People think of Romania as the land of gypsies and Dracula, but there is much more the country than that. I found Romania to be far more wonderful than I ever imagined. I love the food, the architecture, the people, and the beautiful countryside. Romania is filled with beautiful, medieval cities, wonderful castles, and picturesque farmland. There’s no Dracula tourism in this country so don’t expect to visit and find lots of it. You’ll be able to explore this great country without the crowds.
Destination Guides for Romania
Accommodation – Most dorm rooms cost between 30-50 RON per night in a hostel, with private double rooms costing 70-180 USD. A single/double room in a hotel with cost around 150 RON for a cheap, two-star hotel.
Food – Food is very cheap in Romania, and most small meals cost around 20 RON. In major tourist cities like Brasov or Sighisoara, meals with drinks at restaurants can be a bit pricey and cost around 100 RON. Groceries will be about 160 RON for a week’s worth of food.
Transportation – City buses and trains cost about 4 RON for a single journey ticket. Intercity trains and buses begin at 40 RON but are rarely more than 80 RON for a second class ticket.
Activities – Most museums and attractions cost between 20-40 RON.
Money Saving Tips
I didn’t find that Romania offered any amazing ways to save. There wasn’t really one particular thing that I found and was like, “Wow! This is going to be great! My budget is saved!”. Outside the generic couchsurfing, cook, eat money saving tips, the country is cheap enough. You don’t really need to do anything special to save money.
Top Things to See and Do
Wander through Alexandru Borza Botanic Gardens – Located in Cluj Napoca, this is a massive botanical garden with rolling green hills, an observation tower, a rose garden, and even a Japanese garden.
Get a cultural immersion in Maramures – This medieval region of Romania is one of my favorites. Peasant culture is still thriving, and there is an interesting blend of traditional music, hand-made wooden structures, and colorful textiles to experience. It’s like stepping back in time (in a good way).
Hike at Mount Tampa – Towering above Brasov, this is one mountain that is riddled with interesting history. It’s easy to hop on a cable car, and check out the view from the top, as well as explore with the defensive fortress. Many people like to go hiking here and visit the Brasov sign.
Visit the Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral – As one of the most religious countries in Europe, it should be no surprise that there are churches, cathedrals, and monasteries everywhere, many of which date back several centuries. This particular cathedral in Bucharest still has all of its original interior paintings and icons, in addition to some beautiful frescoes.
Explore Bucharest – With several centuries of architecture in this city, there is a really interesting display of old and new. There are plenty of museums, cemeteries, historical sites, shopping centers, and architectural sights to check out here.
See the wildlife at Northern Dobrogea – Here there are tons of wildlife and exotic birds to see, but you still have a bit of the city to keep from being entirely secluded. There is a decent selection of restaurants and entertainment spots, including theater and opera houses.
Shop at a traditional crafts fair – Every year during the month of June, there is a huge craft fair held in Bucharest. People come from all over Romania to sell goods and provide demonstrations. You can see pottery molding, woodcarving, glass blowing, rug and textile weaving, embroidery, and egg painting.
Visit the Danube Delta – Flowing over 1,700 miles from its source, this is Europe’s second largest and best-preserved delta. There is so much wildlife to see here, and the hiking is surreal. You can go bird watching and fishing as well.
Explore Brasov – My favorite place in Romania, this historic city is the launching pad for trips to “Dracula’s castle.” There’s great hiking around here, a beautiful historic center, and beautiful medieval streets.
Trek in the Fagaras Mountains – For those of you that are major hiking enthusiasts, this is one of those awesome multi-day hiking experiences. Taking you along the main ridge of the Fagaras, the route is one of the longest and continuous high-mountain traverses in Europe. You will trek over Moldoveanu, Negoiu, and Vista Mare that are three of Romania’s highest peaks.
Celebrate Hora de la Prislop – Held every August, this festival is a celebration that brings together Transylvania, Moldova, and Maramures. Known more commonly as the Dance at Prislop, you can probably guess that there is lots of traditional dancing and singing, beautiful costumes, parading, and awesome feasting.
Set up base at Baia Mare – If you are wanting to check out a bunch of the traditional villages, this is a good place to start. It is easy to access many of the famous valleys from here, including Iza, Viseu, Cosau, and Mara – all of which are riddled with interesting villages.
Hunt for Dracula in Sighisoara – Founded during the 12th century, this town is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. A world heritage site, there is a mass of towers, ornate churches, and burgher houses to see throughout the cobbled streets. This is also the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, otherwise more commonly known as Dracula.
Visit Peles Castle – Not too far from Brasov is Sinaia, the site of Peles Castle. The castle itself was constructed between 1873 and 1914 as a getaway spot for the monarch. The building is lavishly decorated, and serves as a great indication of the luxurious lives these rulers enjoyed. A visit to the ground floor of the castle costs $6 USD, but goes up in price for tours of additional floors.
Tour a salt mine — Salina Turda is the salt mine in Turda which has been converted into a subterranean museum. The mine dates back centuries and was used heavily during the Middle Ages. The layout of the museum is really neat and looks almost futuristic. If you’re in the area, this is worth a visit.