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Three of the world’s most gorgeous cities – Prague, Dubrovnik, and Budapest – have been discovered, but magnificent architecture, uncrowded villages, and natural beauty exist off-the-beaten track throughout the region.

Macedonia Cities and Regions


Not even massive crowds can diminish Prague’s legendary medieval beauty. With its 1,000 spires, Gothic, statue-lined Charles Bridge, and fairytale castle, the city is a pinnacle of architectural achievement. See our Prague Travel Guide


Hapsburg grandeur dazzles with the magnificently gilded Parliament. On Danube-facing Castle Hill, winding cobblestone streets lead to the Royal Palace and Matthias Church. See our Budapest Travel Guide


Slovakia’s capital is lovely, relaxed, and, thanks to a new highway, just an hour from Vienna. The former Austro-Hungarian center has a rich blend of cultures and a lively café scene.

Baltic Capitals

The Baltic capitals are charming – Tallinn is known for cobblestone streets and 13th century churches; Vilnius for Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classic architecture; Riga for Europe’s best Art Nouveau buildings. See our Riga Travel Guide


Romania’s capital is trying to reclaim its title as Little Paris. Leafy, outdoor cafes (and restoration projects) abound. The pastoral Romanian countryside has medieval villages and ancient monasteries.


Skip capital Sofia in favor of Bulgaria’s second city, Plovdiv, with its ancient Ottoman buildings and Baroque, 19th-century merchants’ mansions. Go now, while it’s still under the radar.


Kiev and Yalta have been important for centuries. Bustling Kiev is filled with opulent, gold-domed churches and as Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill discovered, the Black Sea resort of Yalta is stunning.

Moldova and Belarus

Chisinau is filled with lush green parks, wicked nightlife, and not much else. Visiting Belarus, Europe’s last remaining dictatorship, is like taking a time machine back to 1983.


Architectural supermodel, Dubrovnik, has rebounded from the war. Its cobbled, limestone roads are lined with Venetian-influenced palaces and baroque churches. Lavender-scented Hvar island, with its medieval Venetian piazza, has been discovered. See our Croatia Travel Guide


The romantic alpine resort of Lake Bled was once a favorite summer retreat of Yugoslavian leaders. It also has the striking Golf and Country Club Bled, one of Europe’s best.

The Caucasus

Armenia is dotted with monasteries and churches spanning 1,700 years of Christianity, plus ancient temples, craggy canyons, and gorges. Georgia, known for spectacular food, wine, and hospitality, has similar terrain.


Krakow, with its medieval market square and impeccably-preserved buildings, is the next Prague, while the easygoing, university town of Wroclaw, with its Gothic, spire-spiked skyline, is becoming the next Krakow.


A natural bridgehead between Europe and the Middle East and Central Asia, Turkey is a vast country surrounded by sea on three sides. Beach resorts, ski runs, countless ancient ruins, soaring mountains with long-distance trekking routes, and the vibrant, ever-changing metropolis of Istanbul, ensure that there’s something here for everyone. See our Turkey Travel Guide


Tough, fierce Moscow is not for the faint of heart. Those who are up to its wild, wealth-fueled energy will appreciate the new (a vibrant restaurant culture, shocking nightlife scene, rising fashion-consciousness), the old (The Kremlin, ancient cathedrals), and the constant (vodka and caviar). St. Petersburg, Russia’s “Window on the West,” glitters with spectacular cathedrals, world-renowned museums, and romantic canals – the handiwork of Peter the Great, who transformed this swampy wasteland into a city in 1703. See our Moscow Travel Guide and St. Petersburg Travel Guide.


Romania has come a long way since 1989, when the people gave their iron-fisted dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, the boot. Today, ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Romania is on the rise. Of course, historic Romania maintains its appeal as well; give a nod to the fictitious Count Dracula as you submerge yourself in cobblestone streets, castles, and monasteries. See our Romania Travel Guide.

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