An enchanting beauty in the Balkan Peninsula on the western shores of the Black Sea, Romania is a country that can easily be categorized as a ‘Dream Destination’.
Stunning landscape with the Carpathian Mountains drawing a dramatic arc through the midpoint of the country, rocky peaks surrounded by deciduous and pine trees, rich cultural heritage, medieval villages, towering castles, warm friendly locals, soul-satisfying food, and perhaps the most exciting combination of modern with traditional, Romania is where your search for a picture-perfect destination ends.
If that’s not enough, Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube will charm you with its unparalleled splendor. There are more than enough reasons why you should love Romania or why you should move to Romania forever. Loaded with history and medieval relics, the country has all elements to make it to the top of every traveler’s bucket list. However, here are 5 reasons why Romania is the country every traveler needs to visit.
1. The Breathtaking Vista of Carpathian Mountains
Spectacular and dramatic, the second-longest mountain range in Europe, the Carpathian Mountains and their breathtaking vista of the jagged peaks and wooded hills is so enchanting that it alone pulls the majority of travelers to Romania very year. Lining the distance of over 1500 km, the northwestern Carpathians start from Poland, sweep towards the southwest creating a semi-circle around Transcarpathia and Transylvania finally end on the Danube near Orşova in Romania.
One of the major highlights of the Carpathian mountain range in Romania is the Transalpina (DN67C)— the high altitude mountain road which offers some stunningly beautiful sights through its winding curves. Also known as The King’s Road, DN67C located in the Parâng Mountains group in the Southern Carpathians of Romania was built under King Carol II and was opened in 1938.
Yet another scenic paved mountain road, the Transfagarașan or DN7C is also a part of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania making it one of the most adventurous as well as picturesque roads to travel. Featured in Top Gear, a British TV show, the Transfagarașan was termed as the best road in the world by the host Jeremy Clarkson. The road was constructed between 1970 and 1974 as a strategic military route and it moves up to an altitude of 2,042 metres with winding curves, steep hairpin turns, sharp descents and long tunnels. Bâlea Lake, one of the most amazing sites on DN7C is located at the highest point of the road.
2. Transylvania (Dracula’s Land) and the hidden gems around it
Home to vampires and most famous of them all— Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Transylvania is a picturesque historical region in the central part of Romania. Blessed with a vibrant landscape, the beautiful countryside where you can still find rumbling horse-drawn carts, and tiny chocolate-box towns like Sibiu, Brasov, and Sighisoara, Transilvania also has man-made beauties in the shape of castles especially the Bran Castle or Dracula`s castle and fortified churches.
Fondly and most popularly known as Dracula’s Castle, Bran’s Castle is a spectacular 60m-tall edifice built by Saxons from Braşov in 1382. However, the castles real claim to fame is the belief that Vlad Ţepeş aka Dracula might have spent a few nights in this very citadel on his flight from the Turks in 1462. Today, the open air village museum along with many other traditional structures are one of the main tourist attractions of Dracula’s land.
Move little northwest and 215 km of Bucharest lies the picturesque town of Sibiu. Romania’s cultural centre and European capital of culture, Sibiu was listed by Forbes magazine as “Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live”. Baroque squares, cobbled alleys, traditional houses, cheery cafes and above all the Cibin river along with several other small streams lend Sibiu a surreal beauty and charm that can make any traveler fall in love with Romania at the very first sight.
Yet another hidden gem in Transylvania region is Brasov—a modern city with medieval relics, fairy-tale turrets, and cobbled alleys which add the quintessential old world charm to it its fascinating surroundings. Located at the heart of the country and guarded by the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is the 7th largest city in Romania. If legends are to be believed, it was in this whimsically enchanting town of Brasov that the Pied Piper had reemerged from Hamelin. Mount Tampa overlooks the city and a huge sign of the city (Hollywood style) will greet you the moment you enter it. If the natural beauty of the country hasn’t stolen your heart yet and you are still looking for reasons why you should move to Romania, this amazing town will surely give you an answer.
Among Transylvania’s hidden gems, Sighisoara is perhaps the most arresting fortified medieval town with its winding alleys lined with bright-hued 16th-century dwellings and lovely cafes. One of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, Sighisoara is a magical town where German merchants, artisans, and the Transylvanian Saxons were invited over by the King of Hungary to settle and defend the frontier in the 12th Century. Sighisoara is widely regarded as the most beautiful and well preserved inhabited citadel in Europe marked by the authentic medieval architecture. What else? Sighisoara is the birthplace of one of the most famous monsters in history—Vlad Ţepeş.
3. The Danube Delta
Apart from the scenic landscape and loads of alluring history, Romania also has some great geological phenomena in its rich kitty. The Danube Delta is not just the second largest river delta in Europe but is also the best preserved on the continent. The only delta in the world to be entirely declared as a Biosphere Reserve and listed as a World Heritage Site, the Danube delta is spread across the 5,165 sq-km of wetland of marshes, sandbars, and floating reed islets. Around 160 species of fish and 300 species of bird can be seen in the region. It is also one of the largest single expanses of reed beds in the world. An ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, the Danube Delta is one of the greatest treasures that Romania has. For Great trips in Danube delta we recommend: Excursii in Delta Dunarii.
4. Maramures, the most idyllic and rural place which you will ever visit
A landscape marked by the tapestry of lush pastureland, snow-capped Carpathian peaks and picture-perfect forests while the traditional timber abodes with steep roofs and huge ornate gates define villages: welcome to Maramures— the most traditional region of Romania. Maramures is one of the remotest yet the most idyllic villages where villagers still have a preserved way of life. A place where horse-drawn carts and wooden churches along with traditionally dressed men and women are not a thing of the past. Medieval Maramures which pretty much exists in the Izei and Mara Valleys has not just one or two but eight churches on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Site list. It will not be an exaggeration to state that no other place in the world has managed to stop the clock from ticking as beautifully and gracefully as Maramures. Once you visit this extraordinary region of Romania, you won’t look for a reason as to why you should move to Romania.
5. Romanian Monasteries
With their exceptional composition, the elegance of the characters, and the harmony of the colors, the Romanian Monasteries blend perfectly with the surrounding countryside. Preserved and handed down as one of the greatest gifts from the medieval times, these monasteries are not just unique but their artistic value is beyond any measurement. Known for the exemplary frescoes and listed as the world heritage by UNESCO, these orthodox monasteries are one-of-its-kinds and must-visit sites in Romania.
The Voroneţ Monastery
It is perhaps the most famous of the Southern Bucovina monasteries. Built in a record time of just three months and three weeks, the Voroneţ Monastery’s exterior paintings are of an extraordinary quality. However, it is monastery’s signature ‘Voroneţ Blue’ color that is the most-talked about feature of this nunnery.
Built by Prince Stephen the Great, the Putna monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery which was of great cultural, religious and artistic importance in Moldavia during medieval times. The beautiful monastery known for its architecture is one of the major tourist attractions in Romania. Monastery’s oldest embroidery is dated back to the 14th century and is a silk and gold epitaphion by a Serbian nun Euphima and her daughter Euprasijka.
If you are are still wondering why you should love Romania, here’s a bonus reason:
Delicious Romanian traditional food: Although Romanian food like its history came into contact with many different traditions, it has maintained a character and a distinct flavor of its own. Don’t miss the most delicious and popular local cuisine called Sarmale which is mincemeat wrapped in cabbage or vine leaves. Mamaliga (polenta) and Bulz which is traditional roasted polenta, filled with bacon, sour cream and at least, two kinds of cheeses are also a treat for the taste buds. A huge variety of soups is also a Romanian specialty. And if you have a sweet tooth and you are planning to visit Romania during Easter time, try the famous traditional dessert Pasca which a cheese or chocolate pie baked only after Easter. Saratele (salty sticks) and Pandispan (a cake filled with sour cherries) will give you plenty of reasons to love Romania.
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