Be surprised by eclectic Romania
Romania is proud of its status among the fellow European Union member states but still embraces its Roman and Latin roots too. The nation surprises many by shunning preconceptions to offer endless natural beauty and fascinating city life. The country’s past is clear to see whether you are wandering the streets or trekking through countryside. Its diverse history has helped to shape the dynamic and intriguing character you can discover today.
Romanian weather is comprised of four distinct seasons. The hottest period of summer is experienced in July and August, while autumn brings milder days and generally dry conditions. The winters can be bitterly cold and heavy snow isn’t unusual across the country.
Romania’s capital is Bucharest and it takes some time to fully appreciate. The aged architecture is juxtaposed by new buildings and shops, demonstrating the city’s rapid growth. Old structures line leafy squares, while the historic quarter is a lively buzz of city inhabitants and bustling parks. A redevelopment of the Old Town has transformed the city into a hub for bars and clubs too. Brașov is home to around a quarter of a million people and it sits at the foot of the sprawling Southern Carpathian Mountains. Its medieval personality is complemented by Gothic and Renaissance architecture for you to admire simply by wandering around. Timișoara in Western Romania is known as “Little Vienna” for its cultural vibrancy. Year-round theatrical performances, museums and art galleries tempt visitors to this exciting town.
Things move at a slower pace outside of Romania’s cities. Heading to the country’s villages and small towns can feel like stepping back in time as locals trundle down stone tracks on horse-drawn carts. Farming is a major way of life, and given the backdrop of certain regions, the appeal of this lifestyle will be obvious. Transylvania is a must-see if you want a rural retreat during your Romania holidays. Snow-tipped mountains tower in the distance behind the fortified churches that make up its towns. Caving, rock climbing and hiking are all popular ways to take in the scenery. The commune of Bran lies to the southwest of Brașov and is an area dominated by deep forests inhabited by wolves. Charming Voronet keeps Romanian traditions alive, as its residents dress in colourful costumes and traditional ornaments are on show. Close to the border with Ukraine is Maramureș County and the Rodnei Mountains National Park. The park is home to the highest peaks of the Eastern Carpathians as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pietrosul Rodnei.
Romanian cuisine borrows heavily from the various cultures that have influenced its past. Meat is a major ingredient, particularly pork, beef and lamb, which are used to create a stew called tocaniţă. Vegetables are also prominent, as the abundance of land creates the perfect environment to grow and harvest fresh produce. Mealtimes traditionally begin with soup, and usually a bowl of ciorbă. A sweet ending arrives in the form of papanaşi, which is a fried or boiled pastry often filled with soft cheese or jam.