days 1-3: Warsaw, Poland

Many backpacking Europe routes begin in Warsaw, Poland’s capital and largest city. Warsaw is full of history and museums, so you’ll have plenty to see and do during your three days in town.

Ensure you visit The National Museum in Warsaw, one of Poland’s most prominent museums. You could spend an entire day wandering through the museum and still not see all the exhibits! Check out my Solo Guide to Warsaw for more ideas.

Days 4-5: Krakow, Poland

From Warsaw, continue your adventure with a train ride to the southern city of Krakow, one of the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe. Krakow is just above the border of the Czech Republic and is famous for its medieval architecture and historical sites. Don’t miss exploring the centuries-old Rynek Glówny and St. Mary’s Basilica. Two days is the perfect time to visit Krakow’s top attractions.  

Days 6-7: Prague, Czech Republic

Next, take a train or bus to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague is sometimes called the “city of a hundred spires” and is well-known for its 10th-century Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, and vibrant nightlife.

Finish the first week of your Eastern Europe itinerary by touring the city’s Gothic churches and medieval buildings. Hit the town after dark for drinks and dancing—my Solo Girl’s Guide to Prague is full of recommendations for things to see and do.

Now, you could wrap up your Eastern Europe travel experience and head home. However, I highly recommend continuing to Slovakia and Hungary.

Quick Tip: Wondering where to stay in Poland & Prague? Check out these options!
Motel One Warsaw-Chopin
Hotel 32 Kraków Old Town
The Julius Prague

2-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary: Slovakia and Hungary

If you have more time and are interested in 2-week Euro backpacking trips, go to Slovakia and Hungary. These dreamy destinations are highly underrated, making them some of the best Eastern European countries to visit.

Exploring The Rich Cultural Tapestry: An Epic 4-Week Eastern European Backpacking Itinerary

Days 1-2: Bratislava, Slovakia

Begin the second week of your Eastern Europe trip in the capital city of Slovakia, Bratislava. You can easily reach Bratislava via train from Prague. This town is located on the banks of the Danube River, near the Austria and Hungary border. From the bustling restaurants to the imposing Bratislava Castle perched atop a hill overlooking the city, there’s much to discover in this Slovakian locale. A 2-day trip is ideal for visiting the town’s top landmarks and sampling the delicious local cuisine.

💡Quick Tip
View my full Europe packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Europe Essentials shopping list here.

Days 3-5: Budapest, Hungary 

Next, take a train to Budapest, the artsy capital of Hungary. Known for its churches and palaces dating back to the 13th century, Budapest has a rich and unique local culture. It also boasts many thermal baths, making it the perfect spot for a spa getaway.

An Eastern Europe trip would be incomplete without Budapest. There is a lively bar scene where you can enjoy the company of locals and fellow backpackers. During your time in Budapest, take a day trip to Szentendre or Esztergom, two charming Hungarian villages with colorful architecture and picturesque cityscapes. Find more suggestions in this Budapest 2-Day Itinerary.

Days 6-7: Debrecen, Hungary

Wrap up your 2-week Eastern Europe travel experience with a stay in Debrecen, Hungary’s second-largest city. Debrecen is a top cultural hub home to striking examples of Hungarian architecture and museums packed with local artifacts. Debrecen is a fantastic stop along backpacking Europe routes if you love history and art.  

Quick Tip: Wondering where to stay in Slovakia & Hungary? Check out these options!
SKARITZ Hotel & Residence
The Amberlyn Suite Hotel
Régi Posta Étterem és Fogadó

3-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary: Romania and Bulgaria

Continuing with this Eastern Europe itinerary, we’re visiting the countries of Romania and Bulgaria. These are two must-visit destinations famous for their rich histories and natural beauty.

Exploring The Rich Cultural Tapestry: An Epic 4-Week Eastern European Backpacking Itinerary

Days 1-3: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Hop on a flight or train to the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca. Considered the unofficial capital of Romania’s Transylvania region, Cluj-Napoca features dramatic Gothic architecture in its city squares, churches, and museums. The city also contains several beautiful gardens where backpackers can get up close and personal with various local plants and wildlife. Three days is the perfect amount of time to tour the top highlights of Cluj-Napoca.

Days 4-5: Brasov, Romania

Many Euro backpacking trips highlight Brasov, Romania, a beautiful town in the Carpathian Mountains. Brasov is one of the best places to backpack in Europe since it’s a quick train ride from Cluj-Napoca. You’ll feel transported back in time while admiring the medieval fortresses and churches scattering the city streets.

I suggest visiting the city’s Old Town district, full of winding cobblestone streets and baroque-style buildings. This scenic area is a picture-perfect backdrop for backpackers to explore for an afternoon. Two days should be plenty of time to visit Brasov’s top sights and activities.

Days 6-7: Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, is a quick train or bus ride from Brasov and a must-visit location on any Eastern Europe itinerary. The city traces its history back over 2,000 years and boasts incredible museums and Byzantine churches. Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and Soviet influences can be found throughout Sofia’s attractions, making it a one-of-a-kind cultural center. Nature lovers will enjoy the town’s lush parks and gardens. You can visit Sofia’s most famous landmarks in two to three days.

Check out my Solo Girl’s Guide to Sofia, which highlights the city’s best attractions.

Quick Tip: Wondering where to stay in Romania & Bulgaria? Check out these options!
Campeador Inn
Pensiunea Greenhill
City Avenue Hotel by HMG

4-Week Eastern Europe Itinerary: Serbia and Croatia

Serbia and Croatia are the best Eastern European countries to visit at the end of your trip. Lovers of history, art, food, and the outdoors will enjoy exploring these countries.

Exploring The Rich Cultural Tapestry: An Epic 4-Week Eastern European Backpacking Itinerary

Days 1-3: Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, Serbia, is easily accessible via train from Sofia. I recommend allotting three days to see all the top can’t-miss Belgrade sights. Whether you’re a history buff, shopaholic, or late-night party animal, Belgrade has something for everyone to enjoy.

An imposing fortress dominates this Serbian city while bustling museums, markets, bars, and restaurants line the streets. Regardless of the time of day, there’s always something fun and exciting to do in Belgrade. 

Days 4-5: Zagreb, Croatia

Take the train or bus from Belgrade to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. Zagreb is famous for being incredibly pedestrian-friendly, with endless cafes, shops, and art galleries. Seemingly countless examples of classic Gothic and Hungarian architecture can be found throughout Zagreb, and there’s no shortage of museums to learn about local history. Two days is plenty of time to tour this vibrant Croatian town.

Days 6-7: Plitvice Lakes National Park

The last destination on this Eastern Europe itinerary is Plitvice Lakes National Park, a quick bus ride from Zagreb. This stunning natural area is the largest national park in Croatia and is famous for its strikingly blue lakes and waterfalls. Several walkways and hiking trails allow backpackers to explore this beautiful landscape for one to two days.

Quick Tip: Wondering where to stay in Croatia & Serbia? Check out these options!
LDS Hotel Belgrade
Timeout Heritage Hotel Zagreb
Plitvice Streaming

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Eastern European Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Europe?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Europe, which you can read here. You can also check out my packing list for Europe on Amazon here.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for an excellent value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads, check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance. I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here.

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers cheap flights with cashback. Use code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise, Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight-search platforms.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Europe?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options available!

🚗 Where can I book rental cars or private transportation?

I strongly recommend using RentalCars. They are available in over 60,000 locations and have customer service support in over 40 languages.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices, and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices, which you can read here. I use GlocalMe to pop in a physical SIM card or use a local carrier.

Regarding my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling. Rather than swapping out my regular SIM card, I can download the app and buy a virtual SIM card. I recommend using either Airhub or Alosim. Both have excellent coverage in multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia. They offer great deals and multiple options, so I always check all three for the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products I recommend, which you can check here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack.

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Eastern Europe Itinerary: Final Thoughts

These Eastern Europe itinerary ideas for two, three, and four weeks are ideal for backpackers who want to tour some of Europe’s most historic and culturally significant places. Regardless of how much time you have for an Eastern Europe trip, this itinerary can easily be customized to fit your travel needs and preferences. I hope this Eastern Europe travel guide inspires you to plan a trip soon!  

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