While most tourists visiting Europe are heading to the West to see France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and others, I truly believe that the most beautiful countries in Europe are located in the East as well. Traveling off the beaten path is a rewarding experience- you have a chance to see something unique that only a few people have seen before. Want to know what are the best places to visit in Eastern Europe? Keep on reading and get inspired!
It was hard to pick the countries for this list. Some of them are located partly in Eastern and partly in Western Europe. With a little help of Wikipedia, we made a conventional western border on Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania.
The list of the most beautiful Eastern European countries that you can find in this post includes:
Here’s the map of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe that you can find in this post:
Albanian Riviera is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe I’ve been to. Even better, it’s delightfully under the radar – for now!
The beaches are incredible, with crystal blue and turquoise water. The water is especially salty and calm, so it’s easy to float in the water all day and enjoy the beauty of the scenery. Mountains lead straight to beaches, so you have an incredible view from the water whether you look toward the horizon or back towards the shore.
It can be a bit difficult to get around this part of Albania – hitchhiking or renting a car is a good idea – but in a way, I think that adds to the charm! Many beaches are also a short but steep hike down from the mountainous coast, making that first dip in the warm, clear water so incredibly rewarding. There’s really no better place to spend the summer in Europe. Go soon, before the cruise ships come and change Albania’s coastline forever!
Albania, Tirana: photo + text by Gabriela from Here and There Blog
Tirana, Albania’s capital city, can be chaotic but in the past years, it has blossomed into a lively metropolis buzzing with enthusiasm and energy. It is Albania’s political and cultural center offering a lot of interesting and quirky things to do for tourists.
You can, for example, climb the Pyramid, which is a structure from the communist era. There is also a bunker museum called Bunk’Art. It is a massive nuclear bunker from the communist era transformed into a museum and art exhibition. This is something you won’t find anywhere else, be prepared for a rather spooky experience!
In Tirana, you can also enjoy Albanian hospitality. Albanians are sincerely helpful, warm, and welcoming towards foreign visitors. Since tourism hasn’t quite taken off yet, they are also curious about travelers. Tirana is definitely one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe!
Eastern Europe is slowly becoming more and more discovered. But the capital of Belarus, Minsk? Barely registers a blip on any off the beaten path!
Make the effort though as it’s like a mini Moscow. The transport is cheap and efficient, footpaths are massive and it’s a surprisingly hip city with some cool street art, regular events and .trendy bars about and of course, some very modern buildings mixed in.
There is a language barrier issue but that makes exploring more fun and with maps available offline you can’t go wrong.
You will need a visa most likely which isn’t cheap ($50+) but once you are in the country, it is very cheap to get by. The high-speed subway, less than a $1/ride, beer is a $1 or $2 at some bars, bananas less than $1.50/kg. You get the idea! The initial cost of the visa will be quickly offset by the low expenses in the country.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar: photo + text by Ashwini from Hopping Miles Blog
Named after the bridge keepers (Mostari) who guarded the Old Bridge – Stari Most, built by the Ottomans, is one of the iconic places in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Apart from its majestic structure, Stari Most is known for its history. The entire bridge was wrecked in the 1993 Croat-Bosniak war. Running over the River Neretva, this bridge was brought back to life in 2004 when it was reconstructed.
Being one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe, Mostar is full of life in its cobblestoned by lanes, lined with vendors of all sorts in Čaršija or the Market. The coffee culture in Bosnia is phenomenal. We were served an empty glass, a džezva full of coffee(traditional Bosnian coffee utensil), and a cube of Turkish Delight ‘Lokum’ to finish it off! While sitting by the riverside café and savoring your coffee, watch the crazy men who dive straight off the bridge into the chilling waters of River Neretva – all for 10 Euros!!
Soaked with rich historical background, layered with traditional values, sprinkled with a generous expanse of pristine nature – this former Yugoslavian nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is worth a visit. Squeeze at least a couple of days from your Eastern Europe itinerary to explore this little known gem.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo is special. This lesser-known destination is also one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
It has good food (try the Cevapi), beautiful sunsets best watched from Yellow Bastion, and stunning scenery. The city is best viewed from Mount Trebevic, a tough but worthwhile hike with a surprise abandoned Olympic bobsled track at the top.
The locals have a razor-sharp, dark sense of humor which aided their survival during the Sarajevo Siege where snipers shot into the valley for three years. Make sure you leave Sarajevo and also witness the aesthetically pleasing bus journey to Mostar.
It’s easy to fall in love with Bosnia-Herzegovina, as it’s one of the best countries to visit in Eastern Europe. Its towns and perched villages are beautiful, but its natural wonders are pretty special too. The Kravice Waterfalls, located 40 kilometers south of Mostar and near the Croatian border, are a breathtaking example of the power of nature.
The waterfalls, high up to 28 meters, fall with full force creating a natural pool and a misty atmosphere. There are a few cafès around the waterfalls and you can simply relax and soak up the sun, or you can swim in the natural pool, but you are warned: the water is freezing even in the middle of the summer!
There isn’t an easy way to get to the waterfalls by public transportation, so you will have to rent a car or join an organized tour.
Bulgaria, Plovdiv: photo + text by Sianna from Eostories Blog
With its picturesque old town and an authentic, artistic feeling, Plovdiv is one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe. It is one of the oldest cities, not only in Bulgaria but in the world as well. The famous hills which we call “tepeta” are guarding the city. There you can have an amazing view of Plovdiv from above or enjoy a romantic sunset.
The city was elected as “capital of culture” for 2019. Numerous festivals and fairs are held here throughout the year including the Design Week. The creative center in the heart of the city is called “Kapana” (meaning “trapped”) and it is full of small art and design shops and galleries.
Travel do Sofia, one of the Eastern European capitals was a last-minute decision, so we didn’t have much time to research about Bulgaria, and what to do there. But lucky us, Sofia was a great surprise! A destination filled with history, ancient architecture, parks, delicious food, and the best yogurt in the world!
There are so many things to do in Sofia that will keep you busy for days, and after a weekend there I can say that Sofia is one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
The city has an edge, an artistic feeling, and an interesting mix of Roman heritage and the reminiscences from the Communist recent past. Sofia has a young vibe, quality of life, and entrepreneurship opportunities are attracting people from all around the world to study and work there. An interesting international community that is growing fast.
Czechia, Prague: photo + text by Rishabh from Gypsy Couple Blog
We say we lost our heart to Budapest only because we went there earlier. If not, chances are that it would be stolen by this city of spires, mired in history, culture, and beer.
It’s Europe in a nutshell for the lack of a better analogy. Its got Vienna‘s art, a Parisian charm, it’s beer competes with the best in the world and its cobbled pathways lead everywhere and nowhere, from secret cafes to hidden chapels to unexpected gardens.
Charles Bridge, a 14th century stone bridge across the river Vltava offers brilliant views of the city spread on both banks and of the gorgeous hilltop castle. After a walking tour discovering the sights of the city you need not seek the comfort of your mattress. Instead, soak away your aches in a beer spa and end your day at an absinthe bar if you want.
The process of drinking this poison, banned in several countries across the globe, is fascinating, to say the least. Prague is a city with a big heart and one we would love to get lost in again and again.
Estonia Rummu Karjaar: photo + text by Danielle from Like Riding a Bicycle Blog
Rummu Karjäär is an unbelievable sight to behold. Usually uncrowded by tourists, this sunken prison leaves you with a feeling of awe, while wondering who lived between those walls before it was flooded.
The pristine water makes you want to go for a swim, but – if you’re anything like my odd self – the fear of some skeleton arm coming out of the water and grabbing you may make you hold off.
Still, many people go diving around here to explore the sunken prison below. Whether you’re scuba diving or chilling at the shore checking this place out, this place is definitely one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe!
Estonia, Tartu: photo + text by Natalia from My Trip Hack Blog
Tartu is often called an intellectual capital of Estonia as it is home to one of the oldest Estonian Universities. Since the significant part of the population are students, the city has a dynamic vibe. There are numerous activities and events organized throughout the year. Because of the students, there are also many nice budget places to eat and socialize.
It’s easy to fall in love with Tartu for its charm and authenticity. This is a city where are old historical buildings, modern architecture, creative monuments, cool street art, a relaxing lifestyle, people playing live music and dancing outside in summers and many more details that make this city just awesome!
Moreover, Tartu isn’t overcrowded with tourist groups even during the season. Though it’s the second-largest city in Estonia, it’s still relatively small. If you are looking for the best places to visit in Eastern Europe, be sure to add Tartu to your itinerary.
Estonia, Tallinn: photo + text by Sharon from Where’s Sharon? Blog
Tallinn is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. With it’s medieval Old Town complete with cobblestone, winding streets, many towers, churches, and just stunning, colorful buildings, it’s definitely worth visiting.
There are many things to do in Tallinn if you get sick of walking around. It’s worth climbing some of the many towers (warning, they are tough climbs!), visiting the Estonian History Museum, the Maritime Museum, and some of the churches.
Outside the Old Town, there are also many points of interest. For a different part of Tallinn’s history make sure you check out the Hotel Viru KGB Museum Tour where you can learn about Soviet times.
One of the big bonuses of Tallinn is not just that it’s beautiful with a lot to do, but it is also very budget-friendly. It’s definitely worth an addition to your Eastern Europe vacation bucket list.
Soomaa National Park
National Park of Soomaa: photo + text by Jules from Don’t Forget To Move Blog
Soomaa National Park is a destination that wilderness enthusiasts will love to explore while traveling in Estonia. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. Clip-on your bog shoes and take a hike through the flooded meadows, or perch yourself high on the tower and take advantage of the flocks of different bird species that call the park home.
The landscape and trails of Soomaa National Park lend themselves to some amazing hikes and treks, winding around the lakes and through fields of pine trees and wild mushrooms. Because the park is in a protected zone there is also a lot of wild animal life living in the forests, such as bears, moose, wolves, and wild boars. If you’re quiet enough you just might see some on your next hike.
Georgia, Kazbegi: photo + text by Alex from Lost With Purpose Blog
Staggering, snow-capped peaks topped by ancient monasteries and towers. Sweeping green valleys and blue waters hardly touched by man. Wide smiles and warm hearts welcoming you to their town and their country wherever you go. Kazbegi is not only Georgia’s most iconic destination but also one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe. Once you get there, it’s easy to see why.
The small town is best known for nearby Gergeti Monastery, the most famous monastery in all of Georgia thanks to its definitively epic location. The small stone structure sits atop a plain overlooking Kazbegi, with the soaring Mount Kazbegi, one of the highest mountains in the Caucasus, as its backdrop.
Pack up your hiking boots, charge your camera, and get ready to have your breath taken away.
Deep in the Great Caucasus Mountains lies a fairly unknown mountain hamlet called Mestia. It’s one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
Mestia is located in the historic Svaneti region of Georgia and is arguably the most scenic place of the whole country. A UNESCO world heritage site, the region boasts of some of the tallest mountains of the entire Caucasus range. As you travel up the spiral roads from Zugdidi, which is the closest city, the landscape rises from the plains to a beautiful picturesque nirvana. There is an abundance of greenery, blue skies, white clouds and turquoise lakes here that is so pleasing to the eye.
Tall Svanetian defensive stone towers are spread across this small town. There are some attractive hiking and trekking trails for all travelers looking for an adventure. A four-day trek from here will take you to Ushguli, the highest living settlement in the Caucasus Mountains. Mestia also has some spectacular ski resorts for skiing enthusiasts.
The small Queen Tamar airport connects Mestia to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and to other cities such as Kutaisi and Batumi, offering quick access to the town by air. Direct marshrutkas (minibuses) are available from a lot of cities and the nearest train station is at Zugdidi, which is just 3 hours away.
There are so many guesthouses here to choose from and they offer some exclusive Svan hospitality along with some amazing local food and of course, Georgian wine. Mount Skhara, the highest in Georgia, rises as the backdrop of the small town along with the twin-peaked Mount Ushba. If you are a mountain lover and want to spend a few days in paradise, look no further.
Georgia, Tbilisi: photo + text by Nathan from Foodie Flashpacker Blog
The Republic of Georgia stands to be one of the next great foodie destinations. Although Tbilisi was not my favorite part of my visit the fact remains it is an excellent place to sample the countries delicious food and amazing wines. Georgia actually has the oldest known history of wine production in the world and in that time they’ve certainly perfected it.
Local dishes not to be missed include:
- khinkali: huge dumplings filled with soup and meat. You have to bite off a corner and suck the soup out to finish one of these. Easily my favorite dish in Georgia.
- khachapuri– cheese-filled bread. Need I say more? There are variations of this dish that include meat and potatoes but the classic cheese and butter-filled version is my favorite.
- wine: always ask for a house or draft wine, even if it’s not on the menu. I don’t think I found one restaurant that didn’t offer it. I preferred the red over the white but if you’re feeling adventurous try the orange/yellow version. Local wine aged underground in clay pots!
Greece, Athens: photo + text by Edwina from Traveling German Blog
Athens often gets neglected over the many beautiful islands in Greece, but it’s a destination worth checking out. No other city in Europe combines history and breathtaking monuments with bustling city life the way Athens does.
Hike up to the stunning Acropolis in the morning, shop in Monastiraki in the afternoon. Later, go for a night out in the trendy Gazi neighborhood around the former gas works of Athens.
The city also has many treats in store for foodies. From the famous and meaty gyros and healthy Greek salad to sweet Baklava, Greek cuisine is diverse and has something for everyone.
If you need to escape the city, the Athens Riviera is only a short drive away and makes for a great day trip destination. Laze on a beach, or go kayaking in the crystal clear water.
Athens has it all. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
Chania on the island of Crete, Greece, is easily one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe. From the beautiful Venetian Harbour to the twisting cobblestone streets, there are lots of things to discover and explore.
History lovers will enjoy the numerous architectural sites and museums in the city, but the best way to understand the charm of Chania is by wandering through the streets of the Old Town.
Because of the Venetian influence, at times you feel like you could be in a small Italian city, but with a very distinctly Greek aura. Nearby are fantastic beaches for those desiring to improve their tan.
Greece, Meteora: photo + text by Inma from A World to Travel Blog
About 600 meters above the sea level and barely a 5h ride from Athens, Meteora could be described as a stone forest whose main purpose is to try to get you higher to the skies if you might. Some of the reasons monks have populated the top of these limestone and rock formations since the fourteen century and building impressive constructions called Monasteries.
The best is that big crowds are not frequent. Yet. The place is so special that I have no doubt it will soon suffer a boost in the number of people visiting it yearly.
Anyway, there is hope. Yes! Meteora has been cataloged as a Unesco World Heritage site and many restrictions already apply in order to regulate tourism and preserve its unique character. Be sure to add this amazing place to your Eastern Europe bucket list.
Greece, Santorini: photo + text by Chrysoula from Travel Passionate Blog
Santorini is a beautiful island located in the Aegean Sea in Greece. It is considered one of the most romantic places worldwide and many couples from around the world arrive in Santorini for their wedding or honeymoon. The scenery is very dramatic with the whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches perched on the cliff of the caldera.
Santorini is also a culinary paradise as you can taste many traditional products like fava, caper, and some amazing wines, unique due to the volcanic soil of the island.
Santorini also has some very picturesque villages like Pyrgos, Oia, Emporio with small alleyways, and colorful bougainvilleas. There are some amazing volcanic beaches worth visiting as well with black or red sand and small pebbles.
Other things to do in Santorini include visiting one of the many archaeological sites and admiring the wonderful sunset. At least once in a lifetime, one should visit this amazing island. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
If you’re traveling through Eastern Europe, you’ll soon see all roads (and trains, planes, and boats) lead to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. But few travelers take the time to explore –and that should change!
Thessaloniki was hit hard by the Greek economic crisis but has responded by supporting young, creative entrepreneurs. Handpeak organizes walking tours for visitors to meet the small business owners who are reinvigorating the city. From olive oil vendors to jewelry artists, these inspiring makers represent Thessaloniki’s warm, creative side.
Thessaloniki is also home to Europe’s longest boardwalk, a bustling market, a great food scene influenced by Italian and Balkan heritage, and the largest amount of UNESCO Byzantine ruins in the world. It’s well worth a visit!
There are so many islands in Greece, that I wonder why people always head to the same ones. If you’re happy to travel a little further you’ll find Astypalea, a stunning island halfway between the Dodecanese and the Cyclades, 12 hours ferry, and a world away from Athens.
Astypalea is completely off the radar of most tourists – most visitors are locals that moved to mainland Greece traveling back to see their families.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Astypalea – culture, nature, the possibility to go hiking and sailing around the island, and even diving. Locals are super welcoming, and the cuisine is incredible – you’ll spend most of the day eating!
This island should definitely be a part of your Eastern Europe trip.
Hungary, Budapest: photo + text by Laura from Travelling Weasels Blog
Budapest is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. It’s the perfect city to relax as it has many amazing, ornate thermal baths; yet it’s also a great place to party with its super cool ruin bars.
No matter what era of history you are interested in, pretty much each part has made its mark here in some way or other.
Budapest has been invaded a lot over the centuries, from Turks to Nazis to Soviets. Walk along streets and notice bullet-holes from world war two, through parks that have been renamed several times depending on who was ‘in charge’.
Budapest is a unique city that mustn’t be missed off anyone’s bucket list!
Hungary, Pecs: photo + text by Adelina from Pack Me To Blog
Located in the south-west part of Hungary, Pécs is the fifth-largest city in the country.
Just a short 2.5-hour train ride away from Budapest, it is a great spot to visit if you’re looking for other places to explore beyond the capital. The city is rich in history and culture due to being settled by the Romans and later the Turks. Today, you can still see many of their influences in the architecture and most notably at The Necropolis of Sopianae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is clean and dotted with beautifully colored buildings and intricate facades. A university town, it has great nightlife during the school year. During the day, walk along Király Street and pop into restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat.
Photo + text about Kosovo by Hugo from Breathe With Us Blog
Kosovo is one of the youngest countries in the world and certainly, the least visited of the Balkan region. A misconception about its safety keeps most travelers away from Kosovo and the country remains largely unexplored despite offering plenty of things to see and do for such a small territory.
Boasting a very young and dynamic population, Kosovo is going through a major transformation since becoming independent less than a decade ago and is slowing starting to appear on the tourism radar.
With interesting places such as Pristina, the capital, Prizren, a historical city and now the country’s cultural capital, the 4 medieval Orthodox monuments that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Rugova mountains, European national park with plenty of outdoors opportunities,
Kosovo is well worth visiting. It definitely one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
I have been traveling around almost all the countries in Europe. I love visiting The Baltic Countries and Trakai is the main reason (3 times already). Trakai is located in Lithuania just an hour by public transportation from the capital, Vilnius. The city of Trakai is built over the water.
Visiting the castle in Trakai is a must, no matter if it’s full of visitors. I really loved the castle inside as historical places are wildly interesting. But my favorite part was taking pictures before crossing the bridge and getting the view from the castle.
After the visit to the castle, you can visit the lakes around. It´s perfect for spending a day outdoors in the lakes. Another great plan that you can do is going for local restaurants and bars. Lithuanian beer is great!
Lithuania, Vilnius: photo + text by Viktoria from Chronic Wanderlust Blog
Vilnius is one of those places where you can simply enjoy yourself and take all the surroundings. Being the capital city it has this modern flair that makes you think everything is possible here. Many green areas are just waiting for you to relax and read a good book.
Make sure to also visit the „Republic Užupis“ in the middle of the city – you’ll find some cool artworks and you can even have your passport stamped here. Try also some of their typical dishes like Cepelinai (grounded potatoes filled with cheese or meat) and Saltibarscai (pink, cold soup). I’d recommend visiting in Spring or Fall when the trees come to live or give the city a colorful touch.
Vilnius is your city if you want to mix traveling with great food in a relaxing yet ambitious atmosphere. It’s one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
The vibrant capital of Macedonia is one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe. There are many awesome things to do there, both during the day and night. Go sightseeing in daylight, as the rich history of Skopje has lots to offer even for the most demanding travelers.
When the sun goes down, experience one of the best nightlife cities in Europe.
Ohrid, Macedonia holds a special place in my heart. The small city that is just three hours away from the capital may just be one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
The town centers around Lake Ohrid. The lake is between Albania and Macedonia and is actually one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. The lake is calm and surrounded by beautiful mountains making it a picture-perfect destination. There are plenty of cafes situated right on the water to enjoy a cocktail at. For the more adventurous there are a plethora of activities centered around the lake.
Paragliding and hiking are very popular in the summer months. While just strolling the harbor after an evening meal is perfect in the winter. I wish that more people made their way this part of the world instead of being surrounded by tourists in the “popular” western European destinations.
Durmitor National Park
Located in Northern Montenegro, Durmitor National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. With the Adriatic Sea only a few hours to the south, this unique spot allows one to go swimming in the morning and trekking through snowfields in the afternoon.
Home to Montenegro’s tallest mountain, Bobotov Kuk, as well as the largest canyon in Europe, Tara’s Canyon, Durmitor National Park is a real adventurer’s playground.
Whether you are into hiking, canyoning, white-water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, or skiing, Durmitor National Park has you covered. Or if you’re not into the high-intensity activities, you can just relax by any one of the gorgeous and easily accessible lakes that scatter around the park.
It’s easy to get there from most of the parts of Montenegro. If you are staying in Montenegro’s capital, just book a taxi or rent a car. Durmitor National Park is worth it! Definitely not to be missed when traveling around Eastern Europe!
Poland, Zakopane: photo + text by Mark from Wyld Family Travel Blog
Zakopane Poland is a picturesque town well known for winter sports. It is not just about winter and snow. In summer, Zakopane turns on the sun and fun in the mountains. Adventure for hikers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Zakopane is located in southern Poland in the Tatra mountains close to the border with Slovakia. This amazing mountain getaway picture perfect with its snow-capped peaks, Horse and cart rides, and the amazing wooden houses of the region.
Jump on the cable car for a trip to the top of Gubalowka for amazing views of Zakopane and surrounding areas. No trip to Zakopane is complete without strolling Krupowki street for some shopping, eating, and drinking.
Accessible from Krakow in around 2 hours by public transport, you won’t be disappointed.
Poland, Krakow: photo + text by Alison from Cheese Web Blog
Where else on earth can you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through narrow cobbled streets, lined with candy-colored houses, shop for amber jewelry in a stunning covered marketplace, listen to classical organ music in a Baroque church, discover a castle protected by a dragon, AND eat your body weight in pierogis?
Krakow, Poland is one of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
Not only is Krakow safe, friendly, and affordable, with plenty to do within the city limits, but it also serves as a great jumping-off point to discover southern Poland. Buses make frequent trips from Krakow to the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine, a wonderland carved out of salt deep beneath the earth.
You can also make a day-trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum or the stunningly beautiful villages of the Silesian Beskids Mountains. But with its relaxed atmosphere and wealth of cultural attractions, you’d be forgiven if you don’t want to leave Krakow. Have a pierogi for me!
Poland, Wroclaw: photo + text by Shara from SKJ Travel Blog
The University of Wroclaw has educated an amazing line-up of very famous historical figures, and its lecture room is particularly beautiful to visit with its richly painted ceiling and alcoves. Wroclaw lies on the Oder River; the oldest part of the city dates to the 10th century on what used to be an island in the river, accessible by the picturesque Tumski Bridge lined with lover’s locks.
The city was heavily bombed in WWII and rebuilt its cathedrals using different materials so that you can plainly see what is original and what is rebuilt.
The town hall has lovely interior gothic architecture; the main town square is brightly colorful and refreshingly void of tourists. Playful gnome statues populate the market area, and we enjoyed some utterly delicious restaurants there.
We spent three days and nights and were never bored, never crowded, and perpetually delighted in this city. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
Check out our full post about the most beautiful places in Romania!
It’s home to some beautiful, colorful Baroque and Gothic architecture, including the greatest Gothic church in Transylvania, The Black Church. There are also wide pedestrianized boulevards and spacious plazas flanked with a wide variety of quality restaurants with delicious Romanian food, cozy cafes, and quirky bars.
What makes Brasov even more awesome is its location at the foothills of the picturesque South Carpathian Mountains, surrounded by numerous viewpoints and hiking trails. And if you’re into castles, three of the country’s best – Peles, Bran (Dracula’s Castle), and Corvin – are also easily accessible from here.
In short, Brasov offers history, culture, good food, beautiful architecture, and amazing landscapes, which, as far as I’m concerned, makes it a pretty damn near perfect place to visit. The fact that it’s not overrun with tourists is a definite bonus too.
Romania, Cluj: photo + text by Inma from A World to Travel Blog
A city I hadn’t put on the map before my little brother decided to spend there a semester, turned out to be one of the top Eastern European cities to visit.
And, although in the beginning, I wanted to make it my base to explore Sibiu, Sighișoara, Brașov, Târgu Mureș, Bistriţa, Salina Turda, Bâlea Lake and the curvy Transfăgărășan road, that crosses the South part of the Carpathian Mountains, soon I realized that Transylvania roads take you places slowly.
No matter if you are traveling to Cluj Napoca with kids, solo, or as a couple, you won’t be disappointed.
Can’t wait to go back to Cluj Napoca and make it my base for a while again to continue uncovering this unique region!
Romania, Sighisoara: photo + text by Gia from Mismatched Passports Blog
With its pastel-colored buildings, fantastical towers, and ornate churches, Sighisoara will instantly leave you in awe with its beautiful architecture. This medieval town in Romania is one of Transylvania’s most picturesque towns with winding cobblestone streets and large open squares.
While the old citadel remains fairly quiet, it has many attractions to offer which include the clock tower, a dominating masterpiece which overlooks the red-tiled roofs of the houses in the old town and the church on the hill, a gothic-style church with the remarkable interior.
Whether you visit as a day trip from Brasov or stay a few nights, you’ll find interesting sights in this fairy tale town, including the house where Vlad the Impaler was born. Simply wander along the streets of Sighisoara and discover places beyond the guide book.
Romania, Vamp Veche: photo + text by Safia from Nomad Junkies Blog
Just a stone throw away from the Bulgarian border and on the coast of the Black Sea, you will find Vama Veche, a little hippie beach town that has all the charm needed to suck you in for a few days (or weeks). Hitchhike from Bucharest and join the locals for their beach BBQs or their nightly bonfires!
This is how nice and welcoming the Romanians are. Be prepared to be dragged to the craziest beach parties until the sun peaks out from the horizons for the most beautiful sunrise.
From the very small local food market to the fish shack on the beach to the weekend parties attended by the city folks…There is something for everyone! Or just rent a bike and hop over to Bulgaria and get lost in the quiet little countryside villages.
Russia, Sankt Petersburg: photo + text by Pedro from Travel With Pedro Blog
I’m a great fan of St Petersburg since my very first visit over 10 years ago. Russia’s second-largest city is one of the best places to travel in Eastern Europe. The more I go back there, the more I realize how much the city has to offer.
At first, it was the city’s grandeur that caught my attention. St Petersburg was the capital of Russia for about two hundred years and it has a number of grand palaces and great buildings to prove its imperial past. Many of them are open to visitors and are home to museums and operas.
If I had to recommend only one place to visit in St Petersburg, it would be the Hermitage Museum. One of the largest museums in the world is so vast that it occupies six different buildings. The Winter Palace, once the official residence of Russian Tsars, is one of them. In summer it’s packed with tourists, so I recommend visiting the museum – and the city – during the low season.
On my last trip, I discovered a different museum experience. It was a modern and quirky gallery called Erarta, which shows displays the works of young, avant-garde Russian artists. To me, it proves the city is evolving and open to current and future tendencies.
Sadly, St Petersburg is one of the cheapest places to visit in Eastern Europe. But with Russia’s current economic situation, the city is extremely affordable. So my recommendation is for you to pack your bags and explore the city’s museums, amazing churches, and diverse food scenes.
Novi Sad, which sits on the banks of the Danube river, is the second-largest city in Serbia. The city is a good place to visit if you just need to chill out and relax. Its main square, Trg Slobode or Liberty Square, is lined with beautiful buildings full of intricate details and great colors.
Along Zmaj Jovina street, the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, there are lots of restaurants, cafes, and bars with patios to relax on.
Head up to the Petrovaradin Fortress to explore its grounds and you’ll also be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Danube. Go there close to sundown and you’ll be able to take in the sunset with the city as its backdrop. If you’re a music fan, a stop at the annual Exit Festival which is hosted at the fortress is a must.
Turkey, Istanbul: photo + text by Siddhartha from Sid the Wanderer Blog
Located at the junction of Asia and Europe, Istanbul is a perfect melting point of cultures from East and West. One of the oldest cities in the region, it has changed names from Byzantium to Constantinople and finally to Istanbul, yet one thing that’s remained consistent is its importance as a major city in the region.
With such an old history, Istanbul is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. The most famous tourist attractions in the city are: Hagia Sofia, closely followed by the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and the Bosphorus strait.
It’s a city easy to fall in love with, and you will never be satisfied no matter how many days you spend here. The city is also a gateway to the rest of the country, so don’t just stop here and go see more places in Turkey from here.
Visiting Izmir is one of the best Eastern Europe trip ideas. This city is much more western than other Turkish cities. Walking around, you feel extremely safe and comfortable like you could actually be in an American city! There are incredible local markets with fresh food and handmade goods, busy streets filled with people sitting outside at restaurants, and gorgeous harbor views.
When visiting, you must spend some time in the Urla wine region, whose wineries produce some incredible wines and offer stunning views.
There aren’t many international food options in Izmir, but you are visiting Turkey after all – enjoy their local cuisine and you won’t regret it!
Turkey, Kabak Beach: photo + text by Dane from Holiday From Where Blog
Kabak Beach in Turkey is a little tricky to get to but, as you descend the cliff and catch your first glimpse of the almost unbelievable blue water you realize it was all worth it. This beach is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. It is small but the white rocks slowly turn into incredible golden sand, which descends rapidly into this beautiful warm blue water.
Kabak Beach is also completely surrounded by amazing mountains, which fall straight into the sea. Not to mention there are sea caves you can dive through if you are daring enough.
The vibe on the beach is pretty alternative and really friendly with everyone down to talk or have a drink or fill you in on the hikes in the area. The hikes include one to an incredible little waterfall with emerald green water that if you get to at the right time you can have completely to yourself.
The other is a hike that lasts a few hours to the next bay over called Paradise Beach, which completely lives up to its name. We camped there on the sand and watched the sunset over the water from our tent completely undisturbed by another human for the entire time we were there.
It is such a beautiful part of Turkey and I could not say enough good things about it, if you are visiting it really should be on your list of things to do.
Ukraine, Lviv: photo + text by Ivana from Nomad is Beautiful Blog
If you like vibrant city life, street art, festivals, and most of all, good coffee, then you should put Lviv on your list! It’s one of the most beautiful Eastern European cities.
Located in the western part of Ukraine, Lviv attracts lots of visitors not only because of its historical architecture, but also because of cool vibes of contemporary art, rooftop views, and hidden squares filled with the authentic bohemian atmosphere.
Make sure you visit Lviv in the summertime when most of the art festivals take part in the town. Get ready for the city center full of live music, dancing, and street performers. And last, but not least, make sure to visit their chocolate factory and a few of the original cafes.
Ukraine, Kiev: photo + text by Oksana from Drink Tea & Travel Blog
With cobblestone streets, baroque style churches, street-side art galleries, open-air markets, green squares, busy shopping streets, fancy cars, and a well-developed transportation system – Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has all the elements of a beautiful European capital. Strolling through the touristy parts of the city, you’ll feel like you are in the heart of Europe.
Kyiv is slowly but surely making strides towards becoming more modern, more developed, and offering better opportunities to those that call it home. It is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe and an awesome destination for budget travelers.
If you want to get off the beaten path in Europe and explore a city that isn’t teeming with tourists (yet!), that’s your place to go. It’s cheap, it’s beautiful, it’s fascinating, it’s rich in culture, and is a great spot for those looking for a crazy party!
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Do you know any other destinations that should be on the list of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe? Remember, sharing is caring! Share your thoughts in comments!