It takes a while after you travel through Romania to put together all the contrasting images you get and make the complete picture of the country. Go to Bucharest to see what the communism did from a city once considered “The Little Paris”.
Go to Transylvania and see the clean streets, laid back people and its cozy atmosphere, or to Maramures in the north for a glimpse of the bucolic Romanian lifestyle and architecture, and then check the glittering-kitschy resort areas from the sea-side.
Rent a car to drive on the country’s roads and smile at the ironical luxurious Audi or BMW’s furiously overtaking horse-drawn vehicles. If you think Romania can’t offer you some quite spectacular images, you can’t be more wrong. Here are some iconic places in Romania that you can go, depending on what type of a vacation you prefer:
Bucharest – although not a friendly city for living there, Bucharest has its charm for the travelers. The busy, hectic lifestyle is visible everywhere, from traffic jams to people flocking to catch the bus or the tram in the morning.
Romania’s contrasts are the most visible here: you can walk on its large boulevards and see the communist buildings, from blocks of flats to the Romanian huge Parliament and then find places where you can admire French palaces, medieval churches or elegant old houses.
The office buildings are of course present and you can even find some in the capital’s old center – a place with beautiful old buildings, some of them left in ruin, but others transformed into bars, clubs or shops. The old center is also where the people from this city full of students usually cram for a beer or dancing.
Danube Delta – an impressive UNESCO World Heritage site. The mighty Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. The Danube Delta is home to over 320 species of birds. Some are strictly protected and cannot be seen elsewhere except the Danube Delta.
Transylvania – Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania, or Ardeal in Romanian, is a completely different region than other Romanian places. For many centuries it belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary and there is still an ongoing scholarly debate over the ethnicity of Transylvania’s population.
Best places to see in Transylvania are the cities of Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara, the last being also the place where Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) – the ruler that inspired the creation of the Dracula character – was born.
If you go more to the west, don’t miss Timisoara, one of the country’s most developed and multicultural cities, comprising strong Hungarian, German and Serbian minorities.
Maramures – a region that has remained unchanged in decades, Maramures is probably the last place in Europe where you can go back 100 years and feel the true lifestyle of villages.
Small villages are found between clean hills and landscapes that we’ll leave you breathless. Visit the wooden churches, listen to the traditional music and enjoy their festivals and beautiful costumes that villagers still proudly wear.