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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.