When a conversation about Europe begins, most of the people immediately see the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben, yet there’s much more to Europe than the highlights of its most touristy spots. Yes, countries like France, Germany or United Kingdom are undoubtedly fascinating and definitely worth visiting, but let’s take a closer look at the map of Europe and pay attention to the whole thing. The Eastern parts of the continent have their advantages as well and therefore it’s totally worth to travel to eastern Europe. Magical towns, sleepy villages, myriad traditions and welcoming locals make this part of the world a great area to discover. Add the low prices and you get an ideal destination.
While Western and Northern Europe are usually terribly expensive, prices in Eastern Europe won’t scare away even budget travelers. You can get a meal in a nice restaurant for an equivalent of 5 Euro plus a delicious dessert if you’re willing to add 2 more. A bed in a cozy backpacker hostel can cost even less than 10 Euro and a room in a fancy hotel 30. You can drink the double amount of beer comparing to a Western European country and spend the same amount of money. It’s fairly easy to keep your budget low in Eastern Europe. It’s a paradise for backpacker, but also luxury-seekers will find many benefits. Even if your wallet is in a very good shape, it’s always better to spend less than more.
There are so many of them you might have trouble choosing the location to begin with. Prague, the famous gem on European cities crown, is a favorite spot of numerous travelers. With its amazing atmosphere, wonderful architecture and open-minded people, it’s a perfect place to start your Eastern European adventure. Polish Cracow is a charm as well, especially for those who’re interested in history. Not in many places you’ll find as many significant historic monuments and fascinating museums as there. Tallin, the medieval capital of Estonia, is a surprise for most of the visitors. Located in the country most people haven’t even heard of, it’s sort of a hidden treasure. Fascinating Belgrade famous for the vibrant night-life, artsy, traditional and picturesque Sibiu in Romania, ridiculously beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia, Kotor in which every corner could be photographed and make a postcard – they’re countless. Many of them have a long history, still influencing the way they look like and feel like. Museums, pretty churches, and mysterious castles remind of what’s been there, while modern architecture, large shopping centers and new businesses developing everywhere show what’s changed. Dotted with lovely cafés and gorgeous parks, the Eastern European cities can keep you busy and charmed.
There are many places across Eastern Europe where you can still witness a traditional and old-style way of living. To truly discover a country, you should leave the cities for a while and explore the countryside. Travel around little Balkan villages where the farmers will gladly share with you home-made rakji. Take advantage of the fact saunas are so popular in Lithuania and visit a wooden house in the middle of a forest to join a typical sauna party. Have a delicious, way too large dinner in a Ukrainian restaurant situated in the middle of nowhere. Use the local transport or rent a car, if you want to move around more effectively and comfortably. It’s worth it, as soon as you get off the capitals and bustling cities, you’ll discovered a whole new (or rather old) character of Eastern Europe.
First of all, the dishes are big. Go to a traditional restaurant and you’ll understand what it means. Of course, times are changing and so is the cuisine, but if you find an authentic eatery and order a lunch, you’ll most likely be surprised with the amount of food on your plate. Not only there’ll be a lot of it, it’ll be fulfilling. Polish dumplings, Czech knedliki or Serbian burek, when you eat this kind of foods, after half of the portion you’re already full, but there’s always more, and more, and more, and a dessert; cheesecakes, apple cakes, cakes with berries, strawberries or cherries, a madness of cakes, basically. Eastern European cuisine is not as famous as French, Indian or Italian, but it still has its unique flavors, worth having a taste of.
Even though Eastern Europe contains many countries, everything’s more or less close to each other. It’s very easy to move from one city to another. You don’t have to spend hours on the plane to change the location and find yourself in a whole new world. You can get from Lviv to Bucharest in one day if you use a car. There’s only 300 kilometers distance between Prague and Bratislava and 200 kilometers between Bratislava and Budapest. Even day-trips can be made between different countries. It’s particularly convenient if you want to see many various places in short time.
Simple and cheap transport
Not only the distances are short, it’s fairly easy and cheap to cover them. Trains run all across the Eastern Europe, as well as buses. If you make a bit of a research, you can find some great deals. Eurolines and LuxExpress operate routes between some of the countries. Besides, most of the Eastern European countries have their own domestic companies, like the Polish coach operator Polski Bus. As for trains, they’re convenient both for traveling within specific countries and between them. The cheapest option are budget airlines though, especially Wizzair and Ryanair.