Road trips are a great way to see a place without spending a whole lot of cash! One of the places you should be heading to is Eastern Europe – with it’s spectacular landscapes, rich history and sheer cultural variety, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Our top ten road trips are:
PRAGUE TO ISTANBUL
This is one for the truly committed amongst you. It’s 1,150 miles and heads through the Czech Republic, down through Slovakia (or you can go through Austria if you prefer) then to Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and then finally into Turkey to Istanbul. It’s best if you’re going for a few weeks so that you can stop off and see the sights of each country. We recommend Budapest and Belgrade in particular.
THE CROATIAN COAST
The Southern Croatian Coast is a great starter for those of you who haven’t explored the option of roadtrips before. It’s a smaller route than most, being in just one country, but it’s packed with a variety of places to stop and enjoy. Split contains the Roman building of Diocletian’s Palace. It’s a huge ruin, spread throughout the whole city and you can see many different layers of history here. If you’re willing to head out on a ferry, you can also see the Dalmatian Islands – in particular, the longest of them called Hvar. Make sure you leave plenty of time to see Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. It’s a beautiful walled city, filled with churches and museums. Definitely not one to miss!
KRAKOW TO BUCHAREST
This is a nice in-between length one. It’s around 400 miles in length if you were to go completely straight, but of course you’ll want to see the sights! It’s worth stopping over in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) on route in order to experience the Danube River and enjoy it’s rich history. On a route like this, it’s worth spending time in the smaller towns you come across as this can be the best way to truly get a feel for the countries you pass through.
VIENNA TO BUDAPEST
Another short one! This is only 150 miles, so feasibly you could do it in an afternoon. However, it’s a great start for those of you who want to try how roadtrips feel without committing to a lot of driving. We recommend starting from Vienna and heading down to Neusiedlersee National Park and doing some birdwatching to start. It’s a gorgeous location, and a great start to any trip. If you’re up for a longer trip, you could head down to Graz to see it’s Old Town and the museums. From there, head to Gyor in Hungary to see where the Danube the Rába, and the Rábca meet before heading on to Budapest itself.
THE TRANSFAGARASAN MOUNTAIN ROAD, ROMANIA
Another single country route! It’s only 60 miles, so we recommend incorporating this into a longer route, but it can be worth it on its own. It’s the second highest mountain pass in Romania, so you’ll need to go in summer. Make sure to stop off at Arefu, the village closet to the Poienari fortress – home of Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Dracula.
BERLIN TO WARSAW
This one is around 350 miles, making it perfect for those of you with less time to spare. Both Berlin and Warsaw are worth a holiday on their own, so try to leave at least a few days at each end to explore them. Poznan is another great city to spend time in, as it’s the historical capital of the Greater Poland region and is a great blend of new and old. If you don’t mind heading off route a little, we also recommend Toruń, considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
LJUBLJANA TO SARAJEVO
This one is also around 300 miles and will take you through Slovenia, Croatia and into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Starting from Ljubljana you can head out to the city of Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia. Dating back to Roman times, there’s plenty to see so leave a day or two aside for it. From there, stop off in Lonjsko Polje, a gorgeous protected wetland, before heading down to Banja Luka. If you’re lucky, you can time this to coincide with one of the festivals. Finally, it’s down to Sarajevo.
AMSTERDAM TO RIGA
Another lengthy route – this time around 1140 miles! Whichever end you start, you’ll begin in a city well known for partying, so make sure you leave time to sober up before heading on your journey! We particularly recommend stopping in Hannover, Berlin, Lodz and Vilnus. If you’re looking to extend your journey even longer, head from Riga up to Finland and book onto one of the many northern lights holidays available.
MINSK TO TALLINN
Around 500 miles in total, Minsk to Tallinn is one of the more unusual routes. It’s worth spending a few days in Minsk itself, especially if you have an interest in religious architecture. Though you can head up through Latvia if you want, we recommend starting through Lithuania and heading up the coastline. Once again, you could extend this trip up to Helsinki and then into Finland itself.
GENEVA TO KIEV
This is the longest on our list – nearly 1500 miles. There’s a huge variety in what routes you could take, but we favour heading up to Nuremberg, Dresden, Lodz, Krakow, and Chernivtsi. This last city is often missed, but it’s considered the cultural centre of western Ukraine, and was once known as Little Vienna. Well worth the extra distance!