Medium 9781743214664

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe

Views: 407
Ratings: (0)

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Sample a locally brewed beer in the heart of Prague's perfectly preserved Old Town, marvel at the masterpieces in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum or explore Croatia's sparkling coastline by boat; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Eastern Europe and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Eastern Europe Travel Guide:

  • Full-colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - including history, art, literature, cinema, music, landscapes, wildlife and cuisine.
  • Over 71 colour maps
  • Covers Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet and smartphone devices)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalise your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Eastern Europe, our most comprehensive guide to Eastern Europe, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

  • Looking for just a few of the destinations included in this guide? Check out the relevant Lonely Planet destination guides, our most comprehensive guides that cover destinations' top sights and offbeat experiences, or check out our photo-rich Discover series guides, which focus on destinations' most popular attractions.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

List price: $27.99

Your Price: $19.59

You Save: 30%


21 Slices

Format Buy Remix



Albania has natural beauty in such abundance that you might wonder why it's taken a full 20 years for the country to take off as a tourist destination after the end of a particularly brutal strain of communism in 1991. So backward was Albania when it emerged blinking into the bright light of freedom that it needed two decades just to catch up with the rest of Eastern Europe. Now that it arguably has done so, Albania offers a remarkable array of unique attractions, not least due to this very isolation: ancient mountain behaviour codes, forgotten archaeological sites and villages where time seems to have stood still are all on the menu. With its stunning mountain scenery, a thriving capital in Tirana and beaches to rival anywhere else in the Mediterranean, Albania has become the sleeper hit of the Balkans. But hurry here, as word is well and truly out.

AJun Enjoy the perfect Mediterranean climate and deserted beaches.

AAug Albania's beaches may be packed, but this is a great time to explore the mountains.




Eastern Europe’s outcast, Belarus (Беларус) lies at the edge of the region and seems determined to avoid integration with the rest of the continent at all costs. Taking its lead from the Soviet Union rather than the European Union, this little-visited dictatorship may seem like a strange choice for travellers, but its isolation lies at the heart of its appeal.

While the rest of Eastern Europe has charged headlong into capitalism, Belarus allows the chance to visit a Europe with minimal advertising and no litter or graffiti. Outside the monumental Stalinist capital of Minsk, Belarus offers a simple yet pleasing landscape of cornflower fields, thick forests and picturesque villages. The country also offers two excellent national parks and is home to Europe’s largest mammal, the zoobr (or European bison). While travellers will always be subject to curiosity, they’ll also be on the receiving end of warm hospitality and genuine welcome.

AJun–Aug Come to Belarus to escape the crowds elsewhere in Eastern Europe.


Bosnia & Hercegovina


This craggily beautiful land retains some lingering scars from the heartbreaking civil war in the 1990s. But today visitors will more likely remember Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) for its deep, unassuming human warmth and for the intriguing East-meets-West atmosphere born of fascinatingly blended Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian histories.

Major drawcards are the reincarnated antique centres of Sarajevo and Mostar, where rebuilt historical buildings counterpoint fashionable bars and wi-fi–equipped cafes. Fascinating Sarajevo is an architectural gem, with countless minarets amid the tile-roofed houses that rise steeply up its river flanks. Mostar is world famous for its extraordinary arc of 16th-century stone bridge, photogenically flanked by cute mill-house restaurants. The town is set at the heart of Hercegovina's sun-baked wine country, with waterfalls, a riverside sufi-house and an Ottoman fortress all nearby.

AApr–Jun & Oct Beat the heat, especially when exploring in Hercegovina from Mostar.




There’s a lot to love about Bulgaria: just ask the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Turks, all of whom fought to claim it as their own. Billed as the oldest nation on the continent – it preceded ancient Greece by at least 1500 years – Bulgaria is rich with ancient treasure: stories abound of locals planting gardens only to have them ripped up by archaeologists after a turn of the spade unearthed priceless antiquities. The past has been preserved to remarkable effect; everything from Thracian tombs and Hellenic hoards to Roman ruins and medieval fortresses are easily accessible.

Centuries later, this Balkan beauty still beguiles, with a come-hither coastline, voluptuous mountain ranges and lush, fertile valleys laden with vines and roses. Plovdiv is the European Capital of Culture for 2019, Sofia has cool cred to rival any major metropolis, and the lively resorts of the Black Sea coast teem with modern-day pleasure pilgrims.

AFeb Pop your cork at Melnik's Golden Grape Festival.




If your Mediterranean fantasies feature balmy days by sapphire waters in the shade of ancient walled towns, Croatia is the place to turn them into reality.

The extraordinary Adriatic coastline, speckled with 1244 islands and strewn with historic towns, is Croatia’s main attraction. The standout is Dubrovnik, its remarkable Old Town ringed by mighty defensive walls. Coastal Split showcases Diocletian’s Palace, one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments, where dozens of bars, restaurants and shops thrive amid the old walls. In the heart-shaped peninsula of Istria, Rovinj is a charm-packed fishing port with narrow cobbled streets. The Adriatic isles hold much varied appeal, from glitzy Hvar Town on its namesake island to the secluded naturist coves of the Pakleni Islands just offshore.

Away from the coast, Zagreb, Croatia’s lovely capital, has a booming cafe culture and art scene, while Plitvice Lakes National Park offers a verdant maze of turquoise lakes and cascading waterfalls.


Czech Republic


Since the fall of communism in 1989 and the opening up of Central and Eastern Europe, Prague has evolved into one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations. The city offers an intact medieval core that transports you back 500 years. The 14th-century Charles Bridge, traversing two historic neighbourhoods, is one of the continent’s most beautiful sights. The city is not just about history. It’s a vital urban centre with a rich array of cultural offerings. Outside the capital, castles and palaces abound – including the audacious hilltop chateau at Český Krumlov – which illuminate the stories of powerful dynasties whose influence was felt throughout Europe.

AMay Prague comes alive with festivals from classical music to fringe arts.

AJul Karlovy Vary shows off its arty side at the sleepy spa town’s annual film festival.

ADec Prague's Christmas Market draws visitors from around the world.




Estonia doesn’t have to struggle to find a point of difference; it’s completely unique. It shares a similar geography and history with Latvia and Lithuania, but it’s culturally very different. Its closest ethnic and linguistic buddy is Finland, yet although they both may love to get naked together in the sauna, 50 years of Soviet rule have separated the two. For the past 300 years Estonia has been linked to Russia, but the two states have as much in common as a barn swallow and a bear (their respective national symbols).

In recent decades, and with a new-found confidence, Estonia has crept from under the Soviet blanket and leapt into the arms of Europe. The love affair is mutual: Europe has fallen for the chocolate-box allure of Tallinn and its Unesco-protected Old Town, while travellers seeking something different are tapping into Estonia's captivating blend of Eastern European and Nordic appeal.

AApr & May See the country shake off winter’s gloom.




Hungary is just the place to kick off a European adventure. Lying virtually in the centre of the continent, this land of Franz Liszt and Béla Bartók, paprika-lashed dishes, superb wines and the romantic Danube River continues to enchant visitors. The allure of Budapest, once an imperial city, is immediate at first sight, and it also boasts the hottest nightlife in the region. Other cities, too, like Pécs, the warm heart of the south, and Eger, the wine capital of the north, have much to offer travellers, as does the sprawling countryside, particularly the Great Plain, where cowboys ride and cattle roam. And where else can you laze about in an open-air thermal spa while snow patches glisten around you? That’s at Hévíz at the western edge of Lake Balaton, continental Europe’s largest lake and Hungary’s 'inland sea’, which offers innumerable opportunities for rest and recreation. In Hungary you'll find all the excitement and fun of Western Europe – at half the cost.

AMay Spring is in full swing, meaning reliable weather, cool temperatures and flowers.




Kosovo is Europe's newest country and a fascinating land at the heart of the Balkans that rewards visitors with welcoming smiles, charming mountain towns, incredible hiking opportunities and 13th-century domed Serbian monasteries just for starters. It’s safe to travel here now, and indeed is one of the last corners of Europe that remains off the beaten track for travellers.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and while it has been diplomatically recognised by 110 countries, there are still many nations that do not accept Kosovan independence, including Serbia. The country has been the focus of massive aid from the international community, particularly the EU and NATO, who effectively run the entity politically and keep peace between the ethnic Albanian majority and the minority Serbs. Barbs of its past are impossible to miss, however: roads are dotted with memorials to those killed in 1999, while NATO forces still guard Serbian monasteries.

AApr PriFest, the Pristina International Film Festival, brings a touch of international glamour to the capital.




Tucked between Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south, Latvia is the meat of the Baltic sandwich. We’re not implying that the neighbouring nations are slices of white bread, but Latvia is the savoury middle, loaded with interesting fillings. Rīga is the main ingredient and the country’s cosmopolitan nexus; the Gauja Valley pines provide a thick layer of greens; onion-domed cathedrals sprout above regional towns; cheesy Euro-pop blares along coastal beaches; and the whole thing is peppered with Baltic-German, Swedish, Tsarist Russian and Soviet spice.

Travelling here is easy, language difficulties rarely arise and the simple allure of beaches, forests, castles and history-steeped streets holds plenty of appeal. Latvia may not provide the all-you-can-eat feast of other, more high-profile destinations, but it makes a tasty addition to any European menu.

AJun–Aug Summer starts with an all-night solstice romp; then it’s off to the beach.




Compact Lithuania has much to offer. Those with a passion for baroque architecture, ancient castles and archaeological treasures will find plenty in the capital and beyond. There are sculpture parks and interactive museums for travellers wishing to delve into the country's traumatic recent history; modern art spaces and exhibitions to titillate those whose interests are more contemporary; and all-night clubbing in the bigger cities and on the coast for those requiring something less cerebral.

Away from the cities, the pristine beaches and giant sand dunes on the west coast are a must-see. The Hill of Crosses is an unexpected delight. Elsewhere, the country’s woods and lakes come alive in summer with cyclists, berry pickers and campers.

AApr Some of the world’s best jazz performers are at the Kaunas International Jazz Festival.

AJun & Jul The loveliest time to explore the forests and sand dunes of the Curonian Spit.




Macedonia (Македонија) is a small nation with a complex and fascinating history. Part Balkan, part Mediterranean and rich in Greek, Roman and Ottoman history, it offers impressive ancient sites side by side with buzzing modernity, managing to pack in much more activity and natural beauty than would seem possible for a country its size.

Easygoing Skopje remains one of Europe's more unusual capitals, where constant urban renewal has made the city a bizarre jigsaw puzzle whose Turkish old town, ancient fortress, communist-era centre and contemporary building spree combine to create a multifaceted city that never fails to surprise.

Elsewhere in the country hiking, mountain biking, wine tasting and climbing beckon, while the remote mountains conceal fascinating medieval monasteries, superb alpine trails and traditional Balkan villages. Ohrid, noted for its beaches, summer festival, sublime Byzantine churches and 34km-long lake, is the centre of the country's tourism industry, while in the winter months skiing at resorts such as Mavrovo become the main draw.




Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is as ‘off the beaten track’ as you can get in Europe. Attracting just a fraction of the number of visitors of neighbouring countries (12,000 to 20,000 annually in recent years), it’s a natural destination for travellers who like to plant the flag and visit lands few others have gone to.

But Moldova’s charms run deeper than being merely remote. The country’s wines are some of the best in Europe and a fledgling wine-tourism industry, where you can tour wineries and taste the grape, has taken root. The countryside is delightfully unspoiled and the hospitality of villagers is authentic. The capital, Chişinău, is surprisingly lively, with excellent restaurants and bars. Across the Dniestr River lies the separatist Russian-speaking region of Transdniestr. It’s a time-warp place, where the Soviet Union still reigns supreme and busts of Lenin line the main boulevards.

AJun Parks and restaurant terraces fill with students, and the weather is warm.




Imagine a place with sapphire beaches as spectacular as Croatia’s, rugged peaks as dramatic as Switzerland’s, canyons nearly as deep as Colorado’s, palazzi as elegant as Venice’s and towns as old as Greece’s. Then wrap it up in a Mediterranean climate and squish it into an area two-thirds the size of Wales, and you start to get a picture of Montenegro.

More adventurous travellers can easily sidestep the peak-season hordes on the coast by heading to the rugged mountains of the north. This is, after all, a country where wolves and bears still lurk in forgotten corners.

Montenegro, Crna Gora (Црна Гора), Black Mountain: the name itself conjures up romance and drama. There are plenty of both on offer as you explore this perfumed land, bathed in the scent of wild herbs, conifers and Mediterranean blossoms. Yes, it really is as magical as it sounds.

AJun Beat the peak-season rush and prices but enjoy the balmy weather.

ASep Warm water but fewer bods to share it with; shoulder season prices.




If they were handing out prizes for ‘most eventful history’, Poland would get a medal. The nation has spent centuries at the pointy end of history, grappling with war and invasion. Nothing, however, has succeeded in suppressing Poles’ strong sense of nationhood and cultural identity. As a result, bustling centres like Warsaw and Kraków exude a sophisticated energy that’s a heady mix of old and new.

Away from the cities, Poland is surprisingly diverse, from its northern beaches to a long chain of mountains on its southern border. In between, towns and cities are dotted with ruined castles, picturesque market squares and historic churches.

Although prices have steadily risen in the postcommunist era, Poland is still good value. As the Poles continue to reconcile their distinctive national identity with their place in Europe, it’s a fascinating time to pay a visit.

AMay–Jun Stately Kraków returns to life after a long winter.

AJul–Aug A brief but hot summer is good for swimming in the Baltic Sea or hiking in the mountains.




Beautiful and beguiling, Romania’s rural landscape remains relatively untouched by the country’s urban evolution. It’s a land of aesthetically stirring hand-ploughed fields, sheep-instigated traffic jams, and lots of homemade plum brandy.

Most visitors focus their attention on Transylvania, with its legacy of fortified Saxon towns like Braşov and Sighişoara, plus tons of stirring natural beauty. Similar in character but even more remote, the region of Maramureş offers authentic folkways and villages marked by memorable wooden churches. Across the Carpathians, the Unesco-listed painted monasteries dot southern Bucovina. The Danube Delta has more than 300 species of birds, including many rare varieties, and is an ideal spot for birdwatching.

Energetic cities like Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca and, especially, Bucharest offer culture -- both high- and low-brow -- and showcase Romania as a rapidly evolving modern European country.

AMay Good for festivals, including the ever-popular Sibiu Jazz Festival.




Could there be a more iconic image of eastern Europe than the awe-inspiring architectural ensemble of Moscow’s Red Square? The brash, exciting and oil-rich capital of Russia (Россия) is a must on any trip to the region.

St Petersburg, on the Baltic coast, is another stunner. The former imperial capital is still Russia’s most beautiful and alluring city, with its grand Italianate mansions, wending canals and enormous Neva River. Also make time for Veliky Novgorod, home to an ancient stone fortress and many fresco-decorated churches. Emulating the tourist-friendly nature of its Baltic neighbours is little Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. It’s a fascinating destination, combining all the best elements of its enormous mother.

Visa red tape deters many travellers from visiting – don’t let it keep you from experiencing the incredible things to see and do in the European part of the world’s largest country.

AMay Big military parades and a public holiday mark the end of WWII.




Warm, welcoming and a hell of a lot of fun – everything you never heard about Serbia (Србија) is true. Exuding a feisty mix of élan and inat (classic Serbian rebellious defiance), this country doesn’t do ‘mild’: Belgrade is one of the world’s wildest party destinations, the northern town of Novi Sad hosts the rocking EXIT festival, and even its hospitality is emphatic – expect to be greeted with rakija (fruit brandy) and a hearty three-kiss hello.

While political correctness is about as commonplace as a nonsmoking bar, Serbia is nevertheless a cultural crucible: the art nouveau town of Subotica revels in its proximity to Hungary, bohemian Niš echoes to the clip-clop of Roma horse carts, and minaret-studded Novi Pazar nudges some of the most sacred sites in Serbian Orthodoxy. And in the mountainous Kopaonik and Zlatibor regions, ancient traditions coexist with après-ski bling. Forget what you think you know: come and say zdravo (hello)…or better yet, živeli (cheers)!


Load more


Print Book

Format name
File size
99.6 MB
Read aloud
Format name
Read aloud
In metadata
In metadata
File size
In metadata