The Czech Republic is crisscrossed by one of the most perfect and dense networks of hiking trails. The marking system is so good that it is used worldwide.
Popular across Central and Eastern Europe from Poland to Estonia to Caucasus, this refreshing drink, which comes sweet or savory, is a zero-waste drink from bread leftovers. Its most recent Polish iteration has taken a turn to promote more responsible beer drinking.
Ho! Ho! Ho! With the merriest time of year around the corner, the cities of Europe are getting into the festive spirit. What better way to do so than by eating, dancing, and Christmas shopping? What are the best destinations to travel to?
In the middle of the summer, as we are stocking up on that lush, sun-generated heat, it seems safer to think about the growing trend of swimming in icy-cold water in the middle of winter. A sport that unites some of the Baltic countries. Which ones?
Slovenia has a rich tradition of building chapels. You can see them everywhere, in any shape and form, old and new. Although visitors to the lands would point to this extraordinary fact, it is unclear why the tradition was so alive among Slovenes.
Next year, Czechia will celebrate 45 years since the first Czech entered space. Even though the country is not a space superpower, it has plans for a base on the Moon. And a lot more!
A national holiday in Romania and a popular customary feast in more countries of Central Europe, the commemoration of St. Andrews Day on November 30 is an occasion to witness ghostly activities and get them to share insights from the future.
Slovenia has proportionally more karst than any other country. It shaped its history and identity. It was here that most karst phenomena were studied very early on. Even the name karst came from the Kras region in Slovenia, a smaller region within the Slovenian Classical Karst.
Not sure if you want to believe the legend that a fir tree in this exact spot is one of the oldest Christmas traditions in Europe? Heirs to the Brotherhood of the Blackheads can show you historic proof.
The Carolina Reaper is no longer the leader of the pack. The world’s used-to-be hottest pepper was recently surpassed by this new and yet-unnamed chili created in the county of Buzau, Romania.
Polish citizens, who found themselves under a foreign rule for 123 years, were often forced to leave their native lands in pursuit of opportunities unavailable to them under new rulers. Collectively, they are referred to as Polonia.
Imagine this: It's Friday afternoon in socialist Czechoslovakia. It may seem like there are not many options if you are into American culture. Not to fear - grab your cowboy hat, guitar, and military boots and catch a train to the Czech wilderness!
Everyone has heard of Neuschwanstein, the real-life Disney castle in Bavaria. If only tourists knew this picturesque destination has a long-lost sibling in a much more accessible and equally unexpected location in Southern Poland.
At the two opposite ends of Europe, two countries hold the bagpipe in the highest esteem possible. What links Bulgaria and Scotland when it comes to bagpipe music?
The Czech Kingdom of the 15th Century became the birthplace of what we would later know as Protestantism. It was thanks to Hussites, an armed religious group that vowed to reform the Catholic Church.
Generation after generation of Bulgarians was raised with eyes on the prize: Owning a home. With prices in Bulgaria reaching new heights, has the time come to let go of that dream?
Sibiu salami, a trademark of Romanian cuisine, is not even made in Sibiu. In fact, it wasn’t even invented by a Romanian. How did this internationally-appreciated aliment gain popularity, and where did the name actually come from?
In 2023, Bulgaria will celebrate three decades of belonging to the global Francophonie family without ever speaking French as an official language. What happened?
In the Slovene Alps, there is a valley called Planica. Although incredibly beautiful, that isn’t what sets it apart from other alpine valleys. What makes it unique is a century-old tradition of ski flying, an extreme version of ski jumping, with much longer distances.
As beautiful as autumn is in its many colors, you wish summer would last longer. This is quite possible in Sandanski, a small mountain town in Southwestern Bulgaria.
The Czech City for the Future project shows one options of how people will live in 2050. The goal is to make every city a living organism rather than a sea of concrete buildings.
It took a lot of planning and hard work – and still, from up close, there's not much to see... However, the picture comes into focus as you rise above the horizon. The image of the white eagle, the emblem of Poland, miraculously depicted with trees into the Polish landscape.
If you cannot afford to visit Venice’s Santa Maria della Salute church, you can visit Gostyń instead. This town, like many others in Poland, has one unexpected feature: a church based on virtually the same blueprint.
Zawoja is the longest linear village in Poland, spanning 18 kilometers, which may be considered an average day’s hike. But to perpendicularly cross such a village, a few minutes is usually enough.
Poles and Americans have a lot in common, like respect for national flags and taste in national symbols. For both, the eagle reigns supreme, and while the US favors the bald eagle, Poles are 100% devoted to their white eagle. When did this noble bird steal the Slavic hearts?
Sometimes referred to as the European Thanksgiving, Sant Martin’s day is a feast that unites many countries in the region. Like every good party, it is marked with traditional specialties – wine, goose, and sweet pastries.
In the north of the 3 Seas Region, you can find a land adorned in a green gown of forests and crowned with the gold of sandy beaches. With her majesty accentuated by blue jewels of lakes, Lithuania is a mysterious land where the tales of old don’t seem old at all.
A tourist paradise in the Elbe Canyon, home to sandstone formations of European importance and the scene of a recent catastrophe. Welcome to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
As Riga grew exponentially in the early 20th century, some one-third of all the buildings in the historical center of the city center were built in this style.
Bigăr Waterfall was ranked the #1 most unique in the world by the World Geography Atlas and, if you were reading this article one year ago, it still would be. However, the unimaginable happened, and world’s most beautiful waterfall collapsed. What happened?
Hungary is known to have more thermal spas than any other country. With over 1300 springs nationwide, a staggering 123 are found in Budapest alone. Fancy a spa getaway? This is the place to go!
For 22 years now, bears, which were used to act in shows across the Balkans, get a new chance for life in a unique bear sanctuary sponsored by French actress, Brigitte Bardot.
A new permanent exhibition in the city of Shumen will soon tell the story of Bulgaria’s first theater performance in 1856. One issue: Another Bulgarian town claims they got there first.
Fish farming in Czechia has a tradition dating back to the early Middle Ages. It helped the landlocked country to secure enough fish supply. What started as a food variety necessity became part of national identity and Czech culture.
There are many types of capitals - like business capital (London, UK), love capital (Paris, France), or food capital (San Sebastian, Spain). Such flashy tags are bound to attract tourists from all over the world. Do conventional capitals stand a chance?
Throughout millennia, humans have always paid respects to their dead and laid them to rest with elaborate burial styles. Gradually, these were replaced by rituals. Are you sure you know how they developed and what remains of them today?
In Halloween costumes, light-hearted witchcraft, and door-to-door trick-or-treating, many conservatives in Central Europe see Satanism, postmodernism, and westernization. But in times past, the spirit of Halloween was summoned even here on Forefather's Eve.
We know. “Merry” and “cemetery” aren’t two words that usually go together. So what makes this graveyard, literally, merry? Is it the lively-colored gravestones? Or the humorous poems inscribed on them? Take a look and decide for yourself.
Pop culture warns us of ghosts appearing at midnight. But according to Central European beliefs, demons could possess you even at noon – or at any other time if you find yourself in the wrong places.
People from the Polish town of Ząbkowice Śląskie see their connection with the first proper science fiction novel ever created. And there's a reason for that: until 1945, the city was known by its German name: Frankenstein.
The Danube-Oder-Elbe water corridor is the missing link that would connect Czechia to the rest of the European waterways. This multifunctional water project could raise the global importance of the Three Seas Region in the World Economy.
This clever ticket vending machine doesn’t take cash or cards. Instead, it requires you to do 20 squats for a free bus ride in exchange. And Romanians love it.
Tired of choosing the same old destinations for your holidays? Why not try something new! Central and Eastern Europe has lots to offer!
“How is it possible for a rock to grow or move on its own?” is the question many, if not all, who visit the enchanted realm of the trovanți ask themselves. What is this place, and how can these huge rocks change their size - and location almost overnight?
In the case of a church called Vang in southwestern Poland, it is not custom or faith that was imported but the building itself. It is a rare occasion when one construction can write several cities into its itinerary.
A city foretold by an iron wolf, built by a pagan Duke, developed by Christian kings, drowning in green vegetation, and home to hundreds of angels – Vilnius might just be the most exceptional European capital.
It is surprising how the charming little town of Nin in Croatia is the home of many wonders. Among such riches as salt and mud (yup!) is a Cathedral fit for the size of the town – namely, very small. In fact, it’s the world’s smallest.
One look away and oops, she’s gone! Best advice for the groom? To keep his eyes on his bride. The sudden disappearance of the bride is a normal thing during a Romanian wedding reception. And getting her back does not come cheap.
Bendy, lazy rivers; picturesque landscapes; wildlife; and charming bonfire evenings are just some of the things one may experience when they go kayaking in Poland. Indeed, it’s an immensely popular way of spending your summer holidays - for good reason.
Nowadays, when reading books could be considered a dying pastime, it is refreshing to learn that book-reading is still important enough to rank based on their friendliness toward bookworms. So which cities are the best and which are the worst?
In March 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered a speech declaring the new, post-war division of Europe. His view on the new world order was strict, and a sharp boundary of the Iron Curtain turned out to be one of the most prolific ideas in modern history.
While walking along the banks in Prague, the capital of Czechia, you will encounter the majestic building of the Czech National Theatre. The building was built with contributions from everyday Czechs and… burned down right after its completion.
Ever thought of an idea of a beauty pageant starred by…cities? People behind the Online Mortgage Advisor did and, acting as the grand jurors, decided which ones should be crowned as the most beautiful.
As the old saying tells us: good fences make good neighbors. And it is pretty convincing since, throughout history, great rulers have insisted on building walls to stop their enemies. It happened in China, Great Britain, and… Croatia.
The most fascinating medieval castles are those which were impossible to force by the enemy. And, of course, those haunted by ghosts. Trakai Castle belongs to both categories.
Socialist Romania struggled for a position on the map of Eastern tourist destinations for Western visitors. In doing so, it lured tourists with long-legged waitresses and Elena Ceaușescu.
Aren’t we all too familiar with the pictures of Venician gondoliers, carefully navigating the channels of Italy’s city of romance? Try something niche! Poland offers its own, wilder version of the same experience and throws in breathtaking views.
In October 2022, Russian forces held a sham vote on annexing parts of Ukrainian territory to Russia. In response, the Czechs invented a claim to the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea. Its basis was simple: Kaliningrad, formerly known as Königsberg, was named after the Bohemian king.
For most of the world, 1 April is know as April Fools’ Day. However in Ludbreg, a tiny village in the north of Croatia, this is a day for a much larger celebration - to commemorate its position at the center of the world
The thousandth anniversary of crowning the first Hungarian king was marked by the World Exhibition in Budapest. And boy, did the city get a glow-up to celebrate this monumental anniversary.
Bohemian Užupis looks like a typical city district, but it has its own constitution, flag, and international recognition (by UNESCO). Once, it even had an army of 11 soldiers, but now its only line of defense is its cultural value.
Beautiful lavender fields are the perfect Instagram photo-op. Just pay attention to the location tag: You’re not in the south of France but in Bulgaria. In fact, lavender is so prevalent in Bulgaria that it has been competing with France for years now for the title of top producer.
If you ever happen to watch the late 20th century films from Poland that take place in a sandy desert, chances are they were filmed… locally. Meet Polish deserts and dunes – truly unique, natural landmarks.
Among Polish dishes, one has enjoyed unfading popularity over the centuries. It is still among the most recognizable flavors of Poland. And a reason why in many Polish houses, during the cold seasons, you may notice a hint of cabbage smell coming from the kitchen.
Prosecco’s Italian name is a direct descendant of the Slavic prošek. The latter word is still used in Croatia, but for a different kind of wine. Now the argument has made it to the European Council.
Some four hundred kilometers from the nearest seashore, a former quarry in Kadzielnia is home to remains of a coral reef, not dissimilar to that near the Bahamas.
Back in the days before dating apps, people had to improvise. Romanians, merchants by nature, found a way to bring together young people from over 80 villages with a “maiden market,” which, contrary to its name, did not imply any exchange of money but marriage proposals.
History has its way of creeping into the present as it is fused with certain images, sounds, gestures, or customs. For locals, they’re quite obvious (or culturally embedded), but they may not be as clear to those visiting.
Shumen, in northeastern Bulgaria, is so linked to its cafes - in particular, its main café-lined street - that one of its former mayors floated the idea of applying for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest café in the world.
You may have visited spectacular salt mines before. However, with a panoramic wheel, an amphitheater, and mini-golf trails, Romania's Turda Salt Mine, 120m below the surface, is like no other. Upon stepping on the very first stairs you are instantly transported to another world, not outer space, but underground.
Zlarin, also called the Golden Island, is a place known for its natural treasure – the unique coral (and sponges. Natural sponges – nothing to do with cakes.) It also must be the least motorized place on the planet. But let’s start at the beginning.
The story of the Vltava River is fascinating for just a simple river. It is a source of historical legends, an inspiration for artists, and a stylish free time spot. The Vltava has always been and is still the beating heart of the Czech Republic.
There aren’t many things Romanians agree on. But there is one that 20 million people have believed, and continue to believe generation after generation, despite scarce medical evidence. It is called the curent (aka a draft) and it is the reason you can’t have two windows open in the same room - ever.
A ritual of great importance on Latvian family calendars, the Cemetery Festival gathers relatives from near and far. The curious day’s events are less about mourning and more about celebrating life and togetherness.
The debate about the legacy of socialist residential architecture in Bulgaria, and the need for changing it, is ongoing. Should neighborhoods’ names follow suit?
Have you been invited to a Czech party and have no idea what to expect in terms of food and drinks? Let us help you get to know some traditional Czech finger foods, meals, and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that are unique to the Czech Culture.
Polish vodka can be safely claimed by Poles. When it comes to rakija, well… opinions are as divided as there are varieties of this alcoholic drink. Taking into account its unfading fame, it’s no wonder Croatia claims ownership of the best recipe.
The iconic Palace of Culture and Science is a monumental skyscraper in Warsaw's city center, now considered somewhat controversial due to its Stalinist genesis. Even so, it turns out that Varsovians now have a soft spot for this cultural landmark and do not want to see it demolished.
Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu built this holy place as a place of worship. Today, it is a UNESCO world heritage site that stands tall not just as a meaningful clerical site but also as Romania’s most emblematic piece of Brancovan architecture.
In one scene of "Return of the Jedi," a protocolar android addresses a person in Polish. Was Jabba the Hut's servant a Socialist economic migrant, or did American producers just want to impress viewers with an exotic language?
Cycling is one of the Slovenes' national superpowers. For several years their peloton has been running away from the rest of the world. Who will finally overtake them (and why it won't be that easy)?
In Slovenia, there is a magic lake. Normally, lakes are simply there as we know them. Some freeze in the winter, but we can still admire them. Cerknica Lake, however, could confuse someone who does not know about it, as it’s there one day and gone the next.
They say the language of love is universal, but sometimes, knowing another language helps. A popular story in Bulgaria tells of an American who fell in love with a Bulgarian woman. Alas, the story doesn’t end in “happily ever after” thanks to confused gestures.
A new beach surfaced overnight in the county of Bihor – no less than 800 kilometers far from the Romanian seashore. How did this happen, and why is this place compared to Thailand‘s Railay Beach?
The apple. Such a ‘common’ fruit. So common, in fact, you might think that this staple of your 5 a day is simple to grow wherever you live. Rightly so. But did you know that globally the most apples consumed come from Poland?
They come in many sweet and savory varieties – wild berry, cabbage-and-mushroom, meat, and white cheese among the classic fillings. But there is one particular version of this classic Polish dish that has inspired mixed feelings in recent months.
There are many things the Czech Republic is very well known for, one of them being Czech Glass. To be more specific, Bohemian Crystal. The production of Bohemian Crystal, from the Bohemia and Silesia regions, is a rich centuries-old tradition that is still thriving today.
The old Slavic custom of celebrating the harvest is still holding on strong in Poland. Dożynki, as it is called, is celebrated nationwide and provides a great way for villages to remind the city dwellers of the richness hidden in the countryside.
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the moon? Finding out might be easier than you think, for, in the Romanian county of Buzău, you can do just that - without the weightlessness, though.
Varosliget, or City Park, was established in Pest (before it was connected to Buda) over three decades before the same was done in London – a city now known for its parks.
The ancient Thracians, who resided mainly in modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, left behind a priceless trove of artifacts that are still being unearthed to this day. As the search continues, the question looms: Who will get to them first? Archeologists or treasure hunters?
Depending on where you live in the world, forest mushrooms may be considered a delicacy. They can be such a luxurious product that you must pay a lot to purchase a small amount. Think about this: in the past, it was enough to go to the forest. In Poland, it still is.
For three years now, residents of the small municipality of Stamboliyski in Southern Bulgaria have been using public transport for free. While the idea introduced by Mayor Georgi Maradzhiev is hardly new, Stamboliyski remains Bulgaria’s only town boasting free public transportation.
How high is too high? For Oradea-born pianist Thurzó Zoltán, there is no such height. Zoltán, internationally renowned for his out-of-this-world attempts to enter the Guinness World Book of Records, has finally made it with his concert atop Mount Everest.
One may think Europe's tallest rock sculpture could not go unnoticed, but did you know it can be found in Romania? Find out who made it, who requested it, and, most importantly, why would someone invest over one million dollars to have the face of Decebalus in rock?
Welcome to Gabrovo, Bulgaria’s capital of humor. In this Central Bulgarian town, legends say that they cut the tails of cats so that the door closes faster after them. It’s such a prevalent story they erected a bronze cat sculpture that has been attracting visitors for two decades.
One of Slovenia's most recognizable landmarks, Mount Triglav, is much more than just the country’s highest mountain and a national symbol. It is a three-headed god, the gateway to becoming a true Slovenian.
The results are in, and if you’re a salad lover heading to Bulgaria, you’re up for a treat. In TasteAtlas’s 50 Best Salads ranking, four Bulgarian salads make the cut. Ovcharska (Shepherd's) landed the #1 spot, with Snezhanka and the famous Shopska Salad – also in the top 10.
Far from a centuries-old tradition, cider making in Latvia arose in the 1990s. Since then, the industry has blossomed, and cider makers and pub owners have united to create a local Cider Route - a rival to the wine routes of Western Europe?
With a narrative spanning from the famous CIA headquarters in Langley, VA to exotic Thailand, Netflix's latest blockbuster set most of its action in-between the two, right in the heart of Central Europe. And don't worry – thanks to the power of CGI, no actual locations were harmed during filming.
Slovenia is literally flowing with honey. Since the 11th century, beekeeping has been an essential part of Slovenian culture, an inspiration for art and design, and the backbone of local tourism. Professional beekeeping is so rooted in Slovenia that one in two hundred Slovenes is a beekeeper.
Centuries-old houses, lush greenery, friendly neighbors. If this is your idea of the average small Bulgarian village, you might be right. But if you want to experience life in one of these villages first-hand, hurry. Because the Bulgarian towns and villages as we know them might be dying out.
In the spiritual center of Bulgaria’s First Kingdom, carved into rock on a cliff 100-meters high, lies a unique representation of a knight on horseback defeating a lion. The monument, known as the Madara Rider, still poses a riddle with regards to what is depicted on it.
When Austrian and Polish soldiers captured Turkish positions after the Battle of Vienna, they thought that the tiny, brown seeds they found were horse fodder. However, soon enough, they were all enjoying a new kind of brew that was exported across Europe.
Over 10 Churches and 10,000 households were demolished in the making of what is today the world's heaviest building – a monstrosity of a palace built to provide a home for Communist Romania’s leader, Nicolae Ceausescu.
The whole of Europe can be divided into two parts, just based on the name of this staple drink - tea. The only countries that escape this division are the former members of the Polish-Lithuania commonwealth. So, what can we glean from this fact?
Hungary is famous for being a landlocked country. However, the great lake of Balaton makes up for that fact to Hungarians, who appreciate this lake so vast, it allows you to enjoy a riviera.
At 16 square kilometers, the Lithuanian enclave of the Republic of Paulava was one of the tiniest countries in the known world. It was a progressive realm where personal freedom was protected, and even peasants could own land.
Hungarian, aside from Turkish and Greek, is the only other language in which the word “wine” does not come from the Latin 'vinum'. Instead, ‘bor’ is of Celtic origin. And Celtic culture much predates the Romans, who came to these lands. But what does this actually mean?
With almost a thousand castles and another 1100 stately homes, Czechia tops the list of places to visit for those in search of aristocratic residences. In fact, one castle in Prague is considered the largest ancient building in the world. So how did Czechia become the land of castles?
A small town with a decisively Mediterranean feel. It would not be surprising if it weren’t for the fact that Szentendre is located in the vicinity of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.
After a scandal of large-scale wine adultery in the vineyard heartland of Austria, it was time to tidy up the fallout. What followed was the successful renaissance of Austrian winemaking.
You won’t taste it during Wimbledon, served with a dollop of cream. Nor will you experience its sweetness on a hot afternoon in Huelva. But believe me – no strawberry in the world is equal to Kashubian strawberries. And there is a paper to prove it!
What to do with an overgrown piece of land in a bustling capital city whose residents live mostly in apartments? One active community in Riga founded urban gardens, illustrating the potential of transforming derelict plots into added value for a city.
Bucegi Mountains may not be Romania's tallest mountains, but they sure are the most mysterious ones. Discover the Romanian Sphinx, a natural wonder of the country that, unlike the Sphinx of Giza, was not crafted by hands. At least not those of a human.
Are you looking for sunny skies and sandy beaches? There's a gem hiding in plain sight in a spot you might not have thought to look. And the best part: fewer tourists. For now, at least.
Bryndza is a phenomenon in the Slovak food industry. The origins of this soft cheese can be traced back to the 18th century’s recipe, which was probably developed by the Vlach population. Family businesses were the key to its promotion and export, and their legacy continues to this day.
After 30 years of independence, the Pelješac Bridge joining Dalmatia, home to the country's most visited city of Dubrovnik, with the rest of the country, finally opened on 26 July.
Abandoned after World War Two and repopulated again in the 1990s, this small village of Holašovice, Czechia, has architecture so remarkable that it made it onto UNESCO World Heritage Site List.
A new exhibition in Sofia is taking a closer look at six examples of post-war architecture in Bulgaria, from a kindergarten to a planned neighborhood and an airport, with the hope of providing answers and maybe, a whole new perspective.
In honor of one of the world's greatest composers, his homeland's confectioners created Mozartkugeln – spherical chocolates and Austria's top souvenir for over a century now.
Although voted never to be activated in the aftermath of the Chornobyl meltdown, Austria’s Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant remains in good condition as a research facility and a unique film set.
One restaurant is the oldest. Piwnica Świdnicka in Wrocław opened in 1275. Only slightly younger is Cracow’s Wierzynek, named after Poland's first famous restaurateur.
"I am Bulgarian, not English. I only drink coffee, not tea." Some nine years ago, Jonathan Allen, then British ambassador to Bulgaria, made a statement most Bulgarians easily support. And while Ambassador Allen might have gone back to drinking tea, Bulgaria's relationship with this beverage remains somewhat lukewarm.
With two million citizens and a whopping 1.5 thousand kilometers squared, the Silesian Conurbation is a much larger urban area than the Polish capital – Warsaw. It consists of multiple cities that grew to meet each other’s borders.
Dracula's Transylvanian castle is huge enough to be a symbol of vampire menace. While it may appear to be a castle made from pure fantasy, it is, indeed, quite real. But it's actually in Slovakia.
If you ever happen to be driving in southern Nebraska, located in the heart of the US midwest, you may come across the town of Wilber. And if you happen to be Czech, you will be greeted twice as warmly. That's because this is the Czech Capital of the USA, the cultural center of the Czech diaspora there.
The blockbuster screen adaptation of the famous "Chronicles of Narnia" was partially set in Poland. The country owes this to an unusual rock formation called the Errant Rocks – part of the Stołowe Mountains (Table Mountains) chain.
Bat? Check. Ball? Check. Teams? Also, check. We just described baseball – or did we? What is Oina, Romania's national sport? And is it the precursor of American baseball?
St. Anne’s Mountain in Poland was a part of the German territory when the Nazis decided to commemorate the Battle of Annaberg with a mausoleum, theater, and a monument park. After the war, it changed allegiances and now honors members of the uprising.
Starting as far back as the 15th century, people in Poland and Lithuania would pour vodka into oak barrels and bury them underground for many years. Making Starka, barrel-aged vodka, was connected to the maturing process of their children.
Even today, some would argue that the motivation behind the Roman conquest of Dacia (present-day Romania) was Dacian gold. In reality, the economic goal was salt, Dacia having one of the most bountiful salt resources in the known world. Dacian gold was just a bonus.
It seemed that the European Bison was one of those extinct species that used to live also in Slovakia. However, it has recently been successfully reintroduced to the Poloniny National Park, which makes it one of few places in Europe where it lives in the wild today.
In Czechia, the beer-drinking culture without a shadow of a doubt constitutes its national heritage. Activists are now fighting for official recognition of this fact by UNESCO.
Spanning an impressive 249 meters, Ventas Rumba is the widest waterfall on the Old Continent. This width makes up for its relatively modest 2-meter height. Each year on midsummer's eve, the waterfall is the setting for a stark sight - as in a stark naked one - as revelers streak across the nearby bridge in the moonlight.
There's little doubt that one of the best holiday destinations in Europe is Croatia's Dalmatian coast. This is somewhat old news, as the area was already known as a dream retirement spot 1,700 years ago, attracting even the likes of Roman emperors.
Medieval Polish historian Jan Długosz once claimed that trees in the Roztocze Forest turned to stone just a few years after death. The reality is just a bit more complicated.
In Kruszyniany, a small village in northeastern Poland, you can still experience the culture (and even cuisine) of the Tartar. Steppe Warriors were introduced as a lethal weapon against heavy German cavalry. The last Tartar families integrated into a colorful mix of cultures and religions along the eastern borders of Poland.
Hungary's ruling politicians under Soviet rule took inspiration from the country's most famous traditional dish, using it as a model for running its politics. Though the ingredients were different, the methods for combining them had certain similarities.
When thinking about the oldest universities in Europe, the first that come to mind are probably Oxford or the Sorbonne. That would be a good guess, as those are indeed among the ten oldest universities in the world, most of which were founded in the 13th century or earlier.
We can call this episode "That time when Latvians built a tower to have a higher highest point than their neighbor." In reality, the highest Latvian and Estonian peaks just barely classify as "mountains." And at one point, Latvia even built a tower on top of its highest peak just to surpass its Estonian rival.
In 1978, an entire village was evacuated to accommodate what was to become the waste drainage pool for Europe's largest copper mine. Today, only the top of what used to be the local church can be seen peeking out of the infected waters that drowned the city.
The decades-long debate between Poland and Russia over who invented vodka started to turn in Poland's favor when an A-list Hollywood star stepped in to help the old myths to die hard.
The Estonian city home to the University of Tartu has had multiple names and belonged to numerous countries. Despite the constant change, the university has managed to turn its varied heritage into a positive, now known internationally for its high level of education and openness to forward-thinking academic pursuits.
It’s always good to know your neighbor. This is almost certainly the case in the village of Hum, Croatia, which boasts fewer than 30 current residents. Besides its tiny size, its other claim to fame is a secret recipe supposedly passed down by Celtic Druids some two thousand years ago.
At first sight, this village near the town of Popovo in northeastern Bulgaria looks like any other village in the area. And yet, it isn't. Welcome to Palamartsa, population 300, including 120 residents from 23 countries. Is this Bulgaria's most diverse village? Possibly.
…and the country knows exactly how to put them to good use. We're taking a deep dive into some of the best thermal spas Slovakia has to offer.
After joining the Réseau Art Nouveau Network in 2012, Oradea, Romania, received the title of Best Art Nouveau Destination within just ten years. How did it achieve this? And more importantly, why is everyone falling in love with this small city on the river?
The magical combination of carrot, parsley, celery, and leek is so ubiquitous in Polish cuisine that it forms its own category called "the Italian stuff”. The tradition dates back to one dynastic marriage in the 16th century.
One of the largest and most elaborate murals from Communist Europe consists of three million porcelain pieces and makes a huge impression. In fact, it had such an impact upon its unveiling that its creator was forced to flee Romania.
The Medieval Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland has many wonders. If a one-day visit is not enough for you, feel free to go on and just spend the night in the underground hostel.
The Tokaj region, famous for its wines that have been prized since the 18th century, became an official appellation in 1737, some two centuries earlier than the famous Burgundy.
When Francis I of France suffered a stomach disease, a renowned doctor was summoned from Constantinople, soon arriving in Paris in unusual company – a flock of about 40 sheep. The good doctor got to work fermenting the sheep milk and offered it as a remedy. The King made a swift recovery.
There are only a handful of countries around the world where Coca-Cola does not reign supreme. Czechia and Slovakia are among them. Meet Kofola, the socialist Coke alternative introduced in the 60s, still holding strong and topping the soft-drink market.
The Baltic states are building Rail Baltica - a high-speed railway that will finally connect them to the rest of the EU. It is set to be completed by 2030 and will allow travel across Baltic countries in less than four hours.
"Can you treat a police officer seriously when he is asking you: "Why did you participate in an illegal meeting of dwarfs?" This was the ethos of Poland's Orange Alternative movement - and the origin of the dwarves that now adorn Wrocław's streets.
Don't be overwhelmed by the word "green" that appears everywhere Slovenia is concerned. "Green" is such a deeply ingrained concept in every aspect of the country that you might get the feeling that even the bricks in Ljubljana's houses will be green. (For the record, they're not).
These funny-looking, curly haired pigs are a Hungarian specialty. Their breeding is protected and regulated by law, and their meat is, well, quite simply delicious.
Cepelinai dumplings, the fist-sized Lithuanian delicacies, derive their name from Zeppelins - the long, cylindrical airships of the early 20th century to which they bear a striking resemblance. And like their dirigible counterparts, cepelinai will leave you high... on carbs.
Riga Black Balsam, concocted by a pharmacist in the mid-18th century, was used as a magic cure for numerous diseases. Today it's a drink, cocktail ingredient, cure for indigestion, and, most importantly, Latvia's pride.
When it comes to Easter traditions that might get lost in translation, Czechia and Slovakia have a solid example. In many villages throughout both countries, it is an Easter Monday custom for boys to spank girls with braided whips. Women can even return the "favor" with presents.
It is well known that any traditional Romanian family usually has eggs on its Easter table. However, some take this tradition to the next level, adorning them with an unexpected accessory.
Central Europe is, well… central, but different countries claim to be more central than others. This is where you can look for the most central place in Central Europe.
How far would you have to go to find an animal species different to anything you might find on Earth’s surface? If you are a skilled expert on caves and near Romania's Black Sea coast, 200 meters of underground tunnel could be just enough.
Przemsza is the name of a Polish river that is nearly impossible for non-Polish speakers to pronounce. Regardless, three Emperors speaking these languages had to know its name, as their countries joined at its junction for decades. Now it's almost forgotten in the middle of modern-day Poland.
A UFO-like set of discs sits atop a mountain peak on the Czechia-Poland border. However, its inhabitants are not extraterrestrials, rather meteorologists who come from far and wide for the unique weather.
Not ready to hang up your skis come April or May? No need to worry. Some of Central Eastern Europe's top ski resorts will keep you on the trails well into spring.
The history of sugar is not as straightforward as a mere ingredient for sweetening your tea or cakes. At various points in history, it has been used as medicine, a spice, and even a symbol of both royalty and oppression. The invention of the sugar cube only adds to the story.
A Japanese delicacy made its west by inadvertently hopping rides on Europe-bound shipping containers. However, far from a welcome treat, uninvited sea snails have been wreaking havoc in the waters of the Black Sea ever since their arrival.
Would you turn yourself into the cops for a good night's sleep? In Ljubljana, you can skip the drastic measures and still hide behind bars for a few peaceful hours of rest in this prison-turned-hotel in one of the city's most trendy districts.
Shopska salad is a bone of contention between a few Central European nations. However, its origins are easily traced to the post-war creation of Bulgaria as a socialist paradise of sun, relaxation, and good food. The red, green, and white salad easily fits the image of traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
With two million people, Slovenia is among the smallest nations in Central and Eastern Europe. However, when it comes to internationally recognized cuisine, it is one of the biggest powerhouses. What is the recipe for their amazing culinary success?
We’ve all heard of California’s Route 1 and Australia’s Grand Ocean Road - the world’s most stunning drives. If either tops your must-do list, you really should visit Romania’s Transfăgărășan. Even Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson agrees.
Europos Park is a “monument valley” on the outskirts of Vilnius to celebrate the spot being exact center of Europe. But the celebration was a bit hasty, as now one of claimants to the title is 11 km away.
If this grapevine could talk, oh... the stories it could tell. Wars, plagues, and fires haven't been able to stop one remarkably resilient vine in Maribor, Slovenia, that is still producing fruit - and wine - at a ripe 400 years old!
The forests can hide untold amounts of treasures. One employee of the Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology in Liptovský Mikuláš learned this lesson first-hand in January when a walk in the forest led to the discovery of a lifetime.
In this outdoor cabinet of curiosities on the outskirts of Bratislava, Slovakia, animals made of the most unlikely of materials – scrap metal – come to life. It is an art form that is quickly growing in popularity across Eastern Europe.
Contrary to popular belief, the Airbnb travel model wasn’t invented in the 2000s. Examples of it can be found 60 years earlier with Balkantourist, travel agent in communist Bulgaria.
Decades before Anthony Bourdain set out to enlighten a hungry population of would-be food tourists and future foodies about the exotic world of international gastronomy, there was Emil Markov, who was on a mission to bring Bulgarian cuisine to the world.
Nestled amongst the trees in a park in the center of Budapest, Hungary, the much-anticipated House of Music, designed by famed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, has finally opened its doors to the public.
As you walk along the seaside in Zadar, Croatia, the air is filled with the melancholic sounds of the sea. The notes might not mirror any type of classical composition, but they nonetheless create a sound that is in perfect in its harmony.
On a Saturday in January, over 40,000 spectators crowded into the streets of Kaunas, despite the freezing temperatures, to take part in a music, video, dance, and light-filled kick-off celebration of the city’s year as a European Capital of Culture 2022.
Some say that cultural divides can be explained by the kind of alcohol we imbibe. But is there any actual distinction between "vodka Europe" vs. "beer Europe" vs. "wine Europe"?
Ready to channel your inner Indiana Jones? Maybe walking across the world’s longest suspended sky bridge, hung almost a hundred meters above a valley in Czechia’s Moravia district, would help you do the trick.
In a small corner of the West Pomeranian forest in northwestern Poland, a grove of pine trees grow in unique shapes that might seem more suited to a fantasy film rather than wildlife reality. The origin of this curiosity is still up for debate.
A small pyramid in northeastern Poland holds the final resting place for several members of a wealthy family. But to some it's a places as mysterious and mystical as the pyramids of Egypt.
Friday night. Chic restaurant. Notable chef. You've finally picked a mouthwatering main dish, and the sommelier recommends pairing it with... a Polish wine? Seems crazy, right? Not if a new crop of Polish winemakers has anything to do with it.
Each summer on a day in early July, a small town in Finland attracts visitors from around the world, cheering as husbands clamber over rough terrain with their wives on their backs. Why, you ask? For the ultimate prize: the wife’s weight in beer.
Some say that the woods in Poland's Masurian Lake District harbor a secret: that an abandoned channel project from the Polish Lake District to the Baltic Sea wasn’t only for an inland trade route - it was to provide access to a secret German WW2 era submarine shipyard.
Holiday-seekers in in Central Europe will soon have a new travel option at the ready with the launch of a new train route from Cracow, Poland to Split, Croatia. Sunny beaches, here we come.
Moving to a new country can be a daunting but enlightening experience. We've asked expats from around the Three Seas countries the same five questions to give us a bit of insight into the good, bad and unexpected aspects of their new homes.
In a small town in eastern Slovakia, an underground spring shoots a 15-meter-tall column of water every day and a half. This is the only place in Europe outside of Iceland where you can see such a marvel.
In Lithuania's capital, pedestrian crossing lights recently got a makeover as part of the celebration to commemorate 100 years of women’s right to vote in the country. Lights featuring figures wearing skirts now dot the intersections of a bustling Vilnius neighborhood.