What pops up in your mind when you think of Romania? Dracula? Or nothing at all? Romania is one of the most underrated countries in Europe and not many think of visiting this Eastern European gem. Even though it’s one of the cheapest countries to travel in when it comes to Europe, people seem to skip Romania because they don’t know what to expect. If you go to Italy, you know you’ll have amazing food such as pizza, pasta, gelato. But what do they have in Romania?
Well, let me tell you. They have a lot! Although tourism in Romania is just starting, people tend to only visit the capital city Bucharest and forget the parts that really make this a great destination. Yes, there’s the Dracula castle in Brasov and it’s actually situated in a really beautiful city. But there’s so much more than that.
If you’ve never heard of Cluj-Napoca, it’s about time that you do. This city is located in Transylvania and is the second biggest city in Romania. What many people don’t know is that it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here you have cobblestoned streets, mesmerizing churches, old buildings full of history, a huge restaurant scene and alternative cafés that will make you stay for hours and hours. Let’s not forget about the booming nightlife as well (if that’s your scene). Cluj-Napoca, also known as Cluj, is also close to many other cities in Romania that’s worth visiting. Take a bus to the medieval city of Sibiu or head over to Sighisoara, a colorful little city where you can wander around for hours and where every little corner is prettier than the other.
When it comes to food, which is arguably one of the best parts of traveling, the Romanian cuisine doesn’t disappoint. As with many Eastern European countries, they eat a lot of meat. But if you’re a vegetarian like I am, don’t fret – there’s tons of options still. Some traditional dishes you must try are “sarmale”, which are cabbage rolls filled with either meat or rice. When the weather gets a bit cooler, order a “ciorba”, a thicker tripe soup. But make sure that you save some room for dessert. My favorite is “papanasi” which are a sort of fried doughnuts that’s best served with some berry jam and sweet and sour cream. It’s absolutely divine!
So if you’re thinking about where to go in Europe, give Romania a chance. Right now is the best time to go as well since the tourism is still just on the rise, but hasn’t bloomed yet, so you’ll find that you have some spots all to yourself. The locals are also very friendly and warm, and if you’re lucky, they’ll invite you home for a traditional Romanian dinner. It’s a place that simply cannot be missed.
This post was made possible by our sponsors at Lowell Auto School.