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  • Writer's pictureIvanally Travel and More

Roaming Romania: A Tapestry of Culture and Nature

Updated: Apr 23

Collage of photos taken in Romania

Bună and welcome to Romania! Learn about the best of Romania and al the Romania travel tips!


Romania: Where Nature and Culture Dance the Hora

Romania beckons travelers with its captivating blend of rich history and diverse natural wonders. As you embark on a journey through this land of enchantment, you'll discover a tapestry woven with ancient legends, dramatic landscapes, and a vibrant cultural heritage.


A Journey Through Time

Romania's history is a story of resilience and transformation. Its roots trace back to the Dacians, a people who inhabited these lands for centuries. The Roman Empire left its mark, shaping the language and culture.

One of the most enduring and legendary figures in Romanian history is Vlad III, often known as Vlad the Impaler. His reign inspired the Dracula myth, casting a shadow of intrigue and mystery over the land. Exploring the castles and fortresses associated with Vlad, such as Bran Castle, is like stepping into the pages of a Gothic novel.


Land of Castles and Legends

Romania boasts a stunning array of castles and fortifications that seem plucked from fairy tales. Bran Castle, often called "Dracula's Castle," sits perched on a hill, overlooking the picturesque Carpathian Mountains. Peleș Castle, a masterpiece of German Renaissance architecture, is an opulent jewel nestled in the heart of the mountains.

Beyond the castles, the landscape itself tells tales of ancient folklore. The Carpathian Mountains, with their rugged peaks and dense forests, are said to be the realm of wolves and bears. In the remote villages of Maramureș, wooden churches with towering spires evoke a sense of timelessness.


Geographic Diversity

Romania's geography is a mesmerizing mosaic. To the north, the Carpathian Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop. Here, hikers and adventurers can explore the pristine wilderness, trekking through national parks like Retezat or Bucegi. In winter, the slopes come alive with skiers and snowboarders.

Descending from the mountains, you'll find the rolling hills of Transylvania, a region known for its bucolic landscapes and charming villages. The fertile plains of the Romanian Plain and the Danube Basin offer fertile grounds for agriculture and vineyards.

The Danube River, Europe's second-longest river, flows through the southern part of the country. The Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Here, you can navigate through intricate water channels and observe a stunning array of bird species.


Cultural Riches

Romania's cultural heritage is a treasure trove. Bucharest, the capital, is a city where old meets new, with its grand Belle Époque architecture mingling with contemporary art and vibrant nightlife. The Village Museum, an open-air exhibit of traditional Romanian houses, provides insight into the country's rural past.

Music and dance are woven into the fabric of Romanian culture. The haunting melodies of the pan flute and the energetic rhythms of folk dances like the hora celebrate the nation's spirit.


Culinary Delights

No journey through Romania is complete without savoring its culinary delights. Try mămăligă, a cornmeal porridge served with cheese and sour cream, or indulge in sarmale, cabbage rolls filled with flavorful meats and spices. Romanian wine, with its unique varieties and long history, is a must-try for any connoisseur.


Bucharest Unveiled: A Fairytale Journey through Resilience, Culture, and Vibrancy

Bucharest, the Paris of the East, is a city that unfolds like a captivating story, blending fairytale-like charm with a resilient spirit that rises above its challenging history.


The journey begins in the heart of the city, where a whimsical bookstore, Cărturești Carusel, awaits, nestled among cobblestone streets and historic facades. Downtown Bucharest unveils a literary haven that seems plucked from a storybook. The fairytale-like bookstore, with its ornate architecture and inviting windows, beckons book enthusiasts and wanderers alike. As you step inside, the scent of newly-printed pages mingles with the excitement of discovery. It's a place where time seems to slow, allowing visitors to lose themselves in a world of imagination amid towering bookshelves and cozy reading nooks.

Ivankally at Cărturești Carusel

Venturing beyond the pages, Bucharest unfolds its rich history through an open-air museum - National museum of the "Dimitrie Gusti" Village - showcasing traditional Romanian buildings. Each structure, meticulously preserved, whispers tales of bygone eras. Strolling through this cultural tableau, visitors are transported to a time when vibrant communities thrived in these architectural gems. It's a living history lesson, where the past dances gracefully with the present.


One of Bucharest's enchanting aspects is its seamless blend of tradition and modernity, epitomized by the city's excellent infrastructure for scooters and bikes. Perfect bike lanes crisscross the urban landscape, inviting exploration on two wheels. Navigating Bucharest becomes a breeze as you pedal or scoot along, soaking in the juxtaposition of historic landmarks and contemporary vibrancy.


The Parliament, an imposing presence on the city's skyline, stands as a testament to Bucharest's resilience. This colossal structure, with its grandiosity reminiscent of a bygone era, symbolizes both the city's past struggles and its determination to rise above them. The Parliament's fountains, shimmering under the sun or illuminated by night, mirror Bucharest's ability to transform adversity into a source of beauty.

Bucharest is not just a city; it's a narrative of triumph over hardship. The scars of a difficult history are etched into its streets, yet the city thrives with a palpable energy. It's a phoenix rising from the ashes, reinventing itself while honoring its roots. The resilience of Bucharest is woven into the fabric of its streets, where the echoes of the past coexist with the vibrant pulse of the present.


Culinary delights await those eager to explore Bucharest's food scene. From traditional Romanian dishes to international flavors, the city caters to every palate. Savory mămăligă, succulent mici, and decadent sarmale offer a taste of authentic Romanian cuisine. Cafés and restaurants, tucked into charming corners, invite you to savor both the food and the atmosphere, creating a delightful fusion of flavors and memories.


As the sun sets, Bucharest transforms into a city that never sleeps, pulsating with a lively nightlife. The streets come alive with the rhythm of laughter, music, and the clinking of glasses. Trendy bars and chic lounges offer diverse experiences, from intimate gatherings to lively dance floors. The city's nightlife reflects its dynamic spirit, embracing diversity and providing a space for everyone to revel in the magic of the night.

Ivankally at the Umbrella Road in Bucharest

In the heart of Bucharest, where history and modernity converge, there lies a city that captivates with its tales of resilience, cultural richness, and vibrant energy. From the fairytale-like bookstore to the open-air museum, from the ease of exploring on scooters and bikes to the grandeur of the Parliament, Bucharest is a destination that beckons travelers to immerse themselves in its enchanting narrative. As you navigate its streets, you'll discover a city that not only tells a story but invites you to become a part of it – a story that continues to unfold with each passing day in the Paris of the East.


Transylvanian Tales with Traian: A Birthday Adventure Unveiling the Mysteries of Bran, Peles, and Rasnov

For my birthday, my brother surprised me with the ultimate gift – a guide to unlock the mysteries of Transylvania (and more). Enter Traian, our spirited guide with an infectious enthusiasm for unraveling the tales woven into the Castle of Bran, the opulent Castle of Peles, and the historic town of Rasnov. From the moment we met Traian, it was clear that this journey would be filled with more than just facts and figures.

Traian had a charming obsession with sharing the linguistic quirks of Transylvania, particularly the reason why, in German, it's called Siebenburgen (Seven Fortresses). With fervor, he dove into the historical intricacies, regaling us with tales of the region's seven iconic fortified cities.


But Traian was more than just a fountain of historical knowledge – he was an adventurer at heart. His eyes gleamed with excitement as he proposed an unexpected twist to our itinerary: a bear-watching tour in the Romanian woods. Suddenly, the prospect of spotting bears with a ranger in the wilderness became an irresistible proposition.

As Traian guided us through the echoing corridors of Bran Castle, sharing stories of Vlad the Impaler and the Dracula legend, his passion for the region's history came alive. The Castle of Peles, with its fairytale-like architecture, was transformed into a vivid narrative under his lively commentary. Rasnov, with its medieval charm, became a stage for Traian's tales of centuries gone by.


The highlight of our adventure, however, was Traian's infectious energy and his genuine desire to make our journey unforgettable. His playful insistence on the bear-watching expedition lingered in our minds, adding an unexpected thrill to our Romanian escapade.

In the end, Traian wasn't just a guide; he was a storyteller, an adventurer, and an integral part of the memories we crafted in Romania. As we bid farewell to this charismatic guide, I couldn't help but feel grateful for my brother's thoughtful birthday gift, which turned out to be not just a journey through history but a captivating tale woven by the one and only Traian.


Romania is a country where history and geography coalesce to create an unforgettable journey. From the peaks of the Carpathians to the quaint villages of Transylvania and the vibrant culture of its cities, Romania invites travelers to explore its diverse tapestry and immerse themselves in a land where legends come to life. It's a place where every step holds a story, and every vista reveals a new chapter in the epic tale of this captivating nation.


Sibiu: Whispers of the Past, Gaze of the Roofs, and Culinary Dreams in one Transylvania's Enchanted Towns

In the heart of Transylvania, Sibiu stands as a living fairy tale, where every cobblestone whispers secrets, and the past comes alive in the gaze of centuries-old houses. The Bridge of Lies, a charming architectural marvel, beckons visitors to cross its arches with caution, for according to legend, no secret is safe once spoken upon its stones. Yet, it is not just the bridge that keeps the town's stories alive; it's the peculiar roof windows that dot the skyline, resembling watchful eyes peering down from the historic houses.

As you stroll along the winding streets of Sibiu, you can almost feel the gaze of these silent observers. The town's distinct architecture, adorned with these "eyes," adds an ethereal quality to the atmosphere. It's as if the buildings themselves have become custodians of the town's rich history, standing witness to the comings and goings of generations.

Ivankally having dinner at Kulinarium in Sibiu

A leisurely walk through Sibiu is an enchanting journey through time. The main squares, Piata Mare and Piata Mica, unfold like open-air museums, each step revealing layers of cultural heritage. The cozy cafes that line the streets invite you to savor the moment, offering a perfect setting for a cup of coffee as you take in the surroundings.

Sibiu's charm extends to its traditional cuisine, a culinary tapestry woven with flavors passed down through generations. Whether indulging in hearty sarmale, savory mămăligă, or the sweet delight of cozonac, each bite is a taste of the town's cultural heritage.

💡My personal favourite

Kulinarum in Sibiu is a culinary gem nestled in the heart of the picturesque Romanian city. Boasting a cozy yet elegant ambiance, this restaurant offers a delightful fusion of traditional Romanian flavors with modern European twists. Diners are treated to a diverse menu showcasing locally sourced ingredients crafted into innovative dishes by skilled chefs. From savory appetizers to mouthwatering main courses and decadent desserts, every bite at Kulinarum is a culinary adventure. With impeccable service and a carefully curated wine selection, it's the perfect destination for both intimate dinners and celebratory gatherings, promising an unforgettable dining experience in Sibiu's vibrant culinary scene.


As dusk settles over the town, the soft glow of streetlights illuminates the enchanting architecture, casting a spell over Sibiu. The ambiance becomes timeless, as if you've stepped into a dream where the past and present dance in harmony. The magic of Sibiu lies not just in its landmarks, but in the intangible feeling that pervades the air – a feeling of being part of a story, a witness to the town's secrets, and a participant in its ongoing narrative. Sibiu, with its watchful eyes and whispered tales, invites you to experience the allure of a bygone era, creating an enchanting dream that lingers long after you've bid farewell to its storied streets.


Sighisoara: Where Colors Dance Through Time – A Tapestry of History, Vlad Dracula, and Enchanting Architecture

Nestled in the heart of Romania, Sighisoara unveils a kaleidoscope of charm where every cobblestone is painted with the hues of history. The Old Town, a vibrant canvas of colorful houses, exudes a captivating energy, each facade telling tales of centuries past. As you wander through the narrow streets, it's impossible not to be enchanted by the distinct personality of each building, their facades reminiscent of a lively patchwork quilt. The bright colors seem to capture the spirit of the town, echoing the vibrant history that Sighisoara holds.

Dominating the skyline with an air of austere elegance is the iconic Sighisoara Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched atop a hill. Its medieval towers, each with its own story, provide a panoramic view that transports you to a bygone era. The Clock Tower, standing sentinel over the town, becomes a focal point, not just for the time it keeps but for the rich history it represents.


In the heart of Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, stands the imposing Vlad Dracul House. The medieval architecture and the eerie aura surrounding it add an extra layer of intrigue to the town. Nearby, the impressive Vlad Dracula's House, a medieval building turned into a restaurant, invites you to step into the footsteps of the infamous ruler while enjoying a meal amidst historic ambiance.

Adding a touch of royal grandeur to Sighisoara is the Peles Castle, a marvel nestled in the heart of the town. Though sharing its name with the more famous Peles Castle in Sinaia, this smaller yet equally captivating residence boasts a unique charm. Its architecture, inspired by the Neo-Renaissance style, reflects a fascinating blend of elegance and history.

Sighisoara's charm extends beyond its architecture; it's the atmosphere, the sense of being surrounded by centuries of stories that captivates every visitor. The medieval streets, the vibrant colors, and the austere fortress at the top create a harmonious blend of past and present. Sighisoara is not just a town; it's a living canvas, a museum of time where each step unveils another layer of history waiting to be discovered.


Brasov: Where Medieval Charm Meets Mountain Majesty

Nestled within the embrace of the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov unfolds as a picturesque tapestry where history, nature, and culture seamlessly intertwine. The iconic Tampa Mountain, standing guard over the city, offers not only a breathtaking panorama but also a sense of timelessness. The view from Tampa unveils the red-tiled roofs of the old town, revealing the medieval heart that beats within Brasov.


At the heart of Brasov's Old Town stands the austere yet captivating Black Church (Biserica Neagră), a Gothic masterpiece that tells tales of centuries past. The church's imposing structure, with its darkened facade, adds a touch of mystique to the town's skyline. Inside, the grandeur of the church is revealed through its impressive collection of historic relics and sublime architecture.


Tampa Mountain, a verdant sanctuary, invites visitors to ascend its slopes and bask in the panoramic views of Brasov below. The funicular ride to the top is an experience in itself, offering a leisurely ascent that unveils the city's beauty step by step. Once at the summit, the city unfolds like a vibrant mosaic, revealing the red-roofed houses, the ancient city walls, and the grandeur of the surrounding mountains.

The name of Brasov proudly etched on the side of Tampa, visible from various points in the city, becomes a symbol of identity. The large white letters stand as a testament to the town's enduring spirit, a silent proclamation that echoes across the mountainous landscape.


Down in the heart of the city, cozy cafes line the charming squares, inviting visitors to indulge in moments of relaxation. Whether sipping coffee on the Council Square (Piața Sfatului) or exploring the hidden gems tucked away in the medieval lanes, the cafes become havens of warmth and camaraderie. The atmosphere is enriched by the lively conversations, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the view of the surrounding peaks – a perfect blend of urban charm and natural beauty.


Brasov is more than a city; it's a sensory journey where each step is a discovery. The austere church, the panoramic views from Tampa, and the charming cafes together create an enchanting harmony that makes Brasov a destination where history and modernity dance together amidst the majestic Carpathians.


Birthday dinner in Brasov

In the heart of Transylvania, where medieval charm meets breathtaking landscapes, lies the enchanting city of Brasov. A city with cobblestone streets that whisper tales of centuries past, and where I found myself on a serendipitous journey for my birthday.

One of the highlights of my birthday escapade was ascending the Tampa Hill via the funicular. As the cable car effortlessly glided upwards, Brasov unfolded below like a patchwork quilt of red-roofed houses and vibrant squares. At the summit, the panoramic view left me breathless – a sprawling landscape of terracotta rooftops and verdant hills stretching as far as the eye could see.

View on Brasov from the Sun Tampa restaurant

Perched at the feet of the Tampa Hill, the restaurant Sub Tampa beckoned with promises of culinary delights. Its ambiance, nestled in the shadows of the hill, created an intimate setting that felt like a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. As I stepped inside, the warm hues of the decor and the inviting aroma of Romanian specialties embraced me.

Sub Tampa quickly earned its place as one of my favorite restaurants ever. The menu, a culinary love letter to Romanian flavors, boasted dishes that blended tradition with innovation - each bite was a celebration of Romania's gastronomic heritage.

The attentive staff at Sub Tampa elevated the dining experience, turning a birthday celebration into a memorable feast. It wasn't just a meal; it was a symphony of tastes, a fusion of local ingredients that danced on my palate. As I savored each dish, surrounded by the cozy ambiance and the subtle notes of live music, Sub Tampa became more than a restaurant – it became a culinary haven etched in my birthday memories.

Brasov, with its medieval charm and natural splendor, became the perfect backdrop for this special day. The Black Church, the Council Square, and the Rope Street added to the city's allure, creating a tapestry of experiences that left an indelible mark. The echoes of centuries past resonated in every cobblestone, and the Carpathian Mountains stood as silent witnesses to the celebration of life in this enchanting city.

As I bid farewell to Brasov, with the echoes of my birthday celebration lingering in the mountain air, I carried with me the essence of this captivating city. Brasov, with its history, its views, and SubTampa's culinary magic, had gifted me a birthday that transcended time, making it a celebration not just of another year but of the timeless charm that defines this Romanian gem.


Accomodation

Bucharest

$$$ The Marmorosch Hotel: Luxurious accommodations with historic charm, located in the heart of Bucharest.

$$ Europa Royale Bucharest: Comfortable and elegant, this hotel provides a pleasant stay with a touch of historic allure.

$ Piata Uniri Cozy Inn: A budget-friendly hostel with a lively atmosphere, perfect for travelers seeking affordability and social interactions.


Brasov

$$$ Hotel Aro Palace: Exuding opulence and sophistication, Hotel Aro Palace boasts lavish accommodations and impeccable service, located in the heart of Brasov's historic district, offering guests a luxurious retreat with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

$$ Kronwell Brasov Hotel: Offering luxurious accommodations with modern amenities, the Kronwell Brasov Hotel is conveniently situated in the heart of Brasov, providing easy access to the city's attractions and landmarks.

$ Centrum House Hostel: A budget-friendly option for travelers, Centrum House Hostel provides comfortable dormitory-style accommodations with a friendly atmosphere, ideal for those seeking affordability and a sense of community in Brasov.


Sighisoara

$$$ Hotel Sighisoara: A top-rated hotel located right in the heart of the historic citadel, offering luxurious accommodations with a blend of modern and medieval charm.

$$ Casa Wagner: A comfortable mid-range hotel situated within the citadel, featuring well-appointed rooms and a charming atmosphere.

$ Burg Hostel Sighisoara: A budget-friendly pension providing affordable accommodation just outside the citadel walls, offering basic amenities for cost-conscious travelers.


💡My personal favourite

Boutique Hotel Von Graf: The Von Graf is a boutique hotel known for its unique and stylish design, providing a personalized and intimate experience for guests seeking a touch of luxury. Nestled in the heart of Sighisoara, is a hidden gem that promises a unique and cozy retreat for its guests. The charm of this boutique hotel lies in its distinct character – each room is a masterpiece, adorned with warm wooden furnishings that create an inviting and intimate atmosphere. The commitment to individuality is evident as every room boasts its own personality, ensuring that no two stays are alike.

During my visit in the low season, the staff at Boutique Hotel Von Graf demonstrated exceptional hospitality and attentiveness. Despite my request for the rooftop room, they thoughtfully showed me also an alternative on a lower floor, considering the convenience of my heavy luggage. This thoughtful gesture exemplifies the hotel's dedication to providing a comfortable and personalized experience for their guests.

The cozy and warm ambiance of the rooms, coupled with the personalized attention from the staff, creates a memorable and delightful stay. Whether you find yourself in the rooftop room with its charming views or in another uniquely designed space, Boutique Hotel Von Graf seems to prioritize not only comfort but also a sense of genuine care for its guests. Such attention to detail and hospitality enhances the overall allure of this boutique gem, making it a standout choice for those seeking a distinctive and welcoming accommodation experience in Sighisoara.

Entrance of the Boutique Hotel Von Graf

Sibiu

$$$ Hilton Sibiu: A luxurious high-budget hotel offering elegant accommodations with modern amenities, situated in a picturesque setting.

💡My personal favourite

$$ Hotel Am Ring: Hotel Am Ring in Sibiu is a charming accommodation that not only provides comfort but also immerses guests in the captivating ambiance of Sibiu's historical center. I had a room with a view of the main square, I experienced the enchanting scenery that unfolded in front of my eyes. The main square, Piata Mare, with its colorful buildings and the iconic Brukenthal National Museum, offers a picturesque panorama, especially during the Christmas markets when the square transforms into a winter wonderland.

Off-season, the hotel's central location ensures you are within easy reach of Sibiu's key attractions, including the Council Tower, the Bridge of Lies, and the cozy cafes and restaurants that line the charming cobblestone streets. The convenience of being not too far from the train station adds an extra layer of accessibility for those arriving by train, allowing for a seamless transition into the heart of Sibiu.

The hotel itself boasts a blend of modern amenities and classic charm. The rooms are designed for comfort, and if you had a room overlooking the main square, you likely enjoyed the splendid views that make the stay truly memorable.

While your visit off-season was undoubtedly delightful, the prospect of experiencing the Christmas markets from the vantage point of your room adds a touch of magic to the stay. The festive lights, the aroma of mulled wine, and the joyful atmosphere of the Christmas markets would turn your room into a front-row seat to the seasonal celebrations, making your stay at Hotel Am Ring an even more enchanting experience.

$ Pensiunea Cardinal: A budget-friendly guesthouse offering simple yet cozy accommodations, conveniently located for budget-conscious travelers.


Romania: Where Leu Rules and Adventures Unfold – Your Passport to Fang-tastic Fun! A few more Romania travel tips

Welcome to Romania, where Dracula's castle meets vibrant festivals and picturesque landscapes! Here are some essential tips for your Romanian adventure:

Currency: Get ready to embrace the leu (RON), the official currency of Romania. Forget the cape – let the leu be your superhero for all your purchases and exchanges.

Language: While you might not become fluent in Romanian overnight, a few key phrases will make you feel like a local superhero. Salut means hello, Mulțumesc is thank you, and Poți să-mi spui unde este castelul lui Dracula? translates to "Can you tell me where Dracula's castle is?" Impress the locals with your linguistic prowess and unlock the door to unforgettable experiences.

Cultural tip: In Romania, it's customary to greet friends and family with a kiss on both cheeks. Don't worry; it's not a Dracula-inspired ritual – just a warm and friendly tradition. Embrace the cheek-to-cheek camaraderie and make your hellos extra special.

Festivals: Romania loves a good party! Dive into the lively atmosphere of festivals like Untold and Electric Castle, where music, culture, and fun collide. Dance the night away, and you might just discover your inner Romanian rhythm.

Carpathian Mountains: Lace up your hiking boots and channel your inner adventurer as you explore the breathtaking Carpathian Mountains. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or just want a leisurely stroll, the Carpathians offer landscapes that rival any fairy tale.

Black Sea Beaches: Need some sun and sand therapy? Romania has you covered with its beautiful Black Sea beaches. Soak up the sun, take a dip in the sea, and let the waves serenade you with tales of the coast.

Mămăligă Madness: Don't leave Romania without trying mămăligă, a cornmeal porridge that's a staple of Romanian cuisine. It's so versatile; you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Add some cheese, sour cream, or even a drizzle of honey – your taste buds will thank you.

Village Life: Take a step back in time by exploring traditional Romanian villages. Colorful houses, welcoming locals, and a sense of simplicity await you. It's a journey into the heart of Romanian culture and a chance to connect with the charm of rural life.



Romania is more than just a destination; it's a vibrant mosaic of history, culture, and fun waiting to be explored. So, grab your leu, practice your Romanian phrases, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you saying "Mulțumesc, Romania – you're fang-tastic!" 🧛‍♂️🏰✨


Ciao ciao, e al prossimo viaggio!


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