A country submerged in legends of Dracula, tales of vampirism and the former home to one of the most bloodthirsty rulers in the history of Europe, Romania has a vibrant and unconventional past which will fill the tourists on our fascinating Europe vacation package with intrigue and allure them in to visit again. This country still remains comparatively off-the-beaten-track but in reality, there is a lot more to Romania than what meets the eye initially. Friendly locals, splendid countryside, and delicious delicacies make it a perfect destination for anyone looking out for exploring Eastern Europe.
(Days 1 – 2): Bucharest
(Day 3): Brasov
(Day 4): Szekely Region and the Red Lake
(Day 5): Bran and Rasnov
(Day 6): Maramures
(Day 7): Sighisoara
Bucharest, Brasov, Szekely Region, Red Lake, Bran, Rasnov, Maramures, Sighisoara
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Bucharest isn’t particularly a beautiful city. The innumerable bullet holes present on many of its buildings reveal the devastating past that the country experienced during the previous communist regime and uprising. However, this city is quite up and coming. Enjoy a cup of coffee while having a look at classic literature at the many trendy coffee bars in the old town, bars, stores, and international restaurants that have really put the city on the list of top destinations for a weekend break.
The city offers tourists with plenty of museums and free walking tours, thus providing them with a great insight into Romania’s history.
If you wish for some laid-back kind of atmosphere, there are numerous easy day trips from Bucharest that you can take. Consider venturing to Valea Calugareasca, which is one of Romania’s top producing wine regions and spend a pleasant half-day sampling wine and relishing local delicacies while in the area.
Today get ready to explore the city of Brasov, which was discovered in the 13th century when Teutonic Knights were sent by the Hungarian king to invigorate the border. Transylvania was part of the Kingdom of Hungary throughout the Middle Ages and was continuously pervaded by various groups. Visit the fortified Prejmer Church, surrounded by a wall nearly 40 feet high and 13 feet thick. The walls contain 270 rooms for the villagers to take refuge during attacks and storehouses for grain.
The ancient town of Brasov is a fascinating destination in itself, however, it also serves as a great base for wider exploration in the area – especially for day trips to the famous “Dracula’s Castle” in the village of Bran, and the collapsing defensive citadel at Rasnov. The city is known for its fortifications and you will find scattered around it remnants of these ancient defenses – from intricate gates which marked the entrance and exit into the city limits to the remnants of the former defensive walls.
The historical center is relatively compact, and you can explore its entirety in half a day. Start by undertaking a walk into the central plaza of Piata Sfatului and relish meandering the old cobbled streets that surround it, sometimes ducking into the many splendid Eastern Orthodox churches.
This morning you'll make your way to Lazarea, a charming village in the Szekely region located at the foot of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains. Visit the Renaissance-style Lazar Castle here, which was constructed in 1450. You'll also have the opportunity to praise the huge Franciscan monastery situated in the village. Later, visit the Red Lake, whose reddish hue comes from iron deposits, and pass through the striking vertical limestone walls of the nearby Bicaz Gorge. Wander along the path by the Bicaz River and have a conversation with the local artisans who sell their products here. Overnight stay in a guesthouse by the lake.
Bran is a tiny and extremely touristic town, but a visit to the legendary Dracula’s castle is undoubtedly on the “must see” in Romania list. In the morning, explore the castle and its grounds before you head back to the bus stop to visit Rasnov. There is also a lovely compact “traditional” village that represents how peasant life in rural Romania used to be. There are frequent fairs here that sell local delicacies and handicrafts which, although a little costly than elsewhere in the country, is lovely to see.
On reaching Rasnov, wonder once more at Romania’s plagiarised Hollywood signs and make your way to the citadel. There is plenty to do in Rasnov for the remaining of your day. Nature lovers can enjoy the natural beauty inside the Valea Cetatii caves, or hike Postavarul massif. Families and paleontology lovers can relish the remains and replicas on display at the Dino Park.
Today you'll head out to explore Maramures. Start in the village of Sapanta, famous for its vividly colored "happy cemetery." Each grave has a painted wooden and steel monument that intensely describes the life of its owner. Continue your journey on to The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance in Maramures' ancient capital, Sighet. The museum is situated in a former political prison and narrates the story of darker times in Romanian history. From here, you'll go to the splendid Barsana monastery, exhibiting traditional craftsmanship and lofty wooden spires amid a backdrop of sweeping hills. Overnight stay at a Botiza guesthouse.
The place of Dracula’s birth, Sighisoara is more than just a town having vampire legends and although compact, it will turn out to be your favorite stop off on your journey through Romania.
Venture the charming, narrow cobbled streets and pastel-hued houses that makeup Sighisoara, and enjoy your cappuccino as you relax in the dining establishments with ancient piazzas which are centuries old.
Sighisoara can be explored in half a day – progressing up the endless stone steps towards the “church on the hill”, praise the design of the clock tower, the charm of the town’s streets, and capture that obligatory selfie in front of Dracula’s former house and birthplace before you move on to explore the nearby Saxon villages of Biertan and Viscri. Witnessing Romanian country life in these villages offers a fascinating insight!
If you have any queries regarding traveling in Romania or planning a visit to the country, you can fill out the inquiry form or contact us at Priyanka.sharma@Leisure.com and we’ll try to answer them for you as soon as possible. For more travel inspiration, read all our articles for some amazing trips around the world.