The Hidden Europe

The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europe Can Teach Us by Francis Tapon

The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us is a travel narrative based on Francis Tapon's trips to Eastern Europe. Watch the book trailer

Buy at online shop button

If you need an image of the book cover, you can get it in small, medium, or large.

Download sample chapters!

a) Read the first 3 chapters of The Hidden Europe for free & with no obligation! Download either the PDF that is optimized for onscreen viewing or for printing.

b) If you want 4 chapters of The Hidden Europe + a free video about traversing Spain twice + chapter two of Hike Your Own Hike, then sign up for my newsletter below (you can unsubscribe at any time)!

Get My Infrequent Newsletter!


For many Westerners, Eastern Europe is about as appealing as a deodorant-free French armpit. That didn't scare Francis Tapon because not only did he learn how to rough it by walking across America four times, but he is also half French, so he kind of smells too.

Francis spent nearly 3 years traveling and backpacking in 25 Eastern European countries. It started with a 5-month trip in 2004. He returned in 2008 to spend 3 years exploring all the countries again. The Hidden Europe is Book Two of the WanderLearn Series.

There are 25 chapters (one for each country). Each chapter:

  • Examines an Eastern European country's history, food, language, sites, stereotypes, and drinking habits.
  • Covers Francis Tapon's personal adventures in that country.
  • Ends with a short summary of what practical things you can learn from that country.

The Hidden Europe book trailer and tour

"The Hidden Europe is an invigorating narrative packed with useful tips and colorful stories. . . . It's an entertaining summary of his observations on spending time in each of the 25 different countries in the eastern half of the continent. . . . I had so much fun reading through this book. And it covers every country and every corner of Eastern Europe with a beautiful breezy style, with a fun, intimate report on how Francis enjoyed 3 years exploring Eastern Europe." — Rick Steves, Travel Expert

“Francis Tapon provides us with a wide-ranging personal and historical travelogue. . . . The result is one of the world's most personal, idiosyncratic, and unorthodox cultural and historical travel guide.  It's really an impressive and ambitious book.” — Michael Krasny, Host on KQED's Forum

“Francis Tapon is a modern incarnate of the spirit of Solon or Pericles: he travels to foreign countries to watch things, for the sake of contemplation. And he does it with an extremely sharp eye and lot of wit. The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us is not only the book of the year; it also sets the twenty-first century’s standard for travelogues.” — Flórián Farkas, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Eurasian Studies

Dust Jacket

The Hidden Europe book dust jacket by Francis Tapon

Latvian orthodox church during a chilly winter day.

Francis Tapon yearned for a European adventure, but Western Europe seemed too tame and passé. So he traveled for 3 years visiting every Eastern European country—all 25 of them.

The Hidden Europe cleverly mixes insightful facts with hilarious personal anecdotes. It's profound, yet light. Francis Tapon is a sharp observer who helps you distinguish a Latvian from a Lithuanian, while not confusing Slovenia with Slovakia.

You'll also learn:

  • Why Baltic people are human squirrels.
  • When and why Poland disappeared from Europe.
  • Why Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia broke up.
  • Why Hungarians are really Martians.
  • How Slovenians learn languages so quickly.
  • Why the Balkans is so screwed up.
  • Why there's much more to Romania than Dracula.
  • Which Moldovan tradition saves marriages.
  • What the future holds for Belarus, Ukraine, Russia.
  • Why communism was a dream . . . and a nightmare.
You'll understand a side of Europe that is still mysterious and misunderstood even 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Francis Tapon is an ideal guide in a book that will become a classic travel narrative.

The book has 16 pages of color photos and a color map!

Dust Jacket flaps

The Europe and Asia Border near Yekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg) in Russia. Francis Tapon stands on the border that divides the Asian and European continents. It is the eastern most point of Europe, deep in Russia, about an 18 hour train ride EAST of Moscow. It just goes to show how far Eastern Europe really goes. Taken in Russia in late 2008.

Francis Tapon’s quest was simple: explore every country in Eastern Europe from the Gulf of Finland to the Black Sea. He saw them all in 2004 and then returned in 2008 to revisit them to see what had changed. He finally left in 2011 to share a side of Europe that few know.

Tallinn's Town Hall square - Raekoja Plats - in Estonia during the holidays season in 2008

The Hidden Europe is an entertaining travelogue that also shares practical lessons that will impact your day-to-day life. You’ll learn about today's Eastern Europe along with understanding the complex history of this fascinating region.

About the author

Francis Tapon is a public speaker, world traveler, and life coach. Author of Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America, he has traveled to over 75 countries. He was born and raised in San Francisco. He is a first-generation American, born of a French father and a Chilean mother. He has a degree in Religion from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Where to buy

The best place to buy the hardcover is at the WanderLearn Shop because:

  1. The books are the same price everywhere else.
  2. 100% of your money goes to the author (instead of the retailer).
  3. You get three DRM-free electronic versions to choose from (ePub, PDF, mobi-Kindle).
  4. 30-day money back guarantee!

However, if you prefer the ebook, then buy The Hidden Europe ebook at Amazon. Amazon has the exclusive right to sell the ebook. What if you don't have a Kindle ebook reader? Just download the Kindle App on your prefered ebook reader and see it there. 

About the book creation

Readers like you helped design The Hidden Europe. For example, there was a $1,000 Book Cover Contest that got 80 submissions. The top 10% went through a playoff round, and you can check out the results. There was even a vote on which author photo to use. Francis had about 100 Beta Readers giving him feedback on the early book drafts. In short, The Hidden Europe is the result of substantial input from all over the planet, especially the US and Eastern Europe.

Discuss The Hidden Europe

Do you want to make a comment about The Hidden Europe? It's certainly a controversial book that will stir debates about Eastern Europe. Share your thoughts or read what others are saying in The Hidden Europe Forum.

The book's hardcover ISBN # is 9780976581222. The ebook ISBN # is 9780976581239.