Eastern Europe, Your Way

27 February 2017
Read Time: 3.2 mins

Seven days in four countries with 19 of your new BFFs. Have the time of your life with Topdeck in Eastern Europe.

From Budapest to Berlin, stopping in Krakow and Prague, Flight Centre Chermside Travel Expert Emma Tuxworth visited four Eastern European countries and four iconic cities in seven days.

Emma (right) and a friend tackle the local tipple at the annual Prague Beer Festival. (Image: Emma Tuxworth)

“With a fast and jam-packed itinerary, this trip is ideal for first-timers to Europe, travellers who are short on time and want to see as much as possible, or anyone who wants a taste of Eastern Europe,” Emma advises.

Working as a travel consultant, naturally Emma is a holiday-planning whiz, but on this trip she was happy to take a back seat and let Topdeck do the driving – literally.

“I usually plan out my travel to the minute, but having never done a Topdeck [trip] before I wanted to take a step back and let someone else do the work for me. And it totally worked! I will definitely be taking this tact more often,” she says.

Travelling solo? No problem, a Topdeck tour will set you up with 19 of your new BFFs, give or take. (Image: Emma Tuxworth)

A typical day would see the 20-strong Topdeck group head back to their accommodation in the early hours after a night out chatting and partying with the locals. After a few hours’ sleep, the revellers would be up and fed, ready to explore again. On travel days, that might mean a few hours on the bus en route to the next location, or on a free day, Emma would hop on a city tour with the Trip Leader or head off on her own to explore. Later, the group would meet up for dinner and experience the city’s nightlife together again.

One of Emma’s Eastern Europe trip highlights was the annual Prague Beer Festival, which she describes as a “mini Oktoberfest”, and luckily just happened to be on when the Topdeck group was in town. Think 12 hours of more than 70 different Czech craft beers on tap served in litre glasses and plenty of local ambience to go around.

Chock-full of history and atmospheric landmarks, Prague is a popular stop on the Eastern Europe route. (Image: Getty)

The Czech capital was also her favourite stop, where she fell in love with the medieval architecture, the locals, the cheap beer and the hearty cuisine, although she admits Polish dumplings (pierogi) are her new favourite food.

On this itinerary, the group also experienced a variety of uniquely Eastern European historic and cultural highlights from the sobering memories of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and the eerie pits and chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine to dipping their toes in the famous hot springs of the Gellert Baths in Budapest – a must-do experience.

Emma's most surprising moment on tour was visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and memorial in Poland. (Image: Emma Tuxworth)

"My most surprising moment was a stop at Auschwitz," Emma admits. "It's never been somewhere that was on my list, but it should have been. Actually seeing somewhere I've heard so much about is one of the best parts of travelling."

Other activities on the week-long trip included walking tours of Krakow and Prague, driving tours of Budapest and Berlin, and a Berlin nightlife tour, all with the guidance of the Trip Leader to ensure the group got the utmost out of their days and nights.

“There was so much to do, you had to make the most of every moment, “ Emma enthuses. “I loved how easy it was travelling with a group. As a solo traveller, this trip gave me the best of both worlds – I met some amazing people as well as having time to myself to see what I wanted. Topdeck helped me get to places I didn’t think about going on my own and made it easy to check them off my list.”

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling with Topdeck.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.