Top Reasons to Travel to Eastern Europe

Why Eastern Europe Is a Compelling Destination.

A view of the Daugava River in Riga

 Westend61 / Getty Images

If you love to travel, there's little doubt that you want your next destination to be someplace special and different. So why should you choose Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Southeastern Europe, or the Baltics for your next trip? These are 10 top reasons.

  • 01 of 10

    Eastern European People

    Musicians in Vilnius
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Eastern Europeans are friendly, warm, and more than a little curious about foreigners. Famous for their hospitality, Eastern Europeans will invite you into their homes for a meal or tea. They'll be concerned about whether you're too cold, hungry, or tired. Eastern Europeans also love to share their history and culture with visitors. 

  • 02 of 10
    Leg of Duck with Potato Cake
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Eastern European food is hearty and varied. From the Mediterranean influences of Balkan cuisine, to the rich stews of Polish cuisine, to the dark breads and blini of Russian cuisine, Eastern European foods will fill you up and have you going back for seconds.

  • 03 of 10

    Eastern Europe is Still Cheap

    Handmade Lithuanian Accessories
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Yes, Moscow has been one of the world's top most expensive cities over the past several years, but most of Eastern Europe is still relatively cheap to travel through. While the cheapest prices of the late 90s are gone, visitors can still eat, drink, stay, shop, and be entertained for much less than you can in Western Europe.

  • 04 of 10

    Eastern Europe is Still Not Westernized

    Lithuanians perform a ceremony in traditional dress
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Sure, you'll find some McDonald's here and there, but Eastern Europe is still Eastern Europe. Grandmas still sweep their doorsteps with handmade brooms, mushrooms are still picked in the forest, folk costumes are still worn in some regions, and traditions that go back centuries are still performed with pride.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Geographical and Cultural Variety of Eastern Europe

    Baltic Coast, Jurmala, Latvia
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Eastern Europe has any type of geography or weather you'd want to experience. Bask in the sunlight on the Black Sea in Bulgaria, hike in the High Tatras of Slovakia, visit chilly northern cities of Russia while crossing steppe and taiga from the south, or experience the serenity of a Romanian forest in summer.

    In addition, each country has unique cultural traditions, national influences, and historical experiences. These are apparent in cities and villages and among the people you meet there.

  • 06 of 10

    Ease of Transportation Within Eastern Europe

    Budapest Train Station
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Most countries in Eastern Europe have efficient public transportation of varying levels of comfort and cleanliness. You'll be able to find public transportation to practically anywhere you want to go, whether it's by bus, train, tram, trolley, metro, hydrofoil, or boat.

  • 07 of 10

    Historic Eastern Europe

    Kadriorg Palace, Estonia
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    Live and breathe history by staying in historic hotels and eating at historic restaurants. Medieval cuisine is served up at Rozengral's in Riga. The Three Sisters Hotel in Tallinn is a cluster of 14th-century houses. And this is just the beginning. All over Eastern Europe, you'll be able to stay in centuries-old buildings and eat traditional cuisine that has been served at Eastern European tables for as long as anyone can remember.

  • 08 of 10

    Souvenirs From Eastern Europe

    Souvenirs Budapest
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    One reason to travel to Eastern Europe is all the great goos you can buy. Precious and semi-precious stones, Lomonosov Porcelain, music, books, toys, crafts, textiles, baskets, fine Ukrainian embroidery, traditional hats, military memorabilia, and even some food and drink items will have you leaving Eastern Europe with your suitcase full.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Ease of Traveling to Eastern Europe

    Trakai, Lithuania
    Kerry Kubilius licensed to About.com

    Under the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe was a mysterious place that few Westerners entered, especially as tourists. Now, visas are less difficult to obtain or totally unnecessary in most cases. English is understood to some extent in ​major cities and towns by many people. Currencies have stabilized, the tourism industry is picking up speed, and Westerners can enjoy Western conveniences outside of the West.​​

  • 10 of 10

    Eastern Europe Won't Be This Way Forever

    Accordion Player Eastern Europe
    Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

    As foreign investors grab hold of land and markets, the old world charm of Eastern Europe is slowly evaporating. In the future, potato chips may replace blini, historic artifacts may be lost, and reliable mainstays, like Lenin's Body may finally be laid to rest. Cities are growing and rural areas that have maintained traditions are becoming urbanized. Capitalism and commercialism have invaded. So go now to experience why the Eastern Europe of today is so unique, beautiful, and welcoming.