Taking an eastern tack you'll be travelling through former communist countries, but you'd hardly know it today. Start in Berlin, where, instead of a wall dividing the city, you'll find an art gallery and walking path. Then travel to the dynamic East German city of Leipzig, where Bach and Wagner once lived. Make a stop in reconstructed baroque Dresden before staying a few days in tourist-filled Prague. You'll have a more authentic experience in a smaller, Unesco-recognised town like Telč. Then see modern Moravian life in upbeat Brno, and head east for another astronomical clock in laid-back Olomouc. If you like medieval construction, you'll love Kraków, Poland. To get to Slovakia, you pass through the Tatra Mountains, so you may as well stop. Below the mountains, the walled city of Levoča is close to the impressive Spiš Castle ruins. A musical fountain and Gothic cathedral highlight Košice. Thirsty? Because little Tokaj, Hungary, has been producing great dessert wines for ages. Vineyards also cover the hills surrounding the old town of Eger and its walkable wine-tasting valley. From there Budapest – and your onward journey – are not far west.