I have always held an affinity for Eastern Europe because it is often overlooked. Sure I love Spain, Italy and France, but east of that has always allured me; be it the music, food or just the fact that it hardly entered my textbooks in high school. Here is an article that talks about three up and coming cities in Eastern Europe that might soon be named “The Next Prague.” Enjoy the excerpts below!
“Explore the city’s many creaky and offbeat museums, covering everything from the postal service to local composer Franz Liszt. (Study ahead at www.budapestinfo.hu to choose your favorites.) Tour the sumptuous Opera House—with decor as lavish as any in Europe, plus world-class opera for as little as $2 (www.opera.hu). Stroll the sprawling City Park, home to a reconstructed Transylvanian castle, an Art Nouveau zoo, a mini-amusement park, and a fun-loving spa pavilion (the Széchenyi Baths, described below). Ride the delightfully rickety vintage subway to the Danube, wander the promenade, and glide along the river on a $20 twilight cruise (www.legenda.hu).”
“The only “must-do” activity in Budapest is to soak with the locals in one of the many thermal baths. The best and most accessible are the local-style Széchenyi Baths and the touristy Gellért Baths (for information on either, see www.spasbudapest.com). Just relax and enjoy some Hungarian good living. Magyars of all shapes and sizes stuff themselves into tiny swimsuits and strut their stuff. Tourists float blissfully in the warm water. Intellectuals and Speedo-clad elder statesmen stand in chest-high water around chessboards and ponder their next moves. This is Budapest at its best.”
“Ljubljana feels much smaller than its population of 289,000. Fashion boutiques and cafés jockey for control of the old town, while the leafy riverside promenade crawls with stylishly dressed students sipping coffee and polishing their near-perfect English. Laid-back Ljubljana is the kind of place where crumbling buildings seem elegantly atmospheric instead of shoddy.”
“Ljubljana also features some good, low-impact sightseeing. Take a walking tour (or hire your own local guide at bargain prices) to hear some of the quaint stories of this plucky town and nation. Amble through the people-filled Tivoli Park and visit the Contemporary History Museum, which traces Slovenia’s tumultuous 20th century (occupied by Austria, then united with Yugoslavia…and now independent). Hike or take a tourist train up to the castle above the old town for sweeping views over the city and to the nearby Alps. From here, it’s just an hour’s drive to Austria.”
“Many tourists were scared off after Croatia’s recent war with Yugoslavia. While the rest of Croatia’s coastline was virtually untouched by the war, the Yugoslav National Army laid siege to Dubrovnik for eight long months. In the years since, Dubrovnik has repaired itself with remarkable speed and confidence. Today the city feels perfectly safe, and the only visible signs of the war are some new bright-orange roof tiles. The tourists are most decidedly back—in droves.”
“Fresh, delicious seafood is another Dubrovnik joy. Around every corner is a characteristic, family-run eatery with sun-bathed outdoor seating. For starters, let a startlingly delicious sardine—carefully marinated in a generations-old family recipe—slowly melt in your mouth. Then savor a bite of grilled squid or air-dried Dalmatian ham (pršut).”