Last updated: 04:37 PM ET, Thu January 24 2019
Panoramic view of Grindelwald beautiful village in mountain scenery, Switzerland (Photo via  SAHACHAT / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Central Europe

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Stunning view the Swiss Alps above the Sufnersee lake in Sufers, Canton of Grisons, Switzerland (Photo via  VogelSP / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Stunning view of the Swiss Alps above the Sufnersee lake in Sufers, Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. (photo via VogelSP/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The term Central Europe refers more to the region’s historical nature than its geographic one. Stretching from the Alps to the Baltic Sea, the countries considered a part of this region are Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. They are connected by easy travel across common borders as well as their shared landscapes, dotted with fairytale castles, traditional villages, fortresses and chateaux.

The commanding capital cities mix old world charm with modern, trend-setting lifestyles. Cultural treasures such as music and opera concerts, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, performing and fine arts, and culinary staples such as soups, mushrooms, berries and game are ways visitors can experience local history and tradition.

The inspiring collections of religious art and buildings are part of a 1,000-year-old history of Roman Catholic, Jewish and Orthodox Christian traditions that have been woven into the tapestry of Central Europe. Many Americans come here to trace their ancestry. Be sure to explore the pilgrimage points, cathedrals and Jewish heritage sites. Try and book your trip to coincide with one of the quirky annual celebrations in the region, from Carnival to Christmas, wine harvests to costumed folk music and dance pageants.