Discovering the latest must visit Eastern European destinations
From Krakow to Budapest, there’s some new Eastern European holiday hotspots to jet off to…
Eastern Europe has only very recently become a popular destination for UK holiday makers, but it already feels like people have been going there forever. We’ve all had our share of Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rome, now the once closed-off cities of Eastern Europe are attracting Brits in impressive numbers.
Prague, for example, is now a more popular tourist destination than the Dutch capital, and you can’t walk around Krakow for long without encountering some familiar accents.
Usually much cheaper than the likes of Paris, and certainly not lacking in beauty or vibrant local culture, Eastern Europe has truly become the young person’s holiday destination.
But not all of Eastern Europe’s treasures have been unearthed by us travel-happy islanders. Many cities east of Germany – just as reachable on the usual budget airlines – are only now being discovered. Here’s four lesser known Eastern European city destinations, and why you should be booking that ticket now!
Straddling the famous Danube river, the Slovakian capital is one of Europe’s smaller capitals, but nevertheless densely packed with the narrow winding streets and architecture we’ve come to expect from this part of the world.
The city has a rich and ancient multicultural history, reflecting its position right at the heart of Europe, and you can see it in the buildings. St. Martin’s Cathedral is a sight to behold – quite unlike anything you’ll see in the UK – and the streets which meander around it are packed with bars and coffee shops which combine quality and affordability. The best part is totally free: Bratislava is beautiful, and a simple stroll is well worth your time.
This one’s pretty far away, you’re nearly at Russia. Yet, Lithuania’s capital city is fully available on a budget, with the cheaper airlines flying here from several UK destinations. You know the drill: book a couple of months in advance and you’re laughing.
Vilnius has actually been touted as one of the cheapest city breaks in Europe; even by Eastern European standards, you’ll be amazed at what you can afford here. It’s about as far away from Western Europe in affordability as it is in distance.
Vilnius is known for a strong café culture, and why wouldn’t it be? Although not scorching, it’s pleasantly warm in the summer and sitting with a coffee in the city’s gorgeous old town can become an endeavour lasting hours.
The first thing that strikes you about Ljubljana is a refreshing sense of space. The city boasts the beautiful castles, waterfronts and spires that we’ve come to associate with Eastern Europe, but is also full of parks and greenery. This is just as well, as Ljubljana sizzles in the high twenties in the late summer. Trekking around the city is a worthwhile pursuit, but you’ll be glad of the chance to relax in one of the city’s many parks.
Again, it’s cheap, and with your extra spending power, it’s the perfect excuse to hop onto a river cruise – one of the best ways to appreciate the diverse architecture.
Like Bratislava, Belgrade is a city of very diverse cultural influences. The mix of ancient and modern makes the city very hip, which is reflected in its renowned nightlife. Belgrade is frequently visited by Europeans from neighbouring countries but has not, as of yet, been much frequented by Brits. It looks like we’re missing out.
Belgrade is a large city – considerably larger than the others on this list. As such it has all the potential to become another Berlin (the most popular destination for younger tourists in 2016). Hip and buzzing, with a lot of imposing modern architecture, it seems set to go the way of Krakow and Prague and become Europe’s next big destination – get in early.
We’ll see you at the check-in desk!
Words: Tom McDonald