Hi all. Time to change it up a little. Today I’m looking at one of the larger Eastern European countries, Romania. It’s been well over a decade since I visited Romania, but I still remember it as a great destination for a variety of reasons. Here, today, are five of them!
- It’s Varied!
From the Black Sea and the beach life to the mountains of Transylvania and beyond, Romania has many different sorts of sights to see. Whereas the Black Sea coast and the capital Bucharest, and indeed quite a bit of the country can be roaringly hot in the Summer, the mountains still provide some respite. Bucharest is not going to be on many people’s favourite city lists, but it is an interesting place with various styles of architecture and the People’s Palace, one of the world’s biggest and most imposing buildings. Then there are charming towns like Sigisoara and Brasov.
Europe has so many castles, and Romania doesn’t miss out. And Transylvania is teeming with them! Bran castle for example is known as the ‘Count Dracula’ castle, although it’s likely the castle had nothing much to do with Vlad the Impaler (the real ‘Dracula’). Then there is Peles Castle, a little further south. It’s different, more like a palace, and the tour is so very worthwhile!
Loads of great spots for hiking, such as the Turda Gorge. From Cluj I took a bus up into the mountains and did some great hiking, taking in an Ice Cave and staying in this tiny little village. It was a highlight of my 2004 trip. But loads of mountains means loads of hiking options!
Hands down my favourite city in Romania, Cluj-Napoca is in the west of the country. It’s got a great vibe and is a university town, so it’s young at heart, pleasant and easy to get around. Lots of nice places for a drink to!
Yes, it’s a real place, and no, it’s not dark and populated by vampires. Well, I say that but…
Seriously though, it’s a stunningly beautiful area that in Summer is verdant and green, and behind the hills you can find an old castle. But it’s the towns such as Sigisoara and Brasov that I liked the most. Old towns, cobblestones, loads of character, and such history as well. And to top that off, the towns are pretty!
Now. These days Romania is not as stable as it was before the Global Financial Crisis. A lot of places in the world bounced back, but Romania not so much. Presently resentment in the government has risen, and there have been a lot of protests. So, please bear that in mind if you are thinking of going to Romania. No doubt the most dubious place to visit would probably be the capital, Bucharest, which has never had a great reputation for people’s safety, although I never felt under threat whilst there. Except, perhaps by the dogs.
So my advice would be to shoot for Cluj and Transylvania. They are, in my opinion, the best parts of the country. Easier to do if you’re coming from the west (eg Hungary). Anyways, thanks again for reading – please share any thoughts you may have! And – May the Journey Never End!