While the nations of Western Europe have plenty of delights that people of means can enjoy with abandon, Europe does not cease to exist east of Germany. The east has plenty of attractions for the luxury traveler, giving those willing to move beyond the well-known the opportunity to have a truly elevated experience without having to battle the crowds that define nations further west.
Here are three luxury destinations in Eastern Europe you should put on your travel itinerary for 2015…
Famous for its abundance of Eastern Orthodox churches, those that enjoy touring these exquisitely carved religious gems will have their days filled with places like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (one of the biggest of its kind in the world), St. Sofia Church (which dates back from the 6th century), and Church of Seven Saints (which was built on the abandoned remains of an Ottoman era mosque).
While the central attraction of the Sofia mineral baths are closed for renovations, their fabulous fountains, garden and periodic art exhibitions are also well worth visiting.
Transylvania and Bucovina, Romania
While many associate the gruesome tales of Bram Stoker with this corner of the world, the region of Transylvania and Bucovina within Romania will instead reveal itself to be a heavenly piece of peaceful countryside that is sprinkled with medieval era castles and monasteries that command attention.
Bran Castle is the place where you’ll want to go if you want to check out the abode of the ruthless monarch, Vlad The Impaler, and those seeking out a unique cultural highlight will love the UNESCO recognized frescoes of more than ten Painted Monasteries, which can be found all over Bucovina.
Having undergone one of the bigger transformations of any city after the lifting of the Iron Curtain, Tallinn, Estonia is now one of Eastern Europe’s hottest urban destinations, as it combines its well-preserved medieval era building stock with the modernist structures that have been built here in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Get delightfully lost in the narrow streets of Tallinn’s Old Town, then admire the re-purposed warehouses of the Roterman Quarter that bear witness to the vibrancy that calls this city home in the present day.
Try out some Estonian cuisine at dinner, which is reinventing the identity of Nordic food, and finish off your evening at Balloon Tallinn, which is a helium balloon that rises up to a peak elevation of 400 feet, granting you some of the best views in the area. On a clear day, one can even see Finland across the Baltic Sea.