Are you looking for your next holiday destination? How about the land of vampires – Romania?
This beautiful Eastern European country offers a wealth of experiences for intrepid travelers.
From exploring medieval castles and hiking in the Carpathian Mountains to sampling delicious cuisine and enjoying vibrant nightlife, Romania has something for everyone.
In this article, we will take a closer look at seven must-do activities in Romania. So pack your imaginary travel bags and let’s see what this country has to offer!
Top Reasons to Visit Romania
1. Get Lost in the famous Dracula Castle
Our first stop takes us to one of the most famous castles in Romania, the legendary Bran Castle.
Perched on a hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, this stunning fortress is often associated with the famous Dracula character.
As you step inside, you’ll be transported to a bygone era, with its winding staircases, secret passageways, and medieval charm.
Imagine yourself walking through the grand entrance of Bran Castle, feeling a sense of awe as you take in the imposing architecture.
The castle’s walls, made of stone that has withstood the test of time from the 1400s, stand tall and proud.
As you explore the interior, you’ll find yourself immersed in history of battles this fortress took part on.
The grand halls of Bran Castle are adorned with historical artifacts, each telling a tale of Romania’s rich yet tumultuous past.
On the walls you’ll see intricate tapestries depicting scenes from famous battles and local noble families.
Admire the original, ornate furniture crafted with skill and precision, a testament to the craftsmanship of those time.
As you make your way through the rooms, you’ll come across portraits of the castle’s former residents.
Their eyes seem to follow you, as if they are still watching over their beloved home. Each painting tells a story, a glimpse into the lives of those who once called Bran Castle their own.
Don’t forget to climb the castle’s towers, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Transylvania on one side and the endless forests of the Carpathians on the other. This is what Bran Castle was meant to protect.
So what’s the connection to Dracula? Well, Vlad the Impaler, a medieval prince known for his cruelty who inspired the fictional novel character, is said to have lived here. If this is true or not – you’ll have to go and find out!
2. Go birdwatching in the Danube Delta
Next on our itinerary is a leisurely boat ride through the enchanting Danube Delta.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a haven for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It’s the second largest delta in Europe and the third best preserved in the world!
As you navigate through the intricate network of canals and lakes, you’ll encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna.
Keep your eyes peeled for the graceful swans, playful pelicans, and the over 330 species of birds that call this unique ecosystem home.
The Danube Delta is a true paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts. With its diverse habitats, including marshes, lakes, and sandbars, it attracts a wide variety of bird species.
From the majestic white pelicans to the elegant herons, every turn of the cruise reveals a new feathered friend.
As you cruise along the canals, you’ll witness the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
The lush vegetation provides shelter and nesting grounds for countless species, while the crystal-clear waters teem with life. Keep your camera ready to capture the vibrant colors of the blooming water lilies and the playful dance of the dragonflies.
For those seeking a deeper connection with nature, the Danube Delta offers opportunities for kayaking and canoeing.
Paddle your way through the narrow channels, surrounded by the sounds of nature and the gentle ripples of the water.
And for those looking for a cultural experience, the traditional fishing villages are waiting for you. Letea village is famous for its welcoming locals eager to serve their fish stews.
3. Sample Traditional Romanian Cuisine
Speaking of food, no holiday to another country would be complete without sampling traditional cuisine.
Romanian food is hearty, flavorful, and influenced by Balkan, Oriental and Central European cultures.
Begin your gastronomic exploration with a piping-hot bowl of ciorba, a sour soup bursting with local ingredients.
Tantalize your taste buds with the renowned sarmale, cabbage rolls stuffed with a savory mixture of rice and seasoned meat.
And don’t forget to indulge in a slice of papanasi, a delicious doughnut-like dessert topped with sour cream and jam.
As you embark on this culinary adventure, you’ll discover that Romanian cuisine is a true reflection of the country’s cultural heritage.
Each dish tells a story and offers a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Romanian life.
4. Visit the Painted Monasteries of Bukovina
The painted monasteries of Bukovina are a true gem of Romanian spiritual and cultural heritage.
These unique monastic complexes are adorned with intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible and the lives of saints.
The vivid colors and detailed artwork make these monasteries a true feast for the eyes. Take your time to explore each of the seven UNESCO monasteries and marvel at the craftsmanship of the artists who created these masterpieces 400 years ago.
One of the most famous painted monasteries in Bukovina is the Voroneț Monastery. Located in the village of Voroneț, this monastery is known for its stunning blue exterior and vibrant frescoes. The frescoes at Voroneț depict various biblical scenes, including the Last Judgment and the Tree of Jesse. The colors used in the frescoes are incredibly vibrant and have remained remarkably well-preserved over the centuries.
Another must-visit monastery is the Sucevița Monastery, situated in the village of Sucevița.
This monastery is renowned for its unique shade of green, known as “Sucevița green.” The frescoes at Sucevița tell the story of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the lives of various saints. The intricate details and the use of gold leaf in the frescoes add an extra layer of beauty to this already stunning monastery.
While exploring the painted monasteries, you will also have the opportunity to learn about the history and significance of each site. Many of these monasteries were built during the 15th and 16th centuries, during the reign of Stephen the Great, a prominent ruler in Romanian history. The monasteries served as centers of religious and cultural life, providing education and shelter to monks and scholars.
Aside from their religious importance, the painted monasteries of Bukovina also hold great artistic value. The frescoes were created by skilled craftsmen who used natural pigments and egg tempera to bring the scenes to life. The level of detail in the frescoes is truly remarkable, with every brushstroke contributing to the overall narrative and aesthetic appeal.
5. See wildlife… in the wild!
If you’re a nature enthusiast, Romania offers incredible opportunities for wildlife spotting. The Carpathian Mountains are home to Europe’s largest populations of brown bears.
You can join tours with wildlife specialists and venture into the mountains to observe these incredible creatures in safe conditions. Additionally, keep an eye out for other captivating species such as wolves, lynxes, and chamois.
Connecting with nature and witnessing these magnificent animals in their natural environment is bound to create lifelong memories. Ready your camera and prepare to be amazed by Romania’s awe-inspiring wildlife.
6. Discover bohemian Sibiu
Situated in the heart of Transylvania, Sibiu is one of the best cities in Romania to visit thanks to its rich history and a unique blend of architectural styles.
As you wander through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, you will be transported back in time. The colorful buildings, charming squares, and well-preserved fortifications create a fairy-tale-like atmosphere.
But Sibiu is more than just its picturesque streets. It is a city that breathes history at every corner.
One of the must-visit attractions is the Brukenthal National Museum, which houses an impressive collection of European art spanning several centuries.
From Renaissance masterpieces to Baroque sculptures, the museum offers a journey through the evolution of art. As you explore the museum’s halls, you’ll be captivated by the intricate details and the stories behind each artwork.
After immersing yourself in the art world, make sure to climb the Council Tower. This iconic landmark offers panoramic views of the city, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of Sibiu from above. As you ascend the tower’s spiral staircase, you’ll feel a sense of anticipation building up.
And when you finally reach the top, the breathtaking vista will take your breath away. From the red-tiled roofs to the distant Carpathian Mountains, the view from the Council Tower is nothing short of spectacular.
There are many more things to do in Sibiu that go beyond its cultural and historical attractions. The city is also known for its vibrant culinary scene. Take a stroll through the local markets and indulge in the flavors of Transylvanian cuisine.
From hearty stews to mouthwatering pastries, Sibiu’s gastronomy will delight your taste buds. And if you’re a fan of craft beer, you’re in for a treat. Sibiu is home to several microbreweries that offer a wide range of locally brewed beers, each with its own unique character.
7. Enjoy the Nightlife in Bucharest
Last but certainly not least, we conclude our Romanian adventure in the vibrant capital city of Bucharest. When the sun sets, the city comes alive with a pulsating energy that is sure to capture your attention.
Explore the hip neighborhoods of Lipscani and Centrul Vechi (Old Town area), where over 80 bustling cafes, trendy bars, and lively clubs await. Immerse yourself in the local music scene, from traditional folk tunes to the latest beats. Let the rhythm guide you as you dance the night away and experience the true spirit of Romanian nightlife.
And then head up North around Herestrau Park where the posh clubs open their doors around midnight for wild parties going until dawn.
Romanians love to party and to dress for it – so be prepared and do the same if you want to blend in and make new friends!
There you have it – seven incredible things to do in Romania. From exploring the legendary Bran Castle to hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania offers a wealth of experiences that will impress you.
And I hope this article gave you a taste of that!
About the author
Marius Iliescu is the founder of Romanian Friend, a one-stop shop website with travel inspiration, tour ideas and practical info for those planning to visit Romania. His mission is to make sure people experience the best of his country while supporting responsible, inclusive tourism that helps local communities. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram.