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10 must-visit Eastern Europe destinations for 2016

Published October 12th, 2015

Eastern Europe holds all the allure of some of the continent’s better known destinations, with enchanting medieval architecture, fascinating history and rich culture.

Here are 10 of the top Eastern European hot-spots for 2016...

Budapest's famous thermal baths Image credit: Khy Orchard

1. Budapest, Hungary

Hot springs, great food and an architectural treasure trove – what’s not to love about Hungary’s capital? The captivating city sits along both sides of the River Danube, with Buda built into the hills of the west side packed with historical sites and Pest on the flat east side with bars, clubs and shops to entertain. The city’s many historic landmarks such as the ‘Shoes on the Danube’ monument serve as a reminder of Budapest’s turbulent past.

2. Bucharest, Romania

Romania’s capital has long been named ‘Little Paris’ thanks to its beautiful tree lined boulevards, city parks, historic architecture and more recently it’s cosmopolitan cafe scene. The vibrant city’s Parliament Palace is one of the world’s biggest and most illustrious government buildings with 1,100 rooms.

The walled city of Dubrovnik Image credit: Khy Orchard

3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik dazzles with its pretty walled Old Town overlooking the dazzling sapphire ocean below. The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is home to marble streets and well preserved baroque buildings, and a walk around the 16th century city walls lets you take in the incredible views over the distinct red rooftops.

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4. Sophia, Bulgaria

Pretty Sophia showcases over 2000 years of Bulgaria’s fractured history with influences from Greek, Ottoman, Roman and Soviet occupation. It’s a laid-back capital city with a modern vibe mixed with an old east-meets-west feel with grey soviet style architecture and green parks and gardens, with ski slopes just a short drive from the city.

5. Prague, Czech Republic

The magical city of Prague never fails to disappoint visitors with its mesmerising spires, domes and towers dominating the city skyline. The cosmopolitan city seamlessly blends the historic sites with modern culture. Visit Prague Castle, stroll across Charles Bridge, and marvel at the famous Astronomical Clock.

Prague at night Image credit: Khy Orchard

6. Vilnius, Lithuania

Home to one of the world’s largest surviving Medieval quarters, beautiful Vilnius is truly the Baltic’s Baroque beauty. Wander the cobblestoned streets of the UNESCO listed 13th century Old Town and discover art galleries, boutique shops and the elegant Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

7. Skopje, Macedonia

What Skopje loses in size it certainly makes up for in character. The city blends Christian and Islamic cultures into a colourful and eclectic society. Visit cafes, watch live music, and take in the city’s historic architecture and museums.

8. Krakow, Poland

Located in southern Poland near the Czech border, Krakow oozes with old-world charm. Its historic centre has pretty squares and streets, and the gothic Wawel Castle is a symbol of national identity for the country. Nearby Dunajec River Gorge is one of Poland’s prime tourist attractions where visitors can enjoy a leisurely raft trip along the picturesque narrow winding river between steep cliffs.

The prettiest of horses in Krakow Image credit: Khy Orchard

9. Bratislava, Slovakia

Surrounded by vineyards and the dense forests of the Little Carpathian mountains, Bratislava is a picture perfect little capital city. The tiny Old Town of historic pastel coloured buildings and narrow pedestrian streets is totally charming, as is the city’s medieval style castle. Bratislava is also home to one of Europe’s best modern art spaces.

10. Tallinn, Estonia

Pretty Tallinn is one of Europe’s most attractive walled cities. The red-roofed historic Old Town of medieval architecture and cobbled streets dating back to the 11th century, looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. There’s also a more modern side to the city with luxurious hotels and restaurants, a thriving nightlife and good shopping.

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Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.