Eastern Europe has slowly but surely been coming out of its shell as a tourist destination for the last twenty years, and with Croatia leading the way, Eastern European countries can now legitimately claim to match some of Europe’s most traditionally glamorous holiday hotspots. Let’s take a look at five of the up-and-coming destinations that have put Eastern Europe well and truly on the holiday map.
While Montenegro was thrust into the limelight by a starring role in the James Bond film Casino Royale, there is so much more to this country, not least it’s staggering natural beauty, characterised by towering mountains, alpine lakes and stunning coastal cliffs.
While Croatia to the north enjoys a lofty reputation as one of the trendiest tourist destinations in Europe, Montenegro is relatively unknown in comparison, but shares many of the same qualities – from the crystal clear Adriatic Sea, to the charming medieval fishing villages, to the friendly and relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle.
Further north lies Slovenia. This tiny country offers great diversity, from alpine lakes and snow-capped mountains to sandy beaches and rolling hills dotted with vineyards, there is a different Slovenia to suit everyone’s tastes. No wonder it has been dubbed “Europe in miniature”.
Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is the country’s only major city, and has become a major tourist draw due to its historical and cultural attractions. Compared to most capital cities it is a tiny place, but with more than enough going on to make it a refreshing alternative to other popular destinations in the region.
Ravaged by war less than twenty years ago, Bosnia-Herzegovina has emerged from the ashes of its bitter conflict to flourish as a wonderful tourist destination. Boasting picturesque medieval towns, overlooked by soaring peaks, it is equally impressive in summer or winter.
Sarajevo enjoys a burgeoning reputation as one of Europe’s great emerging cities, and offers plenty of historic and cultural treats to visitors, who will be enchanted by the diverse architecture and friendly atmosphere.
Serbia has made a name for itself in recent years due to the strength of its cultural offering. The home of the internationally-renowned Exit music festival, and with Belgrade, a capital city bursting with culture and history, Serbia’s reputation as a top European cultural destination is growing by the year.
The south of Serbia offers more rugged attractions for visitors, rolling hills turning into imposing mountains. In the winter Serbia enjoys good skiing conditions, while in the summer it becomes a hikers playground.
Further south lies Albania, which actually borders Greece, though still has the feel of a nation emerging from the shadow of Soviet rule. As such, Albania is a curious tourist destination, but one that offers a charmingly old-fashioned experience for visiting tourists.
Over recent years, Albania has started to look an increasingly legitimate tourist destination, and it’s easy to see why. Its cities are beautiful and its beaches and waters are pristine. This hidden gem is one to keep an eye on in future years as the region continues to draw further attention, and admiring glances, from the rest of Europe.