Schonbrunn Palace Gardens, Vienna, Austria ©MDHarding
At the start of each year, we like to sit down to do a rough plan of where and when we would like to travel too. Taking into account the best time of year to visit, what's the weather going to be like? Is it a local holiday or perhaps there is a festival taking place. We like to avoid the crowds and see beyond the tourist hotspots, all those hidden gems that only locals know about.
Like most years this year was no exception, we had a few places that were on the travel list! There are always more places than perhaps you might have the time off work to visit or budget.
Lucky we were able to group some countries together although the cities weren't as close together as I would have liked, to have been able to take advantage of surface transportation.
Drum roll....these were Krakow (Poland), Kyiv (Ukraine), Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria) and then finally to the Hungarian capital city of Budapest.
We Travelled to five countries in two weeks. Here's how you can do it too!
Five Countries In Two Weeks
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Main Square, Krakow, Poland ©MDHarding
As you can imagine this trip took a lot of planning, with lots of components, some compromises and care. You don't want to be booking accommodation for the wrong city on the wrong dates or even worse a flight on the wrong date.
It's a good idea to get everything down on a piece of paper first. Listing the destinations, what you would like to see and do and perhaps accommodation you have been recommended. Now comes the tricky part, bringing everything together with the dates and flights. We could only fly into and out of two airports from Edinburgh, these are Krakow and Budapest. Then we had to find the best ways to travel to the other cities and join everything up. Accommodation came next and finally, the best part looking into the variety of must-see and do's. I always like to take it a stage further and check where the accommodation is in relation to the airport and what the best way to get there is.
"Failing to Plan is planning to fail" - Unknown
"A goal without a plan is just a wish" - Unknown
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your own wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver
We opted to take backpacks on this trip as we were travelling on local transport, walking short distances and some accommodation only had stair access. Also in autumn, the climate is fairly mild so we didn't have to pack heavy winter jumpers and also we're not travelling through different climates.
Top Tip: I always find you can get in and out of airports much faster with a backpack.
Ticket From Krakow Airport To City Centre ©MDHarding
Based in Edinburgh, Scotland the first leg almost always consists of a flight, and in this case, it was no different. Edinburgh to Krakow, Poland is a short 2 hours 40-minute flight. The flights tend to be almost always the most expensive part of any trip. We booked those a few months ahead of time. Flying Easyjet into John Paul II International Airport only 11km from the city centre. The transfer by train is 30 minutes.
Discovering a traditional small hotel in the heart of the city, which was only a 10-minute walk from the train and bus station. Perfect for exploring and reaching from the airport. B & B La Fontaine here we come.
For more accommodation options for all budgets and dates, I can highly recommend Booking.com I love the flexibility that Booking.Com offers with cancellable, pay on arrival or pay now options.
Krakow is famous for its Pierogi dumplings, beer and historic old town. Outside there is the large Wieliczka Salt Mine with its underground chapels, chambers and lakes, many like to visit Auschwitz and there is also the possibility to take a day trip to the highlands to see the