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Eastern Europe: The Baltics and Beyond

What’s to like in Poland? Or Estonia? Or Serbia and Montenegro? Jessica Zoiti asked travel experts Beyond Travel and Sun Island Tours.

Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Istanbul – they’re traditional Eastern European hot spots, but what about places off the beaten track?


Ask a travel expert and they’ll tell you that there’s no shortage of interest in Eastern Europe. Prague and Vienna are among the most picturesque cities in the world, there’s nowhere more exotic than cosmopolitan Istanbul and who doesn’t want to cruise along the spectacular Croatian Coast?


But a new trend is emerging. Australian travellers are getting adventurous and are looking to combine these Eastern European favourites with less-toured towns and regions.


At Beyond Travel it is the Baltic States and Poland that are currently sparking clients’ curiosity.


“Demand is strong throughout he region,” said Beyond Travel marketing manager, Bryce Crampton.


“Eastern Europe has everything from colourful festivals, beachside resort towns and castles through to the UNESCO listed Wieliczka Salt mines, the picturesque Tatra Mountains and fairytale castles.


“The Transylvanian region of Romania is like taking a trip back in time and clients can explore the mythology around the Dracula legend. And then there’s the Bohemia region, which has many beautiful spa towns, such as the picturesque Karlovy Vary.


“But the Estonian capital of Tallinn and historic Krakow are proving most popular at the moment,” he said.


Specifically, Poland and the Baltic states offer a great mix of cultures and varied experiences. Tallinn is Europe’s most northerly medieval walled city and beautifully preserved Krakow is home to the largest medieval town hall in central Europe. Visas are no longer required making travel through the region easy and better still, your dollar stretches further here – according to Crampton there are now a great range of historic boutique hotels available at very reasonable rates.


All this noise has lead Beyond Travel to increase their product range in the latest Eastern European brochure. The expanded program features more exclusive small group tours with greater focus on combining popular cities with more unique regional destinations. “These areas are still relatively new to Australian travellers, so most enquires are for small intimate group tours which offer security, knowledgeable guides and quality service but still provide flexibility for passengers,” Crampton said.


Sun Island Tours is urging its clients to experience Eastern Europe’s less-travelled destinations, like inland Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia, before the rest of the world catches on.


“While Many Australian travellers are getting familiar with the beautiful coastline of Croatia, only a few dare to adventure into the hidden inland and to the stunning countries of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia – our advice is to visit these well preserved treasures before they’re ruined by mass tourism,” said Sun Island Tours’ sales and marketing coordinator, Claudia Vidor.


“The mountain scenery from Croatia to Montenegro is just spectacular and worth the ride. The roads can be tricky at times, but the curves get less windy as soon as the traveller reaches the ocean at the town of Buda and the medieval village of Koror, famous for its emerald waters contrasting with the black mountains in the background.”


In Slovenia, Vidor singles out the famous Bled Castle and Bled Island, the underground caves of Postojna with their spectacular stalactite formations (one of Europe’s finest geological attractions) and the medieval coastal town of Piran.

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Written by: Jessica Zoiti
Published: 20 February 2013

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