There are few countries that caught us so completely off-guard as Romania. Looking back, I don’t even know what we had expected. Castles of course, and the majestic, almost menacing landscapes that Bram Stoker so eloquently described. I remember imagining cliché, fairytale-like villages from another era dotting the rolling hills of the countryside; and tight roads twisting their way through the Carpathians.
Romania has all of it, and at a magnitude we couldn’t have anticipated. In every literal sense of the word; Romania is awesome.
On the far west of the country, near the border with Serbia, is the wonderful city of Timisoara. Full of history, and birthplace of the great Romanian revolution, Timisoara is often overlooked by many visitors.
Heading into the heart of Transylvania is the exciting and vibrant Cluj-Napoca. Once a small Roman settlement, Cluj has grown to become the second largest city in Romania. We spent a full week, and with everything there is to do in Cluj, only scratched the surface!
A little south of Cluj, in the shadow of much more famous destinations such as Sighisoara, Brasov and Sibiu (where we had a rather unexpected taste of hospitality), is Targu Mures. With some of the most beautiful architecture in Romania - and one of the best hotels in the country - it’s a shame Targu Mures doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Even if you’re not visiting for the complex melding of architecture styles or the fascinating history, Bucharest is a city you cannot miss. On top of phenomenal cafes, restaurants and nightlife, due to its stupid-fast internet speeds, Bucharest is quickly becoming a digital nomad hub.
Rugged landscapes, epic castles and villages that time seems to have forgotten; these are the reasons most people visit Romania.
Though transportation in Romania is relatively simple and affordable, nothing beats the freedom of your own ride. Renting a car in Romania is far cheaper than elsewhere in Europe, and we highly recommend it. Having your own wheels allows you to take incredible road trips through the mountains, or freely explore the more remote region of Maramures, in the far north of the country.
And don’t forget Romania is home to one of the best driving roads on earth, the Transfararasan Highway.