Whenever I travel to a foreign country, I hope to get to know the most of its local tradition: visit the highlights, discover the culture, enjoy the traditional cuisine, try local drinks and meet the locals. I often research as much as I can about the particularities of each country, so I can explore most of it while taking a journey. When I get home, I try replicating the traditional dishes. While looking at the photos taken, I reflect on ways to make my next vacations even more enjoyable. And every year, I realize that the local people made the best recommendations and try to spread them around. Of course, Romania is no exception. Every person has their own interests for one country, but this comprehensive guide for visiting Romania will tackle most of the different types of travellers.
Before travelling to a new country, you must learn about the local currency because at the end of the day you will have to pay for your stay in local money. Romania hasn’t introduced the euro yet; the current currency is RON. Like in many other European countries, you can pay by card in most of the hostels, restaurants, museums and other places. Not all of them have this service included, so be sure to have some cash with you.
One can opt for many different ways to travel. If you plan to take a longer visit, you may opt for a car due to more convenience and comfort. The train service and public transportation are always an option, but I would keep it as a last resort. There are many alternatives, and one could even go back in time with the Mocanița train. The capital and a few cities like Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu have airports, but national flights are much less frequent. And last but not least, one can take a pilgrimage and be a pioneer of Via Transilvanica. It is an opportunity to explore this all-season country on foot. This option is available between the Putna Monastery and the Train Bridge over the Danube.
Depending on where one travels, one can choose between a multitude of options. There are more than enough accommodations with picturesque views like the Danube River's floating houses in Berzasca, near the Danube Delta. What is missing, though, are more organised camping spots. There are some, but fewer than in other countries. Most of the time, one can camp in the middle of nature, but it will get trickier when you need a charger or some other commodity. Most of the accommodations are affordable, and you can check them online before coming.
There is, of course, the question of time. The medium-sized cities like Sibiu can be seen in just a day or two. As for the capital, I would plan at least a long weekend. If you are in a rush, you can opt for a combo of afternoon delights in Bucharest and some other unusual attractions like Manuc's Inn, the Museum of Senses or the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. The nature lovers will find more than enough spots so they may opt for at least one week stay. Nature as an architect in Romania has “built” some exclusive landscapes, including the Râpa Roșie Canyon in Sebeș and Grădina Zmeilor in Sălaj.
If you find yourself in the capital, Bucharest, you could opt for a three-course Romanian lunch in a traditional restaurant like the restaurant Lacrimi şi Sfinţi. The northern part of Romania has its own specialities and eating mamaligă.
The Romanian brandy țuica is also a must-try! This alcoholic beverage can be found in almost every distillery, for example, the Atelierele Zetea or Distrileriile Bran. I would be careful, though. Whereas Romanians are used to it, as it's traditionally served before every lunch, this beverage may contain up to 60% alcohol. Remember this: unofficially, the quality of this brandy rises with the latitude of the country, and the best one is the home-made one.
A comprehensive guide for visiting Romania wouldn't be complete without mentioning the legends surrounding this country. If you research about Romania, you may come across many legends like the ones about the Oradea Fortress, with some of them being quite scary. I find that these legends give an aspect of beauty and mystery to Romania. One should keep in mind that legends hold only a grain of truth. Throughout the century, the actual events have been almost forgotten, leaving room for more attractive details and imagination.
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