In 1989, Hungary opened its doors to tourism after the collapse of the Soviet Union and hasn’t looked back since. Hungary offers the traveller all the delights of Eastern Europe’s cultural capital Budapest, on a par with any of its western neighbours. Stunning architecture, arts, and a lively social scene based around cafes, bars, and baths built by the Turks, make the capital a great starting point before heading into the countryside; filled with medieval castles, churches and towns. The great expanse of the plains – the Hungarian heartland – offers extraordinary glimpses into Hungary’s Magyar heritage, and an abundance of wildlife. Fine wines, folk customs, music, and art, make Hungary a feast for the greediest of culture-vultures – at bargain prices.
Romania is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Picturesque castles and citadels are scattered across the forested Transylvanian landscape, where wolves and bears roam in the majestic Carpathian mountains. Historic monasteries, churches and villages contain some of the best medieval sites anywhere in the world; where folk traditions are still strong and seem unchanged for centuries. The capital Bucharest makes for a sobering introduction to Romania’s recent history and a great place to begin exploring the wilds. Romania has struggled to shake of the past and tourism has been slow to develop; getting about the country can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Much of Romania is unexplored and if you want to get off the beaten track in Europe – this is about as wild as it gets.