Many Eastern European countries are still uncrowded and offer more bang for your buck. In addition to saving money and not having to deal with a lot of the hustle and bustle, you’ll find a wide range of activities that a regular two-week vacation can’t accommodate.
Trippy user Ryan knew that he needed a month to take in all the sights and experience life in Eastern Europe first hand. He asked for a recommendation of places to go:
I’m trying to decide on a place to visit for a month in Eastern Europe in the early spring. I am looking to settle into one city and really experience some of the cultures. I’m looking more at the southern places in Eastern Europe because I would like it to be a little warm. What cities would you recommend?
As always, “ask, and you shall be given”! Here are the best places to spend one month in Eastern Europe:
Americans, Canadians, and most European citizens can travel visa-free to Ukraine. This vast country, the size of Texas has so much to offer. From the beaches of the Black Sea and the villages and ski slopes of the Carpathian Mountains to the golden-domed churches of Kiev and cobbled streets in Lviv, Ukraine will make a great country to visit for a month.
Traveling within Ukraine is not as easy as the other Eastern European countries. Transportation options are limited within the country except for routes between Odessa and Kiev and Kiev and Lviv. It remains one of my favorite countries in Eastern Europe. I enjoyed the food, theatrical performances, historical sites, and no crowds of tourists clogging museums or theaters.
Trippy user Courtney loves Lviv, a city in western Ukraine. She wrote:
I visited the town of L’viv a few years ago and was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. It was modeled after the city of Paris, and while it’s no where near that beautiful, it’s interesting to see the potential here. It’s a fascinating mix of communist-style architecture and delicate buildings, and the culture here is the same–a very old school population with an interesting and surprising hipster vibe. Obviously, you’ll have to take the political temperature before you decide to go there, but it’s an excellent place to consider.
Lviv is the cultural hub and major education center in Ukraine. It’s the most European city of Ukraine, and its old town is lined with Viennese Neo-Renaissance style buildings and a market square (Rynok Square) that has over 40 Renaissance to Modernism architectural style buildings. Lviv is also home to the most innovative coffee shops in the world. It’s believed that the founding father of Viennese coffeehouses was from Lviv.
Kviv, the capital of Ukraine is home to the deepest metro station in the world, St Sophia’s Cathedral, the most impressive cathedral with 13 domes that dates back to 1037 and the most delicious Ukrainian food in Ukraine.
There is no lack of places to enjoy nightlife in Kiev or Odessa. Steve from Kiev wrote:
Kiev and Odessa (Ukraine) would be your best choices. Top clubs will play world hits and house. There are Indy and various alternative music choices – its a very progressive scene. A lot depends on your age and interests/preferences. Look up what will be going on the week/days you are going to be in a given city – there are online sources in English. There are also lots of groups touring and performing in various venues. Visit both cities. You’ll have a good time.
Beyond the sights and sound of the cities and mountains, you can also visit Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. And the Strategic Missile Forces Museum in Pobuzke, located about 160 miles south of Kiev.
Romania was one of our favorite places in nearly two years of traveling in Europe. It’s very underrated.
Traveling around is, for the most part, easy, reliable, and safe. For much of the country, train is the way to go – the main lines cover most of the major cities with pretty regular frequency (some cities are connected a little funny, and we had to juggle our itinerary a couple of times). Most routes are also supplemented by buses (stations are almost always beside the train stations). Buses are often more comfortable outside of the main routes.
Train tickets are pretty straightforward to buy. We just went to the station and purchased them from one of the little ladies at the windows or using the automated machines.
The only place where some care needs to be taken is in Bucharest. Avoid taxis at all costs (it’s super easy to get around without them), and be sure to watch your belongings when on any public transport. Sometimes the stations can be a little sketchy at night, but walk like you know where you are going and ignore people offering you things.
If you need any advice on where to go just ask away, we love recommending Romania and are glad people are starting to take to this fantastic country.
Most travelers spend a night in Bucharest and head out to Transylvania and other parts of Romania. But Bucharest does deserve at least three days out of your month-long stay. Check out the Old Town, Parliament Palace (Casa Poporului), and the many parks and museums in the city. Trippy user Lorraine suggested the following places when visiting Romania:
Make sure you spend time in Maramureș County(Merry Cemetery worth seeing) and Bucovina(Painted Monasteries)-lifestyle still quite traditional, and the countryside is beautiful. Suggest spending some time in the Danube delta-it’s a UNESCO biosphere and the birdlife and marine life amazing. Don’t miss Sighisoara. Out of the two, I preferred Castelul Peles, but also fit in Dracula’s Castle if you have time. Ciocănești is a lovely village with its painted houses-if you’re coming from Bucovina, easy to fit it in your schedule.
I enjoyed spending time in Brasov visiting the bakeries, restaurants, and historical sites. This medieval city has medieval Saxon walls and bastions, narrow cobbled streets old citadel, and a beautiful square surrounded by colorful baroque buildings.
Out in the country, you’ll still find locals using horse-drawn carts as the primary means of transportation for the family. The locals are friendly, and most do not speak a word of English, which makes Romania’s countryside intriguing. At the Neculai Popa Mask Museum in Tarpesti, a town about a two-hour drive west of Iasi, we, a group of 12 tourists were greeted by the owner’s son and given a tour of the mask museum. There were no other tourists when we visited. This privately owned museum has over 3,000 pieces of masks, numismatic coins, antiques, national costumes, ethnographic artifacts, and photographs.
And if you’re visiting Transylvania, Bucovina and the Moldovian regions of Romania, don’t miss the following:
- Peles Castle
- Sucevita Monastery
- Voronet Monastery
- Bran Castle
- Iasi – Romania’s second largest city, founded in the 14th century
Olisevschi from Romania highly recommended the Danube Delta. He answered:
The place you must see in Romania is Danube Delta – the waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes. The reserve is vast in European terms with numerous freshwater Lakes interconnected by narrow channels featuring vast expanses of aquatic vegetation. This is the most extensive continuous marshland on Europe and the second-largest Delta (the Volga being the largest), which includes the greatest stretch of reedbeds in the world. The menu is always with fresh fish (for all dishes). DBL cost around 40$. I recommend you to stay at local people. They know many things about places. Mila 23 is a village in the middle of Delta. You can reach there only by boat (public or private) from Tulcea.
Without a doubt, the Balkan states, including North Macedonia, is worth a month-long visit. You probably couldn’t visit every major attraction within a month. But you’ll cover a lot of ground. Most tour companies include the following countries when marketing the Balkans as a destination: Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania.
I live in Macedonia, so if you are planning to visit the Balkans, you can come to see my country also. I live in a small village called Vevchani, near to the border with Albania. My family runs a tourism business; we have a traditional restaurant with two apartments above it. Kutmičevica Pension promotes the historical and cultural heritage of the picturesque village of Vevčani, situated at the foot of Jablanica Mountain, 14 km away from Ohrid Lake, at the altitude of 930 meters. This wonderfully restored 19th-century rooming-house has retained its original structure and been kitted out with authentic fixtures and furnishings. Positioned in the picturesque village of Vevcani, the restaurant Kutmicevica uses the advantage of the completely unpolluted soil around the village to grow and produce organic vegetables and fruits. During your stay in Kutmicevica Vevcani, as a guest, you will see up close the support being extended to the continued preservation of the regions traditional structures, cuisine and rituals and beautiful panorama of the Struga Valley and the magnificent Ohrid Lake. Kutmičevica Pension has double and three-bed comfortable apartments with private facilities, air conditioning, cable TV and Wifi, and I can tell you that it is actually a cheap accommodation. At the Kutmicevica Pension, guests can feast on hearty Macedonian cuisine, along with the local community, and you can also visit the nearby cities, tourist attractions and even the beautiful mountains and pure nature. So I’ll be glad to have you as our guest.
For must-see places in the Balkans, Janelle suggested:
Take 2-3 weeks and hostel your way through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and/or Macedonia. Except for Dubrovnik, those regions are still quite off the beaten path and are quite inexpensive to travel through by European standards. For the most part, the locals aren’t used to throngs of tourists, so they’re friendly and warm to visitors. You can see ancient Hapsburg palaces in Slovenia, small villages on the Adriatic coast in Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, tiny mountain villages and caves in Macedonia and go clubbing in Belgrade. Bosnia is my favorite country in the former Yugoslavia – the locals are friendly, the food is good, Mostar is a beautiful small city, and the war ruins and genocide memorials in Sarajevo are a must see. Bosnia is majority Muslim, but it’s a non-fundamentalist variety of Islam that is tolerant of infidels and respectful of women.
When visiting the Balkans, in addition to visiting Macedonia, we suggest spending at least one week in Bosnia and Herzegovina visiting Sarajevo and Mostar. Sarajevo has the east meets west culture, and its history, food and coffee culture are unbeatable.
There’s much to see and do in Sarajevo, and we have outlined it in detail in our article: 7 Best Things to Do in Sarajevo.
Mostar, a town in Herzegovina showcases the world’s most unique arched stone bridge – Stari Most. The original 16th-century bridge, an architectural treasure for Bosnia & Herzegovina was destroyed during the war on November 9, 1993.
If you’re interested in visiting just the major sights, then I think three full days (but it would be on a tight schedule) would do. But if you’re interested in taking the time to get to know Belgrade, then I would suggest five days.
So besides the usual sightseeing, you can do some shopping, maybe go to a museum (Nikola Tesla Museum or Muzej istorije Jugoslavije – are very popular), go to a local market (you can find a lot of interesting knick-knacks) and visit local restaurants.
Albania has so many hidden treasures that will make you wonder why you haven’t visited this country sooner. The landscape, the beaches, the well-preserved Ottoman-style architecture, and proximity to Greece are a few of the reasons why you should add it to your month-long Eastern European trip. I enjoyed my visit to Berat, also known as the Town of a Thousand Windows.
You can add a one week trip to Albania when visiting the rest of the Balkan states.