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5 hot eastern European destinations to travel this summer

When I say 'hot' here, I don't mean in the physical, temperature way; the one that cranks up the mercury. Instead, I mean the cool, vogue sort of way: destinations that are on the rise because of their great history or culture, their range of restaurants and attractions. Yep, this list of five places is my pick of some of the top spots to visit in eastern Europe in the coming summer.

Lviv, Ukraine

While some turmoil continues to wreak havoc in the far east of Ukraine, the cities of the west are left largely untouched by the conflict. That means the charming city of Lviv – the second-largest in the country – is still on the menu for travelers in search of something a little different. In fact, the town can feel much like a Polish city, what with its cobbled streets and wide town squares, but that's because it was actually part of the Polish state for much of its life. Add to that interesting heritage some uber-cheap hotel rates, and Lviv can seem like a real bargain choice.ere.

Krakow, Poland

After the snows have melted and all the skiing in Poland shuts up, the high season in the city of Krakow can begin in earnest. This is when people flock to the great city of Slavic kings to see the mighty Wawel Castle and the famous Market Square. And while, the town's hardly a secret to travelers, new low-cost flight connections to other European destinations and a certain buzz about it's awesome nightlife is still causing waves, making it a sure bet for an interesting and fun city break this season.

High Tatras, Slovakia

Just a little south of the city of Krakow, Poland, over the Slovak border and up in the highest reaches of the Tatra Mountains, travelers can indulge in everything from hiking to kayaking to climbing and more. Untrodden and truly beautiful, this region of eastern Europe is also peppered with historic castles (just check out the mighty fortresses at Spis and Orava), along with loads of pretty little Slavic towns where cafes spill onto sun-kissed squares.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Ringed by a phalanx of rugged Alpine peaks and hemmed in by thick forests of fir trees, the waters of Lake Bled have long been touted as some of the most inviting in all of eastern Europe. I'm not about to disagree! There's something undeniably attractive and romantic about the way the church spires loom over the mirror-like surface of the lake, and there's nothing better than long summer days spent cycling or hiking the nearby trails.

Pula, Croatia

Pretty Pula is often overlooked in favour of Croatia's other top destinations – Dubrovnik, Split et al. However, it's certainly worthy of a visit in its own right. You'll get to explore old Roman ruins (just check out that colossal amphitheatre) and wide forums where traditional Balkan taverns spill onto the stones. Nearby, beaches ring the Istrian Peninsula too, offering plenty of secluded swimming spots in the summer months.

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