Why visit Romania?
Why visit Romania?
Forget any preconceptions about Eastern Europe and Romania in particular. Nestled in the heart of Eastern Europe, Romania is a country that offers a unique blend of ancient history, stunning natural landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. From the towering Carpathian Mountains to the shimmering Black Sea coast, Romania has something for every kind of traveller. Here are some reasons why we think that you should consider visiting this hidden gem of Europe.
Romania is full of natural beauty
Romania boasts some of the most breath-taking natural landscapes on the continent. The Carpathian Mountains run through the heart of the country, providing a stunning backdrop to the picturesque towns and villages that dot the countryside. The peaks of the Carpathians offer some of the best hiking and skiing in Europe, with trails that wind through dense forests, past tranquil lakes, and up to snow-capped summits. There is a sense of freedom and remoteness here that is difficult to find elsewhere in Europe.
Romania also contains the Danube Delta, one of the largest wetlands in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The delta is home to over 300 species of birds and numerous other wildlife, including otters, wild boars, and dolphins. The delta is also an important site for conservation, with efforts underway to protect the region’s unique flora and fauna.
The cultural heritage of Romania
Romania has a rich and fascinating history that is reflected in its architecture, museums and in its art. The country’s most famous landmark is the stunning Bran Castle, which is said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The castle is perched on a hilltop overlooking the rolling hills of Transylvania, and its imposing towers and battlements make it a must-see for history buffs and vampire enthusiasts alike. Be prepared for tourist stalls selling all types of tacky Halloween style masks and paraphernalia, but get past this and there is a fascinating history to the castle.
Another popular destination are the painted monasteries of Bucovina, which are decorated with vibrant frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible and Romanian folklore. The monasteries were built in the 15th and 16th centuries and are an important example of Byzantine art and architecture. Here it is important to visit with an expert guide, who can explain the stories behind many of the paintings and bring to life the beautiful artwork.
Romania is also home to a thriving folk art scene, with traditional crafts such as pottery, weaving, and wood carving still practiced in many rural communities. Visitors can experience the vibrant colours and intricate designs of these crafts at local markets and festivals. We try and visit a number of them on our Romania tours, depending on your time of travel.
Romanian food and wine
Romanian cuisine is a delightful fusion of influences from its neighbouring countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The country’s diverse landscape and rich history have also played a significant role in shaping its culinary traditions.
One of the most popular dishes in Romania is sarmale, which is made by wrapping minced meat and rice in cabbage or grape leaves. It may not sound the most appetising but it really is a mouth-watering delicacy that leaves you wanting more. Another must-try dish is mici, a type of grilled minced meat that is often served with mustard and bread. You must also experience a traditional Romanian breakfast that consists of mămăligă (a type of polenta) served with cheese and sour cream. It is not that common in hotels now as the European style buffet is much more common.
When it comes to wine, Romania has a long and storied history dating back over 2000 years. The country is home to several wine-growing regions, including Transylvania and Muntenia. Some of the most famous Romanian wines include Fetească Neagră, a red wine with a deep, complex flavour, and Grasă de Cotnari, a sweet white wine that pairs well with desserts.
During your travels in Romania, be sure to try some of the local specialties and sample the delicious wines. Many restaurants and cafes offer traditional Romanian cuisine, and there are also several wine tours and tastings available throughout the country. Whether you’re a foodie or a wine enthusiast, Romania has plenty to offer.