How was your trip to Romania
Romania Travel Tips: Adventure in Bucharest, Sibiu & with Dracula
If you don't want to wander into the distance for an adventure holiday, we recommend a trip to Romania. The country, mainly known thanks to its Dracula legends, has a lot more to offer, both for culture enthusiasts and nature fans.
Mountain fans will love the Carpathian Mountains, which captivate with its untouched landscape, where many wild animals are still at home and which are ideal for hiking. Dramatic slopes, dark valleys and running meadows make the whole thing a worthwhile destination for hikers.
In the south you will find the Danube directly on the border with Bulgaria, which leads into the Black Sea in Romania. Bird lovers are in the right place in this delta, especially in spring, as over 300 species of birds live here. In summer, on the other hand, it gets really crowded on the Black Sea coast and the beach resorts fill up with sunbathers. If Ibiza is too trite for you, then this is the right place for you because it is celebrated day and night.
Otherwise Romania captivates with medieval cities and castles that could hardly be more romantic. Folklore is cultivated and the history of the country comes to life, because the old towns and castles are well preserved and invite you to linger and discover.
Bucharest, on the other hand, is a really hip capital and with 2 million inhabitants even the sixth largest city in the EU. From Vienna you can be in the country in an hour and a half by flight - perfect for a long weekend. What you shouldn't miss out on, we'll tell you with our Romania tips.
Day 1 - Bucharest, the "Paris of the East"
Bucharest is a city with a fascinating history that is still evident in the cityscape today. Long known as Micul Paris, the little Paris or “Paris of the East” speaks of the city's ancient splendor. Unfortunately, the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had much of the old city center destroyed in order to build buildings in the confectioner's style, as the socialist classicism of communist buildings was often called. The Parliament Palace built in this style is an ugly memorial to his dictatorship. The only impressive thing is its size because the Palat ul Parlamentului is still one of the largest buildings in the world.
The after-effects of his dictatorship, which only ended in 1989, are still noticeable in other ways, and the cityscape is shaped by a gap between rich and poor. A Bucharest travel tip if you are interested in history and politics: visit the Piata Revolutiei, the Revolution Square. This is where the revolution began in 1989 as this square is considered a “lawless” place in the city and even today demonstrations take place here almost daily.
In spite of these adversities, an interesting art and cultural scene has developed in Bucharest that Romanians and visitors alike are enthusiastic about. In addition, you will find a beautiful old town in Bucharest, which is always renovated when funds are available and numerous churches shape the cityscape. These are a place of silence and contemplation for the residents and a visit every morning on the way to work is not uncommon.
Bucharest never stands still and you can now find a variety of chic restaurants and cool bars as befits a cosmopolitan city. Even if the trendy Lipscani district is mostly frequented by tourists, a visit is worthwhile, because here you can eat your way around the world.
Flights to Bucharest
Day 2 - The cultural capital Sibiu / Hermannstadt
You can either fly or dare the 250 km long route to Sibiu by car. Even if the roads are bumpy, the view is worth it, because on the way you will pass picturesque villages where locals sell homemade goods and food - here you can go shopping for a picnic on the way.
Sibiu, known as Hermannstadt in German, was the European Capital of Culture in 2007 and is located in Transylvania better known as Transylvania. The beautiful old town was extensively renovated and many modern hotels opened. The city consists of an upper and a lower town, with most of the sights in the upper town. Worth seeing are the old town hall, the bridge of lies (which according to legend should collapse as soon as a liar steps on it), the Protestant parish church and the Ratturm.
One of our travel tips for Romania: to get an insight into local life, you should visit the “agro” market on Piata Cibin. This takes place every day except Sundays and captivates with Romanian charm and a lively market atmosphere. You will also find many small cultural cafés in the old town where live music is played on the weekends.
Flights to Sibiu
Day 3 - Rural Romania: Păltiniş
Not far from Sibiu is Păltiniș, a place in the Carpathian Mountains that is a popular winter sports and climatic health resort. The place was founded in 1894 by the Transylvanian Carpathian Association, the oldest mountaineering association in the country. The association was largely responsible for expanding the infrastructure for mountain tourism in the country. Friends of hiking and winter sports are therefore in the right place in Păltiniş today!
The path also impresses with its beautiful mountain landscape and charming villages - especially in autumn, nature offers a brilliant spectacle here.
A detour to the country is worthwhile, especially for connoisseurs, because outside of Sibiu, Romanian cuisine is best enjoyed in the mountains, such as in Păltiniş. The cuisine is simple and yet diverse, consisting of meat, vegetables, lots of polenta, cheese and stews or cabbage rolls filled with meat, vegetables and rice. Due to the unusually fish-rich Danube Delta, there are numerous fish dishes on almost every menu, prepared in different ways, such as cooked in tomatoes and onions. The desserts are sticky, sweet and greasy: donuts with plum jam, sugar and cream, in short: you couldn't ask for a better dessert. All kinds of schnapps are popular, such as the clear plum schnapps or a type of liqueur made either from blueberries or sour cherries, a Romanian specialty.
Day 4 - Dracula legends in Schässburg or at Bran Castle
No visit to Romania would be complete without following in the footsteps of Dracula, who is said to have his home here. Evidently there is no real connection between Vlad Ţepeş or Bram Stoker's monster and Bran Castle, but the name of Dracula's castle stubbornly persists. Even if you learn more about the Romanian Queen Maria, to whom the city of Bran1920 was dedicated, during a visit, crowds of visitors still come here to get a little shudder. However, this only works really well around Halloween when various events on the subject of vampires & Co take place here.
Do you need a real Romania travel tip to track Dracula? Then we advise you to visit Sighișoara, in German Schässburg. The city, which was built by German immigrants in the 12th century, has a beautiful historic center that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But not only the old town delights tourists, it also adorns itself with the title of the birthplace of Count Vlad Dracul (Dracula). Fortunately, the residents of Schässburg were spared the construction of a "Dracula" theme park.
The old town consists of small, winding streets and many churches. The city's most famous sight, the Bergkirche, is located at an altitude of 492 meters, behind it is a well-preserved German cemetery. The Josef-Haltrich-Lyzeum is a grammar school for the German minority and is located on the Schulberg, below the mountain church. The students have to walk the over a hundred steps that lead from the old town to their grammar school every day.
Get there & out and about in the country
The great thing about Romania? From Vienna you can be in Bucharest in an hour and a half by plane and Austrians do not need a visa. A valid passport or identity card is enough - also ideal for a weekend trip.
You also come to Sibiu by plane and those who are traveling in the country can get from A to B with the national airline Tarom or use the well-connected train or public buses. Of course, you can also rent a car, but you should be warned: the roads are often in poor condition.
We recommend the well-developed rail network, with which you can get around the country quickly and cheaply, or the so-called maxitaxi. These private minibus taxis are the backbone of Romanian public transport and at the same time they are a cultural experience. Once you understand how the not entirely obvious system works, then they offer a practical and, above all, cheap option to discover the country.
Cyclists can also be happy, because Romania is increasingly becoming a real drohtesl destination. Traveling by bike is ideal for getting to know the country and its people up close. Many side streets are relatively well developed but mostly empty. If you have to cover a longer distance, you can also take your bike with you on the train - it costs a few lei extra but is highly recommended for an extended bike tour.
Money & Language
Romanian is the national language and even if mostly younger residents now speak good English, it is worth learning at least a few words of Romanian in advance. Not only can you order your food and ask for directions, but you can also make friends right away - Romanians really appreciate it when strangers learn their own language.
Even if Romania is part of the EU, you won't get very far with the euro, because the local currency is the leu (plural lei). Some hotel prices are quoted in euros, but all transactions are in lei.
You can get money directly from one of the many ATMs or in exchange offices, but credit cards are also widely accepted in larger hotels and restaurants. But always try to have a few smaller bills on hand when you go to cafes, buy bus tickets or tip.
Romania Vacation Tips - The Best Time to Travel
Depending on your budget and what you have planned for your Romania trip, it is best to come in the off-season or even in winter. From June to August it is high season and then it not only gets really hot, but also really crowded - both in the tourist attractions and on the beach.
Those who come in spring, on the other hand, have a particularly nice time. The trees are blooming everywhere and bird lovers and fishermen get their money's worth in the Danube Delta. We think Romania is at its most beautiful now!
Even if autumn is actually considered the low season, you shouldn't forget that Halloween is celebrated on October 31st. And the day is - how could it be otherwise in Romania - especially at Bran Castle in a festive and creepy way. If you want to go to the area now, you should book in good time and pre-order tickets for the Halloween event at the castle.
But you shouldn't underestimate winter either, because now it's the ski season and Romania offers a great alternative to the popular but more expensive ski areas in Switzerland and even those on your own doorstep. In addition, the romantic cities like Sibiu in the snow have their very own charm.
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