Things To Know Before You Travel To East Europe

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When travelling to East Europe, there are a few things you should be reminded about. One of them is to always carry cash with you. If you can, make sure to separate your cash and credit cards. It is recommended to put them in different areas such as your pocket or wallet. 

Never put them all in one place as some of the major tourist spots in Europe are notorious for pickpockets. 

It is also essential for the diversity of the culture in various parts of Eastern Europe. Take time to study the culture of each and adjust accordingly. Do not assume that they all have the same culture and beliefs simply because they belong to the same part of Europe. 



Are you ready? Let’s talk about what you need to know when you travel to East Europe – the mysterious yet stunning part of this continent.

Best time to go to East Europe

If you want to avoid the crowd, the shoulder season is the best time to go to East Europe. This is from May to September. It is also practical because rates are cheaper on accommodation and flight. The best part is that you can also expect milder weather – not too cold or too hot. 

  • When is the summer: June to August
  • When is the winter season: December to February


Most of Eastern Europe can be accessed without a visa, especially for North Americans, Latin Americans, European Citizens, and countries in Oceania. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months. This should be effective until the time of your arrival to the specific East European country. 

For tourists that are non-EU citizens, you will have to apply for ETIAS starting 2021, which works like eTA or travel authority permits like the ones in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

For EU travellers, you can use your national identity card to travel within East Europe and other parts of the EU. The visa-free entry is valid for stays of no more than 90 days. 



In general, most countries use Euros (€) but not all of them. In some tourist destinations, you can pay with major currencies like US Dollars and GBP, while card payments are also widely accepted. Regardless, it’s best to carry cash with you. Here are the currencies used in Eastern Europe:

  • Bulgaria – Bulgarian lev, лв, BGN
  • Czech Republic – Czech koruna, Kč, CZK
  • Estonia – Euro, €
  • Hungary – Hungarian forint, Ft, HUF
  • Latvia – Euro, €
  • Lithuania – Euro, €
  • Poland – Polish zloty, zł, PLN
  • Romania – Romanian Leu, lei, RON
  • Serbia – Serbian dinar, RSD or РСД (unofficial: din. or дин), RSD
  • Slovakia – Euro, €

Average Cost per Person Daily

East Europe is the best place to spend 3-weeks in Europe on a budget due to its flexibility. When you travel to East Europe, the budget for your travel will depend on which country you visit. Some countries are cheap, while others can be costly. You can mix up affordable destinations and expensive ones. For example, stay in hostels in Krakow then the money you saved can be used to book a place for skiing in Zakopane.

But when in doubt, add a 10% tip to your bill at a restaurant. Make sure to tip hotel porters, too. A good idea is to tip at fine dining restaurants, but it isn’t expected in food stalls or rural locations. 

  • On the budget: $35
  • On the mid-range: $65-$120
  • On luxury: $200 and up
  • The cheapest country in East Europe: Romania
  • The most expensive country in East Europe: Estonia

RECOMMENDED TO READ: Europe on a budget

Languages when you Travel to East Europe

Europe is one of the most diverse continents in the world not just in terms of culture but also in languages. While for Eastern Europe, since many countries here were colonised by Russia or were part of the USSR, most of the languages are stemmed out of the Russian language, however, they are not the same. All countries in Eastern Europe have their own languages.

Breaking the language barrier

Europe is composed of 44 countries and most have their own language. The languages in the countries in East Europe are mostly Romance language and Slavic Language.

Regardless, speaking with young people should not be a problem while many locals who work at the top tourist destinations will be easy to communicate with.

In addition, downloading an offline translator on your phone will be a good idea or bring a phrasebook if you prefer that.

If you stay on the tourist trail, you shouldn’t have a problem finding locals who can speak English, especially young people. Your hotel reception can also speak to someone on your behalf if you need help translating, while most tours are guided by English-speaking guides.

When visiting places like this with reliable internet, I always just download a translator app on my phone making sure to download the language of the places I’m going to, in case I run out of mobile data, I can still use the app.

If you are going for three weeks in East Europe, bringing a phrasebook might not be too smart as you will end up having to bring a couple with you.

What To Pack


It can be somehow challenging when you pack your things before heading to Eastern Europe. But in general, you can determine the items you need to pack based on the time of year you visit. 

When visiting in the summer months, opt for light pieces of clothing such as a scarf or a windbreaker. Make sure you get enough protection from the sun, too. If you visit during winter, choose to pack items that can be layered and will keep you warm. 

Getting Around

One of the best things about travelling in East Europe or Europe, in general, is how easy and remarkably cheap it is to travel around with plenty of options for transportation.

Europe has the best railway system in the world and even buses. Most of the rail lines are connected throughout the continent. If that’s not an option, buses are also not a shabby option.

Many travellers from North America, Latin America, Africa, and even Asia are surprised by how cheap the flight tickets are either domestic flights or international flights within Europe.

If you like to be in charge, you can also rent a car and drive around for as cheap as $30 per day.

Dos and Don’ts

Travelling in East Europe shouldn’t be hard or more complicated than travelling in Asia. If anything, it should be easier. However, there are things you should remember to make sure that you will have an enjoyable holiday without being disrespectful to the locals or the place you will be visiting.

This section will discuss the dos and don’ts of exploring East Europe.


  • Always ask for the permission of someone if you are taking a photo of the locals, if you are travelling on tour, you can ask your tour guide if it’s okay or asks her/him to ask for photo op permission
  • Pack a scarf/long-sleeve top, shirts/long trousers, and a skirt. When you visit religious and sacred places, one of the main rules is to dress modestly. It’s essential to cover your chest area, shoulders, and down to below the knees
  • Observe traffic regulations. Many places in Europe follow the pedestrian light strictly, don’t get in trouble for being too cool to wait for the green man


  • Never take photos of children even if their parents said it’s okay – minors can’t consent for themselves
  • Don’t expect the locals to speak your language for your convenience, you are the visitor, and you should be the person to adjust to their convenience
  • drink on the street or in public places

The bottom line here is: be respectful and don’t feel and act entitled just because you are bringing business to this part of the world.


East Europe is home to many beautiful places to see, food to eat, and traditions that until today are still alive.

A few years ago, Eastern Europe wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. But today, things have changed as many Eastern European destinations are causing a lot of buzz within the tourism industry. When you explore these recommended destinations, you can expect the same allure.

Just like any other destination spot, it offers a distinct culture, history, and gastronomy than any other popular European destination can offer. Furthermore, there are plenty of hidden gems and surprises that await you.

Here are the places, food, drinks, and festivals that I recommend you not to miss when you travel to East Europe or you can check out our 3 different itineraries for 3-weeks in East Europe.


St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Bulgaria
  • Places: Sofia, Rila Monastery, Burgas, Pomorie, Sozopol, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna
  • Food: Banitsa, Tarator, Meshana Skara, Shopska Salata, Shkembe, Kiselo Mlyako, Moussaka
  • Drinks: Rakia, Ayran, Wine Turkish-Style Coffee, Boza, Mastika, Menta, Elderberry Juice, Etar

Czech Republic

  • Places: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Castle Karlstejn, Brno, Ostrava, Karlovy Vary, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge
  • Food: Palačinky, Trdelník, Vepřo-knedlo-zelo, Chlebíčky, Guláš, Smažený Sýr, Knedlíky, Grilované Klobásy,
  • Drinks: Czech Beer, Becherovka, Slivovice, Kofola, Malinovka – Czech Republic is also known for its best nightlife across Europe


  • Places: Tallinn, Parnu, Otepaa, Soomaa National Park, Saaremaa Island, Narva, Matsalu National Park, Hiiumaa Island, Tartu,
  • Food: Kvass, Sprats, Mulgipuder, Kama, Aspic, Sauerkraut, Vastlakukkel
  • Drinks: Root Beer, Vana Tallinn, Kali, Estonian Beer, Vodka, Kiiu Torn


  • Places: Lake Balaton, Tokaj, Pécs, Hollókő, Eger Castle, Caves of Lillafüred, Szentendre, Hortobagy National Park, Eszterháza, Visegrád Royal Palace,
  • Food: Gulyás, Halászlé, Lángos, Főzelék, Somlói Galuska, Pörkölt and Paprikás, Dobos Torte, Töltött Káposzta, Kürtös Kalács
  • Drinks: Beer, Wine, Pálinka, Unicum, Fröccs,


  • Places: House of the Black Heads, Jauniela, Naval Port Prison, Riga, Ligatne Bunker, Old Sigulda Castle, Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk, Bauska Castle, Aerodium, Turaida Museum-Reserve,
  • Food: Beetroot Soup, Speck, Dry-curd cottage cheese, Rye Bread Pudding, Rasol, Pelmeni Dumplings, Karbonade
  • Drinks: Kvass, Riga Black Balsam,


  • Places: House of the Black Heads, Jauniela, Naval Port Prison, Riga, Ligatne Bunker, Old Sigulda Castle, Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk, Bauska Castle, Aerodium, Turaida Museum-Reserve,
  • Food: Beetroot Soup (Burokėlių Sriuba), Cepelinai, Kepta Duona, Saltibarsciai, Grybukai, Potato Pancakes, Kibinai
  • Drinks: Cider, Beer, Gira, Kvass, Midus, Krupnikas


  • Places: Krakow Old Town, Gdansk, Bialowieza Forest, Auschwitz, Malbork Castle, Tatra Mountains, Zakopane, Wroclaw, Slowinski National Park, Masurian Lake Distric, Beskids
  • Food: Bigos, Periogi, Ogorki Kwaszone, Żurek, Warog Szczypiorkiem, Śledzie W Śmietanie, Polish Bread
  • Drinks: Beer, Vodka, Żubrówka, Żołądkowa gorzka, Miód pitny,


  • Places: Bran, Babele and the Sphinx, Peleș Castle, Coloana Infinitului by Brâncuși, Berca Mud Volcanoes, Brasov, Transylvania, Constanta
  • Food: Sarmale, Mămăligă, Mici, Ciorbă de burtă, Pomana Porcului, Jumări, Cozonac, Drob de miel, Papanași, Salata De Boeuf
  • Drinks: Tuica, Socata Drink, Traditional Romanian Wine


  • Places: Belgrade, Church of St. Sava, House on the Drina, Studenica Monastery, Subotica City Hall, Josip Broz Tito’s Grave, Đerdap Gorge, Skull Tower
  • Food: Ćevapi, Kajmak, Karađorđeva šnicla, Sarma, Musaka, Ajvar, Mladi sir, Pljeskavica
  • Drinks: Rakija, Beer, Wine, Vinjak, Pelinkovac, Kvass


  • Places: Bratislava, Kosice, Dunajec River, Lomnicky Peak, Nitra Castle, Jasná, Piestany’s,
  • Food: Bryndzové pirohy, Kapustnica, Vepřo knedlo zelo, Gulášová polievka, Vyprážaný syr, Vyprážaný rezeň, Trdelnik, Slovenske palacinky
  • Drinks: Kofola, Vinea, Tatranský čaj, Demänovka, Bentianna, Beer, Wine, Karpatské Brandy, Slivovica

We hope that this travel to East Europe guide has been useful for you. Have a great time in East Europe, it’s definitely one of the places I would never get tired of visiting and exploring. If you have questions or suggestions to add to this post, let us know in the comment section below.


A 3-week trip to Eastern Europe offers the opportunity to discover rich history, unique architecture, and diverse cultures. Explore cities such as Budapest, Krakow, and Prague, and indulge in local cuisine and traditions. via @threeweektraveller

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