Top Attractions and Things to Do in Romania

Often overlooked by travellers in favour of more popular European destinations, Romania is a hidden gem. Right in the heart of Eastern Europe, it’s a treasure trove of rich history, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant culture. Romania’s top attractions, from medieval castles to natural wonders and everything in between, are guaranteed to capture your heart.

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Exploring the history and beauty of medieval castles in Romania

Peleș Castle, Romania
Peleș Castle

Romania is renowned for its magnificent medieval castles that seem to have emerged straight out of fairy tales. One such castle that should be on every traveller’s itinerary is Bran Castle, often referred to as “Dracula’s Castle.” Perched high on a hilltop in the picturesque Transylvania region, this fortress is shrouded in mystery and legends. Inside, you can explore the eerie corridors and secret passageways while immersing yourself in the fascinating history of the region.

Moving on to another architectural masterpiece, Peleș Castle is a true testament to Romania’s rich heritage. Located in the town of Sinaia, this Neo-Renaissance castle is a sight to behold. With its intricate detailing, opulent interiors, and stunning gardens, Peleș Castle offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of Romania’s former royal family.

If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the chance to visit the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara. This Gothic-Renaissance fortress is a true marvel, with its imposing towers, drawbridge, and intricate stone carvings.

Discovering the natural wonders and scenic landscapes of Romania

Apuseni Mountains, Romania
Apuseni Mountains

Beyond its magnificent castles, Romania is also blessed with an abundance of natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes. One such gem is the Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a paradise for nature lovers. This unique ecosystem is home to an incredible array of flora and fauna, including over 300 species of birds. Take a boat ride along the winding canals, and you’ll be mesmerised by the beauty of this untouched wilderness.

Another must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts is the stunning Carpathian Mountains. With their snow-capped peaks, dense forests, and pristine alpine meadows, the Carpathians offer endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and wildlife spotting. Explore the majestic Bucegi Mountains or venture into the mystical land of the Apuseni Mountains, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas at every turn.

For those seeking a unique natural wonder, check out the Turda Salt Mine. Located in Transylvania, this former salt mine has been transformed into an underground amusement park. Descend into the depths of the earth and marvel at the surreal landscapes, underground lakes, and even a Ferris wheel.

Must-visit cities and towns in Romania

Palace of Parliament chandelier, Bucharest, Romania
Palace of Parliament chandelier, Bucharest

As well as natural wonders, the country also boasts a number of vibrant cities and charming towns that are worth exploring. Bucharest, the capital city, is a fascinating blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. Stroll through the historic Lipscani district, visit the iconic Palace of Parliament, and indulge in the city’s vibrant nightlife.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, the city of Brasov is the perfect destination. Located in the heart of Transylvania, Brasov is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, charming cobbled streets, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the iconic Black Church, a Gothic marvel that dominates the city’s skyline.

For a taste of traditional Romanian village life, head to Sibiu. This enchanting town is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and narrow alleyways. Explore the charming squares, visit the Brukenthal National Museum, and immerse yourself in the local culture at one of the town’s many festivals.

Romania’s cultural and historical landmarks

Săpânța Merry Cemetery, Romania
Săpânța Merry Cemetery

Romania is also home to a wealth of cultural and historical landmarks that showcase the country’s rich heritage. One such landmark is the painted monasteries of Bucovina. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are adorned with vibrant frescoes that depict religious scenes and offer a glimpse into Romania’s Orthodox Christian traditions.

Another cultural treasure is the Merry Cemetery in the village of Săpânța. Unlike traditional cemeteries, this unique site is filled with colourful tombstones that feature intricate hand-carved wooden crosses and whimsical poems that tell the stories of the deceased. It’s a celebration of life and a truly unique experience.

If you’re a fan of classical music, a visit to the George Enescu Museum in Bucharest is a must. This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Romania’s most celebrated composer and offers a fascinating insight into the country’s musical heritage.

Off-the-beaten-path destinations in Romania

Bârsana, Romania
Bârsana

For those seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures, Romania has plenty to offer. One such hidden gem is the remote region of Maramureș. Known for its traditional wooden churches, picturesque villages, and timeless way of life, Maramureș is like stepping back in time. Explore the wooden churches of Bârsana and Budești, and visit the lively markets of Sighetu Marmației.

If you’re a nature lover, the Apuseni Natural Park is a paradise waiting to be discovered. Located in the Western Carpathians, this untouched wilderness is home to rugged landscapes, crystal-clear rivers, and impressive cave systems. Top activities include exploring the Scarisoara Ice Cave and hiking through the stunning Padis Plateau.

Experiencing the local cuisine and traditions in Romania

Traditional Romanian food
Traditional Romanian food

No trip to Romania would be complete without indulging in the country’s delicious cuisine and experiencing its unique traditions. Romanian cuisine is a hearty and flavourful blend of influences from its neighbouring countries. Dishes such as sarmale (cabbage rolls), mămăligă (polenta), and cozonac (sweet bread) are staples of the culinary scene. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of tuica, a traditional Romanian plum brandy.

To truly immerse yourself in Romania’s cultural traditions, consider attending one of the country’s many festivals and events. From the vibrant Sighișoara Medieval Festival to the traditional Hora Unirii dance in Iași, these celebrations offer a glimpse into Romania’s rich folklore and are a feast for the senses. You could also take a food tour or a cooking class.

Romania’s festivals and events

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Cluj-Napoca

Romania knows how to celebrate, and throughout the year, you’ll find a wide array of festivals and events taking place across the country. One such event is the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, one of the largest performing arts festivals in Europe. Held in the charming city of Sibiu, this festival showcases a diverse range of theatrical performances, concerts, and exhibitions.

For music enthusiasts, the Electric Castle Festival is a must-visit. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Banffy Castle in Cluj-Napoca, this multi-genre music festival attracts both local and international artists and offers a unique blend of music, art, and culture.

If you’re visiting Romania during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the magical atmosphere of the Sibiu Christmas Market. With its beautifully decorated stalls, traditional crafts, and festive music, this market is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

Planning your trip to Romania – transportation, accommodation, and travel tips

Drăgan-Floroiu Dam, Lunca Vişagului, Romania
Drăgan-Floroiu Dam, Lunca Vişagului

When planning your trip to Romania, it’s important to consider the various transportation options available. The country has a well-developed network of trains and buses that connect major cities and towns, making it easy to navigate the country. If you prefer more flexibility, renting a car is also a popular option, allowing you to explore Romania at your own pace. Discover Cars and Qeeq both offer rentals at good prices.

In terms of accommodation, Romania offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. From luxurious hotels in the heart of Bucharest to cosy guesthouses in rural villages, you’ll find something to suit your needs. Consider staying in a traditional guesthouse or farmhouse for a truly authentic experience. For the best deal, compare prices on sites like Booking.com and Hostelworld.

Before you embark on your journey, it’s important to familiarise yourself with some essential travel tips. Romania is a safe country to visit, but like any destination, it’s always wise to take precautions. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid displaying valuable items, and be cautious when using public transportation, especially in crowded areas.

If you require emergency assistance in Romania, dial 112 to contact emergency services.

Best times to visit Romania

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Cluj-Napoca

Romania offers something for every season, so the best time to visit depends on your interests. If you’re a fan of outdoor activities and want to explore the country’s natural wonders, the summer months of June to September are ideal. During this time, you’ll enjoy warm weather, longer days, and the opportunity to hike, swim, and explore the great outdoors.

For those seeking a winter wonderland experience, the months of December to February offer the chance to witness Romania’s stunning landscapes covered in a blanket of snow. Visit the ski resorts in the Carpathian Mountains, go ice skating on frozen lakes, and experience the magic of a traditional Romanian Christmas.

Remember that as Romania becomes a more popular tourist destination, it’s best to book activities in advance. You can use sites like Get Your Guide and Viator to book tickets, experiences and day trips.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Romania is a country that offers a truly unique travel experience. From its medieval castles and natural wonders to its vibrant cities and charming towns, Romania has something to captivate every traveller. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in a rich and vibrant culture, Romania will not disappoint.

CTA: Start planning your trip to Romania today and explore the beauty and history of this fascinating country.

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