Travelling, exploring, discovering, or holiday-making, whatever you like to call it, we’re are all looking to experience something new. Thanks to its rich cultural history, Europe is home to an endless number of interesting destinations where you will surely find something to match these criteria. Although these places will undoubtedly offer you the chance to see, try, or taste something new, they have already been discovered by many others. Whilst many of the most popular destinations in Europe still feature prominently on most people’s bucket list, they no longer offer that individual ‘I’ve discovered this first’ experience.
This is one for the history buffs. Small in size, Estonia often gets overlooked in favour of the larger Nordic countries. You could say the riches of Scandinavia throw some shade on humble Estonia. Looks can however be deceiving.
The country’s capital Tallinn is surprisingly accessible. Just a ferry ride from Stockholm or Helsinki, there’s no excuse not to add it to your travel itinerary. Especially when you see the prices. Compared to its Scandinavian neighbours, Estonia is refreshingly affordable.
Tallinn’s Old Town will capture the heart of any Romantic. It has already begun to draw crowds and during peak season can be considered touristy. For an authentic taste of this remarkable country’s colourful history and diverse cultural heritage, visit one of its islands. On Saaremaa, Kihnu, Ruhnu, and Vormsi the pace of life is so laid back it’s almost horizontal. It is thanks to this that the traditional ways of living have been so well preserved. In some instances you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking you’d stepped back in time.
I say, Transylvania, you say…let me guess, Dracula? Although Bram Stoker may have filled our heads with descriptions of Romania as a place of superstitions, black magic and vampires, there’s actually a lot more to this country.
Romania is decidedly underrated and thanks to its communist history and predominantly agrarian exports, it’s a book that is often judged by its pretty bland cover. Plan a trip here and your low expectations will be blown out of the water. Trust me.
In Bucharest, nicknamed ‘The Paris of the East’, you’ll find a city buzzing with energy and a sophisticated social scene. Or head to Brasov for a taste of Romania’s medieval history. This city is ancient and every street has a story to tell. Free walking tours are always on offer and the hiking trails into the surrounding hills provide the best views and photo opportunities.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Don’t travel here without your camera. Torn apart by war in the 1990s, Bosnia & Herzegovina was sadly crossed off the travel and tourism list. Since then, the country has been left largely forgotten about. As the old saying goes, time heals all wounds and Bosnia & Herzegovina is set to make a sparkling comeback.
One thing a visit to this country will teach you is a genuine appreciation for the simpler things in life. This is likely due to its turbulent history, but still an impossibly infectious attitude.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s star attraction has to be its landscape. The country is effortlessly beautiful with lush green countryside, enchanting forests and a coastline lapped by crystal clear waters. To say it’s diverse scenically is an understatement. There is another incredible view at every turn and it is likely every nature and wildlife enthusiasts dream.
When you think of Poland, most usually imagine a somewhat industrial and rather drab country. You’d be wrong! What you might be right about is the snow.
For the most part, Poland is beautiful and its snow-capped mountains are not to be missed. A visit to the Tatra Mountains in Zakopane will be one of those jaw dropping moments you’ll never forget. For something truly memorable it’s recommended that you head for Kościelec, a peak on the border of Solvakia in the High Tatras. Whilst the hike may prove something of a challenge, the breath-taking view from the summit is worth it. Alternatively, if you’d rather save your legs there are also gondolas available to carry you to the top.
On the flip side, our second favourite reason to visit Poland is the golden sand beach which connects the tri-city area. It’s certainly an unexpected sight, and all the more special for it. Gdansk, Sopot and Gydinia are great cities to do what travellers to do best amble, eat, drink and soak up the lively atmosphere, and all in rather colourful surroundings.
Eastern Europe is still something of a diamond in the rough and home to a wide range of places just waiting to be discovered. However, like I mentioned before nothing good stays secret for long and these places are likely to soon be picked up by the travel radar.