With a great variety of attractions, low price levels, and good infrastructure, Romania is almost the perfect holiday country. There are sights and attractions of all kinds and there are no particular challenges when traveling around the country today. Eastern Europe, in general, is experiencing a boom in tourism excessively with its irresistible entertaining offers that magnetize millions of curious travelers every weekend.
Romania with its vibrating capital city of Bucharest is probably the most alluring one and in today’s article, we will give a brief overview of what makes it so attractive and pleasing to travel across this country and its capital.
Sights and Attractions
Romania has a varied selection of sights and attractions both within culture, nature, and recreation. As mentioned above, entertaining offer such as exciting Bucharest stag do weekends attract some 12 million visitors annually. Cultural highlights are probably the many beautiful medieval towns, especially the “Germanic” cities in Transylvania, such as Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu, and Cluj-Napoca.
These are generally incredibly idyllic and a pleasure to just stay in. The capital city of Bucharest is also nicer than people would expect, and the gigantic parliament palace is a very special and unique building that you will see just as you arrive. Another unique attraction of Romania is the many churches and monasteries decorated with murals on the outside that cant is seen elsewhere.
This country is still largely a farming community and visitors are often surprised by the great contrast between the countryside and the cities. While the cities have all the modern conveniences, one should not go far out in the country before horse and carts are a common sight. People in rural areas are considerably poorer than urban people, but at the same time may find it charming with a simple and “authentic” life. Especially interested tourists can experience the peasant culture up close by living and helping out on a farm.
Romania Is the Last Place in Europe Where You Can See Bears in the Forest
Romania has exceptionally varied nature with a lot of beautiful scenery, including several large mountain areas with brilliant opportunities for hiking. In the mountains, there are also several ski resorts with good skiing conditions in the winter. The Black Sea coast has many resorts with beautiful beaches and in the Danube Delta (both in Romania and Ukraine, but mainly Romania) there is a very special ecosystem with many rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The whole country has a rich animal and bird life, including a large population of bear and stork, and especially the Danube Delta is considered among many to be birdwatching paradise.
Many have been introduced to Romania (Transylvania) because of Dracula, a fictional vampire from a novel by Irish Bram Stoker (who actually never set foot in Transylvania). Tourists find it interesting to visit places mentioned in the novel and places related to (the real) prince Vlad Țepeș, which the Dracula figure is said to be inspired by.
Cross-country: From Bucharest to Underground City of Praid
Bucuresti’s main attraction is the gigantic parliament palace that has over a thousand rooms that stand as an example of the former dictator Ceaușescu’s great madness. In the center, there is a pleasant “old town” (not particularly old) where the restaurants and bars are in close proximity. The city has large parks, some monuments and a couple of good museums.
The farmer’s museum is the best known, but it’s said that it has exceptionally grumpy employees, and when you come out of Bucharest and around the country you will, in any case, see more of the farmer culture that will simply win over your heart.
From Bucharest, most visitors continue north towards Transilvania, Romania’s most popular tourist area. Transilvania has something adventurous about it with its beautiful hilly landscape, idyllic “Germanic” cities, countless castles and monasteries, and the legend of Dracula. First stop is usually the relatively large city of Brasov.
The most direct route goes through the narrow Prahova Valley, where there are great opportunities for mountain walks (including several gondolas rides up the mountain) or winter sports from the holiday towns of Sinaia, Busteni and Predeal. There is also the Peles Castle, a former royal palace, which one should definitely not miss. This is undoubtedly Romania’s most beautiful castle, although it cannot boast of being particularly old.
Brasov is one of Romania’s “Germanic” cities and is a place you almost immediately get fond of. In addition to the attractions of Brasov itself, the city can be used as a base for exploring other parts of Transylvania on day trips. For example, mountain tours from Busteni or Sinaia, the “Dracula Castle” in Bran, the fortress of Rasnov and the city of Sighisoara are easily accessible.
The next stop is almost always the charming Sighisoara that is a little further north. This is probably the finest “Germanic” city in Romania, and indeed one of the best-preserved medieval towns throughout Europe. Sighisoara is not very big, but with its cobbled streets, gorgeous and colorful buildings, old churches and the fortified old town it is a pleasure to explore. Prince Vlad Tepes, who was possibly the inspiration for the novel character Dracula, was also born in Sighisoara, which they, unfortunately, fail to make people aware of.
Many settle for a tour of Transylvania before returning to Bucharest, but let us continue north to the town of Targu Mures. (Targu means to market and you will see that many Romanian cities have that name. Mures is a long river that starts east in the Carpathians, flows west through Romania, into Hungary and eventually ends up in the Danube).
Now you are in Szekely Land, the area of Romania with the most ethnic Hungarians. In fact, these makeup around 60% of the population in the area, and Targu Mures is their main metropolis. In this region, you will see that many public signs stand in both Romanian and Hungarian. In Targu Mures, therefore, there is a mixture of Hungarian and Romanian culture, such as its own Hungarian churches. The city center is very nice with several cathedrals, statues, and the very special cultural palace.
Now many would still have to go west in the direction of Cluj-Napoca, but we will first stop our journey at the relatively unknown north-eastern part of Romania. Not far from Targu Mures you arrive at the unspectacular village of Praid, which, however, has a rather special attraction.
The city’s German name is Salzberg, and it is not without reason, because there is a large old salt mine. After the production ended, the salt mine has been turned into a real underground city that can be visited. Instead of narrow mines, as one might have expected, there are large halls inside the mountain.
The climate inside the mine should be beneficial for people with respiratory problems, so if you, unfortunately, have some of them then you will miraculously get cured in a very short time. Here you will find a restaurant, a church, a cinema and various activities, including playgrounds for children. A similar salt mine is found in Turda, further west in the country but it’s certainly not that attractive
When you stop for a moment and think about it, you will find out that Romania is probably the last country in Europe where one can experience the urban life at fullest along with trips to nature that are full of sites from fairytales. The great addition to that information is the fact that Romania is on average 30-50% more affordable than the rest of the EU. Do not hesitate to book your Romania trip as soon as possible before it gets overrun by hordes of annoying tourists in the future.