No matter how many countries you visit, there is a certain level of elegance that you will only find in Europe. Despite being a small continent, it is a melting pot of various nations, a deep-rooted history, and a marvelous nature. Each corner of Europe has a distinct atmosphere, and it could even feel like traveling in time when you move across the continent. If you want to escape the buzzing crowd around the London Eye or Eiffel Tower, Eastern Europe is a less touristic and a more unexplored alternative. Bearing battlegrounds between many empires from the west and the east, it has formed its authentic character throughout centuries.
We can write a book on why you should visit Eastern Europe for an unforgettable holiday. The complicated history was the key player that shaped up everything from the architecture to the cuisine. The struggles we have overcome helped to make Eastern European people much more appreciative, relaxed, easy-going, and friendly. We are also experts in entertainment, so don't be surprised to find thriving nightlife. The influence of several nations positively affected the cuisine, and you can find traces of Mediterranean, Russian, Asian, and the Middle East in one meal. On top of all, Eastern European countries are unbelievably cheap. Nowhere else in Europe can you have a hearty meal for less than 5 USD/4,5 EUR, and sleep in a comfortable standard hotel for under 15 USD/13,5 EUR.
If we have convinced you to plan your trip, let's dive into specifics and talk about ten destinations in Eastern Europe that deserve a top spot on your bucket list.
Going abroad? Download our currency calculator app for iPhone and always know how much you pay in the local currency in Eastern Europe:
- 1. Poland 🇵🇱 - Central/Eastern Europe
- 2. Czech Republic (Czechia) 🇨🇿 - Central/Eastern Europe
- 3. Hungary 🇭🇺 - Central/Eastern Europe
- 4. Ukraine 🇺🇦 - Eastern Europe
- 5. Russia 🇷🇺 - Eastern Europe
- 6. Bulgaria 🇧🇬 - Southeastern Europe
- 7. Romania 🇷🇴 - Southeastern Europe
- 8. Estonia 🇪🇪 - Eastern Europe
- 9. Albania 🇦🇱 - Southeastern Europe
- 10. Slovakia 🇸🇰 - Central/Eastern Europe
- Useful Tips for Traveling to Eastern Europe
- Eastern Europe Countries - Conclusion
1. Poland 🇵🇱 - Central/Eastern Europe
Poland earns the title a bucket list country for many reasons. Because, as an occupied country by Germany, it was home to Nazi German Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where the biggest mass murder of WW2 took place, visiting Poland is a thought-provoking experience to witness the horrors of the war. Yet, you shouldn't define our charming Eastern European country by only sorrowful memories. Otherwise, you would be doing injustice to the imposing nature it boasts, from the lovely coastline along the Baltic Sea to the Pomerania dunes and the Masurian Lakeland. Don't underestimate the historical value, either. Owing to the Kingdom of Prussia, Poland has an abundance of UNESCO Heritage sites in Warsaw, Krakow, and Gdansk, not to mention a salt mine dating back to the Middle Ages.
2. Czech Republic (Czechia) 🇨🇿 - Central/Eastern Europe
Czechia Currency - Czech Republic Koruna (CZK) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
If there were awards for the best medieval architecture and the best beer in the world, Czechia would undoubtedly put up a fierce competition. Imagine a country with more than 2000 castles within less than 80,000 square kilometers, and this statement will make much more sense. With a remarkably well-preserved old town and one of the biggest castles in the world, Prague is exponentially becoming a mecca for tourists. That said, the Czech Republic has so many hidden gems, from charming medieval towns like Cesky Krumlov to four idyllic national parks and over 400 lakes. Finally, don't forget that you are in the country with the most beer consumption per capita and the home of famous brands like Budweiser and Pilsner. If you are looking for a cheap quality-beer, look no further!
3. Hungary 🇭🇺 - Central/Eastern Europe
Hungary Currency - Hungarian Forint (HUF) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
If you are seeking a high-end spa retreat, you can't do any better than Hungary. Comprising the highest concentration of thermal springs in Europe, this landlocked country is home to almost 2000 spa centers, including the world-famous Hotel Gellert in Budapest. Stepping outside the thermal baths, you will find yourself surrounded by a distinct historic heritage influenced by Russia, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and even the Roman Empire. Even if none of the facts are tempting enough, you will still have an incredible time, especially if you are a party-animal. Google Sziget Festival to find out about one of the most exhilarating music festivals in the world if you still have doubts.
4. Ukraine 🇺🇦 - Eastern Europe
Ukraine Currency - Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
You might feel intimidated by Ukraine after watching the Chernobyl miniseries on Netflix, but Ukraine is a country worth visiting with its quirks and charms. Skipping Ukraine would mean missing out on magnificent Orthodox cathedrals like St Michael's in Kyiv, lush nature reserves of the Carpathian, and lively cities like Kyiv and Lviv. And yes, visiting Chernobyl is a memorable experience that we strongly recommend, despite all the horror stories about the ghost towns nearby. Although years have passed since the catastrophic explosion at the power plant, the memories of those times remain fresh and just as effective.
5. Russia 🇷🇺 - Eastern Europe
Russia Currency - Russian Ruble (RUB) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
It is impossible to briefly describe a country spanning one-tenth of the world's land across three oceans and two continents. It's not only because of the vast territories but also the influence Russia has had on the world's economy and politics over centuries. As a tourist, you should spend more than one month to explore this Eastern European wonder with its entirety. The feeling you will get in the Western cities like St Petersburg and Moscow will be completely different from the rural east. Nevertheless, you can travel across the country via Siberian express, a train ride so phenomenal that it has been the subject of numerous books and movies.
6. Bulgaria 🇧🇬 - Southeastern Europe
Bulgaria Currency - Bulgarian Lev (BGN) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
Welcome to the Rose Valley of Eastern Europe. Producing more than 80% of the world's rose oil, Bulgaria has a much more essential role in Europe's economy than we let on. Watching the harvesting the colorful roses alone is a reason to visit Bulgaria, but the country also offers numerous attractions for all seasons. You could visit the sandy beaches of the Black Sea in summer or go skiing at Bansko in winter. If neither of these appeals to you, you could still come to explore the authentic culture and traditions of friendly Bulgarians, be it the celebrations of spring or the best yogurt in the world.
7. Romania 🇷🇴 - Southeastern Europe
Romania Currency - Romanian Leu (RON) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
If we had to choose an Eastern European country for a road trip, we would opt for Romania with its impressively convenient road network and breathtaking scenery. No wonder why Bram Stoker picked Transylvania as a setting for the story of Dracula; it is not so easy to find the perfect combination of medieval castles backed by dramatic mountain ranges. Romania deserves mention even without the legend of Dracula, as it is home to lovely medieval towns, unspoiled forests, large mammals like black bears, and entertainment hubs of Eastern Europe like Bucharest, and Cluj-Napoca. With the Parliament Palace being the second largest building in the world, the lively capital Bucharest is particularly worth visiting.
8. Estonia 🇪🇪 - Eastern Europe
Of all the countries on our list, Estonia would be one of the lesser-known. It might perhaps be the most peaceful country in Eastern Europe today, but we prefer to call Estonia born from its ashes. Behind the quaint old town of Tallinn, the free public transport, the almost 100% literacy rate, and the pristine nature reserves, you will find a tragic history from WW2. With nearly 10% of its population massacred, Estonia took the most severe damage during the war. Looking at the superb internet technology, the exceptionally athletic and friendly people, and the state of welfare, we could say the country is rapidly recovering. Speaking of technology; your respect will increase by a hundred after googling who created the Skype source code.
9. Albania 🇦🇱 - Southeastern Europe
Albania Currency - Albanian Lek (ALL) ✅ Supported by MixCoin
We often associate Eastern Europe with landlocked countries and snow-capped mountains. That would be a true statement, except for the Balkans. For instance, Albania's spectacular coastline along the Adriatic Sea comprises hundreds of untouched coves, beaches, and lagoons. If you want a beach holiday away from tourist crowds and exorbitant prices, look no further than Albania. In addition to the magical coastline, Albania is probably as authentic as you can get in Eastern Europe. With the majority of the population being Muslim, the customs and traditions of Albanians are different from the rest of Europe.
10. Slovakia 🇸🇰 - Central/Eastern Europe
If you have watched the horror movie Hostel, you would probably hesitate to read further about Slovakia, but you would be wrong. Overshadowed by the neighboring Czechia and confused with Slovenia, Slovakia is a hidden treasure. Within its small territory, it comprises 24 protected nature reserves and a record number of caves with a plethora of wildlife and hiking trails. Thanks to over 1500 natural springs, Slovakia is the biggest rival of Hungary in terms of spa tourism – and possibly cheaper. You would also be wrong if you thought the country lacks any landmarks. It proves quite the opposite with 180 castles and 425 chateaux, the highest number per capita in the world.
Useful Tips for Traveling to Eastern Europe
- You might need cash in rural areas, as there won't be many card facilities.
- Excluding touristic spots like Budapest and Prague, transportation is less organized in Eastern Europe than in the west. You may not always find information on the Internet, so it is best to inquire at bus or train stations. Learning a few phrases could help with communication.
- If you are traveling to Russia, Bulgaria, or any other country primarily using the Cyrillic Alphabet, you should learn the basics before you go. It won't be similar to Western Europe, where you will see an English translation for every single sign.
- Be sensitive about politics, especially when traveling to countries that were part of the former Soviet Union.
- Whether or not it is safe to drink tap water will vary even within the country, so it is best to ask a local or the reception at your hotel.
- While Eastern Europe is generally a safe region, petty theft can occasionally be a problem, especially in crowded areas. Don’t worry; all you have to do is to be vigilant and look after your valuables without flashing them.
Eastern Europe Countries - Conclusion
Forming a bridge between Asia and the West, Eastern Europe is one of the most extraordinary regions in the world. This uniqueness manifests in every aspect, from architecture and cuisine to the way people walk and talk. Yet, it is also a mistake to narrow Eastern Europe down to one mold. Every country in the region constitutes a facet of a many-sided gem. In other words, your ultimate destination will depend on your travel goals and interests.
Most Eastern European countries don’t take USD or even Euro. With so many different local currencies, understanding your money on travel can be daunting. With our currency converter & calculator app - MixCoin - you won’t have to worry about complex mathematical operations with many digits - just type the value in the local currency, and our app will instantly tell you how much you pay in your currency of choice (be it US dollar, pound sterling, euro, or 160+ other worldwide currencies more). Get MixCoin in the App Store.