Varna Archaeological Museum (Bulgaria): The fine detail in a gold figure of Victory carved on an earring taken from the tomb of a Thracian noble woman will reveal the skill of the goldsmith who made this exquisite piece 2,400 years ago. With 15,000 tombs and 400 ancient settlements scattered throughout the country, Bulgaria is so rich in Thracian burial mounds that archaeologists think some of Europe's oldest artifacts are waiting to be unearthed there.
Roman Amphitheater (Pula, Croatia): Smaller than Rome's coliseum but in much better shape, the amphitheater is more accessible than its Rome counterpart. Don't miss the restored underground chambers, which house museum exhibits featuring Istrian history. And if you happen to be in town when a concert is scheduled, buy a ticket no matter who is headlining.
Ivan Mestrovic Gallery and Kastelet (Split, Croatia): The Mestrovic Gallery occupies the mansion Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic built from 1937 to 1939 as a home/atelier for his family. Mestrovic lived there for just 2 years before emigrating from Croatia, but he left behind a house and garden on a hill overlooking the Adriatic that showcase some of his best work. Up the road is the 16th-century Kastelet, a Renaissance-style summer house Mestrovic purchased and remodeled in 1939 as a showcase for his "Life of Christ" reliefs.
Alfons Mucha Museum (Prague, Czech Republic): Posters, decorative panels, objects, excerpts from sketchbooks, and oil paintings from this well-known Art Nouveau master are displayed at the Baroque Kaunický Palace near Václavské námestí.
Holocaust Memorial Center (Budapest, Hungary): Opened on the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust, the center is the first of its kind in central Europe to be government funded. A refurbished eclectic synagogue is located in the center of the building.
Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest, Hungary): Critics agree that this museum has one of the most important collections in Europe. The collection of Spanish masters is second only to Madrid.
Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (Poland): The audiovisual displays and sound effects are an assault on the eyes and ears, but when you're done walking through the exhibitions and watching the startling documentaries filmed during the fighting in 1944, you'll understand a lot more about Poles' resolve to preserve their nation. The photos of Warsaw's destruction alone will leave you in awe that a modern city actually still exists.
Museum of Zakopane Style (Zakopane, Poland): This low-key museum is dedicated to the fine woodworking craft of the early Zakopane architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. No stunning high-tech visuals, just beautifully carved furnishings and a wonderful aesthetic feel. It's a log cabin made into a palace.
Peles (Sinaia, Romania): Built as a summer residence for Romania's first king in what is now a popular ski resort, Peles Castle looks like it was built for the next Harry Potter blockbuster: It's an architectural triumph of German neo-Renaissance architecture that is at once stylish and fantastical. It remains one of the finest castles in Europe, with 170 opulent rooms, only some of which are open during the country's best guided museum tour.
Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and the Resistance, (Sighet, Romania): This evocative memorial to people who died because of Communism in Romania occupies a chilling former prison in Maramures, not far from the Ukraine border. Each of the cells, including the one where former Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu died, is an exhibition space.
Armory Museum (Moscow, Russia): Fabergé eggs, coronation robes, royal carriages, and jewels fill what was once the tsarist weapons storehouse.
State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia): The museum holds one of the world's biggest art collections, from Egyptian carvings to Impressionist masterpieces. It is in the Winter Palace, stormed in 1917 by revolutionaries.
Kobarid Museum (Slovenia): The Kobarid is Slovenia's best antiwar museum, dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the fierce battle of Caporetto (Kobarid), which took place near this peaceful town, now a center for adventure activities.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.