13 days in Central Europe Itinerary

13 days in Central Europe Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in Central Europe Itinerary

Start: Chicago, United States
Fly:  12​h 30​min
1
Krakow, Poland
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 30​min
2
Budapest, Hungary
— 2 nights
train:  2​h 30​min
3
Vienna, Austria
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h
4
Prague, Czech Republic
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
6
Salzburg, Austria
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h
7
Lucerne, Switzerland
— 2 nights
train + Fly:  13​h 30​min
End: Chicago, United States

1
night
Krakow, Poland

Krakow ©
One of Poland's oldest cities, Krakow sits at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, its historical town center nestled on the left bank of the Vistula River.
On the 9th (Mon), get to know the fascinating history of Krakow's Rynek Glowny Central Square, hunt for treasures at Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), and then steep yourself in history at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Keep things going the next day: contemplate the long history of Wawel Cathedral, take a stroll through Stare Miasto, then pause for some serene contemplation at St. Mary's Basilica, then explore the historical opulence of Wawel Royal Castle, and finally take a stroll through Ulica Florianska.

To see more things to do, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Krakow trip planner .

Chicago, USA to Krakow is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of flight and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 7 hours traveling from Chicago to Krakow. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from Chicago in September, with highs in Krakow at 66°F and lows at 49°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can travel to Budapest.

Things to do in Krakow

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums

Side Trip

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Highlights from your plan
Wieliczka Salt Mine ©
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wawel Cathedral ©
Wawel Cathedral
Wawel Royal Castle ©
Wawel Royal Castle

2
nights
Budapest, Hungary

Budapest ©
You might consider the city of Budapest, divided by the Danube River into two distinctive cities--Buda and Pest--to be essentially one large World Heritage Site.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Wed): savor the flavors at Central Market Hall, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Dohány Street Synagogue, contemplate the long history of Liberty Statue, then admire the masterpieces at Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galeria), then admire the striking features of Matthias Church, and finally contemplate the long history of Halaszbastya. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a stroll through Vaci Street, wander the streets of Andrassy Avenue, pause for some photo ops at Hősök tere, see the interesting displays at House of Terror Museum, then take in the spiritual surroundings of St. Stephen's Basilica (Szent Istvan Bazilika), and finally ponder the world of politics at Hungarian Parliament Building.

For reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Budapest trip planner.

Getting from Krakow to Budapest by flight takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In September in Budapest, expect temperatures between 71°F during the day and 52°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Thu) to allow time to take a train to Vienna.

Things to do in Budapest

Historic Sites Shopping Museums
Highlights from your plan
Liberty Statue ©
Liberty Statue
Halaszbastya ©
Halaszbastya
Matthias Church ©
Matthias Church

2
nights
Vienna, Austria

Vienna ©
The cultural, economic, and political center of the country, Vienna has developed from its early Celtic and Roman roots into a medieval and Baroque city, with an old town that was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Fri): examine the collection at Imperial Palace (Hofburg), admire the masterpieces at Belvedere Palace, admire the striking features of Schonbrunn Palace, then look for gifts at Xocolat, and finally don't miss a visit to St. Stephen's Cathedral. On the 14th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: steep yourself in history at Ringstrasse, explore the world behind art at Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, then browse the eclectic array of goods at Vienna Naschmarkt, then admire the masterpieces at Albertina, and finally learn more about the world around you at Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum).

To find other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Vienna road trip site .

Traveling by train from Budapest to Vienna takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 69°F, and evening lows to 52°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to travel to Prague.

Things to do in Vienna

Museums Historic Sites Shopping
Highlights from your plan
Imperial Palace (Hofburg) ©
Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Schonbrunn  Palace ©
Schonbrunn Palace
Belvedere Palace ©
Belvedere Palace

2
nights
Prague, Czech Republic

Prague ©
Prague lures millions of tourists each year with its World Heritage-listed medieval city center--a labyrinth of narrow lanes, bridges, cathedrals, and palaces overlooked by a thousand-year-old castle.
On the 15th (Sun), take a stroll through Hradcany, step into the grandiose world of Prague Castle, take in the spiritual surroundings of Katedrala Svateho Vita, then don't miss a visit to Prague Astronomical Clock, and finally take in the views from Charles Bridge. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Mon): wander the streets of Lesser Town, take in the exciting artwork at Lobkowicz Palace, pause for some serene contemplation at Kostel sv. Mikuláše, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Spanish Synagogue, then wander the streets of StaromEstske namEsti, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

For maps, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Prague route builder app .

Traveling by flight from Vienna to Prague takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 66°F in September, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Cesky Krumlov.

Things to do in Prague

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Spas
Highlights from your plan
Hradcany ©
Hradcany
Prague Castle ©
Prague Castle
StaromEstske namEsti ©
StaromEstske namEsti

1
night
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov ©
Known around the world for its medieval castle, Cesky Krumlov offers the chance to experience the charm of a small European city seemingly frozen in time several centuries ago.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Tue): steep yourself in history at Latran houses, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Christi and Our Lady of Sorrows Church, appreciate the extensive heritage of Historie mesta Ceský Krumlov, then admire the masterpieces at Egon Schiele Art Centrum, then see the interesting displays at Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, and finally contemplate the long history of Former Fink Cafe.

To see maps, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Cesky Krumlov trip itinerary app .

Traveling by car from Prague to Cesky Krumlov takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. September in Cesky Krumlov sees daily highs of 67°F and lows of 50°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Salzburg.

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov

Historic Sites Museums
Highlights from your plan
Historie mesta Ceský Krumlov ©
Historie mesta Ceský Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov Castle ©
Cesky Krumlov Castle
Egon Schiele Art Centrum ©
Egon Schiele Art Centrum

1
night
Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges and boasting a well-preserved city center, Salzburg melds culture and history.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Wed): contemplate the long history of Mozart Residence (Mozart Wohnhaus), get engrossed in the history at Mozarts Geburtshaus, step into the grandiose world of Schloss Hellbrunn, then take some stellar pictures from Fortress Hohensalzburg, then pause for some serene contemplation at Salzburg Cathedral, and finally don't miss a visit to Salzburger Altstadt.

To see maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Salzburg journey site .

Getting from Cesky Krumlov to Salzburg by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. In September in Salzburg, expect temperatures between 67°F during the day and 50°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Lucerne.

Things to do in Salzburg

Historic Sites Museums
Highlights from your plan
Schloss Hellbrunn ©
Schloss Hellbrunn
Fortress Hohensalzburg ©
Fortress Hohensalzburg
Mozart Residence (Mozart Wohnhaus) ©

2
nights
Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne ©
In north-central Switzerland, Lucerne represents a small city boasting a well-preserved old town.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Thu): take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Titlis, take in the awesome beauty at Mt Pilatus, and then appreciate the history behind Lion Monument. On your second day here, wander the streets of Altstadt Luzern, don't miss a visit to Bahnhofstrasse, and then take a stroll through Old Town.

For where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Lucerne trip maker app .

You can drive from Salzburg to Lucerne in 5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of flight and train. In September, daily temperatures in Lucerne can reach 67°F, while at night they dip to 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Lucerne

Nature Parks Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Zurich, Titlis
Highlights from your plan
Titlis ©
Titlis
Old Town ©
Old Town
Mt Pilatus ©
Mt Pilatus

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