Romania - The Unknown Gem of Europe
In south-east Europe, surrounded my the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea, Romania is still a hidden gem when it comes to European or world tourism.
I may be biased as Romania is the land of my ancestors and the country that saw me be born, but in very few places can one find such pristine landscape, organic and fresh food, traditions and all at a very affordable price. During my world travels very rarely have I found people who know or have travelled to Romania. Below I want to share with you some of the hidden gems of Romania, besides Dracula castle.
Romania is predominantly an Orthodox Christian country which a very old history and tradition when it comes to its religion. All around the country you can find beautiful old monasteries, but nothing compares with the ones in northern areas. Shielded by mountains, these monasteries are an oasis of peace. Varying in size and colours, you can find something for everyone. Even if you are not religious, you will definitely be swept by a wind of peace & tranquility. You can choose to book a tour, travel by car and book a hotel or airbnb in the area, or you can also check in advance and see if the monasteries offer accommodation. Some of my favourite monasteries are Voroneț, Cozia, Agapia. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, go to the monasteries located in Maramureș and then you get to see the landscape in norther Romania, trust me it is breath taking.
I hope you are a very good driver because you will need to if you want to drive on one of the world’s craziest road. More than 150 kilometres in length the Transfagarasan Highwayn is only opened between June and October. The top attraction on the Trasnfagarasan is arriving at Bâlea Lake. In itself breath taking, the highway takes you along the Carpathian Mountains.
The second largest Delta in Europe and the best preserved in Europe. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes. If you want to connect with nature, go fishing, slow down and enjoy locally sourced food, then the Danube Delta is the place for you. You can find affordable accommodation, locally sourced food and freshly caught fish. You can take a boat down the Danube, or relax in the many fishing villages around the Danube. It is a pristine paradise. If you choose to, you could also visit the Black Sea as you are only 150km away from Constanta. Truth be told, there are many other places to see in Romania and you could save your cash and go to Greece or Italy if you want to swim a blue and Mediterranean sea. The Black Sea got its name for a reason.
Transylvania and Dracula are known worldwide and thanks to this, the area gets more tourists than other parts of the country. Whilst the Bran (Dracula) Castle is worth seeing and the town close to it, Brasov is beautiful, there are many other castles to see in Romania. You could see Râsnov Fortress that is only a 20 minutes drive away and it’s really worth seeing. You could opt for Peleș Castle or simply go to Sighișoara (city) where all the downtown looks like it’s a fortress. The options are endless and it is up to you to see what suits your time and budget best.
If you are more of a city person, Romania’s got you covered. Bucharest has great amenities, but please do venture out of the capital. Some of the most beautiful cities in Romania are Brașov, Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Târgu Mureș, Iași, among many others. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture you could opt to stay in a local village and if you go during summer you could go to the fields, see the local farming methods, and during autumn you could see how the locals make wine. The locals would be more than happy to show you these ancient practices.