For the uninitiated, Romania can be a tantalising but uncertain destination to visit. There’s plenty of allure to the country, with notions of spooky Transylvania and Dracula, but it also poses plenty of unknowns for travellers unfamiliar with eastern Europe. Often it’s this uncertainty that stops people from pulling the trigger on their first Romania trip.
So what’s so great about this under appreciated country? Well, in my eyes, most of the things that make Europe great. It’s a nation with a fascinating and complex history that has been particularly well-preserved. Romania is also home to some sweeping landscapes and layered, distinctive cities. Basically, it has something to offer everyone. If you need further proof, simply look below.
Whether viewed from above or admired at street level, the cities of Romania are surprisingly varied and never really feel like a lesser version of somewhere better known. Even when the capital Bucharest is dubbed the “Paris of the East“, it’s a comparison that fails to take into account so much of the city’s character. Certainly there are hints of familiarity like the above or the Viennese touches in Timisoara, but these are simply attempts to express how impressive Romania’s cities truly are.
A facet of Romania that can’t be overlooked is the role that religion has played throughout its history. While a strongly catholic country, Romania also has a sizeable Protestant streak from the Saxon settlers that arrived in the Middle Ages. With all these influences, there are umpteen different churches and cathedrals to visit during a Romania trip. Thing is, you’re unlikely to develop “church fatigue” as their diversity is unparalleled. From the immense Black Church of Brasov, to other smaller regional churches, visitors are spoilt with intriguing houses of faith.
A Romania trip wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the many, varied landscapes and terrains found around the country. Romania is home to a little bit of everything, from rolling rural farmland in the Maramures region to the dense forest across the Carpathian Mountains. Then there’s all the serene river lands along the country’s borders. Safe to say, escaping the country’s cities comes with its own rewards as well.
Magnetic Old Towns
Like the best places in Europe, Romania is teeming with old towns to fall in love with. At the heart of most of the cities lie old towns bursting with historic buildings and landmarks. This means that no matter where you are in Romania, you’ll find somewhere great to stroll and tumble back in time. Many of these like the quiet Sighisoara rest deep in the heart of Transylvania, simply dripping in the region’s characteristic atmosphere.
Last but definitely not least is Romania’s fantastic, superlative castles. This is the land of Dracula after all! It’s particularly in Transylvania that you are able to find some devastatingly beautiful castles and fortresses, which also speak to the region’s turbulent past. For castle lovers like myself, Romania is definitely an exciting place to visit. The city of Brasov is an especially good place to base yourself if you want to visit several of the country’s finest.
Which would be your number one pick to start your first Romania trip? Have you already visited Romania and are looking to visit again? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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