Eastern Europe has been a popular spot for budget travellers for a while now. While Eastern Europe might not be quite as developed and modern as Western Europe, what it lacks in those departments in more than makes up for with affordability. But, cheap beer and cut-price accommodation are not the only things the countries of Eastern Europe have to offer. While most people rarely venture outside of their capital cities, much of Eastern Europe’s attraction lies in its natural beauty.
Stray from the beaten just a little bit and you could uncover landscapes that will blow you away. And, the best thing of all, you won’t need to battle with hundreds of other people to enjoy the views. The chances are you will have all that beauty all to yourself. So, if you’re planning a Euro-trip anytime soon, try and fit one of these incredible national parks into your itinerary.
Taganay National Park, Russia
If your intention in visiting a national park was to completely disconnect from the modern world, there is no better place than the Taganay National Park. It is the very epitome of Russian wilderness. With dramatic mountains, sporting jagged peaks, and acres upon acres of lush forest, the beauty here is virtually unrivalled. There are plenty of hiking opportunities throughout the park and a plethora of Instagram-worthy photo ops.
Stretching across 24,000 hectares, Călimani is one of Romania’s most impressive national parks. If you’re a wildlife lover, keep your eyes peeled for badgers, bears, lynxes, and deer – all of which call this patch of land home. There is also a geological reservation here that really rocks (pun intended). It is very easy to while away an entire day just strolling through this park – just make sure you steer well clear of any bears you encounter along the way.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, Belarus
The Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is home to over 250 different species of animals and birds, including wolves, lynxes, bison, and woodpeckers. It is the pride of Belarus and is covered with lush, primeval forest. If that wasn’t enough for you, the forest also boasts its own library and a small museum, which includes a gift shop filled with locally made handicrafts.
Dzukija National Park, Lithuania
The unique thing about this national park is that it is home to a number of old villages that are still inhabited to this day. The people that reside here live traditional lives and can often be seen foraging for mushrooms and berries in the forest or weaving at their windows. The park mainly consists of pine forest and under the shade of these elegant trees you will find several fascinating archaeological sites.
Carpathian National Reserve, Ukraine
The Carpathian National Reserve is the oldest and largest park in Ukraine and is renowned for its staggering natural beauty. There are dozens and dozens of different trails that run through the 50,000 hectares that make up this park. As you walk, keep a look out for the animals, birds and plants thrive here. For the best experience, get a local guide to take you around and point out the wildlife to you.