Six reasons to spend a week in Romania

Barna Bereczki

27th September, 2018

There are many more than six – but you have to love the title!

On our most recent trip, we packed so many amazing things into one week... let me tell you more.

The flight to Bucharest airport is admittedly tedious, but I (your devoted guide) drove for over three hours to pick you up, so I, too, had my share of inconvenience. And once we were all settled into the hotel, and the adventure had truly begun, and the journey was soon forgotten.

Reason 1 – Bucegi Mountains

Bucegi mountains were our first goal. It was easy to approach the main attractions by the TransBucegi road, after 45 minutes we reached the mighty Sphinx megalith, a symbol for this mountain (2216m). We wanted to use the cable car too, but it seemed that the circumstances were against us... or somebody really wanted us to walk more. So we did … down to the Caraiman hut, up on the ledge to the big Heroes Cross - we stood right at the edge above huge abyss, and we saw a few chamois too. All of this during constantly alternating weather conditions. After strong sunshine we had cold winds and then we were covered by grey mists. Just like in the mountains, isn’t it?!

Reason 2 – Piatra Craiului National Park

Trapped between two mountains, but actually part of the Piatra Craiului (King’s Stone) mountain, we visited the Zarnesti gorge, and we enjoyed the panoramic views from the hills of Magura village. Without any significant difference in level, it was like a walk in the park. In this case, in the Piatra Craiului Natural Park. We were in the gorge at the right time to get the beautiful lighting for some perfect pictures, besides a most pleasant walk. We saw the results of the devastating floods of this spring too, but they’ve been working on cleaning the riverbed. Actually we saw four guys - two of them worked, the other two just looked at them. (But somebody need to be the superviser, right?!)

We saw lot of changes in the Magura village too. As it is more and more popular, lots of people want to invest, so more and more new houses are being built. Unfortunately, not all of these are fitting into the landscape. But thankfully this is a spectacular place, anyway. The so-called ”Dracula” castle is exactly at the foot of this hills. We did not miss that either. Yes, I know, Bram Stoker had seen only a drawing of this castle, and then used it in his story, but it is nevertheless a beautiful and romantic castle.

Reason 3 – Peles Castle and the Carpathian Brown Bears

What could be more interesting than a visit one of the best castles in Romania. Peles castle was built for the King Carol I. This neo-renaissance castle is charming, exuberant, and of course taking pictures is strictly forbidden. But we did it anyway, right?!

In the late afternoon we walked deep inside the forest, to a bear hide. Escorted by a ranger with a gun, it was the safest way to see the mighty Carpathian brown bear. During his dinner time, of course. And not just one, but several. A mother and her cub... then two bigger males... then another young male... It was an unforgettable experience and we had quite an adrenalin rush meeting them in their habitat, even if we did know that they were heading right to the feeding area. Wild animals, in their wild habitat - definitely worth the time!

Reason 4 – Baiului Mountains

Baiului mountains have a quite familiar feel for those caming from UK. You will see why, when you will look at the pictures. Barren slopes, easy walking on the main ridge, and an unforgettable panoramic views all day long. With the help of a cable car we skipped the forrested and steep section, and we were ready to meet the mountain, including friendly shepherds, and even friendlier sheepdogs. They are used with the presence of people, and if you do not get too close to the sheepfold, they will not chase you. But be aware! Not every fold is the same. That’s why you have a guide, of course!

Reason 5 – Rasnov Fortress, Postavaru and Brasov

The Rasnov medieval fortress was a good place to start. There were not too many people earlier in the morning, enabling a much better experience inside the citadel. We could really enjoy the medieval mood, without fighting to find our way through a mass of people. Nobody wants that.

But as we were nature loving people, we really needed at least a bit of walk on the mountains, or in the forest. You have heard about Poiana Brasov ski resort? Yes? Well, during summer, I hate it too. So, we simply bypassed all those ski slopes using the cable car, and after a short walk we could reach the highest point of Postavaru mountain (1799m). Job done! … And we got our dose of fresh air too, of course.

And without hesitation, we saved the whole afternoon for the very special medieval city of Brasov. It’s one of the best in Romania, and it is definitely my favourite. With an extensive history and beautiful architecture, built under the shadow of the mountains, it still has that medieval feel. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy the main square because of some huge stage structure (for a music festival) and we had no access to the narrow Rope Street (because of renovation) but at least we could have a nice walk, and a delicious dinner after it. Because everyone has to eat, right?

Reason 6 - Bucharest

Bucharest, capital of Romania. Not my personal favourite, it’s too big, but it has many attractions for the typical visitor. We went to the huge Parliament Building, through the lively Old City, and we had a meal in one of the best restaurants. And of course, a couple of beers and good sleep before we had to leave for the airport. Because every fairy tale has its ending.

Here is just a brief summary of what you can find in Romania. It is a diverse country of course, where you can see nature, cities, and people’s everyday life too… but believe me, in six days you didn’t see much of it.

And I could give you another thousand reasons to convince you to come back!

Best regards from your guide,

Barna Bereczki