All of the former Soviet Union countries have made great strides since their independence but some much more than others. Here are two that are leading the way in terms of modernization and catching up with the West.

Croatia

Croatia is a Central European and Mediterranean country with a population of five million. The country borders Slovenia in the west, Hungary in the north, Serbia in the east and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south, Croatia has been on the rise since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The country also has a long sea border with Italy and has more than 5,800 km of coastline, with more than 4,000 km of it are islands and reefs. Croatia also has more than 1,000 islands, 50 of which are populated.

This beautiful country has had a long history as an important sea port to many civilizations from the Greeks and Romans, to the Ottomans, and even today, it is an important sea port for Eastern and Central Europe.

In terms of its economy and popularity, the country is one of Europe’s moist economically vibrant, and has quickly become a darling of the west because of its mild temperatures, beautiful resort cities and quick modernization. Croatia still retains its old world charm, but those who come to visit will find that they are in cities with many modern conveniences.

In terms of visitors, the country sees many who come for summer to relax and party. Many visitors choose to get here by sea. Some choose to book one of the Vyra family sailing holidays to sail through the Mediterranean and Adriatic to the country. They visit cities including Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korcula, Hvar, Brac, Split Zlarin, Trogir, and Vis, which sit on the coast and offer a great time for the entire family.

Romania

Romania has a history as a romantic and mysterious land. The country has developed as the home of gypsies and Dracula, and has often attracted those who have wanted to steep themselves in this folklore. But the country has so much more to offer, and each year it rededicates itself to becoming a primary destination for tourism and business in Europe.

Its main attraction is its capital city Bucharest which has developed a vibrant and sophisticated international community. In fact the city has developed the moniker “Little Paris” because of its beauty and international flair.

The architecture in Bucharest today is a mélange of classic, particularly art deco, with a healthy dose of communist era, and an emerging hint of modern gleam. There is lots to do in the city culturally, with many large art galleries and museums reflecting the city’s large artsy community. The cafes have bloomed as well and some of Eastern Europe’s top restaurants now dot the city. The nightlife here is fantastic as well, with the city leaning more towards pubs and clubs rather than discos.

There are also very nice tours that will take you outside of the city, and of course the most famous is a tour of Dracula’s Castle. The tour also includes several stops along the beautiful countryside where you can view villages and interact with the locals. In the end you will be treated with a tour of Bran Castle, the former home of Vlad the Impaler, the man behind the legend of Dracula. Be sure to bring your camera and buy lots of souvenirs to prove to everyone that you actually saw the castle and survived.

Whether you visit Croatia by water or come over land to Romania, a trip to either of these countries is unforgettable. Come during the spring to early fall for the best weather and access to the most amenities.

 

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