Often overlooked period for traveling, spring has undeservedly been cast aside in the favor of summer and fall. However, it is a perfect time to visit a destination you had always dreamed of. Saving money, avoiding crowds and extreme temperatures are only some of many advantages that make spring travels far more comfortable than the traditional summer voyages. Highly competitive with its astonishing natural and architectural wealth, but far more affordable and less conventional that its West European counterparts, these Eastern European destinations should definitely be taken into consideration when planning your next getaway.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik’s already major popularity soared in 2012, after HBO hit TV series Game of Thrones used it as a filming location. Traditionally a seaport which supported itself historically through maritime trade, Dubrovnik is today a tourist attraction without competition in this part of Europe. However, Dubrovnik isn’t just a modern day tourist one hit wonder. It is a home to the world’s oldest Arboretum, Arboretum Trsteno, as well as the Europe’s oldest working pharmacy. White marble streets out of which the most prominent one is Stradun, as well as Renaissance and Baroque architecture will surely leave no visitor indifferent. Surrounded by majestic stone walls which are topped with two ancient fortresses, Lovrijenac and Revelin, even a simple walk around Dubrovnik is guaranteed to make an impression. Since summer is the peak season of tourism for a seaside gem such as Dubrovnik, spring is a perfect time to make a visit. Spring weather is perfect for sightseeing, as it excludes the inconvenience large crowds or sky high temperatures inside the heated walls may be during the hottest months of the year.
Positioned on two rivers, Svislach and Nyamiha, Belarusian capital is far more than a post Soviet city. Noticeably growing and expanding during the last decade, it has become a must visit for all those who wish to see and experience rapidly evolving cities. Among many new and modern attractions Minsk has to offer, it still remains a distinctive historical hub. Once a home to the assassin of JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, city of Minsk has made his apartment open to all visitors who wish to see it. Surprisingly green and clean, Minsk is a great city to get around, whether by foot or some form of transport, which makes sightseeing extremely comfortable. Numerous churches, museums and galleries can be seen in the inner parts of the city, while the Old Town represents a special treat and a sort of time travel experience. Third largest botanical garden in the world, as well as hundreds of fountains are only some among many reasons Minsk should definitely be on your spring travel list.
One of only 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are considered to be both Cultural and Natural Sites, Ohrid city that lies on the lake with the same name is frequently called “Jerusalem of Balkans”. Distinctive in appearance with over 300 churches, Ohrid is a small, cozy town that can and should be explored entirely on foot. A well developed town in the age of Phillip II of Macedon, Ohrid is today considered to be the eight largest city in Macedonia. Except for an astonishing number of churches and religious temples, Ancient Theatre of Ohrid can also be seen. Built around 200 B.C., it was allegedly used for gladiator fights, with a capacity to take in more than 2000 spectators. Yet, if you’re looking for one thing you can’t find anywhere else in the world, Ohrid pearl making shops should be a must see. Noticeable for their outstanding whiteness and shine, Ohrid pearls are both famous and highly prized all over the world. The production process is a secret guarded by two local pearl making families, who’ve kept the tradition going for many centuries. However, it is known a special liquid made out of scales of local fish is used to produce the result, along with many other methods that are kept hidden.
Poland’s primary seaport and historically the wealthiest city in the country, both the stunning architecture and undeniable historical significance make Gdansk the perfect visit for any time of the year. However, spring is a perfect time to avoid the summer rush, have a walk down the famed Ulica Długa or perhaps visit one of many churches and museums. A cross between German and Polish tradition, the city of Gdansk is an architectural mix of styles, unlike any other city you may come across. Just like the Ohrid pearl, Gdansk has its own world class gems that can be found in small local shops. Baltic Amber has been historically known as the most beautiful and expensive kind, and a large percentage of it came right from the Bay of Gdansk. Once a huge maritime trading center of the Baltic, Gdansk has preserved some of its old glory, such as the biggest reconstruction in the world, Zuraw Crane. Opened to the public, it belongs to the Polish Maritime Museum. Almost completely destroyed during the Battle of Gdansk, it was first built in 14th century and used for the next five centuries.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kotor has frequently been called the most southern European fjord, due to the extreme indentation of the landscape, along with overhanging mountains and hills that surround the Bay. Fortified in the Middle Ages, the city was first mentioned in 170 B.C., and was historically lauded for its natural and architectural beauty. Today, it is considered to be one of the most preserved medieval cities in Europe, with a large part of Old Town and Ancient Roman ruins still in their original place and condition. Influenced by its Venetian period, Kotor has maintained a lot of its Venetian architecture, which provides an authentic Mediterranean atmosphere along with its incredible nature. Visiting the main square, some of the churches and cruising on the Bay of Kotor should definitely be on your to do list, preferably before the tourist craze and insane heat starts.