Places to See and Things to Do in Romania That Will Blow You Away!

September 7, 2017

Romania

Is Romania Europe’s prettiest city? It just might be.  Enchanting town plazas that date back to medieval times, rolling hills as far as the eye can see, castles cloaked in the mystery of Count Dracula, craggy mountain vistas, and a seemingly infinite array of fortresses and churches.

And don’t forget the Transfăgărășan – arguably the most spectacular road in the world.

Romania’s natural beauty and cultural diversity will surprise you.  Bordering the Black Sea in Southeastern Europe, the country’s assets also include the Danube River and the Carpathian Mountains.  There are so many Instagrammable places in Romania!

Brief History

Romania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, but it’s the post-WWII history as a communist-bloc nation under the iron fist and excesses of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu that is more widely known. In December 1989, a national uprising led to the overthrow and execution of Ceausescu who had been charged and found guilty of genocide. In 1991, Romania became a republic with a multiparty system, market economy and individual rights of free speech, religion and private ownership.

CITIES, TOWNS, AND VILLAGES

Romania – particularly Transylvania – is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns.

Bucharest

Romania

Nicknamed “Little Paris,” Bucharest is Romania’s largest city and capital, and home to Ceausescu’s Spring Palace and the world’s largest parliament building.  But it’s the labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and architecture of times-gone-by of Bucharest’s old town that attracts visitors in droves to linger in the antique shops, cafes, and galleries.

Here are some places to stay in Bucharest.

Sibiu

Romania

Built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons, Sibiu’s pristine old town has retained its grandeur and is not just one of the prettiest towns in Romania, but perhaps in all Europe.

romania

It’s a pedestrian city, with an imposing medieval wall, well-preserved towers, narrow streets, gabled 17th-century buildings, the infamous Liar’s Bridge, and two church-dominated squares – Great Square and Little Square. FITS, Sibiu International Theater Festival complete with parades, live music and performances, fireworks, and free prosecco is hosted by Sibiu every June.

Here are more things to do in Sibu.

Saschiz

romania

The Romanian countryside village of Saschiz may be tiny but the views are spectacular! Its15th-century church is part of the World Heritage Site’s villages of fortified churches in Transylvania,

Sighisoara

romania

Sighisoara is widely considered one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.  The impeccably unspoiled 16th-century mix of hilly cobbled streets, turrets, towers, burgher houses (homes of the wealthy bourgeoisie), town squares and ornate churches has been compared to the magical ambiance of Old Prague or Vienna. Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, although the two are unrelated as one is factual historical figure while the other is fiction.

Sibiel

romania

This tiny village is special in that it is possible for visitors to visit a local family.  At the Bunica Eugenia farm, we learned how to make thick baked cheese polenta and sampled their homemade blueberry brandy and apple pastries. It’s the ultimate in farm-to-table experience.

Brasov

romania

Framed by the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is one of the most visited cities in Romania.  Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211, it’s a mix of colorful gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, with a cobbled old town square and lively cafes.

romania

Biertan

romania

The 15th-century picturesque fortified church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The late-gothic architecture stands in the middle of the appealing village surrounded by farms, vineyards, and cobblestone streets.

CASTLES, FORTRESSES AND FORTIFIED CHURCHES

Bran Castle

romania

Perched high on a craggy 200-foot rock, with medieval towers, turrets, underground passages, and winding staircases, is the most notorious of Romania’s bastions: Bran Castle. The castle is shrouded in myth and mystery, horror and intrigue – some factual, some fiction.  Dating from 1212, the castle has come to be associated with Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracul and often confused with Bram Stoker’s fictional character Count Dracula. Vlad the Impaler, while not immortal, was pretty scary and nasty in his own right, known for his cruel and intimidating method of torturing his enemies.

Click here for more about the Dracula Castle.

Rupea

romania

The Rupea citadel is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania, dating back to the Paleolithic period, 5500 BC.  The panoramic views of the city from the crumbling walls are stunning.

Cristain

 

romania

Built in 1495, the gothic-style Evangelical church stands on the site of a 13th-century Roman basilica. The biggest (and quirkiest) attraction here is one of the fortress towers, called the Bacon Tower, which currently houses row upon row of…yes…drying meat.

Rosnov

romania

Rasnov Fortress is located on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, 650 ft. above the amiable village of the same name.

Peleș Castle

romania

Peleș Castle is a 160-room Neo-Renaissance chateau nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the picturesque town of Sinaia.  Completed in 1883, the elaborately adorned castle served as the summer residence of King Carol’s royal family until 1947.  It was the first European castle to adopt electricity, and host to Romania’s first movie projection in 1906 in its own dedicated theater room.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Transfăgărășan

romania

Named “the world’s best road trip” by Top Gear, the Transfăgărășan winds through the Fagaras mountain range in a shocking series of white-knuckle hairpin turns and sharp descents. The 56-mile path climbs to an altitude 6,699 feet, slinking past gorgeous views of Vidaru and Balea (glacial) lakes and waterfalls

Carpathian Mountains

romania

Europe’s Carpathian Mountains stretch nearly 1000 miles with more than half of the range in Romania. The spruce forests, streams, canyons, and waterfalls attract many hikers and are also home to brown bears, wolves, and lynxes.

Wineries

romania

Romanian wine ranks 10th among the world’s top wine producers by volume.  Cramele Halewood winery exclusively produces its own delicious sparkling brut wine in Romania’s oldest sparkling wine cellar using the traditional method.  The countryside grounds provide a lovely backdrop for wine pairings and tastings.

Romania is a study in contrasts. Whether you go for the culture, the castles, or the countryside, just go.

Pretty Romania…originally published by the Huffington Post.

Click on image to PIN so you can find again!

Romania

Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of JayWay Travel during her stay in Romania, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

Related:

Bucharest for Boomers: Guide to Romania’s “Little Paris

The Transfagarasan: The World’s Best Road Trip

7 comments

  1. Pingback: Transfagarasan: The World’s Best Road Trip | Luggage and Lipstick

  2. Pingback: Romania and Moldova Blogger Trip Roundup

  3. Comment by Adventographer Travel Blog

    Adventographer Travel Blog Reply November 11, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Wow! Amazing photos! Romania is a gorgeous country, somewhere I haven’t given much thought to until now! I’ll definitely put it on the list for my next visit to Europe!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply November 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Yes, put Romania on your list! So beautiful and so much to do, see and eat!

  4. Comment by Cadu

    Cadu Reply September 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The first photo is a fairy tale!
    How beautiful is that country!
    I love those picturesque cities where you can spend a lovely time walking, discovering new habits, food, drinks.
    Nice post!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply September 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      I love doing those things, too! Many of Romania’s old towns looked like a fairy tale. 🙂

  5. Comment by Anda

    Anda Reply September 8, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Hi Patty,
    I’m glad you are so enchanted with my country of origin. Romania is undeniable beautiful, but it’s definitely not the prettiest country in Europe for sure. If it was I’d still live there (lol!) Just kidding. It is however one of the least expensive countries to visit, so it’s a good time to visit it. Food and lodging are good and inexpensive, people are nice and the landscape is very picturesque. Great pictures, by the way.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Go top