The above map shows the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (along with the countries in the Balkan Peninsula). There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations.
Here are the countries we have visited in Central and Eastern Europe.
Austria is a country of nearly 9 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
We visited Vienna in 1984 as part of the Western Europe trip, Innsbruck in 2015 as part of the Dolomites trip, and Salsburg in 2016 as part of the trip to Slovenia.
During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. However, under authoritarian rule, it has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. The economy is mostly dependent on Russia, and the Belarusian government has taken an anti-Western stance.
We visited Minsk, Mir, and Brest in 2018 as part of our 6-country Eastern Europe and Caucasus trip.
Czechoslovakia was a one-party communist state under Soviet influence after the Second World War. It remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
We visited Prague in 2009 as part of our Eastern European & Turkey trip, and a transit visit in 2018 when we flew to Prague and trained to Dresden in Germany to visit Saxon Switzerland National Park.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, and the subsequent Treaty of Trianon established Hungary’s current borders, resulting in the loss of 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the tumultuous interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a satellite state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a socialist republic spanning four decades (1949–1989).
We visited Budapest in 2009 as part of our Eastern European & Turkey trip.
Moldova was part of the Soviet Union in the early 1900’s, and on 27 August 1991, Moldova declared independence when the USSR broke apart. The strip of the Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester river has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.
We visited Chisinau and Orhei Vechi in 2018 as part of our 6-country Eastern Europe & Caucasus trip.
In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland. More than six million Polish citizens perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People’s Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, the sovereign state of Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic.
We visited Szczein in 2009 as part of our Eastern European & Turkey trip, and Krakow, Zakopane, and Warsaw in 2016 as part of our Northern European trip to the Baltic states.
Following the Second World War, under the occupation of the Soviet Red Army’s forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition towards democracy and a market economy.
We visited Bucharest in 2014 as part of the 9-country Balkan Peninsula trip.
In 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia peacefully. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
We visited Bratislava in 2009 as part of our Eastern European & Turkey trip.
After the end of Second World War in 1945, Slovenia became a founding member of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. In June 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country.
We visited Ljubljana, Bled, Kranjska Gora, and Piran in 2016 as part of our eastern Europe and Baltic states trip.
Transnistria is an unrecognised state which split off from Moldova after the dissolution of the USSR and mostly consists of a narrow strip of land between the river Dniester and the territory of Ukraine.
We visited Tiraspol in 2018 as part of our 6-country Eastern Europe & Caucasus trip.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
We visited Kiev and Odessa in 2018 as part of our 6-country Eastern Europe & Caucasus trip.
See next – Balkan Peninsula Countries