Romania is a wonderfully diverse holiday location, from the buzz of the cities and festivals to the tranquillity of the mountains. Our view at Rolandia is that every day spent in Romania will be unique and provide you with life-long memories.
However, here we provide some suggestions you may not have encountered elsewhere of places not to miss!
Get in touch with us for a chat about your Romania holiday. We offer tours to destinations across the country, many of which are pretty unusual and offer some genuinely local insights.
Transylvania is full of spooky castles — none more famous than Bran Castle, the fictional home of Count Dracula. Dracula is loosely based around the real-life ruler, Vlad the Impaler, named because of his use of impalement as a form of execution.
Bran Castle’s architecture is fascinating, blending the original mediaeval style with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. In the castle, you can learn more about local folklore, including the significance of vampires to the area.
For a unique Halloween experience, join us for a Dracula-themed Halloween party at the castle on our Halloween in Transylvania three-day tour, or, if you’re travelling at a different time of year, try our Dracula’s Castle by night from Bucharest.
Romania’s countryside offers stunningly diverse wildlife at any time of year, and for the adventurous, we encourage exploring the ecological havens of the Carpathian Mountains, Danube Delta, Bicaz Gorges, and Hasmas Mountains. For those who like to see wildlife up close, the Carpathian Mountains are home to two unique reserves: a bear sanctuary in Zarnesti and the “Dragos Voda” bison reserve. Join our trip to the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti to meet over 100 rescued bears or our day trip from Iasi to meet numerous bison.
Romania is home to one of the largest wild brown bear populations in Europe, and Libearty Bear Sanctuary is the largest haven in Europe for bears who have previously been kept in captivity or exploited for entertainment. The sanctuary rehabilitates the bears to teach them to adapt to life in the wild.
Bison became extinct in Romania in the 1800s due to habitat loss, but since the 1950s, there have been successful efforts to reintroduce these gentle animals to the country. Bison have a unique selective grazing pattern that helps maintain a diverse plant community and has the potential to make wildfires less severe.
Many of us are used to seeing simple, generalised phrases on gravestones. This is not the case at the Merry Cemetery! The gravestones in this colourful, joyful place tell the life stories of its residents: good, sad, and hilarious. This tradition was started by the local artist Stan Ioan Pătraș in the mid-20th century. The idea is to celebrate life and the individual quirks and stories of those buried there. Make sure you visit with a local who can help you translate some of these stories.
In our two-day Maramures tour, we include a traditional meal in a local family's home. We can help you translate these gravestones and introduce you to other local secrets, such as the natural river whirlpool washing machines at Valtori.
As mentioned above, several of our Transylvania tours include a meal in family homes; in our opinion the best way to sample the local cuisine! Here is a description of some of the food you might expect — to get your mouth watering!
Sarmale is stuffed cabbage rolls simmered in a tomato-based sauce and served with sour cream. Varză à la Cluj is a stew made with sauerkraut, smoked pork, and vegetables. Many of the stews are served with Mămăligă, a warming side dish similar to polenta. Romanians are known for the ecological practice of eating the whole animal and creating a wide range of dishes for parts of the body that are thrown away elsewhere, such as Ciorba de Burta (tripe soup), Soric (pork rind), Creier Pane (fried brain), and Drob de Miel (Lamb Haggis, made with lamb offal). Be brave, these dishes are all delicious!
For those with a sweet tooth, don’t forget to try Kürtőskalács, or chimney cake, which is a sweet dough wrapped attractively around a cylinder and baked until golden and crispy. Most people choose a cinnamon topping, but we also love ground walnuts or coconut.
Bucovina is home to some of the world’s most treasured religious art. UNESCO recognises eight of Moldavia’s 15th-century churches as having outstanding universal value for their stunning external painted facades.
Each monastery has its own colours and style, with frescos that bring dramatic biblical scenes to life. Look out for the Last Judgement at Voronet, the Ladder of Saint John of Sinai at Sucevita, and the Siege of Constantinople at Moldovita.
The churches are inspired by Byzantine art, which is characterised by its symbolic or anti-naturalistic character. It is famous for the icon, which aims to represent the presence of a religious figure rather than provide a more photographic image.
Join our day trip to Bucovina’s monasteries to appreciate the uniqueness of these cultural treasures.