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What occurs to your mind when you think of a European Tour? Frosty peaks in Switzerland and sipping coffee by the Louvre? Hold on now, before you pick up the ‘French for Travellers 101’, let’s take a detour. A look at the unexplored face of Europe.

We have assembled an itinerary for your Eastern and Nordic Europe trip!. It’s entirely up to you to stretch out how many days you wish to spend in each city. The best time to visit the eastern countries is in spring or autumn, you will experience pleasant weather during your stay. While for the Nordic region, it’s best to visit during summers. June-September is a great period to explore since winters here are cold.

Are you ready to be left speechless from what’s coming? So pack up and let’s get going.

East Europe

Estonia

Tallinn

Our East European adventure begins in the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn. Tallinn is a charming and peaceful city with a dense history that its atmosphere reflects. The Old Town is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore the town through its cosy streets, visit the Alexander Nevsky and St. Mary’s Cathedrals, the Great Guild, St. Olaf’s Church and Raeapteek, one of the oldest running pharmacies in the world.

Don’t miss out on the Kadriorg Art Museum, built in elegant baroque style right opposite to the Kadriorg Park. From the Tallinn Airport (TLL) move to your next destination, a 4-5hr flight to St. Petersburg.

Russia

St. Petersburg

We now land in Russia, a cultural and historical treasure trunk. Our first stop is St. Petersburg, with its canals and hundreds of bridges it feels as if you have stepped into a Russian Venice!

We can consider the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood one of the most splendid churches on earth. It has 7000sq km of mosaics on the walls and Russian Byzantine architecture.

Visit The Hermitage Museum, one of the best and largest museums in the world. Its houses thousands of medieval and classic paintings and art forms. And to add the cherry on top, the white and gold interiors of the early royal family’s Winter Palace will leave you awestruck.

Do not forget to pay a visit to the Catherine Palace, Grand Palace, General Staff Building, Mariinsky Theatre. And any other destination for your art, food, architectural or historical cravings. And then take a train to the capital city, Moscow.

Moscow

Welcome to Moscow, a city mirroring a fantasy land. Moscow is one of the most prominent places in world history, from wars, riots, revolutions, invasions to art, literary, culinary and architectural past, the city has it all.

The Kremlin is a compounded region with churches, palaces, cathedrals and the office of the Russian president. The Cathedral of Assumption, Cathedral of Archangel, Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Armoury Chamber, Diamond Fund and Cathedral of the Annunciation all reside inside the Kremlin.

Our next stop will be the stunning State Historical Museum followed by the Red Square. As the name suggests, the Red Square stands to dominate with its red buildings. It is home to St Basil’s Cathedral and GUM, Moscow’s famous shopping centre. St. Basil’s Cathedral is the most iconic place in Russia. The cathedral has bright colours and jaw-dropping architecture, it’s an unmissable tourist destination.

Belarus

Minsk

After a 5hr flight and bus right we reach our next destination, Minsk. Take a short day trip exploring the capital of Belarus. It is one of the cleanest cities in the world. After the destruction of many buildings in WWII, the city has a modern and improved infrastructure.

Walkthrough Trinity Hill and its old buildings along the river, visit the local cafes to get a taste of traditional Belarusian food. Minsk houses many popular museums like the Belarusian State Art Museum, Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Museum of Folk Architecture & Rural Lifestyle and the National History Museum.

Pay a visit to the Church of Saint Simon and Helena near Lenin Square and don’t forget to go to the oddly shaped National Library of Belarus. Now we begin our 4hr journey to our next stop, Kyiv.

Ukraine

Kyiv

Kyiv is one of the undiscovered gems in our East European journey. The city is home to popular golden-domed structures like St. Michael’s Monastery, St. Sofia’s Cathedral, Pechersk Lavra Monastery and Vydubytsky Monastery to name a few.

Rodina Mat or Nation’s Mother watches over the city. A monument of a female warrior standing tall above the city. Visit St. Andrew’s church to please your minds with the architectural marvel.

Explore museums to get a savour of the strong history of Ukraine and don’t forget to go to the local markets, a real treat to your senses. After indulging in the East Slavic culture, hop on to a 5hr flight to Bucharest.

Romania

Bucharest

The cheerful city of Bucharest has something for everyone, be it contemporary neighbourhoods or historical havens. The Cărturești Carusel, a bookstore at Lipscani street, is an artistic wonder.

Choose a book and go to the café in the bookstore to enjoy your new read. Visit the Crețulescu Palace, Cantacuzino Palace, Palace of Justice, CEC Palace, Palace of the Patriarchate and Palace of the Parliament to gaze at Neo-Romanian and Renaissance architecture.

The Museum of the Romanian Peasant lets you get an insight into the lives of early peasants. The Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall opened in 1888, it has been home to classical music with its occasional orchestra shows and music festivals.

Bucharest shelters loads of churches, museums, and parks for you to explore. It has trendy cafes and restaurants that are themed in colourful styles. After spending at least two days in Bucharest, we move on to our next country.A 6hr car ride to Bulgaria.

Bulgaria

Plovdiv

Awarded as the 2019 cultural city of the year, Plovdiv is a thriving city on the banks of the Maritsa River. You ought to visit the Old Town, with cobblestone streets. Wander through the traditional residences many of which were turned into museums or restaurants.

Visit the Roman Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD to watch concerts and unique cultural events. You can visit the many archaic Roman ruins scattered all over Plovdiv. Like the Plovdiv Roman Stadium, Ruins of Eumolpias or the Roman Forum.

Do not miss out on visiting the Hindliyan House, the shiny blue house that once belonged to Armenian merchants now turned into a house museum. It has lavish interiors with paintings, fountains, and even a Turkish bathhouse!

Sofia

Let’s begin by visiting the symbol of Bulgaria right away! The Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral is so huge that some can even locate it from the aeroplane. They built the cathedral to honour the Russian soldiers that passed away in the Russo-Turkish war.

Its grandiose interior is composed intricately and the Neo-Byzantine exterior is captivating. Sofia has many churches all over and all are worth a visit, so if you see one while cruising the town streets, check it out. The Sveta Sofia Church, Boyana Church and the Russian Church are some prominent tourist favourites.

Stop by the Regional History Museum, National Theatre, and National Art Gallery all structures with a rich past, attracting the locals and travellers. Before leaving Bulgaria, try some tasty local meals and wines. Head straight on to the Sofia International Airport and to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Croatia

Dubrovnik

It’ll take a 5hr air journey to land you in Dubrovnik. As soon as you get there, you will notice a veil of mahogany rooftops ending with the Adriatic Sea. Start by getting on the City Walls to get a panoramic view of the booming city.

Now to our next stop, the two Gothic-style palaces, Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace. Dubrovnik is boarded with forts and monasteries. The St. John Fort and Revlin and Bokar Forts are a must-visit. Stop by Franciscan Monastery and Dominican Monastery, they have converted both into museums.

The city offers many choices of churches and cathedrals to visit. Like St Blaise’s Church devoted to the city’s patron saint. Dubrovnik will spoil you for choice, the whole town is an official World Heritage Site!. Take your time to relax and explore through this rocky ancient wonder and finally set sail on your ferry ride to Bol.

Bol

Bol is a cosy little beach town on the Brač island. This is our most laid back destination on the list, so take time to re-energize. Stroll through the cobbled pavements and dine in the beachside restaurants.

Sunbathe on the Martinica, Crescent, Beach Port or Grabov Rat Beaches and wind down while watching the nightfall. And finally visit Zlatni Rat or the Golden horned beach, the most popular beach in Croatia.

The far end of the beach is shaped like an animal horn giving it the name ‘Golden horned’, the waters are clear and cool, perfect for a swim. Or instead, you can lie down, basking in the sunlight and gaze at the endless cerulean Adriatic Sea. You better have replenished yourself cause your next journey will be a 9hr ferry and bus ride to our last station of the tour, Sarajevo.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo

After the horrific siege of 5 April 1992, Sarajevo now lives to thrive as an example of faith with its scars. The War Childhood Museum, Tunnel of Hope, Museum of Crimes Against Humanity & Genocide, Ars Aevi and Kovači Graveyard are all places established in memorial of the 1990s conflict. The capital city has a predominantly Muslim population that displays in its cuisine, spiritual places and markets. Roam the vintage market in Baščaršija, enjoy traditional foods at a local restaurant and later visit the Baščaršija Mosque.

In 2014 the Pseudo-Moorish style Sarajevo City Hall was reopened after restoration. It hosts concerts and exhibitions so make sure to get a ticket to one. Visit the Emperor’s Mosque, the oldest mosque in Sarajevo and Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque decorated in a fine Ottoman interior.

We end the last night of our tour at Zlatna Ribica. A quirky cafe/bar with dark woody interiors lit up by sparkly bulbs with vintage pieces scattered all over. Get to Butmir Airport and back home.

Nordic Europe

Finland

Helsinki

Our trip begins in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. The city thrives with heavy design, education and historical abundance. Throughout the city, there is consistently a construction or artwork designed with great complexity.

We start by visiting the old structures first. Helsinki’s Lutheran Cathedral, a structure once built to honour the Tsar of Russia, now stands as a proud Finnish representation in the city’s core. On the Katajanokka cliff, we see the stone-walled Uspenski Cathedral.

The cathedral is the main Orthodox church in Finland, hence attracting millions of visitors every year. The dark brown frame, sky blue tops and golden domes are a sight to behold. In the same square, you can see the Presidential Palace and visit Market Square.

Temppeliaukio and the Kamppi Chapel of Silence are extraordinary structures showing just how advanced the designs are in Helsinki. Visit Suomenlinna or the fortress of Finland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the defence of Finland in early days. It would be a waste if you visit Helsinki and not go to the art and design museums. Ateneum, Design Museum, HAM, Amos Rex and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma are a must-visit. And now, by a 2hr drive, we reach our next spot, Turku.

Turku

The oldest city in Finland is a tiny power-pack. We start by inspecting the museums and art galleries. So you see a peek of how art and culture have diffused and developed through the years. Luostarinmaen Kasityolaismuseo, Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum, B-Galleria and Turku Art Museum are tourist favourites.

Visit the Old Great Square to shop at the local market. And to witness structures like Brinkkala Mansion, Hjelt Mansion and the Juselius Manor. A few minutes away from the Old Great Square is the Turku Cathedral, a great spot for a brief visit.

Visit the Turku Castle, one of the most important castles in the history of Finland built in the 13th Century. The castle is drenched in medieval history that you experience by looking at all the rooms and artefacts in the castle. On your last day take a one-day kayaking trip experiencing the Archipelago Sea and basking on the Finnish sun. From here we take a 7hr car ride to the neighbouring country, Sweden. 

Sweden

Stockholm

The capital of Sweden, the largest city in Scandinavia, will take you quite some days to explore fully, so let’s look at the top sights. First, cover the neighbourhoods of Old Town and Luna. Visit the Church of St. Nicholas and The German Church to witness never-before-seen interiors.

Walkthrough the Old Town, exploring markets and local food, shop at exquisite stores and breathe in the dense architectural air. The last place to visit in this neighbourhood is the Stockholm Palace. Even though a lot of it was destructed in the past, the renewed palace stands to cling Sweden’s history.

The regal palace is an out of the world experience. It has hundreds of rooms all designed in baroque, one can truly learn the sophisticated nature of the city through this palace.

Now moving to the island of Djurgården you will see a lot of art galleries, museums and monumental spots, so where should you go? Vasa Museet and Nordiska Museet, the top museums in the city. When the Swedish government discovered the beloved warship the King of Sweden, they carried it to the main city and established a gallery for it.

The Vasa now lives in the Vasamuseet along with other archaeological findings. The Nordiska Museet or Nordic museum once meant to be the national depository is now a museum depicting Nordic Lifestyle since 1523.

It displays the attires, utensils, toys, crafts and photographs throughout generations along with thoughtful exhibitions the structure looks equally beautiful from outside with golden spires twinkling in the Swedish sky. Taking a 3hr flight, we reach Oslo, Norway.

Norway

Oslo

When a large fire in 1624 burned down more than half of the city, the Norwegians set their aim to reconstruct the place into something bigger, something fresh. In this decade, Oslo is a pride of the country, unifying ancient and modern time. We start by exploring the city-centre and neighbourhoods around it.

Visit the Akershus Fortress that endured years of sieges, raids and regimes and now rests as the oldest structure in Oslo. Enjoy a show at the Oslo Opera House, one of the most sensational Opera houses in the world. The design, art and architecture put into its making, bring lots of visitors.

Have some peace to yourself under the dramatic ceiling of the Oslo Cathedral, gaze at the altar and organs, all originally crafted. Next, visit the museums in Bygdøy peninsula. The Viking Ship Museum,  Kon-Tiki Museum and Fram Museum house giant ships and other artefacts.

Take a stroll through the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. It makes one feel like taking a stroll in the past, especially with the recreated monuments around. Finally, here are some artistic and architectural marvels that are unmissable, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, SNØ, Oslo public library, Holmenkollbakken, The new Munch Museum and The VigelandPark.

Bergen

An 8hr car ride will drop you at your next destination, Bergen. The port city is a fine mix of nature and culture. Take a fjord cruise to delve in the serene landscapes or explore the city. Visit one of the largest museums in Scandinavia, KODE, a compilation of several buildings all narrating artistic, musical and cultural stories of the past.

Another must-visit museum is Troldhaugen, the residence of late Edvard Grieg, a Norwegian composer, and his wife Nina Grieg. The Bergenhus Fortress is one of the best-preserved fortifications in Norway, it served as a former residence to the royal family and now is a prominent tourist attraction.

Have a look at the Fantoft Stave Church, a reconstruction of the original church built in an ancient Norwegian style.

Spend time at the largest aquarium in Norway, Bergen aquarium. Appreciate aquatic life and definitely get a ticket for a tourist show!. And finally walk among the colourful timber houses of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque places in the whole of Norway. Buy souvenirs, walk through the narrow passages of Bryggen and end your city-trip with a Norwegian coffee at Bryggen’s quaint cafes. After a 2day trip in Bergen, fly back to Sweden to the city of Gothenburg. 

Sweden

Gothenburg

Start your trip by seeing the peaceful Botanical Garden of Gothenburg covering 175 hectares with several species of flora. Move to the bustling Haga neighbourhood. Roam around and explore the local shops and cafeterias, take a ‘Fika’ break, coffee and dessert.

Visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art to witness one of the finest collections of Nordic painting along with international classic and contemporary art. Take a walk in Trädgårdsföreningen, the beautiful central park of the city and stop by historic sites like Skansen Kronan and New Älvsborg fortress.

And finally, travel to the Gothenburg Archipelago. Indulge in the natural surroundings and take part in several activities available for visitors. Take a 3hr flight to our final station, Copenhagen.

Denmark

Copenhagen

Get ready for a mind-boggling explosion as we unravel the city of Copenhagen. Rent a bicycle and start the day exploring the Langelinie harbourside. Get a view of the ‘little mermaid’ statue and visit The Star-shaped fortress, Kastellet. Ride down to Frederik’s Church, a marble church that serves regal views with its baroque fashion.

Later, move to Amalienborg Palace. This lavish residence of the Danish monarch serves as the perfect example of Denmark’s culture, it has enchanting collections of crafts, paintings and furniture, all complementing the baroque interiors. Wander through the King’s Garden and take a tour in the Rosenborg Castle that displays royal collections.

Then move down to the Isle of Slotsholem. Visit the largest library in the Nordic region, The Royal Library has an additional structure known as the Black Diamond. Lose your sense of reality at the Christiansborg Palace, a walk through the opulent interior under golden chandeliers will leave you longing for more.

Ride further down to H. C Anderson’s Blvd and visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum housing life-like sculptures. Just adjacent to the museum is Tivoli Garden. The Tivoli Garden hosts performances, rides, restaurants, attractions, everything you can imagine from the country’s most cherished amusement park. End your trip at the dynamic Nyhavn port, walk around, relax, and stop by a local restaurant to experience traditional Danish food.

Now that you’ve taken a magical ride through Eastern and Nordic Europe, comment and let us know what destinations you found the most exciting!

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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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