Romania in a Nut Shell
- Eat! Warning: The joke goes that in Romania the most cherished vegetable is the meat so dishes are usually prepared with different kinds of meat! For dessert you might want a taste of Cozonac– looks like a panettone with raisins, cocoa powder and walnuts. YUM!
- Drink! Tuica – a strong alcoholic beverage made through distillation of different fruits such as plums, apples, pears, apricots, grapes or peaches. Palinca is another derivative of Tuica and is basically a fruit brandy obtained from Tuica that has been distilled more than once. Romania is also famous for its wines! Make sure you visit some of the vineries and taste different varieties of both red and white wines made in the country.
- Wear! Get ready for hot summers, windy autumns, harsh winters and cheeky springs! If your trip takes you through different areas in Romania, from seaside to the cities and the mountains, then be prepared for all sorts of weather and temperatures as Romania has them all!
- Beware! Although the numbers have considerably diminished over the past years, stray dogs still wander the streets of most cities in Romania. So do pickpockets! Keep an eye on your belongings and don’t get carried away on your own, especially during night time, on dark side streets, abandoned yards, obscure parks…
Introduction to Romania “The Carpathian Garden”
You might be surprised to find out that Romania has deep roots in the Latin language, with its ancestors going back to the ancient times of the Dacians and the Roman Empire that invaded Dacia. From the Middle Ages, through centuries, different migratory people have settled on different parts of the present day Romanian territory. The country has been subsequently under Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian rule which explains, in part, the wild fusion of cultures, languages and civilisations melting in the Romanian pot.
Perhaps nothing will astonish you more than the Romanian landscape, with its virgin forests, endless natural parks and wildlife reservations, sacred mountains, fast flowing rivers and deep lakes. Amongst its dormant villages where customs and traditions have been preserved for centuries, you can truly witness the slow-paced life of the villagers who still wear with pride their traditional costumes while getting around in horse drawn carriages.
The Capital of Romania – Bucharest
Bucharest has changed a lot in recent years, as most cities in Eastern Europe have since the fall of communism and their slow transition to capitalism or the so-called Western way of living. The people here are busier than ever, no wonder, as many corporations have settled on the capital’s soil so there is plenty to do! Look beyond the first impression you get from people in Bucharest who may sometimes seem unfriendly and rude and remember that life in Romania is still hard for most of them, while the quality of life (compared to other European cities) remains lower. Stick with them and you will soon discover their internationally revered hospitality, their love of life, desire for fun and living life to the full!
Bucharest will surprise you at all steps as there is no other city in Romania where modernity clashes so dramatically with the surviving traces of communism, haunting the people for generations to come. With its numerous museums, art galleries, cosy restaurants, vivid terraces and chic cafes, eclectic night-life and a surprising mix of architectural styles, Bucharest is definitely not to be missed on your trip to Romania.
The North of Romania
West North of Romania is the famous region of Maramures with its wooden churches, carved gates and scattered villages. The eight wooden churches of Maramures, with their high roofs and frescoed interiors, are the perfect example of craftsmanship and are listed in the protected UNESCO world patrimony. The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta is also to be found in Maramures. With its colourful tomb stones decorated with traditional motifs and rhymes abundant in dark humour, the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta is the only ‘happy’ cemetery in the world.
Head North East and you will come across the region of Bucovina and its well-known painted churches of Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet. The Voronet monastery is also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East” for its wall paintings and frescoes but also for its particular shade of blue, also known as Voronet Blue.
The South of Romania
South of the Carpathian mountain range you will find the regions of Oltenia to the west and Muntenia to the east, divided by the magnificent river Olt. While in Oltenia, check out the city of Horezu, another UNESCO World Heritage site, with its colourful pottery and the unique Brancovenesti architectural style.
In Muntenia, explore the Prahova Valley, with the cities of Busteni, Predeal and Sinaia- also home to popular sky resorts and the famous Peles Castle. If you love hiking, in summer you can take any of these cities as a starting point and head towards the spectacular Bucegi Nature Park.
The East of Romania
Take a few days to visit the region of Moldavia where the cities of Iasi, Piatra Neamt and Targu Neamt host another panoply of churches and monasteries, as well as impressive national monuments, parks and palaces. Take a stroll through the Ceahlau National Park and Cheile Bicazului-Hasmasu Mare National Park, two of the most spectacular wildlife observation spots in Romania.
In the South East, the region of Dobrogea calls for a quick stay in the home of the Danube Delta, the largest wetland in Europe and the largest reed bed in the world. Bring a pair of binoculars to peak at the unique habitat and hundreds of species of birds and fish to be found in the Delta.
The West of Romania
The regions of Crisana and Banat guard the western side of Romania. The city of Timisoara is the largest city in the area and is where the Romanian revolution against the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu started in 1989. Further north, close to the Hungarian border, the city of Oradea hosts the best example of Austro-Hungarian architecture in Romania. Close to Oradea you can relax and take a mud bath at the Felix Baths health spa.
Central Romania – Transilvania (also known as Transylvania)
Situated in the heart of the Carpathian mountain range, Transilvania is famous for being home to Count Dracula and is a region you don’t want to miss when travelling in Romania. Enjoy the nightlife and the multitude of year-round cultural events in Cluj-Napoca, the largest city in the region of Transilvania, also known as the unofficial capital of Transilvania.
Stop by in Hunedoara, the city that hosts the Hunyad Castle also known as the Corvin Castle. Centuries old, this gothic castle stands as a symbol of Hungarian rule and will enchant you with its history and legends.
The cities of Sighisoara, Brasov and Sibiu showcast a fusion of Romanian, Magyar, Roma, German and other minorities` traditions just like in a museum. These traditions are either encapsulated in the colourful houses, narrow streets and old citadels or spread by the wind through the mountain valleys and river straits cutting deep in the mountains of Bucegi, Fagarasi, Parang, Retezat and Apuseni, among others. Outdoor and hiking enthusiasts, get your gear ready, Transilvania is certainly the place to be!
- Currency: Romanian Ron
- Capital City: Bucharest
- Main Religion: Christian Orthodox
- Main Language: Romanian
- Telephone Code: +40
- Time: GMT +2
- Emergency Number: 112
Romanian Language Essentials
- Hello: Buna
- Thank you: Multumesc
- How are you: Ce faci?
- Can I have the bill please: As dori nota, va rog!
- Please: Te rog
- How much: Cat costa?
- Good bye: La revedere
Romania Visa Information
If you are a national of any of the EU countries or the Schengen area you won’t need a visa when planning to visit Romania. For general information regarding the Romanian visa, for a more detailed list of countries whose nationals are exempted from getting a visa or the countries whose nationals require a visa in order to be able to enter Romania please refer to the suggested links.
Romania welcomes you with a temperate-continental climate and four clearly defined seasons so you are able to enjoy a variety of regional differences and climates depending on the time and length of your visit.
Random Facts about Romania:
- Romania has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world.
- Romania is one of the largest wine producers in the world, ranking twelve, and the sixth wine producer in Europe.
- Timisoara, a city in western Romania, was the first European city to have public electric street lightning or horse drawn trams in late nineteenth century.
- Romania has one of the best underground electronic music scenes in Europe rivalling cities like Berlin, London and Amsterdam.
- The Slanic Prahova Salt Mine in Romania is the largest European natural salt mine opened to the public.