Best Places to Visit in Eastern Europe

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Travel Features >> Best Places to Visit in Eastern Europe

Best Places to Visit in Eastern Europe

July 21, 2011

You’ve cruised the canals of Venice, explored the ruins of Rome and gaped at the art in Barcelona, and now it's time to explore the hidden treasures of Eastern Europe. Discover these countries that have earlier been shrouded behind the Iron Curtain and remained a mystery, countries that have been ravaged and ruined by war, but surprisingly picked themselves up and been rebuilt and restored to their former glory.

These European countries have opened up their doors and welcome tourists to explore their inherent culture and grand old heritage. From the historic centre of Krakow to the Dalmatian coastline, the architectural wonders of Sofia to the buzzing nightlife in Belgrade, eastern Europe has come very much into its own giving the west a run for its money. To top it all, east European countries are budget friendly, relatively free of hordes of tourists and the warmth exuded by the people is sure to win you over!

Western Europe is passé – its east Europe that rules the roost now!

Prague, Czech Republic
Touted as the loveliest city in Europe, Prague exudes its old world charm on its sleeve – the resplendent Baroque architecture of the buildings, the beautiful cathedrals and churches with their soaring spires and gleaming domes, the quaint cobbled stone alleys and streets, the imposing Prague Castle that holds a little city within its precincts. The list goes on. A vibrant nightlife with swinging clubs and bars completes the Prague experience.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you: Prague gets under your skin. One visit and you are hooked!

Krakow, Poland
With its innumerable monuments and churches, museums and art galleries it’s no surprise that Krakow is called the Culture capital of Poland. Every corner you turn in Krakow reeks of history with the Wawel Castle being the jewel in Krakow’s crown. The Old Town of Krakow has been hailed as one of the twelve most important historic sites in the world and the largest square in Europe Rynek Glowny with its narrow cobble stoned alleys will keep you enthralled.

Krakow is living history!

Sofia, Bulgaria
The past and the present are inextricably tied together in Sofia. Imposing cathedrals and churches jostle for space with glitzy shopping malls and high rise buildings. The old and the new seamlessly mesh into one another and there is something for everyone - culture buffs will have their full of history while the swish set can shop at stylish boutiques and sip coffee at street side cafes. And when you need a break, head to Mount Vitosha just outside the city for a breath of fresh air.

Sofia, they say is city that ‘grows but never ages’!

Bucharest, Romania
Architecture reminiscent of the Renaissance and oh-so-French, Byzantine churches, boulevards shaded and lined with trees and a pulsating nightlife – not for nothing is Bucharest known as ‘Paris of the east’. Bucharest has its fair share of traffic snags and drab buildings too, but tarry a while and you will discover that Bucharest has a lot more on offer. Museums – plenty of them filled with treasures, stained glass churches and decidedly Parisian cafes that spill onto the pavement.

Bucharest is a city on the upward swing.

Kiev, Ukraine
Replete with history, with grand Russian architecture reflected in the gold domes, medieval churches at almost every corner you turn, Kiev is also known as one of the greenest cities this side of the Suez with its perfectly manicured gardens and parks. A beautiful city, Kiev has an energy that is hard to miss – whether it’s in the various museums, the verdant gardens or in its glitzy nightlife.

Come discover Kiev!

Budapest, Hungary
Budapest straddles the river Danube and just as easily as you can waltz to the strains of Blue Danube, you can side step from the historical side of Buda to the more modern Pest. Budapest is where Neoclassical and Baroque rub shoulders with eclectic art, where thermal baths are a substitute for a daily shower, where romance is still alive whether it’s in a river cruise down the city’s famous river or a a couple strolling hand in hand on its embankment. Budapest will floor you – that’s a promise!

Consider Budapest for your next vacation.

Tallinn, Estonia
Quaint cobbled streets that run through the town, churches that are a throwback on the days when the czars ruled and art filled museums are juxtaposed with lively cafes, happening nightlife and trendy boutiques. Tallinn is a very much a modern city that effortlessly retains its cultural history. In 2011, Tallinn will showcase its cultural treasures and take on the title of the European Capital of Culture, so visitors will be in for a feast for the senses with concerts and shows taking place round the year.

It’s easy to fall prey to Tallinn’s charms.

Belgrade, Serbia
The capital of Serbia, Belgrade has layers to it. At first glance it appears to be a riotous city with its residents ready to party every day of the week, bars overflowing with drinkers and merry makers, restaurants doing brisk business at any time of the day or night and hops filled with pretty knickknacks all yours for the picking. It almost as the Belgradian is try to make up for lost time during the dark Miloševic years. But there is another side to Belgrade though and it lies in the imposing castle of Kalemegdan and the Sava Church in the city centre that bear witness to the long and chequered history associated with Belgrade.

The most advance city in eastern Europe, Belgrade is very much a city on the move.

Bratislava, Slovakia
A delightful city, Bratislava wears it cultural heritage on its sleeve with the various museums, art galleries, palaces and churches scattered all over the Historic district of the city. The arts are very much alive in the city whose cultural calendar is filled with music concerts and festivals. But there is much for the others too: shopping for handicrafts in the local markets, interesting cafes where one can sit and people watch.

Bratislava is an interesting mix of the old and the new. Come take a look.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
A very walk-able town, Dubrovnik is filled with architectural wonders in the Baroque style and all within the Old Town which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage spot. It is extremely picturesque with its lovely churches and cobbled alleyways, When you are tired of sightseeing, head for the nearby beaches and the cool waters of the Adriatic Sea to relax and soak up the sun. In recent years Dubrovnik has become a pit stop for cruise liners on the eastern European beat and with good reason.

Dubrovnik is a serene little town that has come into its own.

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