When people mention Romania, they have a vision of castles, vampires in Transilvania and Communist-era buildings. However, there is a lot more than meets the eye to this country nestled within Eastern Europe. Let Exoticca guide you through the best things to see and do in Romania.
Why you should go to Romania
Romania is rural enough to feel like you are escaping the rat race for a while. It has plenty of history, seeped in towns like Transylvania and Brasov. There is also plenty of folklore and local history that can excite and entice tourists. Alongside this, the country has some spectacular countryside, from towering mountains to the Danube Delta. Beyond this, you also have some up and coming cities such as Bucharest. So, here is Exoticca’s list of what to visit in Romania.
Bucharest, the city to see and the place to do in Romania
Bucharest is lively, energetic and has plenty of spirit. It has changed rapidly over the years and has managed to shake off its Communist past. There is plenty to see and do here, and you will never be short of activities. First off, it is worth seeing the Palace of Parliament which is the second largest building in the world. It is also the seat of modern Romania’s government. Tours are strictly private and must be booked in advance.
After beginning at the modern epicentre of Bucharest, take a walk to the Old Town. The Old Town is geared towards having fun, as it houses the majority of the city’s bars and cafes. The quaint streets also provide a great photo opportunity. Another interesting thing to do in Romania is to visit the Piata Revolutiei. This was the scene of the greatest fighting when the dictator Ceausescu was overthrown in the late 1980’s. There are several monuments here, including the Rebirth Memorial and the Central Committee of the Communist Party Building. Both of these are imprinted into Romanian history and are fascinating.
Transylvania and the activities you must do in Romania
Transylvania is probably what many think of when they think of Romania. Hopefully, you will not be disappointed if you choose to travel here.
Brasov is the biggest city in Transylvania and it looks as if it is straight out of a fairy tale. The streets are cobbled, the houses gingerbread and some of the buildings are straight out of a Gothic novel. The nearby mountains also add an extra ambience. Something that you must do in Romania is paid a visit to the Piata Sfatului, which is a hub of cafes and buildings of interest. At the top of Trumpeter’s Tower, you can see musicians appear dressed in traditional clothes. This harks back to the tradition of councillors meeting to discuss the town’s affairs. You must also see the Black Church, a must do in Romania. It is impressively large and is the main landmark in Brasov.
Visiting Brasov also means that you can take a trip to see Bran Castle and the Rasnov Fortress. This is what you would imagine from Transylvania. Visiting these two medieval castles is something any tourist must do in Romania. Bran Castle itself is spectacular, and truly encapsulates the feel of Dracula. Although, it is said that the real-life inspiration behind Dracula, Vlad Tepes, never actually lived here. In fact, it was lived in by Queen Marie, whose imported Western furniture can still be seen inside the castle today.
A tour of the castle will also allow you to see the open-air village museum at the entrance. Here you can buy plenty of Dracula memorabilia. If this has really piqued your interest in Dracula hunting, it is worth considering a visit to Sighisoara, where you can visit the birthplace of the real legend. Dracula House is the re-built building of the 15th-century legend and is a lot of fun to visit.
This is another visit that you simply must do in Romania. The fortress is a few miles away from Bran Castle and offers spectacular views over the countryside. It was built to withstand invasion not only from the Turks but also the Tatars. There is also a beautiful church, as well as the fortress itself to wander around. The history of Romania and its relations with its neighbours is laid bare here and it tells a fascinating story.
If you decide to visit the fortress, it is well worth including Bran Castle in your agenda. They are both easily reached from Brasov and make for an excellent day trip. There are hotels in the area that fully cater to tourists and are not too far from the castles. You can also travel back and forth quite easily, with many buses that leave Brasov daily.
For more information on any tour to Romania, please visit Exoticca to plan your trip.