Gemma Bowes, The Guardian, July 24, 2013
Romania has plenty of beautiful farm buildings and a strong folk craft history, which means there are some gorgeous places to stay in rural locations. Casa Palaga is a very special wooden self-catering house sleeping four in deep countryside in the Maramures area, with views of the Rodna mountains and over the border into Ukraine. Set in a clearing surrounded by trees and grass, the house is full of lovely old wooden furniture. It's booked until September, but could be good for a late summer break. From €440 a week, or €70 a night (min three night stay). Or try Casa Cosma (homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p2002080), nearby, a similar wooden farmhouse, sleeping four, from €65 a night, min three-night stay.
With its glamorous past revived in the shape of iconic island hotel Sveti Stefan – now a luxurious (and super expensive) Aman resort, Montenegro has done a lot to boost the image of eastern Europe. The coastal towns of Budvar and Kotor have lively bars and some smart places to stay. Homeaway.co.uk has lots of villas with pools, and an apartment (ref p1077969, available in July and August) from £475 a week. It sleeps four and has a terrace with deckchairs overlooking the sea in the fishing village of Bigovo, between Budvar and Kotor. In the capital Podgorica, an hour inalnd, Hotel Ziya has a spa, contemporary grey rooms and an indoor pool.
In Liepaja, a small town on the Baltic coast within easy reach of quiet beaches, the people behind the LuxPod Apartment in London have a modern hi-tech apartment, called LuxHighTech. The three-bedroom pad in the old town costs €742 a week and has iPod docks, funky furniture, home cinema and a technological shower with music and lights. There's also a flashier penthouse (with a hanging clear bubble chair by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio) sleeping four for €1,400 a week.
The Curonian Spit, 50km of near-deserted pale sand creating a lagoon off the Baltic coast of south-western Lithuania, is the place to head for a beach holiday. In the town of Klaipéda, at its northern point, the Old Port Hotel (rooms around €149 a night in summer) avoids chintz. Palanga beach nearby has a smart white apartment for two from €55 a night through Homeaway.com.
A smart manor house dating from 1766, Art Hotel Kastiel (doubles from €99) has art deco and baroque style rooms and apartments, and sits in the middle of a 300-year-old park in the pretty village of Tomasov, near Bratislava. Slovak, Hungarian, Austrian and Czech culinary influences are combined for experimental gastronomy in the dining room.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk