The Expedia.com.au Top 5 ‘Hidden Corners’ of Eastern Europe

On July 21, 2009 at 10:00 AM

1. The wine regions of Hungary

Hungary has twenty-two designated wine regions, which offer tourists a first hand insight into the local traditions and customs of the country whilst also enjoying the remarkable scenery. Hungary is a small country, which allows visitors to make their way to several winemaking towns in the course of a week, either by travelling around or making day trips from Budapest. The area of Tokaj was famously dubbed the “king of wines and the wine of kings” by Louis XIV of France. Connoisseurs consider the red wines from Szekszárd and Villány in southern Hungary to be the cream of the crop. Many winemakers from these regions have started using international grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, to produce wines that are giving some of the top French names a real run for their money. Many of the most picturesque wineries lie in the foothills of Hungary’s highest mountain ranges, the Mátra and the Bükk hills, making them popular destinations with walkers as well.

Expedia.com.au Hotel Deal:

Hilton Hotel Budapest (5 Star)

Every second night free

Deal valid: Book until 17 August for travel until 31 August 2009

2. Transylvania, Romania

A favourite activity in Romania is discovering its medieval past, best explored through the many castles and fortresses dotted around the Transylvania region. In fact, Romanian castles have featured in famous international literature such as Dracula by Bram Stoker. Dracula's Castle (Bran Castle) was built in 1377 and sits on a 200 ft. rock overlooking the picturesque village of Bran. Masked balls and candlelit banquets are common in this quaint medieval town. Its remote location is encircled by mountains, while the night-time howls of wolves make it an excitingly spooky place. The stunning surrounding natural environment also creates ideal conditions for hiking, riding or discovering old customs, handicrafts and folklore of the Romanian people. Myths and superstitions are strong beliefs of the locals who also have many stories to share of ghosts, apparitions, witches and werewolves.

Expedia.com.au Hotel Deal:

K&K Hotel Elisabeta, Bucharest (5 Star)

Stay 3 nights, pay for 2 (Executive Room)

Deal valid: Book between 17 September and 28 December for travel between 19 & 31 December 2009

3. The forests of Poland

Polandis home to some of the best forests in Europe in terms of size, plant diversity and rich wildlife variety. A true gem is the Piasek Forest, situated in the Odra Valley at the western fringes of the Mysliborz Lake District. More than half of its trees are broadleaved species including 350-400 year-old oaks. The Notecka Forest, consisting of over 100,000 ha of pine forests, is one of the best places in Poland for those interested in wild mushrooms. Its proximity to the beautiful Lubuskie Lake District makes the area a great holiday destination for nature lovers.

Expedia.com.au Hotel Deal:

Paskowka Palace Hotel, Krakow (4 Star)

Stay 3 nights, pay for 2

Deal valid: Book and travel now until 31 March 2010

4. Ski resorts of Bulgaria

Bulgariahosts over 200 ski resorts which offer beautiful scenery and long ski seasons at a fraction of the cost of Western European alternatives. Bansko is described as Bulgaria’s best ski resort and offers the unique combination of a modern mountain resort with a lively historical town. Virtually every house has its own story to tell, offering an educational journey into Bulgarian traditions. The local taverns with their exceptional charm and style offer Bulgarian cuisine, a beautiful selection of local wines and live folk music. Discos and night clubs go through the night making it the ideal entertainment destination for party goers. Bansko is situated in the Pirin National Park, which has been included in the UNESCO list for cultural and natural sightseeing. The park also houses lakes, waterfalls and caves.

Expedia.com.au Hotel Deal:

Hotel Sofia Plaza, Sofia (4 Star)

Stay 4 nights, pay for 3

Deal valid: Book now until 27 September for travel until 30 September 2009

5. Ice fishing in Lithuania

The Curonian lagoon is a beautiful example of the pure and unspoilt natural beauty of the Baltic state of Lithuania and allows holiday makers to enjoy night and day ice fishing at a much cheaper cost than US and Scandinavian alternatives. The lagoon is situated in Nida, on the western edge of Lithuania, a few kilometres from the Russian border. The area is a nature reserve with rolling dunes and pine forests. Night fishing on the frozen lagoon under an oil lamp is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. While fishing, visitors might hear locals create a "hypnotic orchestra" by tapping sticks under the water to lull the passing fish into their nets. Those fishing can expect to catch tens, if not hundreds of fish, all of which can be cooked on the ice while fetching for more. This goes down perfectly with a glass of local vodka to keep you warm!

Expedia.com.au Hotel Deal:

Reval Hotel Lietuva, Vilnius (4 Star)

Stay 3 nights, Save 33%

Deal valid: Book and travel now until 30 December 2009

PLEASE NOTE:Offers are subject to availability and change. These offers may be discontinued without notice.

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