Situated in the southeastern corner of Europe, on the shores of the Black Sea, Romania has so far largely missed out on the global tourism boom. Certainly! If you intend to travel to Romania, it's crucial to understand that you will need a Romanian visa for your trip.
Tenuous associations with Bram Stoker’s fictional Dracula have long lured travelers to Transylvania, but much of the rest of the country, with its beautiful mountains and river valleys, rustic villages, and vibrant cities, has only recently begun to attract visitors. Before word gets out, here are seven exciting experiences awaiting you in Romania.
Bran Castle is often associated in the public eye with Dracula, but the only bloodthirsty nobleman who ever stayed here was probably Romania’s own Vlad ÈšepeÈ™ (aka Vlad the Impaler). Bran doesn’t need Dracula to induce awe.
The castle’s enormous mass of turrets and castellations, all looking over a foggy, desolate mountain pass, pretty much recalls every horror film ever made.
The Unesco-protected, 15th-century painted monasteries of Bucovina show off Romania’s enduring devotion to its Latin-flavored Orthodox tradition and superb artistry.
The frescoes illustrate everything from biblical stories to the 15th-century siege of Constantinople. The dizzying matrix of colors and intricate detail blend effortlessly with remote natural surroundings.
A visit to MaramureÈ™ in far northern Romania is like a trip back to a simpler, more rustic, more rural past.
Isolated villages, separated from one another by vast, rolling fields and forested hillsides, cluster around stark wooden churches with weather-beaten, Gothic-style steeples.
Around 800 years ago, Hungarian kings invited Saxon Germans to settle hilly Transylvania to protect it from the Ottoman Turks.
That Saxon legacy lives on in beautifully preserved cities like BraÈ™ov, SighiÈ™oara, and Sibiu. Admire the architectural heritage at SighiÈ™oara’s Citadel fortress or BraÈ™ov’s Black Church.
The Danube Delta is a vast protected wetland of water lilies and reeds, home to various flora and fauna.
Explore it on a boat tour, with chances to glimpse species like the white-tailed eagle, bee-eater, great white egret, and the roller.
The vast Carpathian mountain chain runs down the center of the country, separating the historic provinces of Transylvania and Moldavia.
Trekking is the best way to experience this riveting landscape of peaks, forests, and pastureland.
The Palace of Parliament is a testament to the folly of dictatorship. Its elaborate interiors showcase the quality of Romanian materials and workmanship. After touring the building, relax in one of Bucharest’s many cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Romania is a captivating destination known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and unique attractions.
Whether you're a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Romania has something for everyone. Here are the 17 best things to do in Romania, each offering a memorable experience.
Description: Bran Castle is arguably one of the most important landmarks and attractions in Romania. It is often referred to as Dracula's Castle, believed to be one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's novel.
Highlights: Explore the castle's history, legends, and the beautiful surrounding area.
Why Visit: To delve into the mysteries and history associated with Dracula while enjoying the castle's stunning architecture.
Description: BraÈ™ov is one of the most visited cities in Romania, known for its picturesque old town with winding stone alleys, colorful houses, and historic fortified churches.
Highlights: Visit the Black Church, walk down Strada Sforii (narrowest street in Europe), and enjoy the city's charming atmosphere.
Why Visit: To immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Transylvania in a beautiful setting.
Description: The painted monasteries throughout Romania are pristine examples of Byzantine art, with colorful frescoes on their exteriors.
Highlights: Visit monasteries like Humor, Moldovita, Probota, and Suceava to see intricate frescoes depicting biblical stories and saints.
Why Visit: To witness the unique blend of art and religion on these historic monasteries.
Description: Situated on the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains, PeleÈ™ Castle is a striking Renaissance castle that was the summer residence of the royal family.
Highlights: Explore over 160 rooms with different themes, including stained glass windows, crystal chandeliers, and colorful murals.
Why Visit: To experience the opulence and grandeur of this royal residence.
Description: The untouched Turda Gorge is a tranquil destination for hiking, with jagged limestone cliffs and diverse flora and fauna.
Highlights: Hike through the gorge, discover over 1,000 plant species, and spot rare wildlife like the rock eagle.
To escape into nature and enjoy a serene hiking experience.
Description: The Transfagarasan Highway offers breathtaking views of blue lakes, rolling hills, and ancient castles on a 56-mile road trip.
Highlights: Drive through steep hairpin turns and S curves, open in the summer months.
Why Visit: For a thrilling road trip through stunning landscapes.
Description: Romania is home to over 150 fortified churches, showcasing the Saxon cultural heritage.
Highlights: Visit meticulously preserved churches like Biertan, Harmam, Viscri, Calnic, and Prejmer.
Why Visit: To explore the history and architecture of these unique churches.
Description: Sibiu, known as the "Little Vienna" of Romania, features a picturesque Big Square with charming Baroque houses and Gothic buildings.
Highlights: Admire the statue of St. John Nepomuk and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Why Visit: To experience the charm of Sibiu's historic square.
Description: The Danube Delta, the second-largest river delta in Europe, offers wetlands teeming with diverse plant and animal life.
Highlights: Take a boat tour to explore the delta's narrow canals and spot marine life and various bird species.
Why Visit: To immerse yourself in a unique ecosystem and enjoy a tranquil boat ride.
Description: Poiana BraÈ™ov is a mountainous resort offering a wide range of outdoor activities year-round.
Highlights: Ski, ice skate, tube in the winter, or hike, cycle, and horseback ride in the summer.
Why Visit: For outdoor adventures and relaxation in a scenic mountain setting.
Description: The Merry Cemetery is a unique burial site featuring colorful tombstones with poems and illustrations depicting the life stories of the deceased.
Highlights: Explore the cemetery and admire the joyful and often humorous artwork.
Why Visit: To witness a one-of-a-kind cemetery with a vibrant and positive atmosphere.
Description: SighiÈ™oara Citadel is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Romania and is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.
Highlights: Wander through charming streets, visit the SighiÈ™oara Clock Tower, and immerse yourself in medieval history.
Why Visit: To step back in time and experience the history and culture of Transylvanian Saxons.
Description: The Palace of Culture in IaÈ™i is a monumental building housing four museums and offering panoramic views from its clock tower.
Highlights: Explore the History Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Science Museum, and Art Museum within the palace.
Why Visit: To appreciate the art, history, and culture of IaÈ™i.
Description: Sarmizegetusa Regia is an ancient capital built 2,000 years ago as a defense system of the Dacian Empire against Roman conquest.
Highlights: Explore the ruins, quadrilateral fortress, workshops, houses, and water pipe systems.
Why Visit: To travel back in time and discover the fascinating history of the Dacians.
Description: The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is an imposing architectural achievement, showcasing Romanian materials and workmanship.
Highlights: Take a guided tour of this massive building and marvel at its lavish interiors.
Why Visit: To witness the grandeur and history of this iconic structure.
Description: The Statue of King Decebalus is a unique 141-foot-high sculpture carved into a rock along the Danube River, honoring a historic king.
Highlights: Take a boat tour to see the impressive sculpture up close and learn about its historical significance.
Why Visit: To witness this monumental work of art and history.
Description: Corvin Castle is a stellar example of traditional Transylvanian architecture with a rich history and legends surrounding it.
Highlights: Explore the castle's Gothic-Renaissance architecture, dungeons, and legends of Vlad the Impaler.
Why Visit: To immerse yourself in medieval history and folklore.
Romania offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences, from exploring medieval castles to hiking in pristine natural landscapes. Whether you're interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventures, Romania has something to satisfy every traveler's wanderlust.