By Susan Milne
Rich in history, culture and scenic beauty, Eastern Europe presents a treasure chest of experiences for an enriching vacation. From Prague to Sophia, Budapest to Bucharest, Warsaw to Bratislava there are numerous sights and cultural events to savor. You’ll be in touch with something completely different and intriguing while exploring the fascinating countries of Eastern Europe.
The beautiful Czech city of Prague is top of the list for travelers to Eastern Europe. A sought after destination for European and international visitors alike, it is an unspoiled masterpiece with an extensive Old Town, picturesque bridges and a thriving cultural life.
This is a region that values its heritage, where art and music are a significant part of life so cultural experiences are many and varied from attending the ballet and opera to folkloric festivals and jazz clubs. Enjoying music and dance is a must while you are here! Tour the historic theatres and opera houses, wander the modern and traditional art galleries and enjoy live entertainment in local markets. You are never far from wonderful art, architecture, music or dance in these countries where there's a deep appreciation of culture.
Legendary historic and architectural sights range from ancient castles to opulent palaces, ornate cathedrals, colossal parliament buildings and well preserved Old Towns. Don't miss the significant modern history sights as well like Prague's Wenceslas Square, central to the 1968 protests, or the stunning modern architecture of Budapest.
There's a burgeoning culinary scene with new cooking classes springing up in major centers, breweries to visit and wine and spirits to taste. Check out our list of 10 Intriguing Cultural Experiences for more on this tempting addition to your Eastern European vacation!
Markets and Market Halls are a good place to sample local delicacies and these lively spots are not just summer venues. Events and tours are held most of the year with Budapest's Market Hall one of the most active. Christmas Markets are especially enticing with their beautiful decorations, lights and seasonal fare. They are a major draw for visitors with special tours and river cruises focusing on the splendid Christmas Markets.
There are other great places to shop as well. Shopping streets and modern shopping/office complexes abound in the cities offering a range of shops you won't find at home.
River cruising is certainly a great way to experience these countries. Check out the Cruising article for river cruise options in the region.
There's a mix of the traditional and the modern in Eastern Europe that is extremely appealing to visitors. This is one of the most enriching vacation destinations you'll ever enjoy!
Leigh Ann Arnholt