Rugged stone churches and monasteries dot a pristine landscape of rocky mountains and rolling hills. Transylvanian towns have stepped out of time, while vibrant Bucharest is all energy.
The Carpathian Mountains draw a wide arc through the centre of the country, leaving a swath of exposed rocky peaks surrounded by groves of pine and deciduous trees. The harsh geography has limited human habitation, and the woods are filled with deer, elk and bear.
Europe's second-longest river, the Danube, marks Romania's southern border with Bulgaria before turning suddenly northward and emptying into the Black Sea. The delta provides sanctuary for 300 species of bird and 160 species of fish. The sprawling marshes account for the largest expanse of reed beds in the world.
You’ll certainly be attracted by contrasts. In Romania, this means seeing chariots pulled by animals, or horses carrying heavy loads sharing the space. In the cities, ruins of ancient royal palaces proudly stand next to modern office buildings. There's never a dull moment in Romania.
Bucharest is a city of hidden gardens and lovely cafes. Further away, the mountains and the rural areas are peaceful, unexplored and always very authentic. The quiet and fresh atmosphere will free your mind and spirit.
The rocky peaks of Transylvania and Moldavia, snow-capped from mid-October, call out for conquering, and well-marked trails lead to summits from all directions. There are less adventurous but no less rewarding walks through woods, meadows and villages in other parts of the country. The Danube Delta is a vast and unique protected wetland and makes a perfect backdrop for fishing, boating and, especially, birdwatching in spring. In summer, from mid-June to early September, the action moves to the Black Sea coast. Beach resorts fill up with swimmers, divers, sunbathers and partiers, who come for the all-night, open-air clubbing marathons.
Transylvania, the land that gave us Dracula, has no shortage of castles pitched precariously on rocky hilltops, such as Hunedoara’s 14th-century Corvin Castle or King Carol I’s sumptuous Peleş Castle. In medieval towns like Braşov, Sighişoara and Sibiu, cobbled walkways support chic cafes, while a cacophony of sounds emanating from student bars and clubs echo off the Gothic and baroque facades in lively Cluj-Napoca. Transylvania’s Saxon villages boast fortified churches that date back half a millennium.