Guest Post: 7 Reasons To Visit Romania
For anyone looking for an adventurous and stimulating break from the daily grind, cheap flight tickets allow easy access to most parts of the world nowadays. One of my own favourites is Romania, as I still harbour fond memories of Dracula movies in the 1970s. I remember it came as something of a shock to discover that Transylvania really did exist, and from reading everything I could lay my hands on about the place that it was just as exotic and beautiful as I’d fantasised.
The wild Romanian landscape of mountains, lakes and valleys is bestrewn with gorgeous medieval castles and dotted with quaint towns and villages, many of which have deep roots in the country’s often turbulent and bloody past. Ceausescu was removed before his plans for turning the whole of Romania into a tasteless concrete housing estate could get properly underway and now this magical country has plenty to offer its visitors.
1. Transylvania. Quite apart from its personal resonations for me, Transylvania is one of Europe’s most beautiful regions of unspoilt forests, mountains and shimmering lakes. The main cities of Cluj and Brasov are frozen in time and you’ll love wandering their cobbled streets lined with medieval German and Romanian architectural treats.
2. Danube Delta. The Danube Delta region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second largest river delta area in Europe, full of natural beauty and rare species of wildlife. The floating islands, lakes and waterways make it ideal for an adventure holiday exploring its many hidden treasures.
3. Folklore and Traditions. In rural Romania you’ll quickly discover that the traditions of the people have been preserved in a time capsule and are an intrinsic part of daily life in the towns and villages across the landscape here. Chickens and pigs are raised in farmyards as they have been for centuries, eggs are gaily coloured at Easter, and weaving and shepherding are very much in evidence. Villagers dress up in traditional costume – not for visitors but for themselves – and everywhere you’ll come across scenes of village life straight out of a book of fairy tales.
4. Parties. Parties are a Romanian speciality, and in the big cities like Bucharest there is a wide range of chic cafes, classy clubs, discos, restaurants and pubs, all packed and heaving with people enjoying a great time. The coastline and towns like Timisoara in the western part of Romania are also good spots to head for if you’re into some great nightlife.
5. Fabulous Cuisine. Romania has a vast and varied cuisine that reflects its position at the crossroads of Europe, with Russian, Austrian, Turkish, Hungarian and Polish influences, with fresh vegetables and pork forming the basis but also many great beef, lamb, chicken and fish dishes. Romanians just love to eat, as you’ll rapidly discover!
6. Four Great Seasons. Romania has a temperate climate and experiences three months of spring and three of autumn each year. This used to be standard of course before global warming came along, but here in Romania the seasons can be enjoyed in all their variety. In summer you can enjoy the Black Sea’s sandy beaches and in winter head for the excellent ski resorts.
7. Castles. Romania has some of the most beautiful castles in Europe, as splendid as any you can find in Germany. Commanding valleys and mountain passes, brooding over lakes and silhouetted on the horizon they’re the most fabulously romantic legacy of a great packed and eventful history. With names like Bran, Peles and Pelisor they seem to rightfully belong in fantasy novels, but here they are in magical Romania and you should try to see as many as you can when you visit.
David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.