Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union have some real hidden treasures that should be seen. So time for some off the beaten track Europe recommendations, specifically the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. Five true hidden gems, not yet exploited by the masses. Travel beyond the crowds that is my favorite!
Moving to Moscow four years ago, a new world opened up to me, a part of the world that was not on my mind or my travel bucket list. There is so much to see, so much to experience in this part of the world and I am sure you will get positively surprised and impressed by all five gems below and my favorites among the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. All amazing yet very different!
Check if you need a visa to travel to any of the countries listed below through iVisa – and forget about headache-inducing paperwork!
5 Hidden Gems for the Best Off the Beaten Track Europe Experience
Let’s start this trip into off the beaten track Europe right, with some of the most breathtaking and lesser-known cities in the region. Find incredible tours and experiences in each of the cities below through Get Your Guide!
1. Tbilisi, Georgia – One of the Most Beautiful Places in Eastern Europe
Tbilisi, a hipster paradise full of boutique hotels and small hip eateries but also a city with so much to see. No wonder it is currently trending on many hot destination travel lists. A must when seeing off the beaten track Europe.
The capital of Georgia is a true gem with picturesque streets, romantic buildings, futuristic landmarks, amazing food. Plus, its vibe and world-class hospitality are unforgettable!
You can easily get lost in the various areas of Tbilisi for a couple of days and be amazed by the history and journey this small country has done during the last century.
A visit to the famous baths (first photo of this post) is a must and if you love hipster restaurants and hotels Tbilisi is a dream. To explore some more of Georgia, book a day trip to Mtskheta, the former Georgian capital. On the way, some of the gorgeous Georgian landscape will be displayed. In many ways, Georgia is a bit like the East’s Italy. Delicious food, wine, a beautiful landscape and sea side and passionate people! Make sure you visit Tbilisi before the crowds arrive!
Prepare your camera for the city’s beauty by booking this Scenic Instagram Tour. Or just check out some of the tours below!
2. Yerevan, Armenia – The Pink & Sunny Gem in the South
Yerevan is a true hidden treasure, a city dressed in pink with it limestone buildings. The city has inherited a lot of architectural features from the former Soviet Union with big buildings, avenues and squares. Locals are very friendly with some more southern vibes. The food is really tasty and so is the wine! Maybe not a well-know destination but I would truly recommend this off the beaten track Europe gem.
Given the size, you can easily explore the different parts of the city during a weekend, chat with locals, and just enjoy life and the sun!
As Armenia has one of the biggest communities living abroad, there is a lot of international influences in this city. The popular Cascade square brings you all the way to Paris. In France Square, you can admire art from all over the world or just watching the gentlemen play chess. If you are into carpets head off to the Tufenkian store or some street market for the world-known carpets! I always leave Yerevan in a good mood and with a lot of pink insta photos on my camera. For me, Yerevan should be on the list of most beautiful places in Eastern Europe.
How does this Yerevan: Private City Tour with Carpet Museum Workshop sound?
3. Kiev, Ukraine – The City with the Cathedrals & Small Town Vibe
Kiev has a relaxed vibe, a mix of big and small, of old and new and the city with the strongest European vibe among the five. A must off the beaten track Europe destination with such a strong history and story to tell.
Cobblestoned streets and squares with live music, the most adorable cathedrals next to more modern areas lined with luxury shops and restaurants. Even though Kiev has a tragic history, not dating back so long, the atmosphere is vibrant and positive. The people here are very friendly and open and it is easy to fall in love with the city.
This is a city full of museums and historical landmarks but also new, cool areas full of hip bars and restaurants. If you are a foodie you will love this city, with a kitchen full of with influences from all over the world.
A walk along the Dnepr river is a great break from the bustling city life. Take the tram and you will get a lovely view of the city. It’s one of the reasons Kiev is on the list of most beautiful places in Eastern Europe!
See another side of Kiev on this Urbex Underground and Bunker Tour. Read about the best 8 things to do in Kiev in my Kiev Travel Guide and the best restaurants, cafés, and bars in my Kiev Restaurant Review. You can find the Kiev hotel of your dreams HERE!
4. Baku, Azerbaijan – The Windy Capital Full of Contrasts
Located by the Caspian Sea, the capital of Azerbaijan is truly different from its peers in the neighboring countries. The city of wind, little Dubai; Baku is a city with many names and many faces.
The long windy boardwalk, the Baku Flames, the Dubai like skyscrapers watching over the city and the totally different experience that awaits you in the old city! A cool destination for anyone looking to see off the beaten track Europe.
You can tell there is a lot of money in this city. Construction works are going on everywhere and truly contemporary and futuristic buildings like the carpet museum and the famous Heydar Aliyev Museum stands proud next to older traditional Soviet buildings. Old meets new is also reflected in the wide array of restaurants. Food plays a key part in the Azeri culture and you will for sure not leave Baku with an empty stomach.
Baku is full of beautiful squares and spots and with Russian, Turkish and European influences, it is a truly interesting place to visit. Enjoy the view, the sea breeze, the food, the buildings, the stylish people and maybe most of all the contrasts. So many reasons to visit! A city so different from any I have visited but for sure one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe!
We had a lovely weekend in Baku. Read all about it get tips for your travel in my Baku Travel Guide and Restaurant Review. Enjoy this Baku: Old City Walking Tour and book a stay at my favourite local hotel, the Intourist, HERE!
5. Riga, Latvia – The Small, Cosy & Elegant Weekend Getaway
You won’t often hear people outside the post-Soviet States region talk about Riga, yet it’s easily among the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. The largest city in the Baltic States, the Latvian capital has been part of many other nations over the centuries. As a result, it has a mix of cultures and architecture from its neighbouring countries that makes it stand out.
You’ll also find different times as you walk around Riga, from medieval details in the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to 19th century art nouveau, until ultimately finding Stalin-era apartment districts. Between that mix and its many parks, no other place on Earth looks quite like Riga, and that’s quite a quality.
Besides its history, beauty and fascinating spots, one of the reasons Riga makes it on this list of off the beaten track Europe is its size. As it’s a fairly small city, you can easily visit during a weekend and get the gist of it. It’s the perfect weekend city for European travellers or people who want to make the best out of their Eurotrip.
Get lost in the picturesque streets and get to know Latvian coffee culture, with its love for cute cafés and pastry. The perfect city for people with a sweet tooth!
3 Proud & Imposing Cities among the Most Beautiful Places in Eastern Europe
If the first part of this post was dedicated to off the beaten track Europe, the second is slightly more mainstream. As some of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe, the great cities below are beloved by travellers everywhere. Less popular than western capitals like Paris or Amsterdam, these will take you by surprise. Centuries of history, incredible architecture and more await as soon as you land in these great gems!
6. Prague, Czech Republic – The Up-And-Coming Darling
Out of all the cities on this list of off the beaten track Europe, Prague is certainly the one having the biggest momentum. It was only recently that travellers re-discovered the Czech capital. It’s easy to see why: the gorgeous architecture, the centuries worth of history, the breathtaking views all over the city. Travellers from all over the world have been seeing this city from a whole other perspective, and you don’t want to miss it before it becomes as popular as western towns!
Often called one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe, Prague has welcomed artists into its gates for hundreds of years. Now, it stands as a fully contemporary town, with incredible design hotels and fun restaurants and eateries to get the local vibe. The historical heritage and remains of the architecture of centuries past give this colourful capital an extra layer.
Prague is beautiful year-round, but I thoroughly recommend visiting between the late spring and early summer. You’ll get the best weather and not nearly as many tourists as during the high season weeks later in the summer.
See the city for yourself on this Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter 1.5-hour Guided Tour!
7. Budapest, Hungary – The Stunning Jewel of the East
Budapest isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe – it’s one of the loveliest cities in the world. Once one of the capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it still retains that majestic quality of imperial cities, shared by places like Moscow and Rome. It’s full of imposing and gorgeous buildings, and its views have been the inspiration for artists from all walks of life.
Beyond its heavy and stunning past, what makes Budapest one of my favourite off the beaten track Europe destinations is how thoroughly modern it is. Its huge past hasn’t stopped it from becoming a contemporary metropolis. It’s an open, sensationally beautiful and fun city. Here, you’ll find plenty of good hotels and restaurants, but also stunning architecture and great open baths all around.
Fall in love with the majestic architecture and let the wind hit your face as you look into the Danube. You’re surrounded by the stuff of legends, the so-called Paris of the East. Let that sink in!
Gorgeous Budapest was a joy to visit and you can read more about my experience on my Travel Guide and Hotel Review. You can book a stay at the perfect Aria Hotel HERE. Enjoy the city from its iconic river through this Sightseeing Cruise on the Danube!
8. Moscow, Russia – The Eastern Metropolis that Never Sleeps
Moscow is a city built to impress, a true Metropolis for an off the beaten track Europe experience! Probably the most famous one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe mentioned in this post. A bit like New York of the East with something for everyone.
Enjoy the majestic Red Square and its surroundings. Walk along the Moscow River to Gorky Park, Moscow’s Central Park where the Moscovites spend their weekends.
Get swept away by some of the most impressive cultural heritages in one of many museums. Have dinner among the clouds watching this bustling cosmopolitan city from above or hang out with the hip crowd in one of the many hidden gems of this huge city like the Patriarshi Prudy area.
Except for the more traditional sightseeing Moscow is full of cool food markets like the Danilovsky Market. Why not travel back in time and visit a true traditional Russian market where you can buy more or less everything? And then have a Russian barbecue at the Izmailovsky Market!
Moscow literally never sleeps and the bars and clubs are many. So if you did not visit Moscow during the FIFA World Champion, then prepare yourself to get impressed by Russia’s giant!
After living in Moscow for five years, I have gotten the opportunity to explore this majestic city in depth. Enjoy my Travel Guide, Off the Beaten Path Moscow, and Hipster Restaurants Review. You can book a stay at the imposing Radisson Blu HERE!
Travel with a Silver Lining Beyond Off the Beaten Track Europe
- Now that you’ve fallen in love with off the beaten track Europe, take your loved one there too. Here’s my list of 10 Romantic Destinations in the old continent!
- Go beyond the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe and visit the south. These are my top 11 summer destinations!
- Check out my top 3 posts: my Lisbon Instagram Guide, the Best Photography Spots in Madrid, and Magical Breakfast Places in Amsterdam!
Booking Support & Input for Off the Beaten Track Europe
- Visa. Skip the lines and complicated bureaucracy by doing all your visa paperwork in one place: iVisa!
- Flight. Momondo offers the best rates for you to see off the beaten track Europe. Download their app for the best prices!
- Hotel. Booking.com has the broadest variety of accommodations in all the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe!
- Guide. Hi, Hi is the best place to find the perfect guide for you, allowing you to connect with locals to show you around.
- Tours. For years,Get Your Guide has been my secret tool when it comes to finding unforgettable experiences during my travels. You can even find transfer options for a myriad of cities!
The Unique Experience of Off the Beaten Track Europe
I hope you enjoyed this post about the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe. They may not the most famous ones, but they’ll offer a unique off the beaten track Europe experience!
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