Backpacking in Eastern Europe: 3 Must-Visit Destinations

Europe is an amazing place to go backpacking. There is a fantastic array of destinations in such close proximity compared to other continents like South America, where a 12-hour bus journey is the norm. Do that in Europe and you’ll have sailed across about 4 countries! With so many places so close together it is tempting to try and pack in as much as possible during your travel time. If you prefer to spend a bit longer in a few choice places and really get to know them, then the following 3 places should be parked at the top of your list of must-visit backpacking destinations in eastern Europe.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

If you’re looking for places to backpacking in Eastern Europe that are a little off the beaten track, Slovenia should certainly be on your bucket list. This gorgeous country in the Balkans is full of stunning natural scenery, rustic culture and a laid-back approach to life that makes it the ultimate backpacking destination for travellers looking to detox from modern life.

A stunning lake set in beautiful surroundings, Lake Bled in Slovenia is the perfect getaway when you have been stopping off at the wide range of Eastern European cities on your trip. The backpacker’s journey in this part of the world is often quite city-orientated, moving from capital to capital by train and taking on life in the fast lane. After countless nights on the town, days of pavement-pounding and stunning (if slightly repetitive) architecture, Bled is the perfect escape.

Life slows down here, the quiet streets only see a car from time to time and it is nature that takes over. Surrounded by lush green mountains the lake sits beautifully hidden away from the pressure of city life and allows travellers to sit back, have a breather and contemplate their journey so far. Hiring a boat and rowing out to the island is a must, where a small church sits, majestically overlooking the lake in all its splendour.

Slovenia is known as being a haven for outdoor activities, so if you’re a fan of things like hiking, swimming, cycling and sailing then you’ll have the time of your life at Lake Bled. The food in Slovenia is also famed for its exceptional flavour, sustainability and high-quality fo ingredients, so if you’ve worked up an appetite during the day you’ll be able to indulge in some of the best food in Eastern Europe.

If your Europen backpacking journey has taken you from Prague to Bratislava to Budapest, then it’s time you took some time out and enjoyed this hidden, rural gem.

Kazbegi, Georgia

We’ve already sung the praises of Kazbegi before on Backpacker Boy, and with good reason. This town in Georgia is now officially known as Stepantsminda, but locals and travellers alike still refer to it as Kazbegi and come here every year on backpacking expeditions through the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Kazbegi is a true diamond and likely to explode on the backpacking scene as people continue to venture further east on their journeys. Treks around the area offer surprises around every turn, whether it’s another glacier or a small mountain village where the locals invite you to join them for tea. Watch your step though, because you might come across Darial Gorge which is soon to house the 2nd largest monastery in Georgia and there’ll be some steep drops!

Georgia was once known as a prime destination for backpackers who wanted to travel where nobody else would, but this reputation eventually got out and the whole country rapidly became of one Eastern Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. Kazbegi is now quite a developed town for tourism, with plenty of hotels and hostels dotted around the streets, but even if the middle has a tendency to get busy, the stunning nearby landscapes are still perfect for solitary exploration.

Whatever you choose to take in, Kazbegi will blow your mind and is certainly worth considering as a destination for backpacking in eastern Europe.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Many people visit the Czech Republic to see its capital, Prague. But if you leave Prague and head straight across the border into the region of Bohemia, then you’ll stumble across a real gem of an eastern Europe backpacking destination.

Cesky Krumlov is one of the most beautiful places in Europe that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best. The town itself is stunning; bohemian architecture, red-tiled rooftops and cascading mountains. The picture-postcard surroundings are reason enough to make the trip and spend a few days taking in the country air. But there’s more to it than that.

This is a mecca for the adventure sports traveller. Most of it is water-based, with white water rafting top of many people’s list as they endeavour to meander through the Sumava National Park, getting their adrenaline pumping along the way.

Whatever you’re looking for from your Eastern European experience, Cesky Krumlov will deliver it in spades. Adventure, architecture and stunning surroundings; one not to be missed!

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