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Europe: Eastern From Russia to Croatia, the Danube, Iron Curtain era vestiges, Pilzner beer, Czech it out!

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Old 01-16-2008, 01:04 AM   #1
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So I'm heading to Romania this June to hike one of the European Long Distance Paths (E3) with a friend. We plan on starting in northern Romania, traversing through Northeastern Hungary, going along the mountains on the Slovakia/Poland Borders and into the Czech Republic (come late August) to wrap it up. Of course all our time won't be spent in the hills. I am unsure just how much I can get by spending in these countires though. I'm a very simple and frugal traveller (breakfast/lunch/dinner at the markets with rarely a sit down dinner), but I do like to be able to go out and have a brew, or a few, every now and then (especially after being on the trail for a week).

Do these countries vary much in price of expenses? How much do things like hostels, a 3 hour bus ride, a beer, cheap take-away, and things like bread/cheese cost?

Any information would most appreciated.

Cheers,
Alex
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:30 AM   #2
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Poland would probably be the most expensive but it's still very cheap. I've been to Czech Republic and Slovakia. I'm not a frugal spender I don't budget and once I go out drinking I might as well be trowing my money down the toilet because I'll just start spending like mad on whatever crosses my path.

Over two weeks in Czech Republic I spent €600 and that included big bags of weed, going out drinking every night and buying presents for people back home.

In Slovakia I spent around €200 over 10 days and that trip was more or less the same as my Czech trip plus I came home with a big fancy cutlery set for me Ma.

As I was steaming drunk for most of my time in these countries I can't say for sure how much individual things cost.

Romania is supposed to be cheaper again.
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:26 AM   #3
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I'd actually guess that Czech Republic would be at least as expensive as Poland, both of which are still significantly cheaper than anywhere in western Europe. Most of our time in Czech, Poland and Hungary was in major centres, but we did spend a lot of time in the countryside of Lithuania, and based on that I would guess that prices will be significantly lower outside of the main cities.

That being said, your options for groceries in particular may be quite limited in the really rural areas. We had some interesting visits to rural grocery stores that recalled my visits during Soviet times. Also, take-away will be largely unavailable outside of the major centres, although you may be able to buy savory pastries filled with meat, mushrooms or potatoes in samll stores or from street stalls. These are generally cheap - in the range of $0.50 - $1.00, filling and yummy. Another good cheap option anywhere in eastern Europe is a bowl of soup at the local pub. Often served with boiled potatoes, they are filling, delicious and make a great lunch that will give you lots of energy for the afternoon.

Pick up a loaf of bread (for pennies) and a small slab of sausage, some oranges and a bottle of whatever you prefer to drink, and you can put together a decent dinner/breakfast for the next day, probably for less than $5.00. The sausage will be okay overnight unrefrigerated if you get a smoked or cured version. If you have cooling facilities, it doesn't hurt to eat the local yogurt because it has bacteria to help your system cope with the local bugs that can sometimes cause problems. Beer in small local pubs should be cheap - a couple of dollars per, perhaps, or you can buy it from the local grocers for less. In Lithuania they sold two litre bottles of beer for about $1.00. It wasn't a gourmet experience, but ...

Local buses are also typically very cheap - priced by distance, but usually for just a couple of dollars for a longish ride, if you are taking the local milk-run type bus. If you take an express or a nicer, newer bus, it'll set you back further, but it may be worthwhile for longer distances.

To get an idea of hostel prices in the cities, check out the hostel link on the main page, outside of the cities, you'll be looking at much more basic accommodations - often in funky old buildings with fairly limited services. We rented an entire four room house for our family (with four kids) in an historic village in Lithuania for $100 for a week, even that didn't have running water. The other options were a sports hostel which was too far from everything we wanted to do (like eat) or a hostel in a water mill, also without indoor plumbing. We opted for the relative privacy of an outhouse shared only with the 6 members of the host family...

Check the country tourism websites of the countries you plan to visit to get an idea of the accommodations along your route.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblezweedz View Post
Another good cheap option anywhere in eastern Europe is a bowl of soup at the local pub. Often served with boiled potatoes, they are filling, delicious and make a great lunch that will give you lots of energy for the afternoon.

I'll second that, the soup over there is absolutely class. It's got big lumps or veg and pasta it's a meal in itself.
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:11 AM   #5
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do you think it's doable on an average budget of 20-25 euro/day?
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:41 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure Poland would be more than doable. When I worked there I was able to get delicious stuffed cabbage to eat for only 5zl which is about 1.38 euros. I've no idea about the rest of Eastern Europe but if Poland is the most expensive country then you should be alright
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:08 AM   #7
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Absolutely doable.

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Old 01-17-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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^^^ True, but keep in mind though that hostels in some capitals (I'm thinking especially of Warshaw and Bucharest) will eat a lot of your budget as they cost around 15 euro per night and over. However, you don't seem like going anywhere close to a city during your stay in E.E. !

The best deal in Romania is found in private rooms. They are everywhere, and in June you won't need to reserve your place. In villages, ask at a the local grocery store for a place to stay, they'll call their friends up !

In the hungarian countryside, very few people speak english, even in train station or restaurant, so bring a lexicon or something with you.

Hopefully you'll post stories of your journey on here. Seems like an incredible trip you have planned. Congrats !
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:10 PM   #9
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great to have the information and reassurance. thanks everyone.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:00 PM   #10
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Sounds like an awesome journey planned! Something I'm gonna recommend to you is to check out couchsurfing or hospitality club. The financial benefits of it are pretty apparent: free place to sleep! but the cultural exchange benefits of it are awesome too. =] I've done a little couchsurfing and what little I've done has been great for me. On my next journey I'm going to try and use it almost exclusively.
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