Only a few countries of the former Eastern Bloc have become popular tourist destinations after the end of the Cold War. At the beginning of my trip around the world, I spent 6 weeks traveling through Eastern and Central Europe. Here are 5 reasons why I think more travelers should visit the post-communist East.
I had delayed my arrival in Turkey in the aftermath of the Atatürk Airport attack. Instead of staying in the city for three nights, I now had only one day to experience Istanbul. This is what I noticed during one long morning around the city.
After the Atatürk Airport terrorist attack, I decided to delay my departure to Istanbul and go to Sofia, Bulgaria, for two nights instead. Besides a beautiful historical city, I also witnessed the generosity of other travelers.
Wednesday 29th of June, 11:30 PM. My train to Sofia arrived over an hour behind schedule, so I had to look for my guesthouse at night. I’ve never been fond of walking around in the dark with all my belongings. Searching for the right building in a dark alley didn’t make the experience any more enjoyable.
Eastern Europe is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination every year. Former communist countries have opened up to visitors, showing their rich nature and cultural heritage to foreigners. But there’s still one country that goes almost unnoticed by the outside world: Moldova.
If Moldova is famous for something, it’s famous for, well, not being famous. Landlocked between Ukraine and Romania, it’s the least visited country in Europe. According to Lonely Planet, Moldova has approximately 12,000 to 20,000 annual visitors. On average, that means only about 30-55 foreigners crossing the border to Moldova every day.
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power plant accident of all time, claiming numerous casualties and affecting hundreds of thousands of people. 30 years later, the site of the accident and the ghost town of Pripyat are popular tourist destinations in Ukraine for those who want to experience something different.
My trip around the world took a step to more adventurous ground last weekend. I got out of the bigger cities and came to live in a simple farm in the countryside of Slovakia for five nights. During my stay, I had plenty of time to trek around the beautiful national parks of Slovakia.
I spent four nights in Czech Republic. I really enjoyed my stay, but it also made me wonder about the losing appeal of traveling in the digital age.
I spent one week in Poland from May 28th to June 3rd. Listening to the locals gave me an interesting picture of a country that has suffered greatly in the past and is currently witnessing history in the making.
Today is my last day in Belarus. After publishing this blog post, I’ll cram all my belongings to my backpack once again and head to the Brest railway station. A few hours later, I’ll arrive to Warsaw, Poland.