Category Archives: Travel around Romania

Here you can read posts written by our authors about various places where they have been in Romania.

Top 5 Activities for a Fall Holiday in Romania

Romania is one of the most beautiful Eastern European countries offering travellers from all over the world a rich history, interesting culture, breathtaking landscapes, delicious foods and never ending parties. Romania is definitely one of those intriguing countries that let modernism conquer its lands, but, at the same time, allowed old traditions to survive.

Whether you choose to pay a visit in spring or autumn, summer or winter, there are always many interesting things to do, festivals to attend and traditional celebrations to be part of. However, each season has its special aspects.

Autumn in Romania is absolutely gorgeous. Not only does it come with a mild weather ( though sometimes rainy)and fascinating colors but it also brings delicious foods and traditional drinks since this is the time foods are harvested.

The Red Lake
Photo Credits: Cristina Marin

If you are planning a fall holiday in Romania, here are a few things you can do in order to have an unforgettable vacation.

Get Closer to the Busy Romanian Capital, Bucharest

Bucharest is a fantastic city and the best time to explore it is definitely autumn. I spent many years in this charming European capital so believe me when I say that summer is too hot, winter is too cold and spring is too unpredictable.

Caru cu Bere, Bucharest
Photo credits: Noi Media

Now, what can a traveller do in autumn, in Bucharest? Well, you can begin by acting like a real tourist and check out the museums in the city. My favorite is by far the Village Museum,  an open-air ethnographic museum located in the Herăstrău, a charming park every visitor should explore. As I said before, the autumn colors are absolutely amazing so spending time outside is a great idea. Besides the fabulous parks like the already mentioned Herastrau or the amazing Cismigiu, there are also many terraces where you can relax and enjoy a delicious drink or a tasty dish. My choice is always Eden Garden, a fantastic place located in the central area.

There are also many activities like escape rooms or interesting cultural events in parks, bars or coffee shop you can attend. And of course, you can always have some fun in the Old Centre or in one of the fancy clubs in Bucharest. The city is famous for its parties, after all.

Get in Touch with Art and Religion in Picturesque Bucovina

In the north of Romania, there is a region called Bucovina, which is famous for some of the most picturesque landmarks of the country. The Monasteries of Bucovina definitely deserve a visit since they are not only religious places but they are also fascinating traditional art representations. The best-preserved are at Moldovita, Suceava, Voronet and Sucevita,  Probota, Patrauti.

Admire the Natural Beauty and Understand Old-Century Traditions in Maramures

If you are given the chance to go to northwestern Romanian region of Maramures, you should take it. The breathtaking villages with their lovely people who managed to preserve century-old traditions as part of their usual lives, their delicious foods as well as the hospitality and good will you are welcomed with will make your Romanian fall vacation really hard to forget. While you are here, check out the famous Merry Cemetery, where humorous verses are carved on the wooden crosses and have an adventure with narrow gauge steam train, called Mocanita.

Attend a Traditional Festival

There are numerous festivals, ancient celebrations and religious holidays in Romania and in many parts of the country people really preserve their traditions. Depending on your vacation dates as well as on which part of Romania you plan to visit, you might have the chance to attend one of the many interesting festivals and celebrations.

For instance, if you plan to wander around Transylvania, you should check out the September Bran Annual Cheese and Cured Mutton Festival “Ravasitul Oilor”. It’s all about food, folklore and celebrating the shepherds’ return from the alpine transhumance. I loved it!

– by Ana Maria Ionita

Relaxing in the Wilderness of the Danube Delta

Romania is one of the most beautiful countries in Eastern Europe, being famous for its imposing mountains, fascinating valleys and rivers, but also for hosting the largest and best-preserved delta in Europe.

If you plan to visit the astonishing natural beauty and wilderness of the Danube Delta, you will have the chance to completely relax and forget all about your daily worries, while admiring the unforgettable sunsets of this new Romanian land.

The calmness of the Delta. Photo credit @David Vincent Photography

What You Should Know About the Danube Delta

When I visited this fascinating land, I was lucky enough to have a very informed companion. Being a travel guide for many years, my travel mate knew a lot and taught me many interesting things about the place we were visiting.

The Danube empties into the Black Sea, creating this fascinating Delta, after passing through 10 countries and 4 capital cities. There are less than 20,000 people living in this region, together with 3,500 species of animals and 1,700 plant species. There is no wonder why The Danube Delta is included on Unesco’s World Heritage list.

Now, even though there aren’t too many inhabitants, and the area is really far from being rich, there are a few hotels as well guesthouses that are waiting for travelers with delicious traditional food, friendliness and happiness. However, we wanted an authentic experience and we stayed in a fisherman’s house, ate food cooked by his wife and went on boat trips with his son. It was incredible but, if you prefer something more comfortable you can always book a hotel room. All have floating pontoons and boats so you can have a similar adventure.

Now, you won’t find clubs (though we caught a glimpse at the village disco), parties and too many activities, because a trip to Danube Delta is for people who want to relax and get in touch with nature. However, I promise you that you won’t even think about civilization while you are in the middle of this beautiful, quiet and still somehow lively place.

Water lilies
Photo credit @David Vincent Photography

Enjoy a Few Unwinding Hours of Bird Watching

Besides savoring the peace and serenity, while you are exploring the wilderness of the lakes you can also enjoy bird watching. There are hundreds of species here like swans, pelicans, and watching them in the wilderness is definitely a delight.

Pelican
Photo credit @David Vincent Photography

A Boat Ride on the Charming Danube Canals

Whether you choose to rent a boat or enjoy a ride with the hotel owners or employees, a day on the beautiful canals will make you fall in love with the region. We went in the morning and also during the day, but the most memorable time was at the sunset. The feeling of being in the middle of the wild delta, surrounded by the most incredible colors I have ever seen, was one of the best I’ve ever had.

– by Ana Maria Ionita

 

How can you experience Romania like a local?

Wherever you travel, beyond the lists of sights to check, you might enjoy more to have a taste of what life for the locals is.

It actually doesn’t matter where you are and for what reason, if you ask me, experiencing any place like a local does, has a special power to create unforgettable memories. You don’t have to be very adventurous but you do need a certain level of courage to step away from being a traveler and you need not be a tourist for sure.

As a Romanian living in Romania and creating for you bespoke trips in my country, I can tell you how and where you can experience Romania as a local. It could be that you can translate this list to other places, in the end we’re quite similar across cultures and countries in the way we live day after day.

Here are my 3 tips for you:

  1. Go to a local market. Whether you want to buy something or not, ask for the most typical market in the village, town or city in Romania. Whether it’s a permanent market or a temporary one, take time to go in the early hours of the morning. Mingle with the other shoppers, the Romanian people rushing to buy what they need for the house. Stop by the cheese stands and ask to taste the various types of salted cheese. Buy if you like one a lot. See what people have on their tables. Try to distinguish the local and seasonal products from those that are imported. In July and August look for the large and often strangely shaped tomatoes. Definitely buy one; if not, at least smell it. Yes, smell the tomatoes. You’ll be amazed. Find an old lady selling herbs and see if you recognize them all. Smell the dill, the parsley, the more local leaves used for soups and other courses.
Have your pick! Source:PresaGalati.ro

Create your experience: take this a step further and buy a couple of ingredients for a picnic. You can find everything and your guide can help you learn and choose a variety of seasonal products.

  1. Take a tram or a bus for a short ride. There is no better way to experience the life of local people than by using the public means of transportation. I am biased here as I have a passion for riding trams every now and then. I feel that for those 20 minutes that we share the tram ride, everyone is part of the story despite the different stories we all come from, bring to the tram and go towards after the end of the ride. So try it out. Get yourself a ticket and alone or with a guide, go for a short ride in any city. Observe the people around and feel like someone belonging to that particular city.
Buy a ticket first 😉 Source: Metropotam.ro

Create your experience: plan a whole day using just public means of transportation. I can guarantee some adventure and some good stories to tell to friends afterwards.

  1. Attend a special event. This can be the most fun ride you have been on in a long time. I’d recommend attending a local wedding, if possible in a place where traditions are still kept. Ask your guide to translate the exchange of lines between the groom and the parents of his bride as he comes to ask for her hand. Pay attention to the negotiation going on when the bride is taken away. Definitely dance on typical Romanian music and enjoy all the food. If it’s not a wedding, maybe it’s a religious holiday or an important ritual in the life of a family. While these experiences cannot be produced on demand, ask for such opportunities and definitely don’t hesitate if they come your way.
Take off your shoes and just dance! Source: BD

Create your experience: plan ahead of time to increase your chances of being part of such an event.

Have I convinced you to go off the beaten track when you travel and experience life as local people do? Wherever you go next, try it out 😉

What to expect when you travel to Maramures

I won’t tell you what to expect when you travel to Maramures from my imagination. Last week I have actually done that for you and other guests who are planning to come for a trip in summer and fall.

We already wrote about Maramures, what is there to see and why you should go. But that was a while ago. I wanted to see how the region changed, what’s new. To be very honest, I also wanted to try out the traditional guesthouses I know had opened in Botiza, one of the villages where you can have an authentic experience of the region.

So what did we find? In a few words: beautiful landscapes, wonderful accommodation, and extremely welcoming and warm people.

We stopped for a night nearby Alba Iulia, the city known for Romania’s unification in 1918. We strolled around the Alba Carolina citadel before heading towards the mountain villages nearby.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral from Alba Iulia. Source: BD

The morning after we woke up to an amazing view of this oddly shaped mountain.

Morning view from Coltesti, Alba. Source: BD

Speaking of views, the week continued with beautiful, picture perfect images that I can only wish to wake up to more often. Here are some from Viseu and Botiza.

Morning view from Viseu de Sus, Maramures. Source: BD
Morning view from Botiza, Maramures. Source: BD

But while driving we also came across bee keepers, visited Mr Barsan and stopped by to visit some of the wooden churches that make Maramures famous and that are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Bee keepers on the side of the road in Maramures. Source: BD
Wood carving in Mr Barsan’s workshop in Barsana, Maramures. Source: BD

The places of accommodation we found? I’ll tell you this: you will get more than what you’ll expect when looking from the outside. Centuries old traditional wooden houses have been tastefully restored to allow guests to enjoy their stay in authentic locations while having excellent levels of comfort. Whether in Breb or Botiza, you can actually choose from the various guesthouses depending on what you expect your experience to be.

Traditional gate from Maramures, in Botiza. Source: BD
Beautiful guesthouse in Botiza, La Sesuri. Source: BD

We ended our trip with the loveliest of drives coming down from Maramures into Transylvania on a narrow mountain road, crossing very few cars and enjoying the views. Our last night before returning home was in Cluj, the NW gateway into Transylvania, home to more than 80.000 students, bubbling with life, and very inviting to stay for longer.

Statue of Matei Corvin from the Union Square in Cluj. Source: BD

As the week starts and so many memories from this trip are still very fresh on my mind, I can only plan to travel to Maramures again later this year. I’d recommend you do the same 😉

A day doing what we do

Many of my friends ask me what I do exactly, how I create or manage a trip for our guests. Do I stay at the office, do I accompany them on tours, do I check the places personally? The answer to the first two questions depends on many things, but the last one is always yes.

So I start giving them examples. As I’m about to give you.

I’ve just returned from Bukovina, and my memories are still fresh, so this should be easy. It was the second time I’ve been there in the last 6 months, so this was no regular research trip. It was about setting all the details for an out-of-the-ordinary tour we’ll have in May, with requests so special we have to discuss everything in person with our partners in the region, and then do it again in a couple of months. You wonder what could be so special? Well, everything that involves the airport arrival procedures, ground transportation, lunches, monastery visits… It all needs to go smoothly, like a Swiss clock. So, after my colleague Raluca already met everyone, I went there to meet them as well, from the airport manager to the restaurant chef. And we’ll go again just before the tour starts.

As you may know, our main office is in Timisoara, the Western part of Romania, so from here to Bukovina there’s quite a drive, almost 10 hours.  So I flew to Bucharest, made a stop at my favourite restaurant, took the company car and drove the rest of the way to Suceava, for about 6 hours. But you just can’t do this job if driving is not your thing, and I must confess – I love it! I could drive for days, I just need my map and my music.

Of course it wasn’t all work and no fun, as it never is. What I enjoyed most was the food and the people (as it’s always the case), even if now, after I got back home, I need to go on a diet to fit in my skinny jeans again. And the people? The people in Bukovina are so hospitable and accommodating, I would have liked to get adopted by the restaurant owner and ask the bus driver to be my next best friend.

I’m not going to tell you about the famous painted monasteries there, all on the UNESCO World Heritage list (I wrote a more thorough report here, last summer). I visited some of them again, just because I wanted to see how the sky above them looks in winter, how it changes the colours of the frescoes. And it was worth it, my Instagram photos were a success.

Joke aside, Bukovina is a place that always manages to surprise me, and I would go back there over and over, be it summer or winter or spring. For you, I would recommend summer, though…

This is just a glimpse into my work life, although it’s not so much work when you love what you do. If you’d like to know more, hit the Comment button at the bottom of the page, I’d be more than happy to share.

5 magical Romanian regions where you can spend the winter holidays

The winter holidays are drawing near with each passing day. If you have thought about visiting Romania to spend the winter holidays here, and want to experience true Romanian authenticity, then we have just the perfect places for you to immerse in the beauty that surrounds these magical days. Let’s take them one by one.

1. Bucovina

Often called the land of fairy-tale like landscapes, Bucovina is well-known for its firmness in still keeping alive the traditions and the rituals that come along with them, after so much time has passed, and so many things that have happened with the changing times. Especially when Christmas comes. So if you want to feel the purely authentic taste of Romanian holidays, you definitely need to visit Bucovina and witness firsthand the genuineness of the place and the people that live there and contribute to the feeling.

people-chanting-bucovina-christmas
Source: proiecte-structurale.ro

2. Maramures

Another equally beautiful and authentic place to spend your holidays in Romania is the Maramures region. Here, centuries-old traditions inherited from the elders have remained untouched by the hand of civilization or any other ideology or current. Spending your holidays in Maramures means going back in time, to the spirituality of older days, where you’ll meet unique customs and traditions.

Group of carolers in Maramures
Sources: radiocluj.ro

3. Poiana Stampei

Another location we think you should visit if you want to have a wonderful winter holiday is Poiana Stampei, in Moldova. Located at the pass between Transylvania and Bucovina, Poiana Stampei will conquer your heart with its picturesque-like landscapes, that together with the locals that have kept the traditions alive, make it another place perfect for living a truly authentic Romanian holiday experience.

Source: monitoruldedorna.ro
Source: monitoruldedorna.ro

4. Bran-Moeciu

Hundreds of years old unchanged traditions – that is how you can describe the Bran-Moeciu region. Close to the place that is known as Dracula’s Castle, the Bran-Moeciu area is one of Transylvania’s spiritual cradles, so if you are looking for a place where authenticity is at home and your soul can be tranquil, you’ll definitely love it here, and fully live the genuine experience that you’re looking for. It’s also well known for the delicious culinary experience it can offer.

Source: romaniatv.net
Source: romaniatv.net

5. Apuseni

Last but not least… Apuseni region, where the mountain ridges dress themselves in accordance to the holidays, like the locals, in order to celebrate the good times of the holidays season. That is why we also have in mind Apuseni when thinking about places you should visit if you want to live an authentic Romanian experience during the holidays. We bet you’ll be delighted when you’ll see the carolers coming at your door, as Apuseni is another region where traditions have been kept untouched.

dinner-table-christmas-holidays-apuseni
Source: cabanamotilor.ro

So, are you ready to have the ultimate Romanian experience during the holidays? Ready to be shrouded in the beauty of the lands, and feel your spirit more alive than ever by partaking in some of the local traditions? If you know that deep down below the answer is yes, then don’t forget, we’re waiting for you!

5 things to do in Romania in the cold season

Winter is coming! So then you might ask yourself what can you do once the cold season hits the Romanian plains, and you want to come over and have a nice vacation? Well, given that Romania is such a rich and diverse place, we compiled a list of activities you could undergo while visiting our beautiful country in the chilly season. So, let’s take them one by one…

1. A trip to the caves

Did we mention Romania is rich in diversity on all planes? Oh, yes, we did! That is why we recommend, once you hit these lands, to not miss a trip to some of the coolest caves you can find on our territory.

Pestera Muierii/Muierilor (The Woman’s/Women’s Cave) is one of the most renown around here for its rich series of formations that makes it a monument of nature: stalagmites, stalactites, karstic landforms etc. Inside it you can as well find the Stoned Falls, a Santa Claus, even a Church as well.

The cave is located in Gorj, near to Baia de Fier, being one of the most visited speological objectives.

Source: http://silvia-iordache.blogspot.ro/
Source: http://silvia-iordache.blogspot.ro/

At the other pole of the Romanian map, in Bihor, at Chiscau, you can find the Bears Cave, equally known as Women’s Cave to tourists. You can find inside the Bears Gallery, the Emil Racovita Gallery, the Candle Gallery and the Scientific Gallery, all having an unique and fascinating story.

Source: cartitaplimbareata.ro
Source: cartitaplimbareata.ro

Other caves you can visit are Scarisoara, Polovragi, Liliecilor and Dambovicioara, each possesing its own beauty you can marvel at.

2. Follow the steps of the wilderness

Passionate about wildlife? Well, Romania is just the spot for learning as much as you can about it, given its rich biodiversity. Want to see how a bear paw looks on the freshly fallen snow? Or maybe you want your little one to learn the difference between a lynx paw and a wolf one?

Source: absolute-nature.ro
Source: absolute-nature.ro

No matter the reasons you want to undertake such an activity, be it for fun or for education, you can definitely get both experiences in just one go, and at the same time learn even more about the Romanian plains than you’ve already known.

3. Shop at the winter holidays fairs

If you’re passionate about shopping and holidays fairs then you might as well immerse in the magic of the winter holidays fairs that take place in Romania. Depending on where around in Romania you are, or around what time, you can either go to the Bucharest Christmas Fair or Sibiu Christmas Fair.

Source: targuldecraciun.ro
Source: targuldecraciun.ro

The Sibiu Christmas Fair starts on the 18th of November and takes place until the 3rd of January next year, being open daily between 10am to 10pm, while the Bucharest Christmas Fair starts on the 1st of December, this year, despite last year starting on the 27th of November and lasting until the 27th of December. The closing date hasn’t been announced yet, but you can always check their Facebook page and find out for yourself.

4. Take on skiing and other winter sports

Yes, we might not have the Swiss Alps, but we do have our Carpathians and other mountain chains that give you the opportunity to involve yourself with skiing, or any other winter sports for that matter. 1/3 of Romania is covered in mountains so imagine the things you can do!

If you’re into skiing, do know that Romania has around 150 approved ski slopes whose length goes a little over 130 kilometers, where you can go and immerse yourself in the magic of the white season.

Some of the best destinations for that are Poiana Brasov, Straja, Transalpina Ski Resort or Predeal, as well as many others, all of them being able to give you some of the best cold season experiences you’ve lived on the Romanian lands.

Source: ontheroad.ro
Source: ontheroad.ro

5. Feel like Elsa in her Ice Castle

But how can one do that if Romania isn’t Arendelle? Well, we might not be in Arendelle, but we definitely have what it takes to be quite close to it. How can that be possible? Well, let us tell you about one of our land’s magic places: Fagaras Mountains, or to be more exact Balea Lake and its surroundings.

Source: soundofice.eu
Source: soundofice.eu

If you want to feel like the Ice Queen and sleep in a Ice Castle, you can always visit the Ice Hotel next to Balea Lake, the only hotel made entirely out of ice from Romania, where you’ll have a unique and strange experience that definitely needs to be tried out.

The first room is the restaurant room, after which come the rooms where one can sleep, each of them having an ice guardian in front of them and furniture sculpted in the ice itself. The beds are covered with thick blankets, furs and pillows. A true experience for everyone who visits the place.

Romania-Ice-Hotel-Dragon-Cave
Source: uniquehotels.com

If you want to take this icy experience to the next level, you can always visit the Ice Church as well, and if you’re lucky enough, you might even witness a ceremony being held there.

balea-lake-ice-church
Source: yourshot.nationalgeographic.com

So, what do you say? Are you coming over to try out one of these experiences? Don’t forget that the diversity of the Romanian plains awaits for you and upon arrival, you’ll definitely find out many more other things you can experience here, we just compressed some for you in these 5 blocks, however from these five we assure you others can surface as well. All you need by your side is the time to actually experience them all.

Surprisingly, Bucovina

Bucovina is probably the most beautiful unknown region of Romania. Unknown to me at least, until recently.

I had my excuses, for many years: it’s too far, the roads are not very good, it’s most likely overrated. Not even the 7 painted monasteries included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, nor the Pomme d’Or international prize given by The International Federation of Travel Writers and Tourism Journalists could compel me. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Bucovina has a very rich history, and it still keeps edifices dating from the first Moldavian voivodes. The most emblematic figure is Stephen the Great, who built 44 churches in the area, each one after a victory in battle. He was granted the Athleta Christi (Champion of Christ) title by Pope Sixtus IV, as a defender of Christianity.

The painted monasteries are among the most unique and picturesque places in Romania. The exterior walls are decorated with elaborated frescoes, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The murals represent complete cycles of religious scenes, which had two purposes: to promote Orthodoxy and to educate the illiterate. Most of the painters are unknown, but the legacies they left behind are deemed masterpieces of Byzantine art.

DSC_6408
Sucevita Monastery

The most famous is Voronet Monastery, considered to be “the Sistine Chapel of the East”. Besides its interior and exterior stunning wall paintings, what makes this church so special is the intense shade of blue used here. Known throughout the world as “Voronet blue”, the composition of this colour remains a mystery even now, more than five centuries after it was built, as the painters worked in isolation, guarding their trade secrets.

DSC_6385
Voronet Monastery

Bucovina rivals Transylvania when it comes to natural beauty and rich folklore. The rolling hills and the painted monasteries blend together perfectly, in an impressive scenery. One of the most spectacular road passes in Romania is Bicaz Gorges, and not far there is the Cheahlau Mountain, Romania’s Mount Olympus. It was the sacred mountain of the Dacians, the forefathers of the Romanian people, where Zamolxes, their supreme god, had his temple.

Bicaz Gorges Source: Wikipedia
Bicaz Gorges
Source: Wikipedia

A tour in this region can’t be complete without some wine tastings. For centuries, Moldova (the region Bucovina is part of) has been renowned for its vineyards and fine wines. One third of the wine growing surface of Romania is to be found here, with a large number of native Romanian varieties. One of the most famous wineries is the Cotnari Vineyards, established in1448. They are famous for their delicious sweet white wines made of grapes rich in sugar and harvested in late autumn, following the first frost.

Visiting Bucovina is like a step back in time, coming face to face with traditions long-gone in other parts of the world, secret villages, traditional rural cuisine, welcoming people and pristine nature.

And that’s all I could gather for you in just a few days, but I’d go back to Bucovina in a heartbeat to discover more of its beauties.

Weekend Escapes, a Bucharest To-Do List

by Giulia Andreola

Have you ever asked yourself what the capital of Romania looks like? Or even, what could you do there if you were supposed to spend a weekend?

To answer the first question, it is very likely that many of you will associate Bucharest exclusively with the soviet architecture. And you’d be almost right. Partly because there are clearly huge communist blocks of flats all over the city, but for instance many of them have a liberty/art deco influence on their façade, particularly in the centre, which is something that one would never expect. Those in the northern area of the city, instead, are smaller and have been recently painted in bright colours. These last ones are the older ones, those that survived the massive earthquake of 1977. Ceausescu, the infamous communist dictator of Romania, decided to take advantage of the earthquake to build more apartment blocks all around the city, to host the numerous workers he was planning to bring in from the countryside. But, as mentioned above, he built his ‘reception living room’ in the city centre. Humongous boulevards, big, yet ‘elegant’ blocks, fountains and trees everywhere and, of course, the People’s Palace were built as a display of power towards other nations. But also towards his people (do not forget that Romania was never part of the USSR, so he really wanted to show his power to the world, particularly during the times of the Cold War), to show them and the rest of the world the ‘Great Romania’. All these architectonical creations are still here, and only by seeing them you will get the sense of what truly happened during that period.

PICTURE 1
National Bank of Romania, Lipscani

But the history of this city is more than just the communist one. If you are curious to know how Bucharest looked like before the communist times and the contemporary era, you just have to make a left on one of the streets adjacent to Magheru Boulevard while walking towards Roman Square. In that part of the city, in fact, many of the XIX century liberty buildings miraculously survived both Ceausescu’s demolition plan and the earthquake, and today they host embassies, private schools, libraries, language schools and private homes. The majority of them have recently been nicely and elegantly renovated. It is a nest of normal and narrow streets, big villas with small private gardens but big and nice communal gardens with veranda cafes and little kiosks during the warm season. Strolling around this area is mesmerising and makes you feel like travelling back in time, into a romantic and decadent era. It is not a coincidence that during the XIX century and the beginning of the XX, Bucharest was called the ‘Little Paris’ or the ‘Eastern Paris’. Many famous local architects and urbanists of that period studied in Paris and then came back to apply their knowledge by reshaping their capital.

PICTURE 2 (2)
CEC Palace, Calea Victoriei

But if you’ve had enough of history (and we’ll spare you Dracula’s one given our ‘nomen omen’ but also because there’s very little left to see about him in the capital) we still have a huge list of suggestions for you!

Bucharest is probably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Eastern Europe, and you’ll find there any sort of entertainment suiting any type of personality! Do you like underground bars and music? Then Lipscani area, the pedestrian Old Centre of the city, will be perfect for you! Are you more of a fancy-kind of person? No problem! The Northern area of the city, nearby the parks, is filled with elegant restaurants and fashionable clubs where local VIP and business people hang out throughout the week.

But if you really want to experience the city as the locals do, then we’d definitively suggest you to go to Herastrau Park, particularly during a weekend.

Herastrau is the biggest park of Bucharest, located in the northern area, close to the entrance of the city. What is great about it, is that it is really part of the locals’ daily life. You’ll see mothers crossing it to take their children to school, people jogging, others enjoying their time off by sun-tanning, rowing on the lake, eating or having business meetings in the restaurants facing the lake… basically, a big chunk of the locals’ lives rotates around this place. You too can do everything you want to fully enjoy it: have a boat tour of the lake or ride a bike around it. Try the local meat dish from one of the kiosks (it is called ‘mici’), visit the peacocks, visit the Village Museum (the first museum of this kind in Europe, dating back to 1939) and many, many more.

PICTURE 3
Herastrau Lake

But we want to leave you with one last tip, particularly for those among you who are foodies and bio-food lovers: go and visit Obor Market, in the Eastern part of the city. It is a huge market filled with genuine products from all over the Romanian countryside. In every season, it is filled with people and life and delicious, home-grown, seasonal food. You will just need a guide with you since it is a particularly busy area and it is not easy to reach…. But don’t worry, we will gladly help you with that!

Contact us and we’ll get back with more suggestions according to your preferences, and help you plan your perfect weekend in Bucharest!

My two years in Romania

During her time in Romania, our very own Giulia fell in love with everything around her. Read all about her experience and see why, once here, you will fall in love with Romania as well.


What has Romania to offer to tourists? Why somebody who has travelled all over the world, who’s seen so many amazing places and lived thousands of adventures, should choose Romania as his or her next travel destination?

Well, the answers could be countless, clearly according to the individual preferences.

But I would like to share with you my personal experience. Not the one of a normal world-traveller, but the one of an expat. The one of somebody who left her home and chose to live in this wonderful country for two years.

I have to admit it, at the beginning I was terrified. Very often Romania suffers from unjustified biases abroad that, sooner or later, catch the ears of all of us. Luckily, I had the chance to learn that this country is no different to any other country in the world. And that those biases have been born out of ignorance and closed mindset. Just to give you a hint of what I mean: I used to walk home alone at any hour of day or night. I’ve never been disturbed by anyone and I cannot say the same of when I’m walking home in Italy or in the UK.

Giulia in the mountains, at Rasnov
Giulia in the Transylvanian mountains, at Rasnov – Spring 2016

Clearly, Romania has its weaknesses of course, like freezing winters or very extroverted car drivers, but it has so many strength points that everybody who visits it cannot end up but being very positively surprised.

As a matter of fact, Romania has something that many other European countries have lost. It is authentic, and you will learn what authenticity means by experiencing it there.

Authenticity is everywhere; you can find it in their flowery culture for instance. In every city you’ll go, you’ll notice the attention and the care towards the natural world. Every public street, even the tiniest ones, are filled with roses, daisies, tulips and many other flowers. The boulevards of the big cities are packed with huge trees and when May comes, every city looks like Mother Nature just came there walking and then suddenly boomed, literally. This passion for nature touches every part of the locals’ life. In every pharmacy, you will find natural products that help people having a better and healthier life: teas and infuses for every kind of flu or ache, creams made out of calendula and aloe 100% natural, lip-balms with arnica and much, much more. Interestingly enough, the majority of people who live in the biggest cities have actually family members who live in the countryside. In their gardens, they cultivate the same plants to manufacture these incredible products directly at home, together with an incredibly tasty variety of jams, syrups and marmalade. Yes, I am the foody one in the company so all these traditions actually made me very emotional. I love it when I see people taking care of their lives respecting their traditions, even if it makes me a little sad, knowing that in my country this knowledge is almost forgot.

Country road in Dobrogea
Country road in Dobrogea – Summer 2016

But the authenticity is not only in the products of this country, it comes from its inhabitants. From the way they live, the way they smile at you and welcome you in their house offering tea and cake. From their honest way of talking to you and telling you their stories, in their natural and unconditional will to share and listen to you. And the value they give to time. No matter if we are talking about a day, a month or a season, they’ll always find the time to dedicate their attention to what’s important: family, friends, work, religious celebrations, man’s natural rhythm and time to rest. Everything follows the path of what is fair for the human beings and what’s around them.

How’s the best way to experience all the things I just described here?

Travel through the heart of Romania, Transylvania, Maramures, Bucovina, Banat or the Danube Delta, or even through all of them, the region doesn’t really matter. Wherever you’ll be, go horseback riding and travel through the villages you’ll come across on your road. Stop somewhere for lunch, knock at somebody’s door and then… just enjoy and live the moment.

This is what will make your memories last forever.

Horseback riding in Prod - Spring 2016
Horseback riding in Prod – Spring 2016

by Giulia Andreola