While Western Europe has long been a top vacation spot for people from all over the world, political and economic changes have seen travelers looking elsewhere when planning trips. The WTO (World Tourism Organization) recently released a new report that shows Hungary and Slovakia as the fastest growing tourism destinations in Europe. With plenty of historical attractions, including being part of the European route of Jewish Heritage and the Art Nouveau European Route, it's easy to see why these locations are growing in popularity among international travelers.
Hungary Growing in Popularity
Hungary is one of the most accessible countries in central and eastern Europe, as it is part of the Schengen Zone, which means that travelers can pass freely through borders of other member countries (in this case, Austria, to the west of Hungary). Hungary has an incredibly diverse natural landscape, with everything from mountains to plains, and Central Europe's largest lake, Lake Balaton. While the landscape is beautiful, travelers to Hungary are often interested in exploring it along with the cultural history of the region. The country's capital, Budapest, is considered to be one of the most stunning cities in the world, and the country is home to some of the largest and oldest architectural structures in the world.
Can't Miss: Hungary
Hungary is home to a number of UNESCO world heritage sites, both in natural landscape and built structures. Visitors can take in the Great Synagogue, Europe's largest synagogue, and Esztergom Basilica, Europe's third largest church, as well as a number of significant castles. In a modern sense Hungary is also ahead of the game, as it is also home to the world's third underground transit system, behind New York and London.
Eastern European Beauty in Slovakia
Slovakia is smack in the middle of Europe, bordered by Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Ukraine, making it very easy to access from other parts of the continent. A quiet country with beautiful landscapes, Slovakia has been up and coming as one of the top relaxation destinations in Europe. It is home to a number of spas suitable for all budgets and levels of luxury, and visitors are specifically attracted to the natural thermal springs around the country. A significant portion of the country is dedicated to national parks and the Carpathian Mountains, and a number of naturally-formed caves and canyons are included on UNESCO lists, making the natural ambiance one that can't be missed.
Can't Miss: Slovakia
While Slovakia's natural landscape is one of the things that attracts visitors, it also has a substantial cultural history. Interestingly enough, Slovakia is home to the most castles per capita throughout the world, which means that there is literally a castle nearly everywhere you visit! One of the amazing things to see when in Slovakia is the rich tradition of folk craftsmanship. There are a number of historically significant sites that are full of examples of this, including a number of churches and structures created entirely out of wood.
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