Western countries like America have more than enough appeal as travel destinations. For all the great things to see and do, they can be a little predictable can’t they? Those with a big thirst for adventure may want to go somewhere a little more unique. Eastern Europe is often neglected as a tourist destination. I for one was amazed at how diverse and intriguing the area is. Here are some of the best places to visit in Eastern Europe.
We’ll start with Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It’s true that areas of Romania are rife with poverty. However, Bucharest is safe, modern and exceedingly interesting. The city was nicknamed “little Paris” in the early 20the century, and when you visit you’ll be able to tell why! The streets are filled with small, stylish cafes where you can happily sit for hours and watch the diverse population drift by. Everywhere you look there are boulevards lined with trees. Curious shops and an intriguing mix of modern and classical architecture surround you. There are a variety of famous landmarks in the city. If you had to settle on one though, it would have to be the colossal Parliament Palace. Even for a parliamentary building, this one is truly magnificent!
Another fascinating settlement is Split in Croatia. This is probably your best choice if you like to combine intrigue with sun and leisure. The second largest city in Croatia, it stands on the eastern shoreline of the Adriatic Sea. It is the home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Diocletian’s Palace. Despite being built in the fourth century AD, large parts of it have been wonderfully preserved, and it’s a thriving centre for tourists. It was also used as a location during the filming of Game of Thrones, for those that are interested! Outside of the historical site, there are dozens of great bars, restaurants and shops. The size of Split can be a little daunting, but there are many Croatia group tours which can help you get a better feel for the place.
So what if cities aren’t your thing? If you’re looking for a little more peace and quiet on your travels, then I have to recommend Orheiul Vechi in Moldova. This is a truly unique spot to visit. At its centre is a cave monastery which was tunnelled into a massive limestone cliff centuries ago. The whole thing overlooks a cluster of valleys and hills, and views from the top are some of the most breath-taking in the entire country. Butuncei, the nearest settlement, is the home of a great ethnographic museum. This has several exhibitions looking at the ancient cultures that lived around Orheiul Vechi.
So there you have my recommendations for a trip around Eastern Europe. Whether you’re looking for modern culture or historical intrigue, I’m sure there’s a spot in this area which is perfect for you. Just remember to keep an open mind when you’re looking at other destinations. Once you arrive, I’m sure you’ll find Eastern Europe much more diverse than you had thought.