Romania is not just Dracula’s country. And has more things to offer than just folklore and virgin forests. Art galleries, some mud volcanoes, music festivals and some beautiful wine counties are perfect to be put on the bucket list. My personal favourites 8 things to put on the bucket are…
Transfăgărășan road – it is the most beautiful road in Romania (and, according to Top Gear), one of the best in Europe. Incredible views from the top of the mountain (more than 2.000 altitude), almost 90 kilometres of pure adrenaline on the road built in ’70 years as a strategic military route.
Tips: the road is closed during the winter. And, if you want more thrills, sign up for the beautiful retro car rally (http://www.raliulsibiului.ro) and you will have so much fun (in 2020, between 20-22 August)!
Mud volcanoes (Buzău county) – it is a a funny place to go even when you are not a kid anymore. It’s (probably) the harmless volcano that you’ve ever meet. The landscape is very strange, like you have landed on the moon and you can encounter production teams (films, fashion editorials and advertising clips were made in that scenery).
Tips: do not take white clothes with you and try not to loose your flip-flops into the mini mud volcanoes spread all over the place.
The wine county – a perfect autumn weekend could be spent in the countryside. In the Dragasani vineyard area (part of the south Romania) lay hills of one of the oldest vineyard in the country. No less than 12 wineries are here, perfect for wine tasting.
Tips: stay over the night at one of the wineries, and admire the sunset over the wine hills. My favourite: Avincis Winery (https://www.avincis.ro)
Music festivals in Cluj-Napoca: forget Tomorrowland and Coachella, the trendiest music festivals are here, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. We are talking about Untold (Armin Van Bureen is one of the usual suspects) and Electric Castle (should we say that in 2019 Florence & The Machine and Jerod Leto were the headliners?), Jazz in The Park, TIFF film festival. This year, the dates are as follows: Untold, 30 of July-2nd of August, Electric Castle between 15-19 of July). Tips: book your stay months ahead!
The Danube Delta, the Black Sea – if you are looking for quiet places and a zen mood, Danube Delta is perfect. A ride by a little boat on Danube branches will show you the amazing flora & fauna. On the seaside shore, the cool places to stay are @domeniileclos – a secluded getaway, with an incredible French restaurant and a vineyard; the boutique hotel from Marina Regia residence (http://www.marinaregia.com) and the beautiful venue at Limanu, where you can learn how to sail.
Bucharest Art Galleries – The capital of Romania is not simply about fun & old city. Some interesting art galleries are waiting for the art addicts. One of them – very central – Galateca – you can find here works & pieces from Romanian designers and artists for sale. Then, Sector 1 Gallery @sector1gallery and, of course, MNAC Bucharest (the museum of contemporary art). Tips – try seasonal exhibitions from @mobiusgallery and http://www.annartgallery.ro.
Bucovina county – I am from here, so I may subjective. But, anyway, in this area are the most UNESCo heritage old monasteries, along with amazing landscapes and very delicious foods. Put on the list: Voroneț monastery, Suceava Old Castle and do not miss a ride with the romantic train Mocănița Huțuica Moldovița. Tips: it’s as same as beautiful in the winter as it is on the summer time – for those passionate about local traditions, I would recommend Easter or Christmas. Enjoy!
Of course, Dracula’s castle is a must-see on out list. Castle Bran – http://www.bran-castle.com, the allegedly place of Count Dracula is a very interesting venue. try the underground passages. The medieval castle once held Vlad the Impaler prisoner – the infamous Romanian ruler that was immortalised as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula”. Tips: if you are here already, try a visit to Brașov, one of the nicest towns in Romania.
MORE ABOUT Romanian places, interviews with Romanian fashion designers – on www.dreamingof.net – Alina Aliman
The article is written as a collaboration for https://www.europelanguagecafe.com.