Highlights of Romania
The medieval town of Sibiu is the perfect combo of historic buildings and wide walking boulevards. It should really be the basis of city planning all over the world! It is also a city that watches you. Adorning the roofs of many buildings through the city centre, are small windows which resemble eyes. Due to the slightly different shape of each set of eyes, the character of the building changes. Take a wander through the historic city and find which eyes are your favourite! Click here to read more about Sibiu.
Peleș Castle is one of the most luxurious and colourful castles in Europe though it may not be the place to go if you are looking for cannons and watchtowers! Dating from the beginning of the 20th century, the castle came complete with electricity (the first in Europe), one of the finest arms collection, and a stunning retractable stained glass roof. To top this all off, the exterior design is straight out of a fairy-tale with carved wooden towers, statues, and colourful brickwork.
Fun Fact :
Take a hike up the Royal Path to Franz Josef Rocks. The path was originally built for royalty to walk to overlook their castles
Bran Castle is the perfect example of what good marketing can create. "Dracula's Castle" has gone from a little known castle in a gorgeous area, to the most visited site in Romania though nothing truly special has taken place in it. It is not where Vlad Tepes (the real "Dracula") lived nor is it the actual castle that inspired Bram Stoker's in his classic novel. The only connection is the location of a castle overlooking a river that has allowed a great marketing team to spin this castle into the popular attraction it is now. This all being said, the beauty of the castle should not be discredited and the grounds are quite stunning! Click here to find out how to get to the best viewpoint of Bran Castle!
There seem to be spots around the world that have more alien activity than others- or so some people believe. On the edge of Cluj, you will find one of these spots. Since the 60s there have been frequent reports of strange activity in the area including lights, sounds, and general uneasy feelings. It doesn’t help that hundreds of trees in the forest have a sharp bend at their base. To top it all off, there is a circle in the middle of the forest that nothing grows! What is truly going on will probably be a mystery forever!
Turda Salt Mine
including what is probably the world's only underground amusement park! Not only are the beautiful black and white salt striations cool enough, but why not hop onto a Ferris Wheel or even rowboats. Until the early 20th century, the mine was almost constantly in use and only ever employed hand tools to extract the salt. It also had a horse-powered winch to bring the salt up!
Did you know :
Turda Salt Mine was used as a bomb shelter during WWII
Why not do some yoga?
Salina Turda has been a health spa for centuries. The salty air is apparently good for respiratory issues
People may not associate Romania and beaches but the Black Sea coast of Romania will change that! While not much of the country lies on the Black sea, the area that does is gorgeous and absolutely worth visiting. The coastal city of Constanța is well connected to Bucharest and is the most visited spot along the coast. With thousands of years of history and beautiful beaches, you can easily spend a couple of days. Further south you hit Vama Veche and Mamaia beach resorts and eventually the Bulgarian border and the Danube Delta, one of Europe's best spots for bird watching!
Did you know :
Romania has the shortest Black Sea coastline of the
6 border countries
Anyone visiting Bucharest will inevitably end up checking out the Palace of Parliament, the seat of the Houses of the Romanian Parliament. With its commanding position along a massive boulevard that leads to Piața Unirii, this truly gargantuan building sits. The palace is currently the heaviest, the 3rd largest by volume, and the most expensive building in the world. Even more interesting, almost the entire building was sourced from materials within Romania including the 1 million m3 of marble, 900,000 m3 of wood, and almost 3,000 crystal chandeliers.
Palace of Parliament
With such a massive building, not only the cost to build, but the cost to run such a large building crippled the Romanian economy. Tours are extremely limited and book out very quickly so anyone who wants to check out the inside should do so as soon as your dates are locked.
Forget Czecky Krumlov or Bled; Brașov is the perfect fairytale city. Surrounded by stunning Carpathian Mountain peaks, and encased by a fortified wall, it doesn't take much to imagine you were in a book. The main square is dotted with colourful restaurants, antique shops, and small alleys (make sure you check out Rope Makes Street (Strada Sforii), thought to be one of the smallest streets in Europe). To kick it up to another notch, some of Romania's top castles are close by as well as the gorgeous Transfăgărășan Highway.
Western Romania's largest city, Timisoara doesn't have the growing tourism numbers that Brașov or Sibiu have, however it shouldn't be left off your list. It is easy to get to (several low-cost carriers fly into it, as well as major train lines), has tons of history (Timișoara Uprising of 1989) and a huge student population.
While it may not appear on most lists, the former capital of the powerful Dacians is a must-do for anyone in Romania. The Dacians were a group of tribes that controlled the borders that are now modern-day Romania from roughly the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. They were a very skilled fighting culture but also strong builders. Their capital was surrounded by a series of walls and included a large religious terrace. Over the centuries as many as 9 temples were built with two of them being circular leading to some calling it "Romania's Stonehenge." Though most were destroyed when the Romans conquered it, it is still worth checking out the skill of a group that most people have no knowledge of. The site has even been granted the UNESCO World Heritage title for these temples. This is a perfect stop on a southwestern Romania roadtrip.