Although often associated with dark castles and Dracula, Romania has much, much more going for it and is a very rewarding country to visit. While it certainly has its fair share of fortified churches and fairytale castles, there is lots of picturesque countryside to drive around with amazing medieval towns and monasteries set alongside modern cities and massive mountains.
Set at the crossroads between Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Romania is located on the Balkan Peninsula bordered by Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine and Moldova. While the rugged Carpathians and other mountain ranges dominate the center of the country, the fast-flowing Danube River makes up much of its southern border as it meanders its way to the Black Sea. Aside from its sizeable stretch of coastline, most of it consists of rolling hills, pristine forests and wide-open plains.
Dotted about its charming countryside are lots of atmospheric old towns for visitors to stop by with Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara all counting among its most popular. Here you can find not only well-preserved historic centers and lively market squares but some fine museums and superb scenery too.
Although many people skip Romania’s largest city and capital Bucharest, it is definitely well worth visiting for its pretty historic heart, megalomanic monuments and vibrant nightlife. Constanta on the coast also attracts lots of visitors thanks to its ample seafood restaurants and proximity to the Black Sea beaches as does Cluj-Napoca – ‘the heart of Transylvania’.
Aside from enjoying the latter’s enthralling art, architecture and culture, many use it as a base from which to see the surrounding region’s sights. Indeed, Romania’s verdant hills, forests and plains are full of incredible historic sites with the fascinating painted monasteries of Bucovina and the striking castles of Bran, Corvin and Peles counting among its top tourist attractions.