Next month me and a friend plan to take my van for a spin around Eastern Europe, visiting some countries I’ve never been before. With that I started researching into some of the lesser known beautiful sights that we could look out for. Here is a list of 5 beautiful places to visit in some of the countries we’ll be passing.
Baradla Cave, Hungary
This one is for the spelunking lovers. On the northern coast of Hungary, near to the Slovakian border is the Aggtelek National Park. Known for it’s 280 caves spanning 200km2, the most impressive of which is the stalactite ‘fairytale-like’ Baradla cave, the largest stalactite cave in Europe. It’s earliest written mention is as early as the 16th century and archaeological excavations have shown that prehistoric man once dwelled there. The national park isn’t without it’s own beauty and wonder though. I would love to spend a day hiking in the park and exploring the caves below.
If caves are what you’re into, not too far away there’s also the Arogonite caves of Slovakia. One of only 3 in the world which have the ‘alien-like’ mineral Arogonite, which is said to shine like stars.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Before writing this list I asked my well-travelled brother his favourite place he’s been to in Europe. This was his answer. I even had the chance to visit Plitvice while filming in Croatia last year but couldn’t justify the lengthy trip (footage wise). Instead I opted for the also stunning, fish-shaped Brijuni National Park in Croatia. Plitvice is a series of 16 beautiful lakes with the waterfalls being especially popular. It was declared Croatia’s first national park in the 1940’s and is renowned for it’s ‘Karst landscapes’.
This road trip was supposed to be about visiting countries I’ve never seen before. But I think for the wonders of Plitvice Lakes, it could be worth a slight detour for a day. It’s also worth mentioning that the Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina look incredible! If you have the time to venture further down to the south of the country.
Bled Island and Castle, Slovenia
I was incredibly surprised by how much Slovenia has to offer and was very tempted to write about it’s Abandoned Military Baracks. But couldn’t resist including the incredibly picturesque sights of Bled Island. The castle atop Bled Island dates back to 1004 and is said to have absolutely stunning views of the island and surrounding lake. The lake, castle and surrounding areas really sell themselves. But if castle’s are what you like, there’s also an amazing 13th century Slovenian castle built directly into a cliff face.
Watermills of Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Something about this just made me feel really excited. It looks magical! The small 19th century huts look like a fantasy film come to life, enhanced further by the unbelievable 72 foot waterfall in the middle of Jajce. Jajce is located in Central Bosnia where the river Pliva and Vrbas meet. Aside from being stunning, there are mountains over 2,000 metres high not too far away. Travelling through through the mountain roads can be dangerous due to the poor conditions, however the scenery is said to be breathtaking.
Abandoned City of Pripyat (Chernobyl), Ukraine
Full disclosure. Although I don’t think I’ll be going this far East on the road trip, I could not resist including this. It’s so damn fascinating! Chernobyl most certainly isn’t what comes to mind when I think of travelling, but when I saw this abandoned city my jaw dropped. Pripyat was the closest town to the Chernobyl explosion and as a result has left the city uninhabited for 30 years. The history and mystery (rhymes!) are amazing and if you ever wondered what it might be like to live in Soviet Ukraine, this city has a lot to offer.
Wildlife has of course flourished with the absence of humans and it’s only a matter of time before it takes over completely. Radiation shouldn’t be a concern either. At present the radiation levels are so small and all tours end with being screened for radiation levels.
Just writing this list has made me beam with exciting. There’s so much out there that I didn’t expect and can’t wait to explore. A huge resource for me when travelling and when writing this post has been Atlas Obscura. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in finding some more obscure places to visit.
Thanks for stopping by!
Love, Kallum <3