Eastern Europe Holidays
Eastern Europe offers as many as attractions Western Europe, but with fewer tourists and at a better value. City breaks have become increasingly popular in recent years, and in many cities it's possible to take in the sights while enjoying excellent tourist facilities and without having to learn much of any language. Seaside holidays have always been popular here, particularly in the southern part of the region – although the Baltic Sea also has short swimming and sunbathing season. However, most visitors to the coast are but most visitors are local, rather than tourists. Hiking, skiing and wildlife holidays in the Carpathians are also increasingly popular. Budget conscious travellers may want to spend a few days in their starting city, and then use the reliable rail system to travel around cities with a more local flavour.
Eastern Europe Holidays Guide
The Ukrainian seaside has long been popular with Russian holidaymakers, particularly the Crimea, but also Odessa; try climbing the famous Potemkin Steps. Very adventurous types can join a guided tour into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Lithuania lays claim to being the centre of Europe, and has a unique and fragile destination in the Curonian Spit. Belarus is often a transit point near the beginning of the Trans-Siberian Express – but is also said to be the closest living example of old-fashioned Eastern European communism. If you do decide to go, remember they won't let you in without a visa!
And there's so much more to discover – Serbian food, the Danube Delta, mountaineering in Slovakia, standing on the frozen Baltic Sea watching distant tankers drifting by…
Popular Eastern Europe Holiday Destinations
Budapest, Prague, Riga, Tallinn, Timisoara and Vilnius are excellent places to enjoy the aforementioned city breaks; all have excellent pubs, clubs and restaurants, and more than enough historic sights to detain you for at least a weekend. Outside of the cities, mysterious Transylvania is one of the highlights of Eastern Europe. You can casually wander around medieval towns and fortified churches that would be absolutely heaving with tourists in Western Europe, locals have a Latin sense of friendliness, and life in the villages has scarcely changed for hundreds of years.
There are several classic routes through the region, including following the course of the Danube, and the Baltic States; Many overland Silk Road adventurers travel through Budapest to Istanbul – this can take a mere 36 hours, but it's far more fun to make stops along the way. Another adventurous route passes through the remote Causacus region which include Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.