New European Hot Spots – The Word Is Out

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When you hear the word ‘Europe’ you automatically think of places like London, Paris, Berlin or Rome. Many people would think immediately of the very discovered locations across the continent that have become more discovered as time has gone on and travel has become more and more available to everyone, not just the very well off. So how can you catch a slice of undiscovered Europe when it feels like every inch has been traversed by tourists time and again? Check out these top three undiscovered gems of Europe.

Slovenia

Slovenia is fast becoming one of the next hottest European destinations for those looking for something other than another photo of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower or the Arc d’Triomphe. With amazing natural scenery including Lake Bled – an impressive alpine lake with picturesque island and castle in the middle of the water – the Julian Alps, caves throughout, impressive Mediterranean coastline and gorgeous valleys such as the Savinja and Salek Valley. The capital city, Ljubljana is a welcoming, beautiful city with a perfect town centre that is primarily pedestrianised, making it easy for travellers to get around by foot. Enjoy one of many backpacker friendly bars or cafes in the centre, and wonder for yourself why more people don’t come to this unique gem of Europe.

Albania

Word is out – Albania is in. This formerly very closed off country has in recent years started to develop a booming tourist infrastructure with many hotels and restaurants popping up all over the place. The typical tourist trail includes Tirana, the capital city, along with the coastal cities of Vlore and Sarande. Don’t miss Ksamil – an area that gives the Caribbean a run for its money in terms of beaches and beauty. For a more alpine experience, head inland to lake Ohrid on the border with Macedonia. This large lake offers some pristine imagery and opportunities for hiking, swimming and boating in the summer for the nature lover. Add to this that Albania enjoys beautiful weather for a large majority of the year, including a summer that sees temperatures still into the 20s into November, along with easily affordable hotels and restaurants, so it’s a budget lover’s dream come true!

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

This part of the Balkans is an impressive, landlocked country north of Greece and borders the other Balkan nations of Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. The countryside itself is beautiful, dotted with churches and villages and general natural beauty in the form of hills, plains and valleys. Lake Ohrid is arguably one of the most beautiful locations in the country and is one of the highest rated tourist attractions. This is the same Lake Ohrid as mentioned under Albania – and both sides are stunning and worth a visit, but be warned that the tourist aspect makes at least FYROM’s Ohrid more expensive than other places in the country.

There you have three untouched, undiscovered gems of Europe that are usually not on many people’s hit lists for checking out when they’re in the area. To really shock your friends and family with amazing travel stories, check them out while they’re still unique and charming, before mass tourism makes them another common theme you hear about.

Eastern Europe Spots Not To Miss

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When you say the words ‘Eastern Europe’, images come to mind of Soviet-era blocks of apartments, grey, dull weather, bland food and intimidating police on every street corner. While the blocks of apartments may be true, the rest couldn’t be further from the truth. Eastern Europe is awash with amazing natural and architectural beauty, and is indeed one of the last relatively untouched places in the continent. Here are the top Eastern European destinations for you to check out before they become overrun with tourists and change forever.

Ukraine

The country of Ukraine has gotten some bad press in recent years in part to the Eastern Ukraine conflict with Russia, particularly in Donetsk region as well as in Crimea. Anyone thinking about heading to Ukraine shouldn’t be put off by any of the conflicts happening in the east or in Crimea. The west and north west areas around Kyiv and L’viv are perfectly safe, welcoming and friendly. The food in Ukraine is to die for – flavourful, varied and enjoyable. Typical fare includes meat or potato stuffed dumplings known as Vareneky, rice and meat stuffed cabbage leaves with tomato sauce (Holuptsi) and a lot of things that are deliciously flavoured with dill and garlic. The cities are very European in architecture and layout and are bustling with many bars, vibrant nightlife and great local beers. If going to Eastern Europe, Ukraine is a do not miss.

Romania

Romania is a large, beautiful and mysterious country with some spooky stories and history. Home to Transylvania, the believed home of Vlad Dracula, mythical vampire king, the countryside of Romania is stunning and rugged with many mountainous and hilly regions dotted with small terracotta coloured villages and is bordered by five other countries – Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Moldova. The countryside is some of the most beautiful in the region, with towering, snow topped mountains giving way into lush valleys of green. For a beach experience, Romania has some impressive beaches on the Black Sea coast, where many Romanian holidaymakers head for the summer to cool off in the Black Sea. Be sure to visit Dracula’s castle located near Brasov for a really unique experience.

Bulgaria

This lesser visited country boasts some impressive coastline along the Black Sea as well as some of Europe’s prettiest cities. Plovdiv, an artsy backpacker city located in the centre of Bulgaria is a great, chilled out spot for people who like to hang out, meet other travellers and sample the local beers and food. Varna, on the Black Sea coast is Bulgaria’s answer to the traveller dream – bustling nightlife, impressive beaches, and great shops and restaurants all on the waterfront.

There you have three locations in Eastern Europe that you must check out when you’re in the area. These three in particular are also located all along the same region, making them easy to visit as a trip altogether. You won’t be disappointed by Eastern Europe – with so much to explore, and much of it untouched, you will find a whole other world on the east side of the continent.