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The new kids on the eastern block are undeniably amongst the coolest travel destinations on the planet right now. What accounts for their surge in popularity? Exodus investigates the meteoric rise of Eastern Europe

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European Travel

Emerging from many years of isolation and hardship, eastern and central Europe is having its moment in the light. After years of being overlooked, these fascinating countries are finally getting some of the recognition they deserve.

They’ve been flying under the radar for too long. But their popularity with the penny-pinching backpacker speaks for itself – whilst many came here originally because of cheaper prices, they invariably left with stories richer than their budgets.

Their praise now extends beyond the price of a pint to extoll the virtues of the up-and-coming vineyards, the friendliness of the welcome, and the variety of walking and cycling trails that trace the rivers and mountain ridges. In between these, painted monasteries, thermal baths and old towns fill the valleys.

balkan churchBalkan church

There’s a mix of old faithfuls and exciting new additions to the Exodus collection. Our tried and tested itineraries in Albania and the Balkans have been quietly successful for several years, but with increasing interest in Eastern Europe we jumped at the chance to introduce a few more itineraries in recent years.

View trips to Albania.

Romania is perfect if you want to travel at a relaxed pace through monasteries, friendly villages and the famous Transylvanian castle of Dracula – which nowadays resembles an enchanted retreat of pretty white walls and fairytale turrets. 

View trips to Romania

Polandmakes an appearance, with its blend of intriguing architecture and sobering history from the end of last century balanced out by the tranquil beauty of the Tatra Mountains spa towns.

Escape to Central and Eastern Europe


Riverside with the characteristic Crane of Gdansk, PolandRiverside with the characteristic Crane of Gdansk, Poland

Poland has disappeared from the map of Europe many times over the centuries, a casualty of the battle line between East and West.

But it has emerged as a newly confident and welcoming nation, sure of its place in the world. We’ll visit the grand capital of Warsaw, the cultural heart of Krakow, its 14th century Wawel Castle rising above the Old Town – and the gritty port city of Gdansk, where the Velvet Revolution of 1989 started.

We’ll also pay a visit to the sobering Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and take in the beauty of the Tatra Mountains in the delightful spa town of Zakopane.


Sucevita MonasterySucevita Monastery

Visiting Romania feels like a step back in time. We’ve several ways to experience this beautifully wild and fascinating country, but Highlights of Romania gives you the chance to explore at a more relaxed pace.

Favourites include Bucharest (considered the Paris of the East), the famous painted monasteries in Bucovina, visiting fairy tale villages and fortified churches in Transylvania, exploring the Vaser Valley by steam train and visiting the famous Bran Castle, home of Dracula.

Find out more: Romania trips

Highlights of Central Europe – BEST FOR BORDER-HOPPING

Budapest and River Danube by NightBudapest and River Danube by Night

This swift and busy route whisks you through the very best of five different countries: Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.

In just two weeks you’ll see, hear and taste the best of these diverse nations, from glitzy capitals to rural idylls.

Find out more: Trips to Hungary

Balkan Discoverer – BEST FOR LAKE VIEWS

Church of St John at KaneoChurch of St John at Kaneo

Dive into the Balkans and discover the neighbouring influences that unite and distinguish Serbia, Macedonia and Albania.

A common theme in our reviews is the sheer beauty and tranquility of Lake Ohrid, straddling the Macedonian and Albanian border.

Strolling around the ancient churches, spa towns and lakes, you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long to get here. 

Find out more: Balkan Explorer

Highlights of Albania – BEST FOR UNDERRATED GEMS

Archeological site of Butrint in AlbaniaArcheological site of Butrint in Albania

From beautiful cities and chic lakeside resort towns to the wild and rugged mountains, this in-depth exploration of Albania blends the bigger sites and tiny off-the-beaten-track spots to get under the skin of Albanian life.

Find out more: Tours of Albania

Discover our central and eastern Europe escapes for yourself with our below tours.