If ever one imagined a place to indulge in fairytale fantasies, look no further than the countries of Eastern Europe whose castles, villages, churches and countrysides stir an imagined medieval dream. 

And then, there is Russia ... If one loves vast, immense, opulent and bundling up – or at least can appreciate them – welcome to the motherland. 


Hungary 

 A&K Low Rez

What We Love

 Thermal baths in Budapest 
  • The capital, Budapest, is absolutely magical. Divided by the Danube, both the hilly, older Buda and the more modern Pest offer unique charms. This is a city where 500-year-old Turkish monuments abut 2,000-year-old Roman ruins, where architectural styles run from medieval townhouses to Art Nouveau bathhouses. 
  • 1,000 mineral wells feeding hundreds of hot water spas.
  • The rich musical tradition with classical concerts around every corner. Dvorak, Liszt, and Bartók were all Hungarian.

Things To See & Do

  • Tour the huge, 200-room royal palace perched on a hill in Buda. Over in Pest one will find the Hungarian National Museum, with one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings in the world.
  • Spend an afternoon at one of the gorgeous spas. 
  • Check out the jazz clubs springing up all over the city.
  • Enjoy a private tour of Budapest’s State Opera House.
  • Have a traditional Hungarian meal with a family at their home.

Croatia & Montenegró

 Dubrovnik - no rights

What We Love

  • For those who are looking for a break from the traditional Italian or French Mediterranean getaway, sailing up the Dalmatian coast is every bit as—some may say even more—beautiful.  
  • Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing if one’s a “Game of Thrones” fan) is a fully walled medieval town perched over turquoise water. A stroll atop the wall provides breathtaking views. 
  • A visit in the fall would be both beautiful and peaceful.
  • One can’t go wrong with a boat to take one up or down the coast.  
  • The island of Hvaar is charming and offers great nightlife. 
  • Montenegró is a small coastal country just south of Croatia with gorgeous fjords, white beaches, and warm summer water. 

Things To See & Do

  • Visit ancient Zagreb, the turquoise Plitvice Lakes, and the Adriatic Coast.
  • Book a private tour of Split's Meštrovic Gallery and taste a freshly harvested oyster in Ston en route to Dubrovnik.
  • Make a neighborhood connection during a talk in Dubrovnik with a local who shares her experiences during the Balkan Wars.
  • Enjoy the local Croatian wines, which are delicious and not often exported, alongside one’s salt-encrusted fish. 

Czech Republic & Prague

What We Love

 Castle Hluboka

Castle Hluboka

  • It is hard not to fall under the spell of Prague’s medieval charms with its famous town square, “1000 spires,” remarkable astrological clock, and vast castle. 
  • Incidentally, the Czech countryside is filled with fairytale castles.
  • Kafka fans will love wandering Prague’s German Jewish quarter where he was born and raised. 

Things To See & Do 

  • Visit Prague’s Toy Museum and National Marionette Theater.
  • Visit the city of Český Krumlov. With its moat and castle dating back to 1240, it gives Prague a run for its money. 
  • Head down to the bustling and beautiful Bratislava in neighboring Slovakia.
  • Students of modernism will make the pilgrimage to Brno to see Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat. Built in the late ’20s, it is considered the prototype for modern interior design.     

Russia

  Red Square

Red Square

What We Love

ak-taylor-travel-russia-cathedral-of-spilled-blood.jpg
  • The sheer size and scale of this country makes itself known around every corner.
  • Finding a new appreciation for vodka and caviar. 
  • Be prepared to see a lifetime’s worth of marble, gold, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. 
  • Moscow is a vibrant, electric capital. It is the center of the Russian universe and one can feel it. It is also a very handsome city with vast parks, forests, and charming tree-lined boulevards in addition to the infamous Kremlin, which is quite peaceful inside as there are no cars. 
  • St. Petersburg is Catherine the Great’s attempt at building her own Paris and she does not disappoint. The Hermitage and Winter Palace are filled with endless treasures of art and design.

Things To See & Do 

  • Explore the Kremlin's State Armory and the Diamond Fund, housing the 190-carat Orlov diamond.
  • Visit the incomparable Hermitage Museum, including the Gold Room, a treasure gallery of jewelry and artifacts.
  • The high-speed Sapsan train takes you from Moscow to St. Petersburg in comfort and luxury. We recommend bringing your favorite Tolstoy novel. 
  • In St. Petersburg, check out the privately owned Fabergé Museum.
  • Get your picture taken in front of St. Basil’s with your new faux fur hat.