Romania has got to be one of the most underrated countries I have ever been to. When I told my friends I was going there, the immediate response was “why” instead of the usual “that’s amazing, have fun” you would hear when traveling to touristic hotspots.
I spent a week in Romania, most of which was in Bucharest with a day trip to Brasov. I am by no means an expert on the country but here are some of the reasons I think you should plan your next trip there. You can visit the website of Romania’s Tourism Department for more information, and you can follow me on Instagram (@gmr83) for more pictures from Romania and around the world.
1. Herăstrău Park: Bucharest, the Romanian capital, is one of the greenest cities in the world with many parks spread around the city. The largest one is Herăstrău Park which spreads on an area of 1.1 sq km, most of which is actually a lake.
2. Palace of the Parliament: A massive structure in Bucharest and the second largest administrative building in the world, after The Pentagon in the United States. The palace however is a symbol of the dictatorship under the rule of Ceausescu who ordered the construction of the palace at high human and economic costs.
3. Brasov: One of Romania’s best kept medieval cities, boasting a sign similar to the one in Hollywood on top a surrounding mountain.
4. Cluj Napoca: the largest town in Transylvania, is a major economic center and a youthful city, housing one of the largest universities in Europe.
5. Libearty Bear Sanctuary: This is the biggest brown bear sanctuary from Europe. Here, 75 bears found a nice home in this 5 star welfare facility after being rescued from abuse in circuses and captivity. Tours are possible and are guided by trained animal welfare experts.
6. Bran Castle: Commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle”. This place is closely associated with the legend of Dracula although the actual history is debatable. Enough said!
7. Arcul de Triumf: No, this is not Paris! Bucharest had several arcs over its history — the first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence (1878), so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current 25-meter triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936.
8. Constanta: It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania, and is also the country’s warmest city. It is located on the Black Sea and is perfect for summer vacations.
9. Coffeeshop scene: Bucharest is one of my favorite cities for coffee. Hipster and casual coffee shops are spread around the city and you would be tempted to make several stops during the day.
10. Timisoara: it is one of the most prosperous and modernized cities in Romania, and the place in which the 1989 Romanian anti-communist revolution began.
11. Sibiu: One of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania, it has the best preserved historical sites in the country, many museums and exhibitions, proximity to the stunning Făgăraş mountains.
12. Sighisoara: The city’s downtown area, the Sighisoara Citadel, is the last inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and one of the best historical monuments preserved nowdays.