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Top 5 Central & East Europe (CEE) Tourist Destinations

With the advent of budget air travel, EU integration and increasing awareness, many cities in the Central and Eastern Europe are beginning to compete with the more established global destinations, such as New York and London.

New Europe Investor has compiled a list of the top five cities in the region for international travellers.

Results are compiled from a variety of sources that include Airport and Hotel statistics, but also from country’s National Statistics offices.

1. Prague

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2012  – 6.56 million visitors
Growth on 2011 – 5.1%
Global Position – 19th

Central and Eastern Europe’s most popular destination, Prague was once a cultural centre for all of Europe and whilst being 1st in this list, is an impressive 19th on the list of most travelled to cities globally. It receives travellers from all over, but Germans, Russians and Americans make up the top three.

2. Moscow

Moscow

2012 – 5.03 million visitors
Growth on 2011 – 13.6%
Global Position – 24th

The capital and most populist city in Russia also holds the record on many surveys for being the world’s most expensive. This did not prevent five million people making the trip from abroad in 2012. Some of Moscow’s well known locations include The Kremlin and Red Square, both UNESCO World heritage sites. The days of rapid growth appear to be over for now. It is said the current tensions between Russia and the West have led to US visitors falling by as much as 50% in 2014.

3. Budapest

Hungary-budapest-small

2012 – 4.82 million visitors
Growth on 2011 – 12%
Global Position – 27th

The Hungarian capital Budapest, has for a long time had a reputation as being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The city is bursting with outstanding architecture and boasts three Michelin starred restaurants. It’s location in the heart of central Europe is turning it into a business and financial hub also.

4. Sofia

bulgaria-sofia-small

2012 – 4.12 million visitors
Growth on 2011 – -0.4%
Global Position – 30th

The only city here to decrease on 2011 numbers, the Bulgarian capital, Sofia is the most affordable capital in the European Union. A four star hotel can be had for under $100 in the off season.

5. Warsaw

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2012 – 3.66 million visitors
Growth on 2011 – 14.3%
Global Position – 37th

Poland’s capital Warsaw was largely destroyed in the Second World War but was subsequently rebuilt. It is now a major international business hub as well as a popular tourist destination. The large growth of 14.3% from 2011 was because of the successful hosting of 2012 European Championships with neighbouring Ukraine. Many parts of the country are still experiencing a tourist boom as a result of the tournament.