Eastern Europe has some of the most intriguing and beautiful cities. Forget Western Europe if you want something different – the eastern parts will blow you away with their rich history, culture and hospitality of locals. Stark in contrast to their western neighbours, and far often overshadowed, the countries in Europe’s east side have nonetheless tons to offer for the tourist.
Stemming from personal experience, Eastern Europe is incredible and fascinating beyond words. These are some of the best places you have to visit there when you are ready to venture out of your comfort zone and want to get out of the ultra touristy agenda.
1. Gdańsk, Poland
When I travelled to Warsaw, I met a couple of travellers who have fallen in love with the city of Gdansk in Poland. Poland is an enormous country; there is literally so much to see and experience. Some of the best European museums also come from here. Warsaw and Krakow are tourists’ favourites – and I absolutely see why. However, Gdansk should also be a on your travel list especially if you are around Poland.
Gdańsk is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland, and as with most of the polish cities that are destroyed in WW2, have now been reconstructed. You will find the colourful facades of the Long Market that is home to shops and restaurants. Also, while you are there – experience the warm hospitality of locals and their willingness to try speaking to you in English.
2. Zakopane, Poland
Another great destination in Poland is Zakopane. This destination is dedicated to the nature lovers – being a complete opposite from a fast-paced capital or bustling city. Zakopane is a resort town in southern Poland, at the base of the Tatras Mountains. Many people who are into summertime mountain climbing and hiking go there. This town is well-known for its turn-of-the-20th-century wooden chalets, which have become a symbolic architecture of Zakopane.
Renowned Poles like Marie Curie and Frederic Chopin are known to have loved Zakopane and visited regularly in their lifetime. Maybe –just like them- you would be able to gain inspiration while visiting this beautiful place.
3. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is a compact city on the Miljacka River surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. In a country torn by conflict and a difficult history, this city has been largely restored following the 1990s Bosnian War.
If you are a history buff – this is one place to visit, with plenty of museums and sites commemorating historic local events, including the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which ignited World War I, and the 1984 Winter Olympics. Surely, Sarajevo will provide a compelling travel experience like no other cities.
4. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade is the capital of the southeast European country of Serbia. Its most significant landmark is Beogradska Tvrđava, an imposing fortress at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava rivers.
A testament to the city’s strategic importance to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Serbian and Austrian empires, the fortress is now the site of several museums and Kalemegdan, a vast park.
5. Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia has risen in popularity drastically in the recent decade. People from all over the world come to their beautiful beaches and their numerous hip music festivals.
Zagreb is Croatia’s northwestern capital and has a great café culture, and also houses the intriguing Museum of broken relationships – the first and perhaps, only kind in the world.
6. Jake Ballaton, Hungary
An American traveller I met in Prague was gushing about the beauty of this lake in Hungary, about 1.5 hours away by train from Budapest, Hungary. Local people call Lake Balaton, central Europe’s largest fresh water lake, the Hungarian sea.
This humongous lake has became the locals’ number one vacation resort after the Trianon Treaty following World War I when large areas of Hungary including some seashore along the Adriatic sea were taken away.
7. Česky Krumlov, Czech Republic
We all know Prague. Another equally beautiful city to visit while you’re in Czech would be Česky Krumlov, a small city located in the South Bohemian Region. It has adorable architecture all around, especially in the historic old town and the Český Krumlov Castle. Ancient Český Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was given this status along with the significant Prague castle district.
8. Brașov, Romania
Brașov is a city in the Transylvania region of Romania, surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. It’s known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions – and of course, the national monument and landmark, Bran Castle, which is made famous by the fictitious character Count Dracula. Tourists from all over the world flock to this castle to witness its incredible beauty – and maybe you should too.
Eastern Europe is definitely worth multiple visits if you ask me. It is easy to fall in love with the sights and the people here. Their compelling history and intriguing cultures will make your memories of these places all the more valuable in your travel journey.
This article was first published on Goodyfeed.com
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