Facts About the Countries of Eastern Europe

The countries of Eastern Europe are diverse areas with their own languages, cultures, and histories. Learn demographic facts, travel facts, and other facts about Eastern Europe, including Southeastern Europe and East Central Europe, below.

  • 01 of 09
    Bulgaria, Sofia, Party House, Stalinist-era headquarters of the Communist Central Committee
    ••• Piotr Ostrowski/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    Bulgaria is one of the largest countries in Europe and was the first country to use the Cyrillic alphabet. Bulgaria's cultural identity is one of its biggest attractions, and its popular destinations include ancient hotspots and a Black Sea coast.

  • 02 of 09
    View of Split and Diocletian's Palace from the Belfry
    ••• Kerry Kubilius

    Croatia's many Roman ruins and its stunning natural landscape make it a memorable travel destination year round. It has existed under the rule of various political entities during its long history, and though influences from other countries can be detected, regional cultures have maintained specific aspects of their existence. If you can speak Croatian, the national language, in Croatia, you'll have an advantage, but in tourist areas, waiters and shopkeepers will be familiar with English.

    Croatia's currency is named after the animal pelts that were once used in trade, though today Croatians use coins and banknotes like everybody else!

  • 03 of 09
    Along the Vltava River in Prague Nove Mesto, New Town
    ••• Maurice Alexandre F.P./Moment Collection/Getty Images

    The Czech Republic is an East Central European nation that was once known as Bohemia to medieval Europe. Today, with its capital Prague a year-round tourist hotspot, the Czech Republic becomes ever more relevant to travelers who want to become familiar with this country's medieval - and modern - heritage. The Czech language is the official language, but if you're a tourist, you can usually get by in English or German if you don't speak Czech.

  • 04 of 09
    Budapest Basilica
    ••• Zholst Hlinka/Getty Images

    Hungary enjoys a unique heritage in East Central Europe. The spoken language, Magyar, is one of the most difficult for English speakers to learn and shares similarities with Finnish and Estonian. Budapest, the capital city, is a smorgasbord of delights for the traveler, whether they decide to see the sights in Buda or enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Pest (the two sides of the city, once separated, joined to become Budapest).

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  • 05 of 09
    Latvia, Riga, Old town architecture
    ••• Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

    Latvia is one of the Baltic nations, and its language shares some similarities with Lithuanian. Latvia was governed by various entities throughout the course of history and gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

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    Lithuania, Vilnius, Cathedral of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav with bell tower
    ••• Mauricio Abreu/Getty Images

    Lithuania is one of the Baltic nations and its people speak a very old language. Remnants of Lithuania's medieval might are evident in its sights like Trakai Castle, and pilgrimage sites like the Hill of Crosses speak about the faith of this devoutly Roman Catholic country.

  • 07 of 09
    Amazing architecture in one of main square of Krakow in Poland.
    ••• Jean-Philippe Tournut/Getty Images

    Never underestimate's Poland's ability to show you a good time while giving you a tour through its history. The capital of Poland, Warsaw, is a good starting point, but travelers have been loving Krakow for years. This Roman Catholic nation celebrates plenty of holidays throughout the year that draws travelers, too. With a border on the Baltic Sea that washes up semi-precious golden nuggets of amber and plenty of castles that dot its countryside, Poland is a country full of discoveries just waiting to be made!

  • 08 of 09
    The small island with the 'church of the Assumption' in lake Bled, Slovenia, in a foggy morning.
    ••• Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images

    Slovenia is one of the westernmost of the countries of Eastern Europe and was once a part of Yugoslavia. Plenty of natural wonders, culturally robust holidays, and charming cities and towns are representative of Slovenia.

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  • 09 of 09
    The buildings located on the Red Square: Kremlin wall (at left) and Saint Basil's Cathedral (at right), Moscow, Russia. UNESCO World Heritage Site
    ••• Max Ryazanov/Getty Images

    Russia is a vast land home to many languages, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. Learn more about its major cities and its history, and enjoy its rich culture when you travel.