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December 7th, 2016
Eastern Europe and Scandinavia Travel Guide
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Professor Hughes~

Professor Hughes~

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Join Date: 04/13/2010 | Posts: 587

Prof. Hughes Eastern European and Scandinavian (and Barcelona) Travel Guide

Yo everyone, I've just spent July and August in Europe. It fucking rocks and I highly recommend everyone to go there. I'm posting some info on the various cities I visited and other logistical information. Anyone with any other experience on any of these places, please post your advice as well!

General Information

My budget was to stay under $150/day, sometimes I spent much less, rarely more (only in Scandinavia). In most of Eastern Europe, you could probably survive on less than $50/day if you stayed in hostel dorms, cooked your own meals, and avoided drinking and expensive tourist stuff. Once you get to Scandinavia, the minimum is probably closer to $80-90/day. I stayed mostly in hotels through Poland, Hungary, Serbia, and Lithuania. Then I switched mostly to hostels in Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, and Finland. I was forced to stay in a hotel in Helsinki but was lucky to find one for just under $100/night that was within walking distance of the center city.

For travel between cities, I generally used trains except in the Baltic states where buses are much more frequent and convenient. A typical train ride between cities is usually $15-20 one way. A long international route where you have to switch trains several times can be more expensive but is usually under $100. Buses in the Baltics were around $15 one way as well. In Finland/Sweden, these prices go up substantially. I would recommend going to the train station one day ahead and buying your ticket (unless it's a route where there are tons of trains each day like Krakow-Warsaw). There is no way to buy tickets in Eastern Europe online, but you can see the train schedules for all countries at http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml. Also, Eurail passes don’t apply to most of these countries (on the bright side, I’m sure the total cost of all of my train tickets was much less than a typical Eurail pass).

I was able to stay in hotels in good areas of the city for $50-75/night through Eastern Europe. Hostels will usually run you $15-30/night for a dorm bed, and private rooms in a hostel are not really much cheaper than a real hotel room. Dorm beds are more like $40-50 in Sweden and up to $70/night in Oslo (one of the reasons I didn’t go there).

If you are planning to stay in hostel dorms, buy some Mack’s earplugs (http://www.macksearplugs.com) and an eyemask to keep yourself in the quiet and dark no matter what is going on in your room or outside your window. The silicon earplugs work much better than the typical foam ones that you see. They are cheap and each pair lasts 4-5 nights (you get 6 pairs per pack). They sell them at Walmart in the US. For the eyemask, make sure the elastic band that goes around your head is very thin. I used to have one that was pretty thick and it was uncomfortable to lay on.

Food can be as cheap or expensive as you want. You can generally get good sit-down restaurant dinners with a drink for under $10 through much of E Europe but this gets harder to find the farther north you go. In Stockholm, a McDonalds value meal is almost $10. Restaurant food and alcohol in Scandinavia are outrageously expensive.

I found that English is spoken near-universally by people under 30 except in Poland, and even there it’s spoken well enough to converse by ~70% of younger people.

Lonely Planet's Eastern Europe book is pretty good and was very helpful for me on this trip. You can usually find free tourist maps and guides in most of the cities as well.

For money issues (for Americans at least, maybe others?), I recommend using the Charles Schwab high-yield online checking account.  You get a debit card that you can use at any ATM in the world and not have to pay any fees.  For a credit card, use a Capital One card (I use the Venture card b/c of the travel rewards).  They don't charge any foreign transaction fees ever.  Asan aside, read the book "I will teach you to be rich" by Ramit Sethi to get your finances handled.

"The Life Nomadic" (available for free at tynan.com) is invaluable for travel advice, even though I'm not quite as minimalist as he is.

City-Specific Information (cities are in the order of when I visited them)

Poznan, Poland: Google roosh v travel forum and search on there for "Poland thread" for detailed info on Poznan. Poznan looked promising, but I only spent 1 night there on a Monday and didn't go out. Supposedly it’s a huge student town and much better during the school year. I stayed at Retro hostel which was nice, centrally located, and inexpensive.

Wroclaw, Poland: this city is awesome and I wish I had been there on a weekend. Lots of turbo girls walking around. Roosh V also has good info on nightlife and restaurants in the same Poland thread. I stayed at Leo Apart in a large furnished apartment in an ideal location for $65/night.

Bratislava: Only stayed there for one night after riding on a train all day so I didn’t go out other than walking around for an hour. Stayed at Hostel Possonium which was actually a quality hostel. Had one of the best meals of my trip at Prasna Basta in the old town (pork medallions with honey mustard sauce and roasted potatoes, yum). Nightlife seemed a little lame for a Thursday. Overall quality of girls was low by EE standards. I would skip Bratislava.

Budapest: Awesome city, stayed 5 nights and another 1 night after returning from Belgrade. Stayed at Central Basilica Hotel which is ideally located. Went out to Holdudvar and Rom Kert, which are both large outdoor clubs (Holdudvar is massive). Both were awesome and loaded with hot girls. Note that all the outdoor clubs are only open April-Sept. I ate pizza at Vapiano in Pest 4 times in 6 days- it’s delicious and inexpensive. There’s good daygame opportunities in Deak Ferenc square in Pest and through the touristy shopping areas around there. The best touristy thing to do is to go to one of the public baths- the Szechenyi baths were awesome and are open year round (heated by thermal springs). Lots of hotties there as well. Walking around the Castle district in Buda is cool as well. If it’s not hot as balls, you can rent a bike and ride around for a few hours for pretty cheap.

Belgrade: I was there for 4 nights. It’s probably the least expensive city I visited on the trip. Stayed in the Union hotel which was excellently located but run-down and had no air conditioning. This was not so good since the average afternoon temperature was 38C during my visit. It was cheap though. Nightlife here is pretty epic. In the summer, most of the action is on large river barges that are converted into clubs. The most convenient area where these are located is on the west bank of the Sava river stretching south from the Brankov bridge. You can walk there in ~20 minutes from the center city. A challenging venue with turbo girls and tall steroid guys is Ander bar on the side of the Belgrade fortress. Good daygame opportunities in Republic Sq and the pedestrian street that extends from there to the fortress. Watch out for taxi drivers who will try to rip you off (true everywhere but I especially noticed it here). There’s not really a lot of great sightseeing in Belgrade to be honest.

Krakow: Nightlife here is excellent as well almost every night of the week. I used this guide [url=http://www.rsdnation.com/node/158160?page=3#comment-731865 ]http://www.rsdnation.com/node/158160?page=3#comment-731865 [/url]which was awesome. Really liked Cien and Frantic. Wear a dress shirt and nice shoes to most of these places on the weekends b/c the bouncers will screen. Talk to promoter girls in and around the main square to warm up and to get deals for free drinks/entry to clubs. Daygame is good around the main square and in the Galleria mall by the train station. There’s plenty of good sightseeing in and around the old town and Kasimierz area. A cool out of the way sight is the Krakus mound which is south of the river and gives a great view of the city. I would strongly recommend going to see Auschwitz concentration camp as well- plan for a whole day for this. Make sure you see Auschwitz and Birkenau. Buses run from the main bus station every 20-30 minutes and it takes 1.5-2 hrs each way to get there from Krakow.

Warsaw: Unless you have friends who live there, don’t go. Seriously. Terrible nightlife and expensive for Polish standards. Might be better with local insider knowledge.

Vilnius: Cool city- least expensive and touristy of the Baltic capitals. Nightlife rocked on the weekend at least. I spent most of my time out at Brodvijus and Salento clubs which are on the southern side of the old town. Girls are friendly and like Western guys. Daygame in Cathedral Sq, on Gediminas avenue, and on the main street that runs north-south through the old town. Good sightseeing: KGB museum (though the Riga equivalent is better), the castle tower for good views. There’s good food here as well. I had the best meal of my entire trip at Balzac (French food), and also had a delicious meal at Sue’s Indian Raja restaurant near the cathedral square.

Riga: I was there Sun-Wed, so I didn’t go to any clubs. The bar scene was pretty good though. Stayed at Friendly Fun Franks hostel which was decent and had nightly pub crawls (~$14 gets you 5 beers at 5 bars with a cockfarm of dudes). These were typically a sausage fest but you can branch out and approach other girls at the bars. The hostel was not set up for pulling girls there- pretty tight security. La Belle Epoque usually had some hot girls hanging around and was not on the hostel pub crawl. There are reasonable amounts of people out even during the weeknights. Sightseeing options: museum of Latvian occupation was good and free. Can go up in the church spire but I’d recommend going to the top of the Academy of Science building for a better view of the city. If you stay at FFF hostel, they have free walking tours every day.

Parnu, Estonia- Nightlife rocked on the weekend here (only in the summer though). The beach was crowded but too cold for me. Sugar nightclub was excellent. Also checked out Mirage and it was empty. I stayed at Louna hostel which was in a good location and was not bad. Not much to do here other than the beach and going out- it’s a small town. Reminded me somewhat of a New Zealand town (i.e. beautiful but not much to do).

Tallinn- this was my favorite city in Eastern Europe (by a hair over Budapest and Wroclaw). I was here Sunday-Wednesday and nightlife was still good. I would recommend staying at Tallinn backpackers- great location, cool staff, and very social (not good for pulling girls who aren’t staying there though). They would have a free pub crawl every night that leaves the hostel at 11:00. You can join up with the pub crawl out front of the hostel even if you are not staying there. They serve very cheap and good homemade dinners (2.50 euro) at the hostel for those on a budget. Shooters was a pretty decent bar with a dance area that had some hotties every night. I went to Club Hollywood on my last night there which was bumping. There is an awesome art museum called Kumu which is a couple kilos east of the old town- definitely worth checking out as well as the park that surrounds it.

Helsinki- Try and meet up with some local RSD guys if you come here. I had a great time with them but would probably not have had as good a time by myself as I did through most of Eastern Europe. There must not be very many hostels here because there were literally no rooms within a 10 mile radius of downtown when I tried to book. Ended up staying at the Scandic Continental which was a 15 minute walk from the center city and was just under $100/night. Food and alcohol were generally overpriced. There is a Vapiano by the train station.

Stockholm: A beautiful city with beautiful women, but super expensive. Try to meet up with some local RSDers, there are plenty of them out there. Lots of hostels are available. I stayed at Best Hostel Skeppsbron, which is ideally located and pretty nice. You could conceivably pull a girl to this hostel as well since it’s possible to get in without going past the hostel desk. It’s close to Café Opera and within reasonable walking distance of Stureplan.  There's also tons of RSD peeps in Stockholm, so put a message out on the forum before you visit.

Barcelona: Awesome awesome city. Downside is it’s much more touristy than anywhere in E Europe or Scand. I stayed near La Rambla in the old part of the city- it has its pluses and minuses but there’s plenty to do. Tons of nightlife 7 days a week and everything stays open all night. There are a number of paid pub crawls that generally have lots of girls, but you really can’t go wrong. The food here is amazing as well- so much better than the other places on my trip. It is fairly expensive though (typical prices for western Europe). Be wary about friendly strangers approaching you, especially at night. I got my iPhone pickpocketed one night walking home from the club. There is apparently an epidemic of this. I’d recommend only carrying what cash you need and maybe a cheap cellphone. There’s also a lot of aggressive drug dealers and prostitutes, especially late night on La Rambla. Tons of great sights to see- my favs were the beach and Montjuic park which is huge and has the Olympic stadium and the old fortress that overlooks the city.

Anyway, I hope this helps some guys.  This has been sitting around mostly done for a couple weeks so I put the finishing touches tonight and posted it finally.  These countries are fucking awesome and I highly encourage everyone to visit them.
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#1
Achilles~

Achilles~

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Join Date: 07/22/2007 | Posts: 467

Hey mate, im planning a trip to europe for october right now. your post coudn't have come at a better time!

awesome info

Thanks for posting!

Achilles~
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#2

getemcusiknow

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Join Date: 09/19/2009 | Posts: 571

awesome guide, you should definately repost this in the cities project thread
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#3

Hawke

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Join Date: 03/22/2011 | Posts: 14

 Hey Prof did you experience culture shock at all on your trip?
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#4
Professor Hughes~

Professor Hughes~

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Join Date: 04/13/2010 | Posts: 587

Thanks guys.  I did repost in the cities thread.

As far as culture shock, I didn't really have any, but I'm 32 years old and I've traveled to a lot of places (some more exotic than Europe).  I spent most of my time interacting with locals in most of these cities as well- almost everyone over there is incredibly nice and welcoming.
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#5

CBAABC

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Join Date: 02/20/2009 | Posts: 1692

 5 Stars.

Confirm. Also have been to Krakow, Auschwitz, Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki...then Munich and Stockholm.

Krakow was beautiful and had good and cheap nightlife (free entrance from promoters girls and then the only expense is water). Stayed there 5+1 night

Riga was awesome. Stayed there 4+2 nights. Awesome nightlife (people party till 6-7 AM). Didn´t really go to clubs cuz I was intimidated by them, so I did streetgame and there´s a lot of people on the streets at night.

Helsinki, only 2 nights. Went to Kaivo Puisto, it´s a summer club (so it ends towards the end of august), this place is awesome, if you go to Helsinki in summer go check it out. Book hostels in advance here cuz there´s not many hostels and I almost had to stay in a hotel.

Stockholm, Expensive nightlife (you pay 15-20 euro for entrance in the club, but water is for free there). Chicks are hot. Was disappointed by Cafe Opera on a wednesday night.

Didn´t liked Warsaw, Vilnius, Tallinn nightlife because i was there on the wrong nights (sundays and mondays).

@Hughes: I envy your budget. Haha.

I spent like 40 euro per day (transport included) on my trip (Krakow, Auschwitz, Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki). Spent much more in Munich and Stockholm.

ChinaBoy
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#6
Martin Crowe

Martin Crowe

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Join Date: 11/11/2008 | Posts: 601

 Very nice write ups man :) 

But geez, Warsaw never gets a good review. Here's my take on the place (admittingly I did have a little help here):

Fast City Guide: Warsaw
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#7
Professor Hughes~

Professor Hughes~

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Join Date: 04/13/2010 | Posts: 587

Bump for the new week.  Go to Europe fools!  Or if you already live in Europe.... stay there!
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#8

AlexV

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Join Date: 11/12/2011 | Posts: 1537

 Try Leuven, Belgium (student town)... Best night life ever most days of the week. :)
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#9
-oasis-

-oasis-

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Join Date: 03/24/2010 | Posts: 713

Glad to hear you liked my Krakow writeup. I'd like to go to some of those cities soon, thanks for the info.
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#10
GoldenGun

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Join Date: 12/13/2009 | Posts: 271

Which has hotter girls, Sweeden or Finland?

Im looking to live in one of these countries for 8 months.
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