Located in south-eastern Europe, bordering Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine and the Black Sea, Romania is known predominantly as the only Latin country of Eastern Europe among the Slavonic element and the birthplace of Dracula. However, Romania has many other interesting features, including beautiful landscapes with the dramatic Carpathian Mountains which bisect its territory, as well as a rich historical heritage.
The history of this country is far from limited to Count Dracula; however, his castle in Bran, next to the city of Brasov, is one of the most popular attractions in Romania. The fantastic building perched on a high rock makes for an impressive view. But Romania is also worth a visit for the wonderful castles of Transylvania, including Hunyad Castle, Peles Castle or Pelisor Castle, and unique beautifully painted Orthodox monasteries in Voronet, Humor, Putna, Sucevita and Dragomirna. Sinaia, a mountain resort in central Romania, is another place to visit, attracting tourists with its outstanding ancient monastery. Bucovina and Transylvania, two historical regions of the country, are dotted with picturesque Medieval towns such as Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara. A curious attraction is the so-called Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, with beautiful graves decorated with wooden elements painted in various colours.
The shape of Romania resembles a fat fish which touches the coastline with its tail only, but anyway, the short strip of seaside offers excellent resorts known for wonderful beaches and nice weather. The most popular resorts include Constanta, one of the main cities of the country, Mamaia with its sandy beach, bars and clubs, Mangalia, Venus, Saturn, Neptun and Olimp. Romania also has a number of natural reserves, including the Danube Delta.
Romania has a scenic, varied terrain, distributed equally among hills, lowlands and mountains. Its highest peaks are the Moldoveanu, Negoiu and Vistea Mare, all in the Fagaras Mountains and all with altitudes reaching above 2,500 metres. The mountains make Romania a good destination for those who like hiking and skiing. Poiana Brasov and Valea Prahovei are the most popular skiing resorts in the Carpathian Mountains.
The most fascinating aspect about Romanian culture is related to the well-preserved folk traditions. Some of these traditions predate the Roman invasion. Traditional crafts include ceramics, embroidery, wood-carving, weaving, dance and household decorations. In the last century, many village museums have been established throughout the country with the aim to preserve traditional wooden houses – wood was the main construction material in Romania in the past.
Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is a large and lively city with a unique atmosphere from past decades of the Communist era and rule of Romania’s most famous dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. Though some parts of its historical buildings were destroyed during fires, earthquakes and wars, and the other suffered from radical urban planning, there are still several historic fragments of the city and some interesting sights. You should see Curtea Veche, the former royal residence, the Romanian Atheneum, a historical concert hall, or a newer monument, Arcul de Triumf from 1935 modelled on the Parisian Arc de Triomphe. Another must-see place is the Palace of Government, a monstrous construction from the 1980s, considered the largest building in Europe in terms of surface area. The many parks and gardens make this city a nice place to live and relax.
Romania is known as one of the countries with the quickest pace of tourism development. Each year, the number of visitors coming to this country grows significantly. Some of them are attracted by the trade fairs held in a few of the major towns. Attractive during summer holidays, luring guests with seaside resorts, Romania is also popular as a winter destination, offering good skiing conditions. Throughout the year, tourists come to enjoy its interesting historical sights, explore ancient castles and monasteries and discover the beauty of the Danube. Romanians are hospitable and open-minded, and they welcome their guests in a friendly manner.