Eastern Europe is the continent's lesser-known gem. Its beautiful architecture, amazing landscapes, diverse cultures, quality art and budget-friendly prices make this side of Europe one you can’t miss.
Wondering which places you absolutely must get to? Here are seven key Eastern European destinations for your bucket list:
Chances are you haven’t heard much about this picturesque Czech city - so let us introduce ?eský Krumlov, the miniature Prague.
This charming town looks like its been the inspiration for every fairytale ever written - terracotta rooftops covered in snow, Renaissance and baroque architecture, a stunning castle above the Vltava River, an old town square, streets filled with locals and tourist alike, lively bars and plenty of riverside picnic spots. Located in Bohemia’s deep south, this town can be walked across in about 20 minutes.
Krakow is a must-see destination within Poland. It’s vibrant and alive, while also maintaining evidence of a deep and somewhat somber historical background. The Old Town and the Main Market Square are bustling areas, filled with trendy cafes, modern boutiques, restaurants, clubs and shops.
On the other hand, museums, the Jewish Quarter and the Schindler factory remind visitors of what the city and its people have endured. Krakow is also known for its extensive parks and bicycle lanes, making it very easy - and enjoyable - to get around.
Some say Prague is the prettiest city in Europe - even more so than Paris. I’ll let you be the judge of that, but if there’s one thing that describes the Czech Republic’s capital, it’s beauty. Prague is a bohemian city, and its history goes back a millennium.
The museums, surrealist and cubist art and its many galleries, the Gothic architecture, and the home of one of the most famous exponents of the Art Nouveau, Alfons Mucha; Prague can captivate for hours on end. Head to the Old Town Square to explore ancient chapels, lush gardens and old school bars. Prague also brews some of the best beer in the world - so don’t leave without trying an ale in a bar.
Known as ‘The City of Music’, there are plenty of reasons why Vienna is a much more well-known destination than any other city in Eastern Europe. Austria’s capital city is characterised by baroque and imperial streetscapes, where art and music exist in a different dimension to any other city in the world. Visit the Hofburg palace complex; home to the powerful Habsburg monarchy that ruled for more than six centuries.
Attend Sunday mass in the Imperial Chapel to experience the Vienna Boys' Choir, and attend the famed Spanish Riding School to witness the Lipizzaner stallions. Food is also an absolute treat in Vienna. Learn to truly appreciate the elegance of food by tasting the city’s mouth-watering cakes, traditional goulash, prime boiled beef, tantalising wines and more.
The Pearl of River Danube is actually comprised by Buda and Pest, two cities separated by the river that developed separately, and only came to merge in 1873. Linked by the iconic Chain Bridge (a 19th century structure that features giant stone lions), both cities exude culture. Explore architectural and cultural sights such as churches, monuments and museums and allow time to relax with a visit to the hot-springs or bathhouses.
Bask in all the glory that Budapest’s skyline has to offer at the Fisherman’s Bastion and make sure to try local food and drinks. The city’s many bistros and cafes will offer traditional eats and affordable local wine as well as delicious cakes, crepes and tarts. Be sure to visit a ‘ruins bar’ too - abandoned buildings that have been turned into trendy party places, with just a hint of their past life still in tact.
This ancient city has become a popular destination over the past few years - and with good reason. Situated along the turquoise Adriatic Sea, with its huge city walls and winding stairs and streets, Dubrovnik is much more than a pretty face.
It’s also packed with art and history museums, lively bars featuring great wine, amazing views and incredible beaches. Make sure you take a dip in Banje Beach, the closest beach to the Old Town.
This Montenegrin city is probably one of the most-visited destinations in the country, along with Kotor. Known as Montenegro’s Miami, Budva offers cultural attractions with the beautiful Stari Grad or Old Town, incredible beaches with the Budva Riviera, and a plethora of entertainment options with its many bars and never-sleeping clubs.
Discover Eastern Europe - With unique charm, traditions and spirit, these top 7 Eastern European cities are destinations you can’t miss on your next adventure. If you’re looking for a group to travel with and an itinerary that’s all done for you, take a look at this ‘Best of Eastern Europe’ tour.
All images G Adventures