If you're planning a trip to Europe sometime soon, there are many great reasons why you should visit Romania, five of which are listed below.
1. The Romantic Castles of Transylvania
Transylvania is the largest province in Romania, comprising 16 counties. It is known for its rich history and is home to an assortment of medieval castles and fortresses which are sure to impress you when you visit Romania. Imagine a medieval feast as you take a stroll through the Knight's Hall of the Gothic Corvinesti Castle, arguably the most stunning castle in the country or visit the World Heritage Biertan Fortified Church, which offers breathtaking views from its towers.
The fortified churches of Calnic, Darjiu and Prejmer are also World Heritage sites, while the fortresses of Fagaras and Rasnov are equally worth seeing. If ever you venture further south, don't forget to visit Peles Castle, too, in the charming town of Sinaia, which has beautiful stained glass windows and chandeliers.
2. The Legend of Dracula
In many parts of the world, Transylvania is also known as the home of Dracula, one of the most popular characters in horror fiction. After all, it is where Bran Castle, the main setting for Bram Stoker's novel, is located. This castle is also said to be one of the former residences of Vlad III or Vlad Tepes, the infamous prince of Walachia on whom the character of Dracula is based, who, incidentally has Draculea as his Romanian surname.
Aside from visiting Bran Castle, make sure you drop by the ruins of Poenari Fortress, Vlad's actual castle, when you visit Romania, to learn more about his life, and visit the Princely Court in Targoviste where he supposedly impaled the boyars. You can also stop by Casa Dracula in Sighisoara, where Vlad Tepes was born and Snagov Monastery, where Vlad Tepes is said to be buried. It is also worthwhile to spend the night at the village of Arefu where the locals will be more than willing to share you stories handed down from their ancestors, who, according to legend, were the loyal servants of Vlad Tepes himself.
3. Nature and Wildlife
Romania also has its share of stunning natural landscapes, which is home to an interesting diversity of wildlife - another great reason to visit Romania. Indeed, it is easy to spot bears, lynxes, wild bears and beavers in the various natural parks of Romania, particularly the Piatra Craiului Natural Park, and it is also one of the few countries in the world where you can still watch wolves at play in their natural habitat. For bird watchers, take a trip to the Danube Delta, the largest wetland in Romania and all over Europe, where you can see over 300 species of birds, including wild egrets, gold eagles and Dalmatian pelicans.
4. The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
Not too many people know of the painted monasteries in northeastern Romania, particularly in the province of Bucovina, and yet these gems from the 15th and 16th centuries provide another good reason to visit Romania. Each monastery is a work of Byzantine art, if not a masterpiece, with both the exterior and interior painted with elaborate and colorful frescoes depicting scenes from the bible, the saints, and images of heaven and hell. The best preserved ones are Humor, Probota, Moldovita and Voronet, which is considered the most beautiful of them all - all of which are designated World Heritage sites.
5. Medieval Towns
Take a step back in time when you visit Romania as you tour its well-preserved medieval towns, particularly those of Brasov, Sighisoara and Bistrita. Brasov offers a collection of baroque, gothic and renaissance architecture such as its Black Church and Council Square and Bistrita presents a row of remarkable merchant houses while Sighisoara is a World Heritage town with its narrow, cobbled streets and impressive churches. The towns of Cluj Napoca, Sibiu and Medias are also not to be missed.