Eastern Europe doesn’t quite get the same attention as its western counterpart. Many travellers opt for Madrid over Moscow and Berlin instead of Budapest, going with the status quo of holidaying around Europe. But to ignore Eastern Europe is to overlook beautiful countries and cities full of flair, history and vibrancy.
There’s so much to discover around Eastern Europe, and flight times from the UK are relatively short.
So if you’re ready to forget Paris, London and Amsterdam for a minute and discover new places in Ljubljana, Dubrovnik and Tallinn, you’ve come to the right place. We’re bringing you the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe.
1) Tallinn, Estonia 🇪🇪
Find yourself in a fairytale capital with a visit to Tallinn, the heart and soul of Estonia. It has one of Europe’s most well-preserved Old Towns, where you can walk the cobbled streets and admire stunning architecture like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn’s largest and grandest orthodox cupola cathedral.
2) Krakow, Poland 🇵🇱
Most people think of Warsaw when it comes to Poland, but Krakow is another city full of magic. The fairytale vibes are in strong effect here in Krakow, which is one of the oldest cities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered Poland’s cultural hub, Krakow features a market square which is the largest medieval commercial square in Europe; plenty of boutique shops on the cobbled streets; and Kazimierz, a Jewish hub with shops, cafes and synagogues.
3) Prague, Czech Republic 🇨🇿
A favourite with many travellers, Prague is the enchanting capital of the Czech Republic. It’s full of historical landmarks, such as Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square, and there is lots of entertainment of offer including world-class nightclubs, lively bars and renowned restaurants like Field, a Michelin Star eatery serving a Scandinavian-inspired menu.
4) Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦
Home to narrow cobbled streets and winding pedestrian-friendly pathways, Mostar is a gem of a city where you can roam around for ages while taking in local delights. The Neretva River runs through Mostar and is a highlight of the city, as is Stari Most, a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman bridge that will catch everyones eye on your Instagram page.
5) Riga, Latvia 🇱🇻
Over the years, Riga has become a popular destination for party-goers thanks to its buzzing nightclubs that go on until the early hours of the morning. And as good as it might be for shaking a leg, it’s also a beautiful city with many iconic landmarks. One of those is House of the Black Heads, a historic building dating back to the 14th century.
6) Sofia, Bulgaria 🇧🇬
Sofia is a city of diversity, from the representation of all faiths to historic ruins rooted in the Roman and Byzantine eras. The capital of Bulgaria features many pedestrian streets and is well known for its transport system, which makes getting around to visit landmarks a breeze. Head to the old Central Mineral Baths, communist-era buildings and Vitosha, the local mountain.
7) Budapest, Hungary 🇭🇺
From neo-Gothic buildings to neo-Renaissance, Budapest is filled with architectural beauty everywhere you look. The Danube River flows through the city, and landmarks come in the form of the Parliament Building, which is both a tourist attraction and home to the country’s MPs. It’s also known as the “City of Spas”, with Budapest sitting on top of 118 thermal springs.
8) Ohrid, Macedonia 🇲🇰
Ohrid is situated on Lake Ohrid and is known as a small resort city filled with picturesque churches and charming houses. Cobbled streets await, and you can follow them down to the lake, where there is a lively scene with restaurants, cafes and a beach that’s ideal for a spot of swimming during the warmer months of the year.
9) Brasov, Romania 🇷🇴
Located nearby Bran Castle (otherwise known as the home of Dracula), Brasov is one of Romania’s most visited cities. It’s located in the centre of the country, around 100 miles north of Bucharest, and is a medieval getaway with Gothic spires, Baroque buildings and Soviet blocks. The contrast makes for a unique experience.
10) Kyiv, Ukraine 🇺🇦
The skyline of Kyiv lights up with historic cathedrals, while out there attractions like the Alice in Wonderland theme park only add to the appeal. The centre of the city features intriguing Soviet architecture, and there’s great food found in the restaurants, coffee shops and bars. You can also take a trip to nearby Chernobyl if you have the time.
11) Dubrovnik, Croatia 🇭🇷
You will notice the beauty of Dubrovnik from the minute you set foot in this Croatian city. Famed for being the filming location for Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has so much more going for it than a famous TV show association. Wander the UNESCO-sanctioned Old City and sample the seafood cuisine. Then take a cable car to Mount Srd for a bird’s-eye view of this scenic city. Round your trip off with a visit to the local beaches to catch some rays.
12) Ljubljana, Slovenia 🇸🇮
Slovenia’s largest city also happens to be the capital and is a place full of beauty to discover. There are loads of green spaces, while the old city area is divided from the commercial district by the peaceful Ljubljana River. Visit the many museums and exhibits to soak up some culture before heading to the waterfront to enjoy a cuppa at the many cafes.
13) Belgrade, Serbia 🇷🇸
Visit Belgrade for a mix of old and new. The capital of Serbia features skyscrapers that dominate sections of the city, while the Old Town features 19th-century architecture and side streets with bustling cafes and restaurants. The Church of Saint Sava is a popular landmark and a Serbian Orthodox church.
14) Podgorica, Montenegro 🇲🇪
From traditional Balkan cuisine to museums and art galleries, Podgorica is a well-kept secret in Eastern Europe. The capital of Montenegro has a historic old town, rich history that dates back hundreds of years and the perfect combination of eye-pleasing architecture and beautiful open spaces.
The best cities to visit in Eastern Europe
There you have it – our selection of cities in Eastern Europe that you should give some serious consideration to on your next city break. From stunning architecture to fantastic food and iconic landmarks, there’s so much to discover in the eastern parts of Europe.