As one of Central Europe’s most beautiful but least explored countries, Romania is rich in flora and fauna, medieval culture and villages and the Carpathian Mountains, home to a third of Europe’s brown bears. We have picked our ‘must-do’ experiences including some of Romania’s hidden gems.
1. Transfargarasan Experience
It is said to be one of the best roads in the world and, once you see the view, there is no denying this. Take the full Transfargarasan Experience and drive a sports car down the highway through the Romanian countryside.
West of Transfagarasan, there is an even more impressive mountain road, the Transalpina. This road is longer and more dangerous but the views are breathtaking.
The road can be closed for exclusive and private use however these roads are particularly dangerous during winter, and so are only open between June and October, depending on the weather.
2. Truffle Hunting
The beech forests of Romania, especially in Transylvania, are the perfect terrain for truffle hunts. We can organise trips with specialised dogs and a well trained guide, taking a full day to find the finest truffles.
To complement the long walks in nature, take a picnic in the forest or a self made meal with the found truffles. Alternatively, at the end of the hunt, the truffles can be prepared for guests by a chef while you relax and enjoy a chilled glass of wine.
Romania is one of a few European countries where you can still find authentic and traditional crafts. In many regions, like Transylvania, Bucovina, Maramures, and Moldavia, you can visit the workshops of various popular artists and learn how their beautiful crafts are born. From wood carving artists to traditional winemakers or reed weavers to sheepskin coat makers, traditional skills are being past down from generation to generation.
You can even try your hand at one of these traditional crafts, making your own carved wooden spoon in Brasov.
4. Wine Experience
Dating back from the time of the Dacians, Romania knows how to make good wine! The country has more than 150 wineries, some with more that 100 years of experience, some with a more traditional way of wine making and some which dare to experiment.
Taste Romania’s internationally awarded wines at the local vineyards. Usually the wine tasting will include six wines and a platter of cheeses, hams and bread, complemented with some traditional dishes. Other wine tours take you to the regions known for wine production, just a two to three hour drive from Bucharest.
5. Horseback Riding
Enjoy Romania’s wild nature on horseback through forests, open plains, over hills or along rivers. Travel with a local guide and experience the hospitality of the Roma people as they show you their much-loved country.
It is an experience for all riding levels, from beginners to experts, and a fun lesson in nature for families and kids.
6. Bike Tours
The beauty of the Saxon villages of Transylvania can be easily seen from a bike.
There are multiple bike trails that connect these small villages through forests, across hills and plains. This could be a fun activity for families and also a unique way to discover a region.
7. Bran Castle
Bran castle, better known as Dracula Castle, is one of the ‘must see’ places in Romania. At the top of a cliff, the castle stands imposing, waiting for the guests to enter its well kept rooms and corners.
Besides visiting, one can enjoy wine tasting, a private dinner inside the castle, or even a private party.
8. Turda Salt Mines
Turda Salt Mine was ranked by Business Insider as ‘the most beautiful underground place in the world’, and they couldn’t have said it better!
It is located near Turda city, in the northwest part of Transylvania and since its opening in 1992, it has been visited by over two million tourists from all over the world.
9. UNESCO Sites
Romania is home to seven UNESCO sites.
Visit Viscri, one of the most beautiful Saxon villages in Transylvania, designated as a World Heritage Site or journey to Bucovina and discover the uniquely painted monasteries. Inspired by Byzantine art, they tell visual stories about important moments from the history of Christianity.
15. Have lunch or dinner with a family of Gabors
Enter an unknown world and break bread with a family of Gabors (gypsies) that live close to Sighisoara. You will find a regular house yet people dressed in their traditional clothes and the typical ornate gypsy decorations.
The daughter speaks English so, over a meal, learn from her about the culture she comes from.