Eastern Europe Guidebook
Favorite discoveries or tips:
Dusan Pavlica in Federal Way, WA USA 05/24/2013
Krakow, Poland – Main Market Square in the evening.
In the evening, I spent most of my evenings hanging out & dining in the Main Market Square. It is absolutely beautiful at night! It is lit up with very beautifully with its Cloth Hall, and water fountain taking center stage. It is very lively, with both tourists and locals. It is lined with many cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to cap off an evening! (Trip taken mid/late Sept. 2012)
Kaz in Santa Clarita, CA USA 03/31/2013
We recently visited Eastern Europe and contacted one of Rick's recommended drivers in Poland. Andrew Durman, whom we found in Rick's section on Krakow, is truly a gem of a find. He happily met us at the airport and for the next three days drove us to the Salt Mines, Krakow vicinities, and to Auschwitz. He made our Auschwitz pilgrimage, in memory of our dear friend who survived this death camp, a very unique and memorable one. We felt so comfortable with Andrew. His courteousness, efficiency, and knowledge were hard to beat. We felt that we left Poland having made a brand new friend. We can't wait to go back just so that we can visit with Andrew again.
Darlene Esola in San Bruno, CA USA 03/09/2013
Prague -Lobkowicz Palace has combo ticket for the Palace + Castle Short-tour for 400 Kc -Free 30 min Wifi at Burger King in Prague Main Train Station -There's discount for buying round trip train tickets, i.e. Praha to Kutná Hora M?sto discounted 10 Kc
Jeri in Detroit, Mi USA 12/19/2012
As usual, wonderful guidebook. We used Andrew Durman as a driver from Krakow to Auschwitz and he was spectacular. He showed us so much that we never would have seen with a tour or on our own. We highly recommend him
Patricia Urquhart in Clarkston, WA USA 11/03/2012
My wife and I have been traveling through Central Europe for roughly the last six weeks. We've been trying to get off the beaten track by visiting smaller towns such as Maribor and Olomouc. One thing that has been a frustration for me personally, and I've been struggling to find info on, is the "Smiling Etiquette." As an American from Spokane, WA, I tend to make eye contact and smile towards people within range. What I'm learning is that this may be rude or strange here. Is this true? I could go on and on about discoveries we loved!!
Jeff Nordvall in Spokane, WA USA 10/12/2012
Warsaw and Krakow train stations both have adjacent large, modern shopping malls which have Carrefour food markets - Warsaw downstairs and Krakow upstairs.
Alan Feddersen in Oro Valley, AZ USA 09/07/2012
High Tatras in Slovakia and Poland
Kathy Klocek in Verona, USA 08/23/2012
Choose your visit to concentration camps carefully...you will be outside for the bulk of the time and during very hot or cold days it could make for a miserable trip. Also, pack lots of snacks. My daughter who is studying at jagellonian university for the semester recommends bringing water with you and not ordering drinks as sometimes the water was more then the food but the exchange rate is excellent so unless you're a poor college student its not much. We picnicked alot. I found the pasteries at the shops hit or miss...very heavy typically and a real eye opener after what Im used to in Paris. Bring a note book...pictures can be very helpful when english is not spoken. A few times I resorted to french and lucked out that the words were close enough. People are friendly. Make sure you have change...registers do not come with a bank when they open and you might not get change back. Keferik clerks sometimes were frustrated when I only had a large bill. We had been traveling since the afternoon before and didnt arrive until 1pm. Bus to the train station was a 1/2 hour wait and then another transfer and the bus to town would take an hour. I decided to splurge on a taxi $30 dollars for the mental well being of my teenagers and myself. Worth every penny and gave us an extra two hours in town. We took the bus back and it wasn't bad at all. I would definitely check out the communist tours. I very much enjoyed the conversations my teens and I had re: communism, the cold war, and its link to the war in afghanistan currently. MY eldest daughter was born right after the berlin wall fell and so this was her first real exposure to that time period. There is a communist ideal community one of only 3 outside of russia not far from krakow I think it's definitely worth a look especially if you have kids.
anne marie in dover, nh USA 05/28/2012
In Krakow, Horoscope was a wonderful restaurant! Great service & food.
Linda Lew in Wausau, WI USA 05/09/2012
open jaw tickets - my trip is kind of complicated. i need to be in brussels to start, but planned to fly from brussels to milan and go east from there on a rail pass. then i would have to get back to brussels to fly home. i had tried pricing my flight using one way trips and the cost was double what it would be to fly round trip. the incredibly simple suggestion of flying open jaw (i didnt even know this existed) gave me a flight that was FAR cheaper than i had gotten for a round trip. i am saving hundreds of dollars, not to mention precious time.
i also love love love love love the way the book is written. it feels like you are listening to a person talk and not reading a reference guide. just the diections for walking around are fantastic. rick steves tells you exactly which way to walk, which roads have a steep hill....how to go a block over and avoid it...exactly how to walk ("go left from the top of the escalator and turn right when you get outside") i mean this is so clearly laid out for you. it seems impossible to get lost looking for anything.
the only downside i can find in this book is that its SO helpful that i have no choice but to carry it with me and look like a tourist.
i am only on page 110 but im already in love.
jennifer in brooklyn, ny USA 02/01/2012
An excelllent splurge in Prague is La Degustation Restuarant at Hastelka 18 right next door to Hotel Hastel.
Judy Sepik in Forestville, CA USA 10/01/2011
I used your snapshot of Poland to plan my trip to Warsaw and Krakow. I found it very helpful and used it throughout my trip. It was a great help to me.
Patricia in Walenista, VA USA 10/01/2011
Great local bar in Kazimierz area of Krakow called Alchemia, Ul Estay5 (on the corner). Even have a non smoking room! Very cool atmosphere.
Linda in Holly, MI USA 09/20/2011
There is very little coverage on the Tatras in the guidebook. It is still possible to reach the tatras without a car. Budget airlines are a viable option. I took a flight from Ljubljana to Prague & then caught a flight from Prague to Slovakia-(poprad-tatry airport). I managed to find a family run tour company which also provided accomodation in their B&B. The accomodation was unbelievably cheap, at 15 euro perperson per night. The 3of us stayed in an apartment with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, an attached kitchen & living room. Martinin & DOminic were excellent tour guides, driving us around to the various tour destinations in the Tatras region. We hiked in the Tatras & one less dangerous part of Slovak paradise. We also visited the Spiss castle-unesco world heritage site & ice cave-another unesco world heritage site. There was an openair museum in Slovakia, showcasing the life of the commoners in ancient days. DOminic & Martini also introduced their local customs to us.Doiminic's mum provided homecooked dinner for us as well--authentic Slovakian food. Pls visit their website at http://nadatours.com/
Tay Siew Hua in Singapore, Singapore 09/09/2011
These comments refer to the ISTANBUL guidebook only. The nitty-gritty information (opening/closing, how to get there, what it will cost, where to go if there are crowds, etc. what to not miss/what to skip) was really invaluable in planning my time in Istanbul.
Carol Sullivan in Mount Vernon, WA USA 08/24/2011
Let me start off my saying that we don't ever travel without you Rick!!! We love your guidebooks and enjoyed a fabulous and jam-packed 12 day vacation to Prague, Salzburg, the Wachau Valley, Vienna and Budapest. However, you don't have any info on the city of Salzburg. Although we didn't find much to do there - we went on a Panorama Tour - specifically the Sound of Music Tour. In all of my years traveling and all of the tours I've been on - this tour (which I thought would be overly kitschy and silly) was amazing. My husband even loved it. It was very well organized and the bus was clean and air-conditioned. After a quick tour of the city sites used while filming the movie - the bus takes you out to the picturesque mountain town of Mondsee (the church there was used in the filming of the movie). The lake region surrounding the city - "the hills" - are simply gorgeous. In addition - Peter - our tour guide was INCREDIBLE! This is a must see!! Here is a link to their site. http://www.panoramatours.com/ After Salzburg, we rented a car and drove out to the Wachau Valley. We stayed at an amazing small property called "Weinresidenz Sonnleitner". Chris Sonnleitner is the owner - and transformed a dilapidated set of buildings into a beautiful bed and breakfast. We stayed in the Ruby Penthouse - which was a pretty good deal at 195euro/night with a fantastic gourmet made-to-order breakfast. Our suite was huge - complete with mechanical blinds, a sauna, 2 person jacuzzi bathtub and a modern kitchen. The place was truly state of the art and as a winemaker himself - Chris produces his own wines, called 100% Sonnleitner. He works on the honor system. Your room is stocked with Sonnleitner wines and at the end of your stay you pay 3.50 euro for the # of glasses you drink. He has the same system in his wine room - which also stocks additional Austrian wines that you can drink anytime of day by the bottle or the glass. Here is a link to the site http://www.weinresidenz.at/. The regular rooms are significantly less expensive – and the rest of the experiences are the same. Also - we were in Budapest and discovered 3 new places that you should include in your book (PS - you were right about Spoon - we went for the view but the food was terrible). The first was mentioned in the recent NY Times Article "36 Hours in Budapest" and it's called Wine Kitchen or Borkonyha . It opened within the year and the food was incredible. I had the cod and my husband had the pork. It is on Sas Utca - here is a link to more info on it. http://www.chew.hu/first_taste_borkonyha_wine_kit.html. We also ate at a new restaurant called Tigris - which we found on our own. Aside from an impressive wine list of Hungarian wines – they specialize in goose liver. We had the sampler – and got to taste it a few different ways. The goose liver creme brulee might have been the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. They also have meat, fish, pork and poultry – plus the nicest and cleanest bathrooms I have been in throughout Europe. A link to their site http://www.tigrisrestaurant.hu/english. It is at 1501 Merleg Utca in Pest. After dinner, our fantastic waiter and the sommelier suggested a visit to their wine bar – around the corner – called DiVine. Polak David – the sommelier is super knowledgeable about all Hungarian wines and the outside seating area has an unbelievable view of the Basilica. It is literally right next to it in St. Stephen’s Square. Here is a link to more info. http://welovebudapest.com/en/cafes-bars/divino
Pamela Mohr in New York, NY USA 08/17/2011
In short, everything. I bought this book for a quick month in mostly Eastern Europe, and it was fabulous. I read every chapter before visiting a new city, and I really enjoyed the detailed step by step directions to places. About three weeks into travelling, I lost my book in Prague. I felt lost for the last week in Eastern Europe. My next stop was Rome, and the first thing I did was pick up the Rome pocket guide for my four days there. I researched guidebooks quite a bit beforehand, and I am beyond satisfied with my choice. It will be the first thing I buy for my next European adventure!
Bri Morris in Little Rock, AR USA 08/15/2011
1) We hired Marta Chmielowska's husband "Chester" for the day. He picked us up @ 07:50, then drove us first to the Wieliczka Salt Mine (the three of us were the only ones on this early English tour. We stumbled on a Mass being conducted in the Chapel of St. Kinga!), then on to Auschwitz-Birkennau. By hiring him for 400 zl for the three of us, we took out all of the uncertainties of the day and got us back by 18:00-18:30!!
2) We called the Jarden Bookshop and arranged an English-speaking guide, Bart. He took us through a bunch of synogogues and got us the the Schindler Factory, but he was a bit detailed & verbose. Probably worth it....
Larry Iversen in Bremerton, WA USA 07/03/2011
Dubrovnik: 1) The jewery shop in the bottom of the Bell Tower is run by Rudy & his brother with excellent locally made products. 2) Lady Pi-Pi's resturant was great!
Larry Iversen in Bremerton, USA 06/27/2011
Consider adding a restaurant to your Mostar chapter under "Away from the Old Bridge": Restorvan Sadrvan, Jusovina 11, Stari grad (between the Motel Emen & the Old Bridge), tel/fax: 036 579 057, www.restoransadrvan.ba, their National Plate is great!
Larry Iversen in Bremerton, WA USA 06/12/2011
I think there is nothing new. But it would be nice to hear something like a better world order and world's economy. So that people can travel more.
Dragan in Korcula, Croatia 02/09/2011
I really enjoyed the book on Croatia and Slovenia. I am going to visit places that I had no intention to go to before. Want to do a road trip from Viena to Mostar? Anay suggestions?
Elna Vermaak in Pretoria, South Africa 02/02/2011