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These 5 Surprising Countries Are Among The Fastest Growing Destinations In Europe

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While Europe’s status as one of the most popular travel destinations on Earth hasn’t changed, there’s been a huge shift in the dynamics of the continent’s tourism industry, with old-school hubs garnering a reputation as tourist traps and smaller, lesser-known countries emerging as the region’s trendiest destinations.

That’s exactly what the latest Statista report on European travel showed, too.

Tourist enjoy view of Ushguli village in Georgia.

The German data-gathering company set out to discover the fastest-growing regions within the continent, and travelers have made their preferences pretty clear – Central and Eastern Europe are leading the way by a large margin.

Five countries, in particular, are drawing in visitors like never before:

Poland

Poland has always been considered one of those great, budget-friendly destinations that fly a bit under the radar, but if these recent numbers are anything to go by, that’s about to change pretty soon.

warsaw old town, poland

Travelers are growing tired of the suffocating crowds of Paris and the littered attractions of Venice, and, in contrast, Poland’s gorgeous landscapes and undiscovered charm seem like a breath of fresh air.

Whether you’re planning to explore the gothic, baroque, and neoclassical buildings of Warsaw (which, frankly, are not too far off from what you’d find in Prague) or the winding streets of Krakow, one thing’s for sure – Poland will exceed even your wildest expectations.

krakow

Hungary

Though Hungary is mainly known for its capital, Budapest, the country is currently undergoing a tourism renaissance that extends beyond the wonders that lie on the shores of the iconic Danube River.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about Budapest – from the fairytale-like skyline to St. Stephen’s Basilica and the stunning Buda Castle – but if you’re planning a trip to Hungary, don’t overlook the dreamy countryside, either.

budapest parliament building

The wine regions of Eger and Tokaj, for example, are the perfect melting pot of warm-hearted people, surreal views, and world-class food.

Pécs and the serene landscapes of Lake Balaton are not to be missed, either.

Czech Republic

While Prague has long been a staple of every European city break itinerary, the gorgeous Goth hub along with the rest of the country it represents is currently breaking all-time tourism records.

Panoramic view above at Charles Bridge Prague Castle

Since the capital’s many, many unmissable attractions are already famous enough (think 

Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, Wenceslas Square, and Astronomical Clock), I’m going to focus on the underrated allure of the likes of Český Krumlov, Olomouc, and Telč instead.

Olomouc skyline

It’s places like these where you can truly take in the timeless beauty of the Czech Republic in its most authentic form, so if you’re lucky enough to explore Central Europe anytime soon, make sure to venture beyond the well-trodden paths of Prague.

Georgia

Having welcomed over 7 million international travelers in the past year alone, Georgia has officially left its “off-the-beaten-path” reputation behind.

Travelers coming to Europe are starting to appreciate the country’s warm hospitality, breathtaking landscapes, and unique cultural heritage, probably best experienced through the ancient cave city of Uplistsikhe.

Uplistsikhe Old Cave Town Georgia

City trippers can still find all of the trendy bars and restaurants in Tbilisi, the capital, whereas those eager to explore the wilderness of the local nature can’t go wrong with a hike through Svaneti.

Romania

When most of us think of Romania, our minds immediately go to the iconic Dracula Castle, which has long been a draw for curious travelers and movie lovers alike.

In reality, though, there’s a lot more to love and admire about this southeastern European country than just the centuries-old tales of vampires – Bucharest, in particular, is one of the most charming, attraction-filled capitals you’ll find in the entire continent.

Bucharest, Romania. Panoramic view Palace of the Savings Bank in the historical center or old town of city

Here, you’ll get to take in the sights of the Romanian Athenaeum, the Herastrau Park, the Triumphal Arch, and the Palace of Parliament, places that not only provide the perfect background for some truly one-of-a-kind travel pictures but also hold a long, fascinating history that’s worth exploring.

Aside from the vivid city scene, travelers coming to Romania have to explore the country’s remarkably diverse landscapes, from the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea coast to the medieval towns of Sibiu and Sighișoar.

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