Prague is the new Paris. According to a survey of nearly 700 TripAdvisor users, 91 percent consider Eastern Europe more appealing than Western Europe for leisure travel. Of that group, 39 percent said Eastern Europe was appealing because it is more "authentic," 25 percent because it is more affordable and 15 percent because it is more beautiful than Western Europe. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed have already visited Eastern Europe and 52 percent are currently planning a trip.
"It's pretty clear that smart travelers are looking eastward in Europe for value, authenticity and new experiences," said Michele Perry, TripAdvisor spokesperson. "The countries of Eastern Europe are more accessible than ever and present unique opportunities appealing to curious and adventurous travelers."
TripAdvisor offers travelers an honest guide to Eastern Europe with an insider's look at what's hot and what's not, based on the opinions of real travelers.
TOP DESTINATIONS - TripAdvisor's favorite Eastern European cities, based on May 2005 user survey
1. Prague, Czech Republic 2. Budapest, Hungary 3. St. Petersburg, Russia 4. Krakow, Poland
TRAVEL BUZZ - TripAdvisor's tips on traveling to Eastern Europe, based on May 2005 user survey
1. Get religion - "I'm not religious, but I thought the Black Madonna in Czestochowa, Poland was truly spiritual." 2. The French Riviera is so ... 20 minutes ago - "The Adriatic Coast and all the islands along Croatia, more beautiful than the French Riviera and the Italian Coast put together." 3. Lights out - "Prague at night from the St. Charles Bridge - like a fairy tale." 4. Get real - "The neighborhood of 'Zizkov' in Prague. Including the local bars and restaurants, Televizni tower and 'Infinity' nightclub off Vinohradska Street. These are places where I could really feel the authentic Prague over the touristic Prague."
MUST SEES - TripAdvisor's top picks for places to see in Eastern Europe, based on May 2005 user survey
1. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg 2. The Charles Bridge, Prague 3. Old Town in Prague; Old City in Dubrovnik; Old Bohemia in Budapest; Old Town in Tallin 4. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland 5. Adriatic/Dalmatian Coastline, Croatia 6. Dracula Castle, Romania 7. Red Square, Moscow
HIDDEN GEMS - TripAdvisor users reveal "secret" spots that are sure to please, based on May 2005 user survey
1. Sand Dunes of Nida, Lithuania 2. Tatra Mountains, Poland 3. Salt Mines, Poland
RANTS & RAVES - Pearls of wisdom from experienced TripAdvisor travelers, based on May 2005 user survey and Forums
1. Be careful who you call Eastern - "The Czechs do not feel they are in Eastern Europe, rather Central Europe!" 2. Prague or Budapest? - "No need to be torn, Prague wins hands down. More beautiful, cheaper, more friendly, more interesting, just more more more." (TripAdvisor User - UK, April 26, 2005) 3. Budapest or Prague? - "Having visited both Prague and Budapest within weeks of each other two summers ago, I preferred Budapest. Prague was beautiful but it was overrun with tourists and I truly felt like I was in the Magic Kingdom. I would like to return in the off-season. Budapest, on the other hand, felt like an actual 'getaway.' It was picturesque and romantic with great restaurants, beautiful architecture and wonderful people." 4. While in St. Pete ... - "I have been to St. Pete 3 times and going for another week in June. The 'Must See' is Peterhof. Easily gotten to by Hydrofoil at the Winter Palace. The other MUST see is the Catherine Palace and the Amber Room there. The Hermitage is next (center of city). Church on Spilled Blood is easy to get to also and quite magnificent." (TripAdvisor User - Greenville, SC, May 8, 2005)
TOP HOTELS - TripAdvisor's best bets in top 4 Eastern European cities (top cities determined by May 2005 user survey)
Prague, Czech Republic Andel's Design Hotel, Stroupeznickeho 21, Prague 5, Prague 15000 97 Reviews, most recent posted on May 22, 2005 Average Price: US$ 195
"Nice hotel in great location. Just across the river from old town (short walk or subway ride away), close to park and castle. Clean, friendly staff, free internet in lobby." (TripAdvisor User - Texas, May 19, 2005)
Budapest, Hungary Le Meredien Budapest, Erzsebet Ter 9-10, Budapest 1051 37 Reviews, most recent posted on April 12, 2005 Average Price: US$ 260
"The location is great, the hotel is situated within a stones throw of the Chain Bridge and the Vaci Utca. We cannot praise this hotel highly enough; the room, the location and the staff." (TripAdvisor User - Manchester, UK, April 12, 2005)
St. Petersburg, Russia Dostoevsky Hotel, Vladimirsky prospekt, 19, St. Petersburg 191002 7 Reviews, most recent posted on May 18, 2005 Average Price: US$ 244
"The staff were delightful, all young, speaking very good English and incredibly helpful. They made sure we had everything we needed, booked ballet tickets, taxis and found out details of tours, etc. The room, although small, had all that was required." (TripAdvisor User - Godalming, UK, May 12, 2005)
Krakow, Poland Regent Hotel, 19 Bozego Ciala St, Krakow 31-059 7 Reviews, most recent posted on May 21, 2005 Average Price: US$ 66
"Hotel was excellent, the reception staff were very helpful. Nice big rooms, brilliant shower and very good breakfast. The Jewish district is peppered with brilliant bars, mainly for the youngsters but that didn't stop us from frequenting them till the wee small hours ... no loud music just cheap beer and top vodka ... " (TripAdvisor User - Lancashire, UK, May 21, 2005)
Note: TripAdvisor calculates an average price for each hotel, which is based on the rates of available rooms obtained from booking partners and other independent sources of pricing information. In addition, average hotel prices are updated nightly based on prevailing conversion rates. These are only estimates and not guarantees. Rates are subject to seasonal fluctuations.
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