Of all of the regions of the world that I have visited and lived in, Eastern Europe is the place that continually calls me to return the most. There is just something about the charm of Eastern Europe that sets it apart in my mind, and some of my fondest memories have been formed within the borders of many of the region’s countries. I wrote a post a few weeks back about the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe, and this post is going to more broadly answer the question “Why is Eastern Europe worth visiting?”
5. Eastern European Food is Delicious
One of the best reasons to visit Eastern Europe is the food. While Western Europe has some of the best food in the world too, it is so much more common to find abroad than Eastern European food is. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to Italy and get Bolognese – if you read my Bologna travel guide, you know that it my favorite food on earth – but branching out to Eastern Europe gives you the opportunity to try things you may have never even heard of before that become some of your favorite foods. I had a venison gulash bread bowl in Ljubljana, Slovenia, that I still dream about to this day!
4. Eastern Europe Feels Less Touristy
Tourism is not a bad thing – in fact, it is one of the most important industries in the world. It helps to make the world go round, in a very big way. With that being said, there is something extra special about going places that aren’t at the top of every single person’s bucket list. Rome rocks and is absolutely worth visiting. In fact, it is one of my favorite cities in the world. But going to a cookie cutter city like that usually leads to just doing the big “things to do.” Getting off the beaten path, like going to Sofia, Bulgaria, provides you with a more authentic, less tourism-focused trip. To me, that is the best kind of trip. Not to mention, Eastern Europe is absolutely beautiful!
3. Eastern Europe’s History and Cultures are Unique
Again, this post is not an assault on Western Europe. I have traveled through just about every Western European country, and I have literally never said no to an opportunity to return there. However, Western Europe is very familiar to me as an American. I learned about places like Germany, England, and France throughout my whole life, and the history and culture is more or less as I would expect it to be.
Heading to Eastern Europe is entirely different in this regard, as you just don’t know what to expect. We don’t learn a ton about Romania and Bulgaria in middle school in the United States, and learning about these places’ histories and cultures in person is incredible. Did you know that the Bulgarians shake their head for yes and nod for no? Little things like that make exploring Eastern Europe so extremely fun and educaitonal.
2. Eastern Europe is Really Cheap
It’s not all about the money, but man, money matters. Going to Europe can get expensive! To be fair, I find European trips to be a lot more affordable than trips within the United States. I think the U.S. is just stupidly expensive, much like the U.K. Going to Western Europe doesn’t need to break the bank, especially if you know what you’re doing. Reading some of my other posts, like my guide to finding cheap flights, ought to help with that.
However, while Western Europe is pretty averagely priced, Eastern Europe is dirt cheap in many places. Even popular destinations like Prague and Budapest are extremely affordable. They often say that beer is cheaper than water in many Eastern European countries, and when I first heard that, I was like…no way. But it is true! Accommodation and food are also significantly cheaper than they are in Western Europe. You can stay in a hotel in Bucharest, Romania for under $50 per night, and Airbnb’s can be in the $30’s. Add a lunch for $5, and you’re in for a cheap day!
1. Eastern European People are Extremely Kind
While $1 beer is definitely a huge perk of visiting Eastern Europe, there is nothing better than the people. Eastern European people are extremely kind and hospitable, and if you get off the beaten path, they are just as excited to see you as you are to see them. These cultures are filled with warmth and love, and you can truly feel it if you try to dive into the cultural experiences that are on offer throughout Eastern Europe.
Going out to a local bar, eating at local restaurants, and making efforts to connect with the local people will go a really long way in building your bridges with them, and those bridges are bound to lead to exciting adventures that will forge memories that last for a lifetime. While language barriers may be an obstacle to overcome, you’d be surprised how easy it is to communicate with people when you just want to have a nice, wholesome time.
Thanks for reading my post on the 5 reasons to visit Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe. Hopefully this post convinces you to consider heading further east on your next European vacation! If you have any questions about visiting Eastern Europe at all, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’ve got you covered.
Any other awesome things about Eastern Europe we missed?
Tell us your recommendations in the comments below!