If you have followed our trip through Romania, it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that we absolutely loved our time there. A little off the current tourist trail of Europe, Romania isn’t the kind of place that get a lot of attention from the mainstream travel community; However, we think this is something that definitely needs to change as Romania is a perfect travel destination for anyone looking for something a little different in Europe.
Here are some of the reasons that we loved Romania – and why we think you will too!
Picture Perfect Town Squares
Much like Poland, Romania’s town squares still feel like they are there for a reason other than to house crappy restaurants and souvenir shops. Big or small, every town has at least one large, beautiful square – and the vast majority of these still exist as the centres of everyday life for your average Romanian. Plus they are just so darn beautiful!
Romania may not be the first place that comes to mind when talking about great food in Europe, but it definitely should be. Whether you want down-to-earth cooking the way mamma used to do it, or you’re looking for fancy fine dining – Romania has it all. And at great prices to boot. Much of this relates to the huge farming community still in existence in Romania, and it means you can barely walk 10 feet down a street without coming to a place literally bursting at the seams with fresh fruits and vegetables or freshly-butchered meats and cheeses.
Ease of Transportation
After being in the Balkans for a month, Romania’s transportation system came as a welcome relief. With frequent (and constantly improving) train and bus systems, you can get just about anywhere in the country fairly easily. Train travel is still much slower than other places in Europe, but the scenery outside more than makes up for it. Plus tickets are very affordable compared to western prices.
A trend that has been evident in almost all of the Central and eastern European countries that we’ve visited is the friendly attitudes of the people that live in these places. And this definitely held true in Romania as well. From old ladies teaching Travis Romanian to people giving us directions when lost, people seemed eager to help and never looked for anything in return.
The amazing architecture of Europe is one of the main reasons that millions of tourists flock there each year. Coming from North America, it is surreal to stare up at gorgeous baroque or renaissance buildings that have existed for longer than Canada was a country. But Romania seems intent on one-upping the rest of the continent. From the huge spired mansions that cover Transylvania, to oversized squares encircled with colourful buildings, to fortified churches and castles – Romanians seem to be in some sort of a competition to build even more inspired architectural designs than those that surround them.
Beautiful Natural Landscapes
One of the things we’ve been most surprised about on our trip, and one thing that held true in Romania, was the amazing natural landscapes we encountered. Romania is the kind of country that takes you from high mountain passes to flat “prairie-like” terrain and back again in less than an hour. Bears and wolves will even come into some cities to look for food – there’s not many places like that left in Europe.
It still feels Authentic
Because of the lack of tourism, Romania is one of the rare places that seems to be holding on to its authenticity. People traveling by horse-and-cart is not an uncommon sight in the country, and this provides a nice respite from much of the continent. So often we hear travelers looking for places where they can still get an authentic travel experience – well Romania might be a place to consider!
Honestly, we feel like we barely scratched the surface during our 2 weeks in Romania – and that’s because we did just barely scratch the surface. Romania is a huge country with so many different amazing places to explore, and it is definitely a place we can see ourselves coming back to!
Have you ever been to Romania? What did you like or dislike about the country?
Today we’re sharing our thoughts on Romania over at the Sunday Traveler – come check it out for some great travel inspiration!