I’ve wanted to go to Romania ever since I was 14, because it was the home country of my idol, Nadia Comaneci. I finally made it in 2018. We arrived in Romania on a river cruise down the Danube, which terminated in the port town of Giurgiu. From here we had organized a tour with JayWay Travel, an operator that focuses primarily on eastern Europe. We also used them in Georgia and they did an amazing job there as well. From Giurgiu, we headed west, into Transylvania, a beautiful region famous for medieval towns, mountain passes, and green vistas. We visited the following places:
Peleș Castle is a neo-Renaissance castle near Sinaia, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains. Built by the first King of Romania and completed in 1883, it was used as a summer residence.
Bran (Dracula’s) Castle
This iconic castle near Brașov, perched high atop a rock, is commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle.” It’s a must-visit attraction for its fascinating history and stunning views.
Sibiu is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania. In 2007, it was the European Capital of Culture, the first city in Eastern Europe to receive this title. A charming medieval town with towers, bastions, narrow streets, and colorful houses with “eyes.” (It is said that the houses have “eyes,” due to the unique shape of the windows in the roof.) We stayed in Sibiu for a few days. It is ideal as a base city from which to explore other parts of Transylvania.
This picturesque and well-preserved medieval town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its origins can be traced back to the Romans. Today it is known for its citadel, towers and turrets, charming cobblestone streets, ornate churches and colorful houses.
LiBearty Bear Sanctuary Zărneşti
LiBearty is the largest brown bear sanctuary in Europe. It is home to over 130 brown bears rescued from circuses, small cages and other absolutely horrible circumstances. It’s so good for the soul to see these guys living out their lives together, well cared for, basking in the sunshine and cool grass.
We finished our visit to Romania in the elegant capital city. Bucharest, in southern Romania, is the country’s commercial center. Its iconic landmark is the massive, communist-era Palace of the Parliament government building, which has 1,100 rooms. However, a mixture of architectural styles from various historical periods create an interesting urban display.