Millions of people flock to Europe on holiday or vacation every year. For many, the allure of the Louvre, St. Peter’s Basilica and other well-known and oft-visited locations is just too powerful. They brave the crowds, the lines, the prices and other pitfalls of travelling abroad.
But you want to take the road less travelled. You want to find something that no one knows about, a place that doesn’t cater to tourists but welcomes visitors and treats them like family.
For many, Eastern Europe has remained relatively undiscovered by travel enthusiasts—to their detriment. There are myriad places that are well worth the time to visit and you can click here to learn more about travel packages to eastern Europe. Two such places (Brno, Czech Republic and Lublin, Poland) are detailed here.
Brno, Czech Republic
When most people think of visiting the Czech Republic, they think of Prague. They also think of beer—very good beer. You can get both in Brno without the tourist traps you get in Prague. In fact, the best bar in all of the Czech Republic is in Brno, not Prague (the Super Panda Circus). Not only does Brno serve excellent beer, but the surrounding countryside has been used to develop excellent wines.
Brno is a calmer, more laid-back version of the capital city—the city itself has undergone a renaissance of sorts during the past century and has welcomed a youthful population base that has driven the energy of this modern town with medieval roots.
Brno also has a vibrant and thriving cultural music scene that is active all year. Summer music festivals cover a wide range of genres (opera, orchestra and classical to rock and electronic music shows). For all music lovers in Brno—go in October.
Travellers can take trips to a variety of churches and museums in Brno as well. Brno features the world’s largest ossuary (next to the Paris ossuary) with over five-thousand skeletal remains in some of the catacombs beneath the 14th century St. Joseph’s church.
If you’re visiting the Czech Republic, skip Prague and visit Brno instead—save money, visit the best Czech bar and enjoy the beautiful scenery for a fraction of the cost.
Situated in eastern Poland is the largest Polish city east of Warsaw, Lublin, which combines the charm of a 700-year history with modern day attractions. Lublin is fast becoming a tourist destination for this extraordinary combination.
You simply MUST visit Lublin Castle. Constructed in the 12th century and used as the residence of the Polish monarchy, it now serves as a chapel, a Provincial Museum and historical National Gallery. The Lublin History Museum contains remnants of the fortified wall that surrounded the city from the 14th century.
Once inside, put on your comfortable shoes and make the trip to the top of the Keep. This offers some of the most spectacular views of the city you can possibly imagine. In addition to Lublin Castle, you should also make time to visit the historic downtown Lublin. Now filled with restaurants and pubs, it also serves a living historical district.
The nightlife and music scenes aren’t as popular as you might get in other cities, but Lublin offers a wonderful getaway spot that’s quite off the beaten path. Because of that, Lublin is also quite reasonable on almost any budget—you can stay in five-star hotels or in a $20/night hostel. Either way, the city is well worth the trip on the road less travelled.