Things to do in Romania
Forget vampires. You'll find Europe's greatest toothsome creatures in Romania's wild.
Bears, bats & birds
With around 5,500 bears, 4,000 wolves and 2,000 Eurasian lynx, Romania is a land of hunters. Stalk them in woods ablaze with spring and autumn colour - or use the winter book of snowy tracks. Brave Europe's largest bat colonies in vast caves like Huda lui Papara in the Trascau Mountains. Flying wonders fill the outdoors too: bee-eaters, black storks, eagles and Ural owls inland; pelicans, cormorants and geese in the gorgeous water-world of the Danube Delta.
Middle ages spreadMuch of Romania's largely unspoilt countryside follows a timeless rustic lifestyle extinguished almost everywhere else in Europe. Horse and cart are primary transport, colourful garb looks like something from a Middle Ages history yarn, while hay scything is a top calorie-burner. Centuries-old folklore and traditions thrive in picturesque villages, especially around Maramures. Many folk still claim a belief in witchcraft, while quirky sights abound – a tree hung with pots means a marriageable daughter awaits nearby...
Ancient crafts thrive as a vital way of life. Woodworkers may combine making sturdy ornate carvings with perfectly-honed tulnic (Romania's take on the alpenhorn). Carpets, shawls and table-cloths are hand-woven, while dining tables are covered with locally made produce, from cheeses to potent fruit schnapps – usually made from plums, and freely offered to visitors! Tuica is its general name, with palinca the double-distilled more polished version.
Geology and ecology have blessed Romania
Karst your net
Tectonics made majestic mountains across Romania – the Apuceni and Bucegi alongside the Carpathians - while aeons of water carved limestone into Europe's finest karst landscape - pale crinkled rock riven by bat-filled caves.
Hike alpine meadow and dive into dense beech forest where bears are more common than people. Alternatively, set pulses racing in the dramatic Bicaz Gorges – or enjoy the calm oak wood pastures of the Breite Plateau.
If you'd like to chat about Romania or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
As medieval Saxony, Romania's heartland was guarded by seven citadel towns that are magnificent reminders of a past as colourful as their buildings. Brasov's old quarter jostles Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles. Beautifully-preserved 12th century city gems like Sighisoarra and Sibiu further Romania's love affair with architectural colour, blazed too across the gorgeous painted monasteries of Bucovina. If you're visiting the monasteries, be sure to see the fabulous Popa folk art museum in Tarpesti.
By contrast, the enigmatic UNESCO-listed wooden churches of Maramures are paeans to timeless rustic craftsmanship. Small scale wonder manifests too in Transylvanian villages whose houses are roofed with hay and fronted by ornately carved gates, or pretty hill shepherd communities like Sibiel in the Traseu mountains. And there are castles everywhere. Bran is a fairytale classic – though ignore spurious links to Dracula model Vlad Tepes. The most exquisite is Renaissance-styled Peles, where Romania's King Carol I peered out on the stark beauty of the Carpathian mountains. In the Orastie mountains, visit the stunning stone sanctuaries at Sarmisegetuza, the 2500-year-old capital of the Dacians, Romania's first civilisation.
More Romania articles
The best time to go to Romania is spring or autumn, for wildflowers and fiery foliage.
Explore our Romania travel guide to discover there's much this country than just vampire nonsense.
Find out how to make the most of your time in Romania with our interactive map and some highlights.
The Carpathian Mountains are one of the most significant mountain chains in Europe.
Your indispensable guide to self drive vacations in Romania - don't set off without it.
Forget the vampire myths - take a trip through Transylvania and you might be surprised what you find in this Carpathian idyll.
Joining an expert tracking guide is the best way to find bears in Romania.
Romania's painted churches are UNESCO-listed, and of great historical significance.
From bear sanctuaries to fairytale castles and walking, Romania has fantastic activities to suit the whole family.
Reliable travel advice for Romania from our expert partners, as well as a real life Romanian Count!
Romania is one of Europe's poorer countries, but rich in wildlife and cultural wonder.