Romania is a central European country famous for Transylvania, a region well known for its spooky association with vampires and the mythical legend of Dracula. But do we really know Romania? The natural features and rich medieval heritage of the country are often overshadowed by its eerie aura of supernatural intrigue.
For fans of Bram Stoker’s creation, which continues to grip our imagination, Bran Castle’s affiliation with the Count holds a strong attraction, but there are also lots of historic Saxon villages to visit in Transylvania, many fortified churches to admire, fortresses like the stunning Covin Castle and a sleepy peasant culture with folk ways and traditions to be enjoyed and appreciated.
The natural delights of the Danube Delta, Europe’s second largest river delta, lie in Romania and with 23 ecosystems, including some of the world’s largest wetlands to observe, this is a perfect place for boating and birdwatching. The Carpathian Mountains draw a wide arc across the country and provide a platform for winter and summer recreational activities. Sinaia is a popular mountain resort, with Peles Castle, a nearby visitor attraction. The Black Sea Coast is also a destination for summer vacations with resorts like Mamaia offering invitingly peaceful, white sandy beaches. Romania is home to more than a third of Europe’s mineral and thermal springs and Eforie Nord and Mangalia (specialising in mud baths) are just two of the 70 natural spas which offer treatments and relief from many medical disorders.
The towns and cities offer more attractions including the painted monasteries of Bucovina. The unofficial capital of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, a vibrant city and considered an important arts and cultural centre. The nation’s capital, Bucherest, brings modernity to the folk way of life still largely practised across the country. While a Germanic feel with architecture to match can be found in Sibiu, Brasov and the shining example of a beautifully preserved walled town, Sighisoara, one of Romania’s top tourist treasures.
So why not let Romania reveal its brighter side. Get a buzz out of Bucharest, step back in time and visit a former Saxon settlement, hike the mountain trails or relax on the beach or in a spa and if you still crave the dark side, there’s always the twilight world of Transylvania to sink your teeth into!