9 Reasons You Must Visit Romania
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When you think of traveling Europe, Romania probably isn’t in the top five (or even 10) places you think of visiting. However, in our humble opinion, it should be!
1. There’s Something For Everyone!
No matter what you love, you’ll find something in Romania that’ll make a visit worth your while. It’s considered the most biogeographically diverse country within the European Union and Romania can rightfully claim that it has the largest undisturbed forest area in Europe. It’s home to 10,000 known caves, the River Danube runs through and connects to the Black Sea, and it’s home to the second largest wetlands in Europe. If you like to hike, kayak, ski, or bird watch, then Romania has what you need: mountains, hills and plateaus, plains and meadows, flowers and fauna, a vast network of rivers, and migrating birds.
2. One of The Greatest Roads in the World: Transfagarasan Highway
Romania has one of the most amazing roads in the world, the Transfagarasan Highway (National Road C7 (Drumul National DC7), also known as ‘the Road to the Sky’, or ‘the Road to the Clouds’. It’s over 150 kilometers (93 miles) of winding and twisting road through the Fagaras Mountains of Romania. It’s notoriety as a popular tourist destination increased notably after it was featured on the BBC’s Top Gear. If you’re interested in driving it keep in mind that it’s only open June through October, so plan accordingly. Furthermore, be sure to plan a full day for this drive as you’ll want to take it slow and safe! Also, be sure and check the Romanian Tourism website for any possible closures on the DNC7/Transfagarasan Highway.
3. It’s Outside of Schengen
If you’re traveling within Europe for more than 90 days, Romania is a great place to visit because it’s outside of the Schengen Area.
4. Financial Arbitrage
Your money goes further here. Not only are relatively inexpensive flights to Bucharest and Cluj Napoca available through low cost carriers such as Wizz Air and Blue Air, but the cost of living is inexpensive as well. During our visit, the US Dollar was worth four RON (the abbreviation for the Romanian currency, Lei). At farmers markets we purchased local cherries for $0.50 a pound and got a 20 pound watermelon for $2.58! We rented a studio apartment in downtown for a month at only $14.30 a night, on Airbnb (use our link and get $40 off your first stay!). A day pass on the metro, valid for one day of unlimited journeys was only $2.00 at the time of our visit and eating at a typical middle of the road restaurant, that isn’t too fancy, will run between $7 and $10 per person. On the other hand ‘street food’ such as pastries, can be as low as $0.25 cents!
5. It’s ‘Undiscovered’
It’s not (yet!) a common tourist destination. If you’re like us, you’ll enjoy visiting landmarks and walking through side streets without having to contend with tour groups and high-priced tourist traps.
6. Explore the Traditional and the Rural
In 1989, the country had a revolution which ended the communist era, but many areas are still rural and untouched by modernization. You can travel the countryside and experience what some say is like walking through a time warp. You can visit walled cities, fortresses, monasteries, and small villages. Much of the land in the countryside is untouched, being ideal for hikers and explorers alike. Traveling through the country will undoubtedly give you a peak into traditional Romanian life.
7. Enjoy History Through the Architecture
Larger cities are modernizing, although you can still see the history of the country through the architecture. In just a couple of blocks of walking throughout city center Bucharest, the capital of Romania, you can see grand palaces, medieval buildings with spires and intricate tile roofs, communist era dormitory buildings, and modern marvels.
8. Home of Count Dracula
Transylvania, a central region in Romania, is synonymous with Count Dracula. Hopefully we aren’t spoiling anything for you, but Dracula comes from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, and is a fictional character inspired by Vlad the Impaler. It’s easy to get caught up in vampire stories as you traverse forests, villages, and mountain passes. You can walk in the shoes of Dracula and make a tour to Transylvania complete with a visit to Vlad’s childhood home in Sighisoara, to Peonari Fortress, and to Bran Castle (both debated to be Dracula’s castle). Finally, be sure and visit Snagov Monastery, where legend has it Vlad was buried (although it’s also thought that he may have been buried at Comana Monastery).
Even if you’re not a fan of vampire tales, Transylvania is a romantic, rural, and beautiful place to visit. Castles, horse-drawn carts, and sheepherders are common sights. Keep in mind though, you’ll be best served if your interpretations of romantic and rural remain realistic; dirt roads are still made of dirt, and rural means a less developed infrastructure, so expect a slower pace of life.
9. Most People Speak English
The national language is Romanian, a language that has its roots in Latin. However, when visiting larger cities, you’ll have no problem finding people who speak English. Do keep in mind that when visiting smaller villages and rural areas that have less outside influence, you may have a harder time finding people who speak English.
Romania is a beautiful country that has so much to offer visitors. Whether you're into nature or cities, architecture or lakes, long stays or short vacations, Romania has a corner just for you!