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.
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.
Ever wondered what a Mongolian man on a hobby horse is doing representing one of the most gorgeous and historical Polish cities? There is a valid explanation!
In the Slovenian part of the Istria region, you can find everything that one could dream of on holiday. Everything but… the crowds!
In Hungary, paprika is a staple food ingredient, an icon, and a matter of national identity.
Bram Stoker and Jules Verne, defining figures in the world of literature, took great inspiration from the Romanian lands - despite having never stepped foot inside the country.
Every good story has intriguing protagonists who make you want to figure out who they are and where they came from. In the Three Seas Region, there is a country whose history causes a lot of “I didn’t know that!” reactions. Want to know which one?
The tiny Croatian island of Biševo attracts huge numbers of tourists every year thanks to a magnificent sea cave. The Blue Cave truly lives up to its name, mesmerizing visitors with its stunning blue vistas.
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.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, is always there for you, although it’s easy to miss. A less than two-hour drive to the south from the capital Sofia, Plovdiv is often seen as a city living in the shadow of its mighty neighbor. Big mistake.
The world-famous French treat is a descendant of viennoiseries, snacks eponymous with the capital of Austria.
Is it the city's beauty or just the collateral benefit from Poland’s role in the most important historical event in years, namely the war on Ukraine? Regardless, it suffices to say that Warsaw deserves its title of the European Best Destination of 2023.
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.
Most of the shops on this beautiful street in the center of Shumen in northeastern Bulgaria have seen better days. Except for one bakery still bustling with life.
Do you want to be a happier person with nothing standing in your way? All you have to do is learn the Croatian practice of fjaka. The people of Croatia have found their own foolproof recipe for happiness and joy every day – and it’s something that anyone can bring home with them.
Podpiwek, which can be peculiarly translated as 'underbeer', is a traditional beverage made from cereal coffee, hops, and yeast. Not unlike malt beer, it provides refreshment on hot summer days.
The Witcher - a successful Netflix series, a mind-boggling game, and… a musical. All of these are spin-offs of a highly witty fantasy saga. So where did it all begin?
Bulgaria and Romania share 609 kilometers of border. And yet, despite the fact that the Danube River forms as many as 470 km of that border, the two countries are linked only by two bridges. Is this about to change?
Under the English name Stephen come two different saints. Depending on where in Central Europe you are, it's important not to confuse them.
At a time when European states were looking to establish and reaffirm their culture, Romania decided the best way to cement its identity was through… architecture! Cue the birth of Romanian Revival style that, to this day, continues to brighten up the streets of Bucharest.
The emotive architecture of one of Riga's most prominent buildings speaks of the Latvian nation's strength, courage, and endurance. This is the home of the National Library of Latvia – a contemporary center of knowledge and culture.
Croatia has been the number one vacation spot for many Czechs. Is this still the case, or have Czechs changed their vacation preferences and are venturing outside the Three Seas region?
One Austrian postmodern artist, in particular, was known for designs that crush your opinions of how a building should look and behave. The perfect example in Vienna is named after its designer, and if you wish, you can even spend a night there.
If you are planning a trip to Cracow, Poland (if you are not – then you should do), we want to help you avoid one of the most terrible culinary faux pas anyone can commit while in this gorgeous city. One that the locals would not forgive.
Croatian cuisine is famous for its variety of dishes, bridging the gap between Mediterranean cuisine and typical Balkan flavors. Each region has its own specialties, but they’re all connected by a traditional preparation method.
Some of Riga's wooden buildings date as far back as the 18th century. Witnesses of wars, power struggles, and transformation, the sturdy structures are a living archive. What is their status today?
These days much is being said about the carnival season and various celebrations that take place as the Earth prepares for its rebirth. Romania tops it with its very unique take on the welcoming of Spring.
It’s the one accessory that goes with everything and never goes out of style. On March 1st of each year, Bulgarians adorn their clothing and wrists with martenitsas. The ancient bracelet, usually made of twisted red and white woolen or cotton threads, announces the end of winter. And so much more.
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 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.
It turns out that in ketchup-loving, tomato-growing Poland, all the brands get their produce from factories in just one narrow strip of land. This fact sent the Internet into a tizzy.
The largest of the Estonian islands was already inhabited thousands of years ago. In the 21st century, it’s still thriving, and its expansive heritage is just the cherry on top.
About 40 million years ago, a large pine forest was growing on land now long gone. As the Earth was rapidly changing, the forest saw its time was coming to an end. Resigned to its fate, sure of being lost and forgotten for all eternity, it… cried.
Spanning 140 kilometers, the Soča may not be the longest or largest European river. Still, it is among the most important and – last but not least – the most stunningly beautiful on the continent.
Communist countries were jealous of a few things from the West, and one of them was the famous "capitalist" soft drink. A Polish copy became the symbol of attempts at escaping communism – but in a very unexpected way.
During the longest, cold winter nights, you may want to curl up under your blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a favorite film. But why not try something different? Estonians did. And now, each year, they host the European Sauna Marathon!
After a long period of short, cold days and endless, dark nights, there comes a time when something has to be done about it. In Hungary, the people of Mohács might just have the answer.
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.
It turns out it was far easier to unite the city made up of several different towns than to come up with a proper name for it.
Used to fasting and celebrating Easter as a time of penance, many Poles limit indulgences to only a few special occasions each year. But when it’s time to feast time, they do it 100%. Or, in this case, 200%.
By late February, everyone is sick and tired of winter, especially as the eternal cycle of the seasons promises the soon arrival of spring. For millennia, the human race was celebrating that time, trying to scare away the death of winter and invite the season of rebirth and fertility.
Bulgaria and wine, it’s serious. So serious that Bulgarians honor Saint Tryphon, patron of vine growers and winemakers, not once but twice a year. But is this enough to help Bulgarian wines conquer demanding markets abroad?
Winter is coming, and for Romanian peasants, that is good news: they can now indulge in the much-beloved șezătoare, where anything can happen. From song learning to marriage planning, șezătoarea was the place where to catch up on village life.
Adršpach-Teplice Rocks are called Rock City for a reason: a romantic network of “streets” to roam and get lost provides an experience of being both a mountain hiker and an urban flaneur.
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.
If the phenomenon of a self-burning fire is not mind-blowing enough already, know that the living fire of Vrancea is more than just pretty flames. It is an indicator that the disaster that lies underneath is about to erupt.
One of Estonia’s most famous scientists is the founder of embryology, Karl Ernst von Baer. Each year, Estonian students honor his life and achievements by giving his monument in Tartu Park a bubble bath to remember - with champagne and beer.
In the beer-vodka-wine European divide, Bulgaria’s position is clear: Wine, please. While Bulgaria has no shortage of impressive wines based on well-known grapes such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, why not impress your sommelier with knowledge of Bulgaria’s lesser-known varieties?
A unique aspect of Slovenian folk art is the way it intermingles with everyday farm life in the form of artfully decorated beehives. It is not only an excellent example of how creativity takes shape in all environments but also how seriously the culture of beekeeping is taken in this country.
Socialism’s great hotel investment in the heart of Polish Tatra Mountains is glamorous again. And it gets one hell of an (unofficial) product placement in the latest production of the most famous Polish opera.
The 2021 census in Bulgaria confirmed something that most Bulgarians know: the town of Melnik’s spot as one of the smallest towns in Europe is safe.
It's like walking through a fairytale city. When you add snow, you feel like you're in a romantic movie. All this is Český Krumlov, a town in Southern Bohemia where time seems to have stood still.
CEE countries keep their taxes lower than Western states. In this way, they effectively bridge the gap in economic development between the two parts of Europe.
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.
In the Šalek Valley in Slovenia, new lakes were unintentionally created as a consequence of coal mining. They covered old villages where people have lived for millennia, which are now to be found at the bottom of the lake, hiding a mysterious underwater world.
At only 91 years old, it is not the oldest Zoo in Europe. However, Prague Zoo is repeatedly ranked as one of the best zoological gardens worldwide. Let us give you a virtual tour.
Can sweeping political changes impact what and how we eat? You bet, argues historian and writer Dr. Albena Shkodrova, author of “Communist Gourmet.”
Step inside the filming set of the newest adaptation of Adams Family, Wednesday, the coming-of-age spin-off that took the world by storm. From the ordinary city of Jericho to the outstanding Nevermore Academy, discover the locations of one of the most binge-watched series.
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 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.
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.
The European aristocracy and artists loved the Czech Spas. The fame of Czech healing waters has gradually spread worldwide. The result is the 2021 inscription of the Czech Spa triangle to UNESCO.
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.
"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.
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.
Bulgarian folk costumes, once considered a thing of the past, now live on Instagram, attracting younger crowds along the way
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.
Predjama Castle is a unique medieval castle in Slovenia that was built into a cave entrance in a mountain wall. Thanks to its position, it has never been truly conquered and impresses visitors and architects from all over the world. Its heritage includes a legend of a bad knight and his end.
An unusual hunt: digging for truffles in the forests of Slovenia’s Istria.
When frosty winter hits, people tend to stay home and warm themselves up with a nice cuppa… not! Not when they're Polish, anyway. Winter at the end of the carnival was considered by the nobles as the best time to hit each other's pads and party.
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.
Every winter, Estonians can take a shortcut to their islands through the frozen surface of the sea. The roads are even officially recognized by authorities.
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.
Surely you've heard of Ice Hotels as they are nothing new. But if you are looking for one of a kind place to hold your wedding or christening of your child, then this Ice Church on top of Romania's highest peaks might be the perfect place.
The Krkonoše Mountains are like a wall, yet they are a bridge linking Czechia and Poland. They consist of deep woods and crystal-clear rivers, yet they are very open to the public. This is the story of the wilderness haven.
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.
French, Italian, American, Mediterranean, and so on – cuisine from all over the world seems to enjoy recognition. After all, tasting local specialties is an integral part of any travel. So what about Eastern Europe? What do people eat there?
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.
Which of the Central European countries has in total over 7000 kilometers of ski runs and about 2,500 ski lifts? This whole infrastructure comes complete with guaranteed snow. I can hear you're sold. Want to know where to book your tickets?
The small town of Žalec in Slovenia is home to a unique fountain that flows not with water, but with the hoppy goodness of beer. It is an original project, the first of its kind, and commemorates the local culture and tradition.
The blood-red bohemian garnet is considered the national gem of the Czech Republic. Not only is it good-looking, but legends also say that this beloved stone can replace bad moods with joy.
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.
Due to the climate, which tends to bring rather cold winter months, the nations of the Three Seas Region developed their cuisines following the particularities of each season. But one vegetable dominated all four of them.
At the end of January, masked people with countless bells tied around roam the streets in villages across Bulgaria. But despite their scary outfits, locals are not intimidated. These are the Kukeri, and they are here not to scare onlookers but to chase away the evil forces
It is a route that Czech Kings took upon their coronation for centuries. And while there are no kings in Czechia these days, the Royal Road is still a crucial sightseeing trail through Prague.
Navigating the Balkan cuisine and claiming dishes as national is a tricky balancing act. And yet, when it comes to the "most Bulgarian" thing you could eat, we think we may have just found it.
The fire by the Christmas table is not meant only for Instagramming: try this Bulgarian fortune-telling Christmas tradition instead.
The original traveler-storyteller is thought to have been born not in Venice but on the Croatian island of Korčula.
Would you swim in the frozen waters during Romania’s coldest month to fetch a cross thrown by the Priest? Some wouldn’t - but many would. Or so the tradition proved for the past hundreds of years. Learn about Romania’s most astonishing Epiphany traditions.
Croatia is undoubtedly one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the Three Seas Region. Fascinating history, lush food, and glorious sun have the power to attract anyone dreaming of a perfect summer break. But have you considered Croatia as a winter destination, too?
Unique in Europe for their one-of-a-kind, inside-out appearance, these fresco paintings on Moldavian Churches stand out for being more than mere wall decorations – they are systematic, comprehensive, and inclusive visual representations of the religious cycles in the Bible.
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.
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.
While the concept of dining in the dark is not novel, in most such restaurants, the point is to have you guessing at what you’re eating, provided you’ve been able to locate your plate first. In Bulgaria, one restaurant takes this a step further to educate.
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.
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!
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.
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.
How modern gardening gave the beginning of the Bulgarian community in Hungary?
On 1 October 1869, the Austrian Post Office issued its first postcard. Today merely a collectible, they were for decades a communication staple, as texting is now.
The new railway network will connect all of Poland’s larger cities with a mega-airport near Warsaw as well as connect Poland with neighboring countries.
Austrian startup Blue Planet Ecosystems has been presenting its product on efficient, bio, eco-friendly, and sustainable fishing production called LARA systems (Land-based Automated Recirculating Aquaculture). The product aims to address future food shortages.
With Christmas approaching, let's look at how it is celebrated in the Czech Republic, where little attention is paid to faith and church. And is Christmas here still a Christian holiday?
Many festive dishes tend to be present in some shape and form throughout the year. But can you find dishes that are so Christmas-exclusive that you can’t really taste them outside of the season?
Yes, there is a ranking of the world’s healthiest traditional feasts. And guess who’s at the top of the ranking? Poles with their fish-abundant, vegetable-based Christmas Eve supper. Never mind that it consists of twelve courses!
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"?
Believe it or not, winter in Croatia can get pretty cold. Most households used to have fireplaces, which served as the basis for developing an interesting Christmas tradition.
It has been said and will never cease to be repeated that Austria – the home of Silent Night, the world's revered Christmas carol – certainly knows how to turn Christmas into a special time of year, spiced up with a short visit by the underworld demons.
The second largest island in Croatia is the home of the town of Pučišća. I know – it most probably doesn’t tell you anything. And it should, as its quarry has been supplying the world with marble for centuries.
Never ones to leave their guests hungry, on one particular day of the year, Latvians load the table with nine foods. Traditionally, this was Yuletide to mark the winter solstice. Today, many celebrate Christmas but still keep up with tradition, too.
The Ruse-Varna railway line, the original final stretch of Europe’s Orient Express, is about to be modernized, benefiting Bulgaria, the EU, and the Three Seas Initiative.
Hidden in the forests of Bulgaria are immense riches. How should one go about obtaining them?
This vegetable spread popular in the Balkan region has become sort of a commodity good in Romania, especially among students. Forget about gold and other precious goods, zacusca is now the most coveted possession.
How much exactly should you tip in Central Europe? We've made a handy guide to help you figure it out.
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.
Is Austria a factory of geniuses? It certainly looks like it! Let us briefly remind ourselves what the Nobel Prize is and what it is awarded for.
Some claim it's a myth, but it's possible that at some point, you could take a sleigh ride from Poland to Sweden and break your journey with a stay at an inn - on ice.
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.
Created in 1766, Vienna’s Prater is one of the oldest public leisure spots on the continent. The amusement park in the center of Prater began operations in the 18th century.
Are you able to survive in water for a few hours at one time? Can you swim (advisable)? Do you like challenges? If your answer to the above question is ‘yes,’ then we have a proposition you won't want to pass up.
Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays worldwide. In Romania, the Christmas spirit is spread around by the Juni – a group of young men who carol the streets and houses for days in a row.
What do Agata Christie, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ulay, Jackie Chan, and Nick Cave have in common? A Slovenian episode!
In most European countries, you grow out of swinging in your early teens. But not in Estonia, where kiiking, or swinging, is a national sport recognized by the Estonian Sports Association.
During Christmas, one melody is sure to unite the world. This carol has been sung for over two hundred years by Christians all over the world. Do you know it? Where does it come from?
Adam Mickiewicz was perhaps the most important figure in Polish 19-century culture. His epic novel Pan Tadeusz – the epitome of Polish national sentiment – contains descriptions of more traditional Polish dishes than any other features.
If you order tea in an Estonian café, you can expect a wide variety of herbal drinks, though not necessarily what we usually call tea. Influenced by Russian culture, the social division between Estonian tea vs herbal infusion drinkers has left traces to this day.
Many communities and cultures would use words, foods, melodies, or actions to express themselves – not the Romanian people, however. For them, the deepest feelings of the human soul were best transmitted through a rug.
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?
World-famous Polish ski jumper, Adam Małysz, was once asked what he did to relax when sitting on the bench, waiting to jump. He answered – "I hum Christmas carols." His answer might have astonished everyone but Poles. Poles smiled and understood.
To: Mum, From: Nicky – is what you may find written on your Christmas present, for example, in the UK or the USA. However, Central Europeans are adamant that the gifts have a more otherwordly origin. So what is it about all this gift-giving tradition?
We seem to take it for granted that Christmas presents are brought by Father Christmas in his sleigh. That's down to C.C. Moore, but what came before and is still practiced in many Three Seas States?
They’re everywhere. And they’re all watching you. However, this is not a horror story but rather the charming story of the Sibiu roofs, known for their “eyes” that watch over the city.
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.
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.
Slovenia is not only literally one of the greenest countries in the European Union. Here you can live, travel, and even eat and drink eco-friendly!
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?
This award-winning promotional campaign for the capital of Lithuania will make you pant and scream.
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.
It is neither a museum nor a theme park. Opened in 1977, this Northern Slovakian village is a unique merger of tourism and folklore studies.
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.
Built in 1744, Sherif Halil Pasha Mosque is preceded in size only by Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, on the Balkan Peninsula.
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?
Did you know that you are probably a proud user of the same app as Barack Obama’s barber and Beyonce’s hairstylist?
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?
What do a paper bag, a sheep, a duck, a rooster, and hot air have to do with Lithuania's most beloved hobby?
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.
In past centuries, wars and epidemics were so frequent and their death toll so huge that all you could do to the dead was reduce, reuse, and recycle.
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.
“Extreme Reusing,” aka the Slovenian concept of what to do with a non-working chimney, which happens to be the tallest in Europe.
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!
It seems that Hungarians don’t care about the design of their drinking venues as they made so-called “ruin bars” an iconic part of their imbibe culture.
Time stopped about seven centuries ago in the Slovenian salt pans on the Adriatic Sea. This is the story of the traditional harvesting of exceptional salt.
“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?
Built in the 12th century by German craftsmen and merchants, Sighișoara is the beating heart of the historical region of Transylvania.
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?
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.
Every country has its superstitions. Some of them are still popular, while others bring a smile of disbelief that someone could have treated them seriously. And it looks like they are still alive and well in Poland.
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.
Spanning from the Netherlands to Baltic Countries, this important trade and geopolitical project had an enormous impact on Europe’s history. Consequently, some seaside cities across Europe are more like each other than to other cities in their respective countries.
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.
If Slovenia didn't provide enough reasons for someone to fall in love with the country, here's one extra: through the stomach to the heart!
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.
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.
Slovenia is a tiny country with more than 40 dialects, making Slovenian the most diverse Slavic language.
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.
Like the American Great Plains, Hungary's "puszta" has its unique version of horseback herders and easy riders
Along with its counterpart in Gdańsk, Poland, this Czech masterpiece of medieval engineering gives you as many details on time and astronomy as the present-day three iPhone widgets.
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.
George of Poděbrady, the king of Bohemia in the 15th Century, came up with a crazy idea. He dreamed of creating an organization to include all European nations. They would hold important meetings on an international level and vote on topics in a parliament-like manner. Crazy right?
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.
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.
For decades in the 20th century, Bulgarians and Romanians, two neighboring nations sharing 609 kilometers of border, knew little of each other. Today, 15 years after the two countries became members of the larger European family, things are changing for the better.
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.
The recent archeological discovery of a 17th C. woman’s corpse buried with a sickle around her neck points directly to her being suspected of some undead activity. However, her moniker, the vampiress, isn’t entirely fitting. It’s not that she wasn’t suspected of being undead (she was), but the term “vampire” doesn’t fit her time and place.
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.
Many of the zoological gardens in Europe are direct descendants of royal animal collections. The oldest among them is in Vienna.
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.
The old saying goes, "Stop trying to reinvent the wheel." However, often overlooked in this statement is exactly how many times the wheel has, in fact, been reinvented. The Ljubljana Marshes Wheel found Slovenia is the oldest wheel ever found.
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.
Countries with the right balance between services and manufacturing economies are more resilient to various shocks. This is the lesson from the crises in the last two years, and Central Europe has done its homework.
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.
You may call them nation with no country, but several Central European countries are home to this colorful and original nomadic people.
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.
Hel Peninsula, we mean. Not to be confused with Hell (and quite the opposite), this long, narrow strip of land has become the epitome of the Polish summer holiday.
When Austrian and Polish soldiers captured Turkish positions after the Battle of Vienna, they thought that the tiny,