5e41cc9cfbd5bc88bf497d7af95dbb25aa6126c9

Posts Tagged ‘Ljubljana Castle’

The Best of Eastern Europe: Top 10 Cities to Visit

Barcelona

Backpacking in Europe is a rite of passage for most students and travellers. But it’s such a vast place that many end up hopping between the most famous cities (London, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome – sound familiar?) and never delve beneath the surface into what this continent, particularly the Eastern fringes, really has to offer.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little different and – a big bonus for the budget traveller- much more cost-effective, then backpacking in Eastern Europe is the thing to do.

When you think of Eastern Europe, a long troubled history of war and hard-line Communist regimes may well be what spring to mind. What you’ll find, however, is a lush countryside of idyllic coastlines and picturesque mountains and unique architecture, a thrilling art scene and buzzing nightlife. Backpacking Eastern Europe is now a firm favourite on the backpacker itinerary.

In fact, some of the best cities in Eastern Europe such as Prague and Krakow are no longer quite the bargain they once were. But on the flip side, this means that things such as transport, accommodation (don’t forget to check out HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2013 to find the best hostels in Europe) and entertainment have all improved in recent years and are totally geared up for backpackers.

Getting Around in Eastern Europe

First things first, getting there. Plenty of budget airlines service the capital cities in Eastern Europe. After the flight, you can explore the best of Eastern Europe by train. If you intend to travel extensively, check out our suggested InterRail itineraries in South East Europe then buy InterRail or Eurail passes for your trip. Alternatively, if you only intend to make a few journeys, just pay as you go on the regional trains. For more information on getting the best deal on rail travel, read our handy guide to InterRailing.

Here’s our pick of the 10 best places to visit in Eastern Europe – from waterfalls and monasteries to floating techno clubs and cobbled streets, there’s a whole host of amazing discoveries to be made. Recommended hostels in Eastern Europe are priced per person, per night (€pppn).

1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
CroatiaEstonia

Ljubljana is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. Nestled in an alpine valley and straddling the Ljubljanica River, it is a picture-perfect and very walkable city. The cobbled streets are filled with bicycles, laid-back students (who make up a quarter of the city’s population) and the cafe culture pleasantly spills out onto the pavements in warmer months.

It’s the outdoorsy atmosphere of the Old Town you should be soaking up here, with less emphasis placed on large attractions, although Ljubljana does boast some great galleries and museums. There is a grand mix of bridges, Baroque townhouses and churches in Prešernov trg, but even the modern government complex on the left bank around Kongresni trg compliments the historical cityscape.

To name just a few of the favourite sights, climb to the pretty hilltop Ljubljana Castle, catch a concert at the open-air theatre of Križanke, cross Dragon Bridge and, if you visit in winter, it’s a 30-minute car journey to a Ljubljana ski centre, Krvavec. A trip to the magnificent Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj with the fairy tale castle is also a must. Here you can try a number of water sports, hiking and biking.

Where to stay… Although there are a number of good hostels in Ljubljana, head to Hostel Celica – nothing beats the novelty of sleeping in a converted prison cell for the night. If you are looking for Lake Bled hostels, then the brand new Bled Backpackers Hostel organises adventure sports, bike rental and has an onsite bar.

2. Mostar, Bosnia
HitchcockHungary

On the front line of the Croatian-Bosnian conflict during the Balkan War, Mostar was badly damaged by the fighting. Its famous bridge, from which young men on the cusp of manhood would traditionally dive, was completely destroyed and the town’s residents were unable to cross the river thereby splitting up many families.

Today, however, the Stari Most bridge is back to its former glory – using old photographs, an exact replica of the bridge has been rebuilt. A great time to visit is during the annual diving competition held in July, you can see some of the divers below.

The beauty of Mostar lies in the turquoise river, elegant minarets and shiny white stone but with reminders of the city’s brutal past visible in the bullet hole-laden walls and bombed out buildings nestled among the shops and cafes. Don’t miss the lush nearby Kravice waterfalls for glorious swimming opportunities. You will need a car, or ask your hostel to organise a trip.

Where to stay… Thanks to its fascinating history, there are plenty of Mostar hostels in the city centre. Hostel Majdas is our top-rated property providing shared rooms, but if you prefer to go private, try Guest House “Taso”.

3. Zadar, Croatia
CroatiaLary Hostel

The city’s historic old town is the big draw with glowing white flagstones and the Riva – a picturesque waterfront promenade. In the evening, people gather at the promontory to watch the sunset – which Hitchcock famously claimed to be the most beautiful in the world. To add to the magic, Nikola Basic’s Sea Organ (click to listen!) provides a soundtrack to the setting of the sun. The art installation is operated by the tides which flow in and out of a series of tunnels underfoot to create an eclectic and poetic drone. You will catch people crouching with their ear to the ground in awe of the music.

Cocktails are best enjoyed at the Bedouin-style Garden Grow bar, opened by UB40 drummer James Brown. Once you’ve tasted the city’s heady nightlife, Zadar itself doesn’t need more than a few days. When you’ve had your fill, check out the popular Soundwave Festival or explore the northern Zadar archipelago for a spot of island hopping in Croatia to Pag, Ugljan or Dugi for idyllic beaches.

Where to stay… If you are looking for budget accommodation in Zadar you might want to make the most of the beautiful city by staying in Old Town which has both shared and private rooms from €16pppn and organises excursions. On Pag, Big Yellow House is a great place to meet and party with fellow travellers. It is minutes from Zrce beach, Page nightlife hotspots and offers rooms from €18pppn including breakfast.

4. Belgrade, Serbia
left bankLjubljana Castle

This city is something of an up-and-coming destination, which today means you need to look beyond the city’s rather ugly housing blocks and cast your eyes to the heart of Belgrade – to the leafy squares and ancient churches – to see its true beauty. They are a reminder of this region’s diverse culture and religious history. There is, in fact, something of Paris’s Montmartre in Belgrade’s pretty Skadarska area too.

The real draw of Belgrade, however, is its hedonistic nightlife. During the summer, clubs open up along the Danube River on barges and some 3-storey boats. The city comes alive with the blast of techno rhythms and ravers waving glow sticks at open-air events, although most music tastes are catered for in some club or other, if that’s not your thing.

Where to stay… If you are looking for a hostel in Belgrade then Hostelche Hostel is a firm backpacker favourite offering great interior design. It’s a few minutes from the river and prices start at €14pppn.

5. Kiev, Ukraine
RomaniaSlovenia

Unfortunately, the Ukraine has found itself embroiled in another all-too-familiar political crisis, an unhappy symptom of its positioning between Russia and Europe. It’s sad, especially for such a beautiful country with such wonderful people. Still, during better times, Kiev is an affordable and lovable choice for backpackers.

In the markets near Independence Square you can pick up original Soviet era paraphernalia – think red-star adorned fur hats – and stuff yourself silly on dumplings all for a handful of coins. It’s worth climbing the bell tower of Kiev’s oldest church, St Sofia Cathedral for views across the rooftops and gilded domes.

To acquaint yourself with darker days, the Chernobyl Museum documents the fatal nuclear event, while the Pecherska Lavra is a monastery complete with catacombs holding centuries’ old mummified monks. Check out our list of cheap things to do in Kiev for more advice and you can check out the nightlife in Kiev too.

Although it is an amazing city, we don’t recommend visiting while there is still trouble in the region. Hopefully there will be a quick and peaceful resolution to the current tensions and you’ll soon be able to see for yourself everything that Ukraine has to offer.

Where to stay… Nowadays Kiev has a great selection budget accommodation and hostels to rival their nearby neighbours. Whether you want something quiet and quaint or a little livelier, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

6. Tallinn, Estonia
left bankStari Most bridge

Winner of the European Capital of Culture award in 2011, Tallinn has put itself well and truly on the map with a lengthy list of annual art events, a music week, a rooftop cinema, along with activities like harbour kayaking tours. It boasts a pleasant muddle of cobbled streets and impressive medieval fortifications in the form of city walls. The students of Tallinn University really keep the place ticking, especially in the cavernous cellar bars – try the millimallikas. Have a read of our Tallinn guide for more things to do and highlights in 2011.

Where to stay… Of all the Tallinn hostels the hottest parties can be found at Tallinn Backpackers with organised pub crawls and alternative tours of the city. Beds from €17pppn.

7. Suceava, Romania
left bankTom Junior Hostel

Once the capital of Moldovia (an ancient European principality), Suceava is an intriguing place that’s undergone recent regeneration. It lies quite a way off the usual backpacking trail in Europe (as does much of Romania, beyond Bucharest and the Dracula tours) but it’s worth the trek for the seven painted churches of Northern Moldovia located nearby. These unique and beautifully preserved monasteries are adorned with frescoes and are masterpieces of Byzantine art.

To really see the city in full swing, you should time your trip to coincide with the lively Moldavian Furrier Fair in mid-August or for Suceava Days, a giant street party held in late June. The area will be difficult to explore during the hard winters, but it’s hard to pass up the opportunity of a sleigh ride eh?!

Where to stay… There are only a couple of hostels in Suceava and they’re a little way out, but for a good time, check out the Lary Hostel. It’s a lively place with its own bar and nightclub, and it’s a not-too-taxing 15 mins bus ride away from the centre.

8. Krakow, Poland

Krakow in Poland

Krakow in Poland

The best-known city on this list, Krakow has become a firm favourite on the InterRail scene and it’s definitely earned its place on your Eastern Europe itinerary. Highlights include the wonderful architecture from Gothic to Renaissance (amazingly well intact after WWII), the atmospheric Jewish quarter of Kazimieriz, the regal Wawel Castle and excellent nightlife – the Old Town boasts more bars per square metre than anywhere else in the world.

Similarly to Prague, Krakow is cashing in on its newly-found tourist appeal so expect higher prices than the rest of Eastern Europe. Winter or summer? It’s a tough call because Christmas in Krakow is a picturesque affair with glittering markets and a beautiful frosting of snow on the buildings, but as part of a greater Eastern Europe itinerary, the sights are more enjoyable to explore in warmer months.

Where to stay… You are spoilt for choice when it comes to hostels. Some of the best hostels in Europe can be found here. It’s a tough call but Greg & Tom Junior Hostel has spacious dorms, Polish themed nights and a free breakfast included in your room rate from €14pppn.

9. Kotor, Montenegro
left bankHitchcock

Like Romania, Montenegro is often sadly ignored by backpackers in Europe. But with such spectacular vistas in Europe’s deepest fjord, Kotor is not easily forgotten! The friendly people and cheap local wine, mean you really can’t go far wrong here so take a leap of faith and trust us on this one! The idyllic Bay of Kotor and its impressive ancient port town is Montenegro at its best. With its strong Venetian influences (the Republic conquered this area long ago) and unique river canyon from the Adriatic, it’s little wonder that Kotor has been named a cultural and natural World Heritage Centre. The summer carnival always proves to be a big draw, with thousands partying on the streets every year.

Where to stay… Reaching a balmy 28 degrees in summer, hostels in Kotor soon fill up so book your accommodation in advance. Small, comfortable and central, Montenegro Hostel Kotor is the ideal cheap stay equipped with air-conditioning and an onsite restaurant.

10. Budapest, Hungary
HungaryKrakow

Separated by the Danube River, the Buda Hills lie to the west while the relatively flat Pest is on the east bank. Architecture buffs can start salivating at the promise of glorious Baroque, Neoclassical, and Art Nouveau examples across the city. The particularly decadent Turkish-era thermal baths are also worth a look and a try.

Budapest galleries and museums will fill the days, but the city is equally thrilling at night, especially in the summer when kertek – purpose-built entertainment gardens – draw night owls to party until the early hours. There’s also the 7 day long Sziget Festival in August, suitable for lovers of all kinds of music, so long as they possess the stamina.

Although this list of European hotspots is in no particular order, consider leaving Budapest until last to give your bones a well-earned rest in one of the many beautiful Budapest bathhouses. Read about 5 Cultural Things to do in Budapest.

Where to stay… Choosing hostels in Budapest is a doddle and another charm to this city. Basically, there are a lot of them and they’re all pretty fabulous. Home Plus Hostel get wonderful reviews from previous guests and offers both shared and private rooms from €13pppn.

Do you have a favourite place or a hidden gem in Eastern Europe to share with us? Are you planning a backpacking trip this summer? Let us know your plans, or a review your latest experience and share your tips with other travellers below!

Like this? Related posts:

Thanks to Yadis – ArtRosino, jrover, anjči, Björn Söderqvist, dobrych, leafar., chrn, superbez, jsouthorn, scottmliddell and bortescristian for the images off Flickr. Please note, all images were free to use under the Creative Commons license at time of publication.

Source

The best cities to visit in Eastern Europe

Balkans

contributed by Elisa of World in Paris

Brasov is a fairy-tale fortified city in the heart of Transylvania, in Romania. It is easy to walk, it has a beautiful architecture with Saxon influences and many nice cafes to stop for a caffeine break. We were lucky to find an apartment facing the main square so it was nice to see how the city wakes up.

If you want to get the most out of Brasov, we recommend doing the free city tour starting every day from the main square. It is a very entertaining tour which introduces visitors to the history of the city, some fun legends and its main sights like the black church and the white and black towers. In addition, guides are always happy to give some recommendations on good restaurants to explore the local cuisine so you are set for the day.

Brasov is also a good base for exploring other parts of Transylvania like the famous Bran castle or the mountains of Piatra Craiului.

Podgorica, Montenegro

Podgorica -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePodgorica -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePodgorica

contributed by Eric of Penguin and Pia

For the capital of a country, Podgorica, Montenegro doesn’t get too much credit. We think this should change! Podgorica does actually have things to do and this makes the city a place that we think is worth checking out for yourself. From traditional Balkan cuisine at restaurants like Pod Volat to visiting the museums and wandering the historic old town, the city has a rich history that is to be learned about and explored.

If you’re in Podgorica at night, the city centre is buzzing with activity. The bars, pubs, and restaurants open their patios in the warm air and let the night take its course. Whatever kind of fun you’re looking for, you’ll find it out on the town in Podgorica. Oh, and don’t forget about the things you can check out close to the city. Just a short drive away from Podgorica is the “Niagara Falls” of Montenegro – and you won’t want to miss checking out nature at its finest!

Ohrid, FYROM

Ohrid, FYROM -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOhrid, FYROM -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOhrid, FYROM

contributed by Kirstin of The Tinberry Travels

Lake Ohird is one of the most beautiful spots in the Balkans and sat on the water’s edge in the wonderful Ohrid City, FYROM. The biggest settlement in the region, Ohrid along with its neighbouring lake, is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with ancient history, diverse and intricate architecture and plenty of natural beauty on top. Said to have once held 365 places of worship, one for every day of the year, the many churches or Ohrid are the city’s main drawn but there are plenty of things to do in Ohrid.

From boat trips or swimming in the beautiful clear waters to ancient amphitheatres and fortresses on the hill, Ohrid has a good variety of attractions and is fast becoming the new place to go in the Balkans. To get to Ohrid, a number of low cost airlines fly direct to the small Ohrid airport just outside the city or you can take a three hour drive from the FYROM ‘s capital of Skopje.

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeVilnius -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeVilnius

contributed by Mary of A Mary Road

Vilnius Lithuania is not only another city in East Europe. If you are looking to explore this part of the world, Vilnius is worth a visit. It’s probably one of the cheapest places you can explore taking into account that it is the capital city. Vilnius is full of historical events and culture, the city is very open-minded and LGBTQA friendly.

Exploring around is very easy, you can either walk through the Old Town or hop on a bicycle (which is very affordable to rent for a day or more), to go further out. Vilnius has also a lot of park around, in Summer, you can sit by the park, watch the locals go through their daily life or simply visit a local market where fresh fruits are being sold. Going to the next city like Kaunas or to the neighbouring country is very easy too, and affordable. There are cheap flights in and out of Vilnius within Europe.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePlovdiv, Bulgaria -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePlovdiv, Bulgaria

contributed by Stephanie of Sofia Adventures

While Plovdiv in central Bulgaria is an Eastern European city, it does’t feel like it. It’s a beautiful, classic town full of ancient Roman architecture, gorgeous Bulgarian Revival houses, and modern street art. If you’re looking for Red Tourism, head elsewhere, because this is Bulgaria’s elegant cultural center. In fact, it’s been named as the European Capital of Culture for 2019, highlighting it’s place as one of the oldest cities in Europe.

There is eight thousand years of history in this city, but there’s also tons of great modern amenities, like fantastic restaurants and fun cafes. You can spend a weekend or a week here, because there are so many things to see and do in Plovdiv that you won’t have time get bored. After checking out the main highlights of the city (I highly recommend the city’s free walking tour), head out to see some of the beautiful monasteries in the region.

Budva, Montenegro

Budva - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudva - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOld Town of Budva in Montenegro

contributed by Michelle of Greedy Gourmet

Located on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, is a beautiful town called Budva. Even though some parts of this country are still suffering from the effects of the Cold War, Budva is a thriving tourist destination. Budva is only a 25-minute taxi ride from Tivat Airport, where you can easily hail a cab outside the building or rent a car to get around.

The city is known for its beaches, nightlife and restaurants but is also rich in history.   You can spend the day at the Rustovo Monastery or head up to the Citadel to catch some amazing views. Most tourists come for the beaches and there are plenty to visit, such as Mogren Beach, Royal Beach and Kamenova Beach.

You absolutely need to eat at Casa Mia, a lovely Italian restaurant. Casa Mia has its own farm, raising their own chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats which makes them a rare, sustainable restaurant. In addition, you should check out Dukley Beach Lounge. Located right on the water, the views are enough of a reason to visit this restaurant.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudapest -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudapest

contributed by Suzanne of The Travelbunny

Budapest is the perfect European city to visit for a long weekend or city break. Full of charm, beautiful buildings, good food, coffee shops, art, history and quirk there’s a lot you can pack into a few days. The Danube runs through the centre of the city splitting it into two distinct districts; Buda and Pest. The 19th century Chain Bridge links hilly Buda’s castle district with flatter Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Old Town Buda where you’ll get fabulous views across the River Danube to the stunning Hungarian Parliament building. Fisherman’s Bastion, the 13th century Matthias Church and the famous Gellert thermal baths are all on the Buda side. Cross the Chain Bridge to explore Pest with its trendy ruin bars, ornate coffee shops, the food market and the grandeur of Heroes Square.

The city is good value for money as it’s not part of the Euro and still uses the Hungarian Forint. You can explore most of the city on foot or by using the metro which is easy to use and the oldest electrified underground railway system in Europe.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeKotor, Montenegro -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeKotor, Montenegro

contributed by Kamila of My Wanderlust

Even before visiting Kotor I knew I’m gonna love it there. The pictures I’ve seen online looked just amazing and the place seemed too beautiful to be true. But it really does exist and is even more spectacular that I could imagine! By now I’ve been some 5 times there and Kotor for me is the most beautiful place in Europe.

The highlight of every visit is of course the climb to the St. John castle – it is exhausting to walk over a thousand stairs to the top but the view is definitely worth it! But there are so many more things to do there! I love wandering around Kotor Old Town, especially early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not too crowded, I love walking along Kotor Bay to Dobrota and admire the stunning views and I love visiting small village of Perast that is just the prettiest. If you decided to visit Kotor I can only suggest to do it off season as the summer might be just too busy there!

BalkansBran CastleWroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeWroclaw -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeWroclaw

contributed by Jessica of Longest Bus Rides

There are so many things to do in Wroclaw, Poland that it should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Europe. The historical part of the city is completely walkable, so no need to rent a car. If anything, rent a bicycle. And, it’s very accessible to English speakers, with much of the signage translated to English. It helps that the city was European Union City of the Year in 2014.

Known as the Venice of the North, there are lots of cute bridges (approximately 130, but not all of them are cute) and 12 islands. There is even an island with gardens and historical buildings—visit the Gothic Cathedral at night to see it lit up. St. Mary Magdalene Churchhas Penitent Bridge, a gangway connecting the towers high over the city.The view is fantastic, although its original purpose is sad–

The synagogue has a free museum regarding the Jewish history in the area. On the more humorous side, keep your eyes open for all the gnomes throughout the city. They are small, and it’s always a fun surprise to find one. There’s one right by the entrance to the ancient pub underneath City Hal

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana - city to travel in Eastern EuropeLjubljana - city to travel in Eastern EuropeLjubljana

contributed by Kylie of Our Overseas Adventures

Ljublijana is the largest city in Slovenia and one of the new cool capital cities of Eastern Europe. It’s a fabulous city to visit for a few days and it has a wonderful funky vibe. The beautiful Ljubljanica river runs through the centre of the old town and wandering along the riverbanks, popping into some of the great cafes lining the route is such a great way to pass the time. The city is often compared to Prague due to its architecture designed by the world famous Jože Plečnik.

Ljublijana is famous for its bridges, with the Dragon Bridge being the most notable landmark in Ljublijana. Choose one of the four iconic dragons positioned at both ends of the bridge to snap a selfie with! Towering over the city is the 900-year-old Ljubljana Castle, a must-see with some of the best views of the city. You can take a funicular railway to reach the castle, or walk up one of the paths if you want some exercise. Afterwards, head back down into the city and pick one of the many hip bars to relax with a drink and soak in the atmosphere of this gorgeous city.

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo - places to visit in Eastern EuropeVeliko Tarnovo - places to visit in Eastern EuropeVeliko Tarnovo

contributed by Allison of Sofia Adventures

Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria. As the former capital of Bulgaria, it’s chock full of history, which can be seen in the beautiful Tsaravets fortress, which used to be the seat of power hundreds of years ago. Today, Veliko Tarnovo is full of interesting monuments, delicious restaurants with gorgeous views over the Yantra River, old-fashioned houses built on a hillside, and cafés and bars where you can relax and enjoy a slower pace of life.

You shouldn’t miss Asen’s Monument, the Stambolov bridge, the fortress, the many interesting churches, and a side trip to the nearby village of Arbanasi. Be sure to eat at the original restaurant, Shtastliveca, which is now popular throughout several cities in Bulgaria. Shopska salad can’t be missed when visiting Bulgaria! Veliko Tarnovo is a great addition to Bulgaria itineraries that include larger cities like Plovdiv or Sofia, or as a side trip from Bucharest, or as its own city break!

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeZagreb - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeZagreb

contributed by Julianna of The Discoveries of

Zagreb was the city I never expected to fall in love with. A striking blend of centuries of history, cosmopolitan culture and a laid-back vibe – it was only ever going to end one way. What’s so special about Zagreb? The small walkable centre is packed with sights, both old and new, for your itinerary. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral dominates the skyline but surprises visitors with its modernist carvings inside. Equally enchanting is the much-talked about Museum of Broken Relationships, which is packed with the sometimes funny, sometimes sad relics of relationships that haven’t quite worked out.

Don’t miss the daily firing of the cannon in Lotrsčak Tower either – at 12pm sharp the warden fires a cannon (stuffed with paper) over the city. It’s not clear where the tradition came from, but it’s happened daily since 1877. Be warned, it is very loud! Lotrsčak Tower also happens to boast stellar views out over Zagreb, so it’s a win-win situation. Some people pass through Zagreb, seeing it as a stop on their way to the Plitvice Lakes, or as they zoom to Split and Dubrovnik further south. What a mistake – spend some time here and you’ll see that Zagreb is a small city with a lot to offer.

Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeSibiu -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeSibiu city, Transylvania

contributed by Raluca of Whisper Wanderlust

Sibiu is one of the most beautiful, largest and most visited cities of Romania. It is located in Transylvania, approximately in the center of the country, making it easily accessible from any point. Being very close to the tallest and most spectacular mountains in the country, I recommend that along with Sibiu, go on a road trip on Transfagarasan, the most scenic road in the country.

Sibiu, thanks to its beauty, became the cultural capital of Europe 10 years ago when countless events took place in the city. Being the largest medieval ensemble in the country, it is a real pleasure to walk through the old center. The cobbled streets, the colorful houses that seem to have eyes on their roofs, the cheerful terraces and the architecture of the most important buildings will instantly conquer you. If you arrive in Sibiu, I recommend you to pass the Liars Bridge, admire the Council Tower, the Lutheran Evangelical cathedral or the Brukenthal Museum and go on a picnic at Dumbrava Sibiului.

Medulin, Croatia

Medulin -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeMedulin -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeMedulin

contributed by LeAnne of Well Traveled Nebraskan

Medulin, Croatia is no longer just the sleepy fishing village it once was.  Today, you can find accommodations to fit all budgets along the incredibly stunning Istrian Coast.  Whether you are looking for a glitzy all inclusive resort to get away or to camp right along the beach, we loved Medulin’s various paces of life offered to all kinds of travelers.  There was just something about grabbing delicious grilled Croatian food right on the ocean while kicking back with some of the cheapest beer we’ve ever bought that made us fall in love with the area.

However, it was the Kemenjak National Park, just on the outskirts of town that gave us memories to last a lifetime.  Purchase a cheap snorkel set from any stand in town and then head to the park where you can swim in crystal clear waters and explore underwater caves.  For adventurous souls, join the cliff jumpers leaping from various levels of cliffs into the deep ocean below for an amazingly fun time!  And then for any history buffs, geek out at the actual dinosaur tracks, still imprinted in the rocks!

Medulin was the perfect balance of exploration with a touch of relaxation, which makes it a perfect destination for just about any type of traveler! 

Source