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Eastern Europe

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1. Posted by seanyboy (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

g'day folks, just spent 4 months crusing round western europe now going to give the east a crack in a month. I will be in turkey for Anzac day and have three months to explore after that. Whats the best spots whats not, help out an ozzie?

2. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 8y

Big Up to the east! the best part of euro.
U gotta see Istanbul first - i think the best city in europe that is only half european!

Go to Romania - Transylvania is brill. Budapest and Prague are a must. But the best part of it al is the Baltic States! gotta go to Vilnius!

Didnt care for Varna and Warsaw.

3. Posted by nickla (Respected Member 223 posts) 8y

Agree wtih jeff bout budapest and prague, loads to do and see and all nice and cheap. Whilst Warsaw wasnt that impressive i would make the effort to see krakow - in the south - go to the salt mines and Auswitsch and Birkenau, can keep u occupied for 3 or 4 days id say. Also i loved Cesky Krumlov in the south of Czech Republic, about 3 hours south of Prague. Is a very pretty town and worth a couple of days of ur time.

Croatia is lovely and well worth a visit, go to the Istrian coast and see the amazingly clear water and all of the islands and stuff. I wasnt impressed with Romania at all, and would really recommend anyone go there, but that is just my opinion on the place - Brasov was ok, but apart from the castle, there wasnt a whole lot there.

Slovenia and Slovakia are nice enough, but not much to keep u going. the baltics are somewhere im dying to go, but havent had the chance yet - have heard that there is loads to do here and all relatively cheaply.

Nicola

4. Posted by atchoum (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y

In fact, it depends on the kind of travel you're aiming for. All the above are right, except that Warshaw is an important city to stop by, if you are interested in deepening your understanding of Poland. The city isn't beautiful, but it was destroyed during WWII and rebuild under communism. Ugly, but historically and culturally important. I enjoyed my time there a lot !

Romania is a wonderful place, but if you only go to see Dracula's castle, then you'll find it boring. For culture and history, go north in the Maramures (west) and Moldavia (east) areas, transylvania also (go to Sighisoara, goooorgeous old town). Black Sea to party and do beach time.

If you want to see the "real Eastern Europe", go further in Ukraine and Russia ! You'll need a bit of planning for that part, because invitation letters from hostels/hotels are required to get a visa. So you'd have to book ahead the first nights.

You like hicking, mountain life ? The Tatras in Poland/Slovakia , the Carpates in Romania, and Lake Balaton in Hungary are perfect !

One good advice : have some guide book with you with phrase pages in it, because in Eastern Europe, you'll meet people who don't speak a word of english, even in tourist installations ! Do you speak some german or russian ?

5. Posted by joel_ryan (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Don't know if this is a good thing or not but met tons of Aussies travelling around Croatia this summer....

Guess it all depends on what you are looking for. I loved parts of Turkey though you need to have a thick skin sometimes and not let people sell you a carpet every two minutes. Istanbul is one of my favourite cities. Also make sure to hit Cappadocia (sp?) - place called Goreme. Very cool.

Like I posted on another message, completely down with Croatia. It wasn't too busy when we went (September) and the seas were lovely. Make sure to check out the southern dalmatian region (Dubrovnik, islands like Korcula, Mljet, Hvar, Brac). Good travel vibe going on.

Also, here's a good link for travel info and a cool travelers' bar called Fresh.

http://www.igotfresh.com

Have a good trip!

6. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 8y

Well, I've been to Bulgaria, Prague and Kiev.

I totally agree with what has been said about Prague.

If I were you I would take a ferry or boat from Istanbul to Varna in Bulgaria. While Varna is one of the ugliest resort towns on this planet, the ferry makes for a change in travelling. The hotels there are cheap and you can easily arrange for a guided tour that takes you to some of the more remote sites in Bulgaria, if that is your thing. At the worst you can always catch the local bus at the earliest time possible. Nessebar is nice for a day trip or a nights stay.

From Bulgaria you can head up north through Romania into the Ukraine. If you are interested in Jewish history, Lviv (Lemberg) is a must. Yalta and Sevastopol are famous too. Kiev is one of the cheapest cities in the world when it comes to food, transportation and entry fees. Downside of the Ukraine is that hostels are spread thin, on the upside you won't run into too many backpackers and other tourists along the way. (BTW, the staff at the Kiev city hostel is amazing. I will love them forever for taking such good care of me when I had my accident.)

From there you can use the train or the airplane to go to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Fares are a joke, you can get long distance in-country flights for as little as 10 EUR. That said, St. Petersburg in June really is a sight to see. It is famous as the Venice of the North and when the sky is always bright, because the sun never really sets in June, honeymooners from all over Russia come here. Also the art galleries and the famous Winter Palais should not be missed. (Twelve years of education in Russian language and culture speaking here.)

But if you have trouble with your visa (yes, Russia and Ukraine do take a while to process it and the fees aren't really that cheap), you could check out Bratislava. I have never been there but I heard nice things about that city.