Sample Backpacking Eastern Europe Itinerary

After my first time to Europe and visiting only the popular cities in the West, I was dreaming of Eastern Europe the whole next year in University waiting for summer to come around. It took ages to plan my sample Eastern Europe itinerary – and I’m going to detail it all here for you now that it’s said and done.

I’ve written about all these cities before so there will be links throughout with proper guides. As I mentioned in my sample western Europe itinerary, I didn’t have the funds at the time to go to Ireland and Spain as they would have required flying with my time constraints. Therefore, I made sure to hit those up first before heading East.

I mentioned Ireland and Spain in my Western Europe itinerary and as I said you could do Ireland first, then the Western Itinerary I wrote about, ending in Spain, then flying to Greece so start this “Eastern Europe” itinerary. So, I will start with Greece now!

Sample Eastern Europe Itinerary for Backpackers

1. Athens, Greece. Flying into Athens was exciting, but nerve-wrecking as my backpack didn’t make it and I didn’t have anything but almonds and my journal in my carry-on. First thing to know about Athens, is in July and hot months no one is there. They are on vacation because it’s so hot! The city was a little dirty and desolate to be honest, but interesting and of course seeing the ancient ruins at Acropolis was very cool. Tips for travel to Athens.

sample eastern europe itinerary

2. Mykonos, Greece. Mykonos is a party island. From Athens, you need to take a ferry to the closest port and you’ll want to find a travel agent in town to book your ferry tickets. They’re a little pricey if you’re comparing to Thailand islands. Mykonos was gorgeous, expensive, had delicious food, and there are quiet areas if you know where to look; we found a cute apartment in a secluded area. Read more: The Best of Mykonos Greece

sample eastern europe itinerary

3. Santorini, Greece. In terms or partying and gorgeousness, Santorini takes the cake. There’s no question as to why this is the most tourist island. It’s stunning. You have the famous sunsets and that white on blue rounded architecture everywhere you look. Food was a little pricey but scrumptious and the shops were full of the cutest stuff. I couchsurfed here mainly to save money and also because we hadn’t experienced Greece like a local. We stayed with a model/scuba instructor and had a blast club hopping the whole time and exploring the island on bikes. Read on for tips: What I love about Santorini Greece: Scuba and the Gods

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

4. Corfu, Greece. Corfu is the “green” island. The water is so clear, but with lush green forests in the background. Actually, it looks a lot like Thailand. We stayed at popular party hostel the Pink Palace, which is retrospect was a mistake as they trap you a bit from seeing the local parts of the island.

sample eastern europe itinerary

5. Tirana, Albania. So Albania was a bit of an accident. We pretty much were stuck in Santorini and told we had to go to Italy in order to get to our next city (Dubrovnik). The only other option was taking a ferry to the southern bit of Albania and going via taxi north, as local buses are hit and miss. We did take local buses / hitchhike through Albania through Montenegro to Croatia. We started via local bus to Tirana and met a cool chick, Bena, who shared all the secret local hotspots of Albania with us, from beaches and bars to UNESCO sites.

best of albania

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia. After a couple of days of unplanned travel, we made it to Dubrovnik and I was overwhelmed with how much I loved this city. If there was one place I wanted to go back to and take Ben, it would be this town. I know it’s become more touristy partially with help from Game of Thrones filming on the castle. It’s a medieval wonderful town. Fabulous food and so gorgeous overlooking the sea that I didn’t mind the small crowds. We stayed at a Sobe in the Old Town which I 100% recommend. They will find you at the bus station.

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

7. Sarajevo, Bosnia. Sarajevo was a bit of a culture shock after being in beach party towns, not to say we didn’t party in Sarajevo (I was only 20 after all). A place not so long ago destroyed by war, you can still see the destruction today and learning about the history of that war is very important. This was the first place I’d been that had a call to prayer, but was interesting in that there were also Christian churches and Synagogues in the same intersection. Also, the food was incredible as well as the coffee! Definitely buy a coffee set here.

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

8. Belgrade, Serbia. Not only interesting, but affordable. It’s a cool town to see but I was there only a short time. There was a beer festival in Belgrade happening so you can only imagine what I was up to. We found a hotel online and it was 3 bucks a night with breakfast. How is that possible!?

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

9. Budapest, Hungary. The first thing I learned about Budapest is that one side of the river is Buda and one side is called pest. I recommend doing a walking tour of the city to learn, and I also couchsurfed here. Mostly, we learned about what happened there during world war 2, which has always interested me. Make sure to visit the famous Szechyeni baths, which is a highlight of a trip to Budapest.

sample eastern europe itinerary

10. Krakow, Poland. Although I liked the walking tour and learned a lot, I found the city a bit boring. Perhaps the weather had something to do with it. I did enjoy the town fair and markets. I’m sure it was a fluke that I didn’t have a blast, but I would go back. Read more tips for visiting Krakow.

sample eastern europe itinerary

11. Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is incredible! Spend as much time here as you can. Affordable, great food, amazing history and architecture, and a fun nightlife. I couchsurfed here and loved seeing the city from a locals view. Read for some tips on Prague.

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

12. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. This place is about 4 hours from Prague by a cheap bus that offers hot chocolate and a movie! The town is the “last bohemian town” with a castle uniquely hand-painted to look like it’s more fancy architecture than it really is. There is a moat with beers, lots of little homey bars, and your hostel will possibly offer you a joint fix on arrival.

sample eastern europe itinerary

sample eastern europe itinerary

So, there you have it, my sample Eastern Europe itinerary based on my own trip. All in all I started the trip flying into Irelend, then flying to Spain, then onward via flight to Greece. The rest is as you read, then after Cesky, we took a bus back to Prague to fly to Ireland to catch the roundtrip flight home.

I had more fun on my trip to Eastern Europe than Western Europe, and although some people think it’s not as easy to travel, I found that wasn’t true except lack of buses in Northern Albania and Montenegro. It was very affordable and I learned a lot.

I hope you found this Eastern European backpacking itinerary helpful! Remember to find a cheap flight using my tips and get some travel insurance that covers adventure sports. If you’re planning a trip, check out my tips on how to plan a trip from scratch.

Pin this sample Eastern Europe itinerary for later:

sample Eastern Europe itinerary


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. c September 24, 2015 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Your teen-aged Western and Eastern European escapades made me envious. Super travels.
    I thought this article would help your readers as the U.S. government is warning American travelers that passport renewals are going to take longer during the next few years due to the 10-year Western Hemisphere Journey Initiative anniversary. Millions will be applying for new passports and renewals starting at the first of the year..Plan accordingly and renew way ahead of the rush. Click on blue

  2. Danni @ Two Peas in a Pack September 27, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Ah! This reminds me so much of looking back on my study abroad when was 20. My boyfriend and I are going back to Budapest this summer and are hoping to visit some more of Eastern Europe but having a hard time deciding where to go. Would you go back now that you are little older?

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      YES!! I loved it so much. I want to go again and do places I missed like Slovenia and inland Croatia as well as more time in beaches of Montenegro

  3. rebecca September 28, 2015 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Would love to go to Albania, I can certainly recommend Romania. It’s so under estimated!

  4. [email protected] The British Berliner October 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Fantastic tips Rachel and extremely affordable and not really packed-out except in places like Croatia.

  5. LeAnna October 1, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Cesky Krumlov just might be one of my favorite European towns, I love it! (While the CZ is quickly becoming known as part of Central, not Eastern Europe).
    So many people skip Eastern Europe when planning European adventures and it’s a shame! It’s so much cheaper, such great culture and just as many wonderful things to see and do! We absolutely ADORE Croatia for those reasons alone :)

    • Rachel Jones October 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      I’d love to get back to Croatia! It was so gorgeous!

  6. rakhi October 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm - Reply


    This helps me such a great amount to remember thinking back on my concentrate abroad when was 20. My sweetheart and I are doing a reversal to Budapest this late spring and are planning to visit some a greater amount of Eastern Europe yet experiencing considerable difficulties where to go


  7. Kate October 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    What a fantastic itinerary! Will definitely be using this as inspiration when we start planning our Eastern European vacations!

  8. Aqua service March 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    What a phenomenal schedule! Will be utilizing this as motivation when we begin arranging our Eastern European get-aways!

  9. Aqua service April 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    All pics are so good

  10. Andrew Darwitan April 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Looks like you had a blast! Greece is lovely, as are Budapest and Prague. I haven’t been to Croatia or Poland but would love to go someday.

  11. Aquafresh December 14, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Ah! This reminds me so much of looking back on my study abroad when was 20. My boyfriend and I are going back to Budapest this summer and are hoping to visit some more of Eastern Europe but having a hard time deciding where to go. Would you go back now that you are little older?

  12. shankar April 28, 2017 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    How come there is no Vienna and the nearby Bratislava ?

    • Rachel Jones April 29, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Vienna is considered Western Europe and is included in my Western Europe Itinerary. Bratislava just isn’t included like quite a few other countries. That’s why this is a sample itinerary.

  13. Jay July 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    This is a great article!

  14. jessicahische September 23, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Really awesome article.It’s very inspiring.Thanks for sharing this article with us.

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