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Eastern and Central Europe

Eastern and Central Europe- Beautiful Cities to Explore

When we talk about the culture of eastern and central Europe we will concentrate on the interesting cities as the focal point, perhaps more than the other areas of Europe.  The small towns and countryside are very nice, and some of the scenery in the Balkans is quite stunning.  But as far as vacationing in eastern and central Europe, here are a few cities which will give you a lot of cultural diversity but will offer much to see.  When planning your vacation to Europe, this is where your purchasing power will be greater than almost all the European areas to the west.

Prague, Czech Republic.  The western-most city of eastern and central Europe, it has interesting history and architecture, but if you are going to walk it (and you should), there will be steep elevations to climb. The Czech beer is outstanding, and the best native food we thought is more German than Slavic, but truly excellent and quite a value price-wise.  We spent just a little more for a full meal and a large glass of beer than for a large Starbucks, which we thought interesting.  So in time the prices may go up, but for now the values are very good.  Prague also claims to be where classical music was borne, although many other cities, particularly Vienna, would argue.

Eyewitness Travel Guides Eastern And Central Europe

Eyewitness Travel Guides Eastern And Central Europe

Vienna, Austria.  A walking tour of the capital is relatively simple, and you can take the train to Schonbrun Palace, which is well worth it.  If I were to give a quick description of Vienna, it would be: music.  There are several concerts that can be taken in, and we like the smaller chamber venues which we always do with each trip to Vienna.  Also, from Vienna if you have an opportunity go to the small city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, to the west.  It is a great example of a smaller, more quaint place that takes you back in time.

Budapest, Hungary.  This truly beautiful city split by the Danube is also known for its thermal baths, so along with your touring you should plan to take time for a visit to a spa.  Also from Budapest you can take a short trip to Szentendre, known as the artist’s village because of its picturesque setting.

Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland.  Known as the “Venice of Poland” due to the maze of bridges and islands that make up the city, it will take about five hours by train from Prague to get there, but we think even though it’s a little farther north it is worth the trip.

Krakow, Poland.  By far Poland’s top tourist destination, this lively city always has something going on.

Istanbul, Turkey.  Far to the southeast of the above-mentioned group of eastern and central Europe cities, it provides a cultural experience that is totally different, and therefore unique to Europe.  Another beautiful city with a rich history, because of its location it has a long and interesting story to tell.

Perhaps you don’t have a great familiarity with this area as you would the Mediterranean area, but if you plan a trip to visit eastern and central Europe you will not be disappointed.  And obviously there are many other places that you will also find very attractive.  One last word of advice is to hire a guide, especially at the beginning of your trip.  I can highly recommend some that we have used, and almost all (but not all) have been well worth it.  So do a little research, as they can give you information and take you to places you wouldn’t find in a normal guidebook.