Eastern Europe may not be the first choice for travellers planning a holiday. But its medieval towns with rich history, scenic beauty, and vibrant nightlife have made it increasingly popular. And the best part? It’s much easier on the pocket than much of its western counterpart.
Eastern Europe is packed with culture. The communist-era buildings and the stories behind them give an idea of the way of life back in the days of the Cold War. And how things have changed since then. This largely undiscovered part of Europe is delightful in every aspect and is perfect for your next vacation.
The once-hidden gem of Europe is now one of the most popular destinations for travellers. The old town of Dubrovnik originally housed around 15000 locals. Gradually, the residents moved out and only about 3000 stayed. This helped accommodate the thousands of tourists that visit each year. The country is beautiful beyond imagination. The Sea Organ and The Monument to the Sun in Zadar are unlike anything we’ve ever seen and will leave you mesmerized. The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Blue cave, and Krka National Park are some of the best places to visit in Croatia, and they’re extremely pocket friendly. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, all the filming locations in the country offer guided tours. You can also buy souvenirs from the official merchandise stores in Dubrovnik and Split.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina is an inspirational city. It was under siege from 1992 to 1996 and witnessed 60% destruction during that time. It rose from the ashes and became what it is today thanks to its people’s undying spirit. The locals are now stronger than ever. They talk not of the war that took place, but of the ongoing development. They look at the past not with sorrow, but with pride. You can visit the Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sarajevo roses to know more about the war. An entire day can be spent at the Sarajevo riverside, chatting up with locals and exploring the mouth-watering food that is extremely affordable. A splendid city that teaches us to be resilient and hopeful, Sarajevo is one of the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe.
Prague in Czech Republic is probably one of the best Eastern European cities to visit for medieval architecture. The magnificent castles, the spectacular skyline from the Charles Bridge, and the Dancing House are marvels that leave you awestruck. At the end of all your sightseeing, when your feet are tired from walking through the cobblestone streets of the city, the Beer Museum is the perfect place to get drunk. The fact that you can walk around Prague really saves on transport costs.
Did you know: The highest beer consumption in the world happens in Czech Republic?
Another town in Czech Republic, located by the river Vltava is Cesky Krumlov. This quaint little town has very little crowds and is the perfect holiday destination to enjoy serenity and tranquillity. If you want a truly authentic small-town experience, head to Kutna Hora. The St. Barbara’s Church with the flying buttresses and the Gothic Cathedral of Assumption make the architectural genius worth taking the trip.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is undoubtedly one of the best Eastern European cities when it comes to being environment friendly. It’s one of the greenest cities in the continent. The Presernov Trg here is a car-free zone, giving your lungs clean air to breathe. Since cars are banned, you need to walk around to explore, saving on transport costs and giving you some exercise. The numerous restaurants and cafes keep the place lively, and are open till wee hours of the morning. If you’re a book buff, you can visit their University Library and spend hours browsing through the best works of literature. Lake Bled is situated around 2 hours from the city and is a sight to behold. Take a hot air balloon ride over the lake for what could turn out to be the most magical morning of your entire trip.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary is known for its iconic Parliament building, the Heroes Square, and the Chain Bridge. These architectural pieces of beauty enhance the experience of walking around the city. Right across the Parliament building is the river Danube. The iron shoes at the bank are a tribute to the Jews that were shot and thrown in the river during the Holocaust. If this gets too depressing, you can head to one of the many ruin pubs, that span over multiple floors and witness all-night parties, that tend to get wild at times. The different floors have different price ranges, and you can choose based on your budget. The highlight of Budapest, especially if you are visiting during the winters, is the Thermal bath. With 45 degrees below the water and a minus temperature above, it’s an absolutely exhilarating experience.
Krakow in Poland is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, its Historic Centre. It was a victim of Nazi occupation, the story of which is clearly depicted in the Schindler’s Museum. The city boasts of the largest market square in Europe, which is lined with churches and historic buildings. Another city in Poland that fell prey to World War II is Warsaw. You will not be able to tell what atrocities it has been through by looking at the spirit of the people and by how they have rebuilt everything. The place is buzzing with culture and art, and the locals sure do know how to party without burning a hole in the pockets. Poland is one of the best Eastern European countries to visit when it comes to history and culture.
In conclusion, Eastern Eurpose tourism
Europe is usually at the top of the consideration list for most people planning a long holiday. Often, the Eastern countries lose out to the more popular France, Spain, Germany, Austria, and other countries in the west. With the availability of cheaper flight tickets and less pricey accommodation, people have now started considering the previously overlooked Eastern jewels. Only to realize that these easy on the pocket destinations are just as splendid as their western counterparts.
Book a flight or take a bus. All the major cities are well connected. Eastern Europe awaits you.
** Pics sourced, except for the top one and Bosnia’s.