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Europe's hidden gems revealed!

Europe's hidden gems revealed! Eastern Europe still conjures up grey images of the Soviet era. But many of the cities that were hidden away for so long are giving Western cities a run for their money.

With just as many cultural landmarks and sights to see, great shopping, great weather and a vibrant nightlife, mostly at a lower cost, Eastern Europe is the surprise package for short breaks!

Here are some cities that come highly recommended.

Kraków, Poland: Watch video (3 mins)

The most visited city in Poland, Kraków is home to Rynek Glówny, the largest medieval square in Europe. This market square is full of life and a buzzing atmosphere, with cafes, stalls, ice cream parlours, historic houses and churches all vying for attention. Be sure to visit the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz (where Spielberg filmed most of Schindler's List), the Gothic Wawel Royal Castle, St Mary's Basilica and the City Wall too. Spend pleasant evenings in streets full of throbbing restaurants, bars, live music and entertainment!

Budapest, Hungary: Watch video (3 mins)

The twin cities of Buda and Pest straddle the Danube comfortably, making it a must for anyone in search of a cultural mix! Whether it is culture, nightlife or simply some sightseeing, Budapest has it all – with 5 distinct areas including the Danube, Buda Castle and the Millennium Underground Railway all contributing to make it a World Heritage Site! For authentic Hungarian foods and gifts, visit its largest covered market, Central Market Hall. And when you've had enough of shopping, don't miss a serene stroll along the river followed by a dip in the city's famous thermal baths. Bliss!

Tallinn, Estonia: Watch video (3 mins)

2011 is a special year for the Estonian capital as it has been designated one of two European Capitals of Culture. The city's old town and the medieval streets on the hill of Toompea are a great place to start your discovery of this beautiful city. The houses and alleyways in All-linn (Lower Town) are some of the best preserved in Europe. Kadriorg Palace used to be the residence of Peter the Great and is a must-see site! Tallinn has so much to offer - from its Open Air Museum for rural architecture to a picnic in the botanical gardens - you are sure to have a great time! Check out the fabulous bars, restaurants and night life.

Sofia, Bulgaria: Watch video (1 mins)

Oozing with vibrancy, the city's up and coming dynamism is combined with a historic charm that demonstrates its warmth and culture. Located at the foot of Mount Vitosha, this city has beautiful parks and cobblestone boulevards – great for an afternoon walk or shopping in boutiques and dining alfresco. Historic landmarks such as the 10th-century Boyana Church (a World Heritage Site), world-famous Byzantine Hagia Sophia Church and a slew of cultural institutes are not to be missed!

Zagreb, Croatia: Watch video (2 mins)

For Baroque ambience, good shopping, quaint markets as well as a rich heritage, Zagreb is your city. The centre of Croatia’s artistic, cultural and sporting life, its capital boasts beautiful parks, museums, theatres and restaurants in abundance. Take in the famous Zagreb Cathedral or a medieval sightseeing tour operating from Ban Jelacic Square. Or maybe head to Tkalciceva Street where you will find many charming taverns. Start your evening at any one of these and people-watch whilst you enjoy great food, then join in the lively Croatian night scene with gusto!

Wherever you decide to travel and however you decide to get there, Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialist, is committed to providing the highest level of service to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!