Travel Bucket List is a series based on places I want to visit, where I do a bit of research on their history, culture, and attractions. I don’t intend to make this into a history lesson, but I want it to at least pique your interest, so that perhaps you add these places to your bucket lists. The first of these places is Romania, a country rich in history and tradition; a land of castles, mountains, and legends. Join me in exploring more about this wonderful country.

General Information

Romania is located in Eastern Europe and has been part of the European Union since 2007. Its capital is Bucharest, was nicknamed the “Paris of the East” due to its architecture and sophisticated vibes. However, large parts of the city were destroyed during World War II and after the communist regime, so many of those old buildings have been destroyed.

Bucharest Opera House photo by mandalaybus on Flickr

Rather than being known for its cities, though, Romania is best known for its small villages, medieval towns, and mountains. The province of Transylvania is well known for being the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and of countless vampire stories.

History

Have you ever heard someone speak Romanian? You will notice that it is vastly different from the languages spoken by their Slavic neighbors. That is because it is a Romance language, based from Latin. The history behind this fact is fascinating, here is a quick summary:

Romania was once occupied by Romans, after Emperor Trajan conquered Dacia, a region that includes mainly present-day Romania and Moldova. After the 3rd century A.D., Romania was invaded by the Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Ottoman empires and then became protectorates of Russia after the Russo-Turkish War, which ended in 1829. This period of Slavic invasions, influenced the Romanian language; however, during the 1800s, the Romanian language was re-Latinized in order to better preserve their Romance roots.

Romania went through a lot of changes until a new democratic government was installed and a new constitution was adopted in 1991. I decided to focus on the language part of the history of Romania because it is a reflection of its history and culture: a country that has managed to survive being conquered time and time again by other civilizations.

Places to Visit

Bucharest

Bucharest aeriel view by Dragos Asaftei/Shutterstock

You will probably arrive to Romania through Bucharest, so you might as well take a couple of days to explore the city before heading out to explore the mountains and smaller villages. Here are some things to do in the capital:

  • Walking tour – I feel like this is the best way to get to know a city. There are a lot of free walking tours available, but don’t forget to tip!
  • Visit the heaviest and one of the largest buildings in the world – the Palace of the Parliament. Tours of the building are available for purchase online.
Palace of the Parliament, photo by Dennis Jarvis on Flickr
  • Visit a museum – Bucharest has tons of museums to explore, from historic buildings at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum to works of art in the National Museum of Art.
  • Explore on of the cities beautiful parks, such as the Herăstrău Park or the Cismigiu Gardens.

Transylvania

Transylvania is Romania’s largest and most well-known region. Full of vampire lore, forests, and medieval villages, you cannot miss this area if visiting the country.

  • Explore the castles and fortified churches. Bran Castle is known as the Dracula Castle; however, there are hundreds of castles in Transylvania that you can visit, such as the Corvin Castle and the Peles Castle (technically not in Transylvania, but close… and apparently worth the visit).
Bran Castle by Jason Harwood on Flickr
  • Get lost in the Carpathians (but not really). The Carpathian mountains are one of Europe’s most beautiful regions. It is also home to Saxon villages, which appear to be stuck in time, were centuries-strong traditions are part of everyday life.
Fundata village, photo by mihai mihaescu on Flickr

The Danube Delta

The Danube River flows to the Black Sea and forms the second largest delta in Europe with 2,200 square miles filled with wildlife – around 3,450 species of animals are found here.

Birdwatcher’s paradise. Blue Danube Delta photo by Calin Stan/Shutterstock

Monasteries of Bucovina

These monasteries date to sometime between the 15th and 16th centuries. They are famous for their frescoes displayed on the outside and they depict religious imagery. They are a striking sight, even for people who are not into religion.

Photo by David & Bonnie on Flickr

Now, there are a lot more places of interest in Romania, but hopefully this post makes you feel a bit more curious about visiting the country.

Have you been to Romania? What are your thoughts on it?

Posted by:Mariela Seijas

19 replies on “Travel Bucket List: Romania

  1. Romania is the last country in the European Union where I have not been yet, so it is high on my list. Let’s try to forget Dracula, I would love to visit castles and monasteries. Like in Bulgaria, the latter were the last places to preserve the local culture during the invasions, hence their place in Romanian history. Thanks for the search.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s just a coincidence, but I think it’s partly because of the size of the country, it takes either several visits or a minimum of three weeks to get to the essentials.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We spent a day in Constanta down on the Black Sea back in 2006. It was NOT ready for prime time. The infrastructure just wasn’t there for visitors. Your report makes me think we might put another visit on our list. Especially to Bucharest.

    And I am happy to say that I was notified (even though WordPress had told me that I wasn’t subscribed) of this post. Look forward to reading more.

    Like

    1. Hi Jim, thanks for reading! I think you should definitely give it another chance, it looks like a beautiful country. I did read that the infrastructure in some parts is less than ideal, but I think it would be worth it to visit a country with such deep rooted traditions still in place today.

      Like

  3. Wow! Romania is one of the first countries I wanted to visit when I was a kid and your post really sparked that idea in me again! Thanks for sharing, it was super informative and interesting! 😍

    Like

  4. Great choice! Romania is one of the most beautiful countries that I have ever seen (and well, I have Romanian origins and quite a few relatives living there so I often get the chance to travel to Romania)

    And I just love your bucket list – you have picked amazing places 🙂 Bucharest is simply fantastic and Peles Castle is actually one of my favorite buildings ❤

    What I would still add to the list:
    – Sibiu (beautiful medieval city in Transylvania)
    – Sighisoara (another medieval place and the place where "Dracula" (Vlad Tepes) was born)
    – Timisoara
    – Transfagarasan Highway
    – Constanta (beautiful city at the seaside)

    Ah and the list is endless. Really – beautiful country, great people and one of the best cuisines of the world ❤

    (Also, do not forget about neighboring Hungary because it's a great place too! 🙂 )

    Cheers,

    Mark

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s