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.
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 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.
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.