For most travelers, their knowledge of Romania is limited to mysterious urban legends about Transylvania and a character named Dracula. This Eastern European country has slowly begun to rise in prominence for world travelers as the capital of Bucharest seeks to bring more visitors to the city and country... and there's plenty to see beyond Dracula's Castle (also known as Bran Castle to the locals).
Whether you travel to learn ancient or contemporary history, crave rich stews and goulashes as a foodie traveler, or seek a bit of adventure in an 'off the beaten track' destination, Romania is full of surprises and welcomes visitors of every interest.
Hiking & Cycling Tours
Romania is a full of rolling hills waiting to be explored, so make sure you add hiking to your list of activities to do. Many multi-day tours are available throughout the area, with lodging in mountain huts for an authentic feel. If you're feeling brave enough, you can even hike to Transylvania to see where Dracula is from.
For a quicker way to discover the country, join a cycling tour. You’ll roll through the hills and see the valleys below as you zoom by on your bike. Multi-day tours allow travelers cover much more of the country. Book a two-week trip to see old castles, gold mines, and towering cathedrals. Be sure to bring your camera for all the picture-worthy sights you’ll be seeing.
History & Culture Tours
Romania is full of castles and a fascinating story for each one. From its origins as several small-nation states to the influence of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, history loving travelers will enjoy a multi-day tour of castles, fortresses, and sanctuaries that helped shape Romania's cultural heritage.
Romania is a unique blend of cultural influences, and you can find evidence of these in the variety of dishes and flavors that are considered "traditional" Romanian options. Whether you want to do a walking food tour, learn the secrets of Romanian food in a cooking class, or spend a week eating your way through the villages in the Carpathian mountains, it's all available.
Most people don't realize that Romania is bordered on the east by the Black Sea, and is home to some stunning seaside luxury resorts. If you just want to unplug for a few days at a resort where you are pampered with spa treatments and yoga sessions, you can even find these in Romania!
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Visit
The summer or early fall is the best time to visit, as the sun is out more often and the weather warms up. Outdoor activities will be much more enjoyable in the drier months, so visit the country between June and September. Winters in Romania are quite cold, and the wind that comes with it is even more brutal. However, this makes it the perfect time to head to the mountains if you want to do winter sports while touring in Romania.
What to Look For in a Tour in Romania
When planning a trip to Romania, decide what activities you want to participate in first. Based on that, you'll be able to choose the best time of year to go to fully enjoy your trip, and which tour operators can meet your needs.
As Romania is still a less visited country in Eastern Europe, it may be hard to find information or reviews about tours there, but seek them out if you can find them. Most tour operators are also happy to answer emails directly if you have specific questions or concerns before booking.
Typical Tour Costs
Like other Eastern European countries, Romania is still relatively inexpensive -- a boon for travelers who want a great experience while on a budget.
Typically, multi-day tours will range from $100-$200 per day, and will include amenities such as hotels and some meals. Be sure to read your itinerary carefully so that you understand exactly what is included. Don't be worried if you find that some meals or activities aren't included; Romania is a friendly and welcoming country and you can easily get recommendations from locals on where to eat and what to do during free time.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
When participating in multi-day excursions, make sure to pack enough clothing for the entire trip. Quick drying fabrics are best so you’ll have clothes ready each morning to wear. They’re also convenient if you want to wash them and hang dry them to save room in your luggage.
Contact your tour company to see what gear they’ll provide; for tours which require specific gear such as cycling, skiing, or trekking tours, you should make sure you know what is your responsibility, and what will be provided by the tour operator. This should be clearly available on their websites, or via email.
Other Tips for Travel in Romania
Romania is part of the European Union but not part of the Schengen Visa Zone, so be sure to review whether you will need a visa based on your country of origin.
Health & Safety
For the most part, health concerns in Romania are standard as compared with other countries in the region. Travelers should have all routine vaccinations as well as Hepatitis A. The Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccines are also advised for some travelers so be sure to consult with your local doctor before departure.
Romania is a well-developed European country, so in the event that you need medical assistance or a pharmacy, you can likely find everything you need easily.
Romania is, on the whole, reasonably safe, though it's worth being aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to avoid pickpockets. Check that your travel insurance covers the activities you will be participating in. Always carry photocopies of your passport and credit cards, and guard them carefully inside your accommodation.
Romania has a common scams to watch out for, so be sure to alway book your transfers or taxis through a company directly (rather than hailing one on the street) or by having your hotel/accommodation call and arrange your taxi for you.