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Romania has plenty to offer to all curious travelers, from high-altitude hiking trails to unique museum visits and memorable experiences in remote villages. To help you plan better and faster, here’s our list of the best things to do in Romania for the first time visitor. The order is simply random, it’s up to you to choose whatever fits best with your plans.
From easy nature walks for families to intense multi-day hikes in the Carpathians that can only be done by the fittest, Romania is a great destination for outdoor activities. Whether you prefer a soft adventure or a more challenging one, the country’s varied landscape offers numerous opportunities, including hiking, trekking, climbing, rafting, canyoning, kayaking, cave exploration and the list does not stop here.
If you’re the adventurous type, then an active vacation should definitely be on your list of top things to do in Romania.
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Romania is the most bio-geographically diverse country in Europe and conserves the continent’s most numerous populations of large carnivores and many more iconic mammals as well as numerous species of rare birds. All thanks to its large areas of wilderness that, however, need our protection to survive intact.
Choose to be a responsible tourist, choose to watch animals instead of hunting them, and go on nature tours that leave indeed only footprints behind.
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Largely rural for a great part of its history, Romania is still defined by its many villages and colorful countryside. If you’re looking to experience a different life, even if only for a few days, visiting sheepfolds or observing traditional activities still part of the communities’ daily life, then a rural vacation should be the top of your list of things to do in Romania.
You have plenty of options to choose from. Transylvania is the best places to start your search for an original rural experience.
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Romania’s history goes back to the brave Dacians who lived in tribes north of the Danube River, a natural border the Roman Empire conquered almost 2,000 years ago. Even before, the ancient Greeks settled on the shores of the Black Sea, seeking the best commercial routes.
A trip to Romania can be a full-time attractive and surprising history lesson, including medieval fortresses and anti-Ottoman crusades, Empires’ expansion, Balkan troubles, royal families, bloody World Wars and a long and dark communist regime.
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If you’re planning to see as many cultural and historical attractions as possible, then starting with Romania’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the best option. You’ll travel across the country and even virtually across thousands of years, from the ancient Dacian sites to Europe’s youngest land, the Danube Delta.
You’ll visit the painted churches of Bucovina, the wooden churches of Maramures and the magnificent fortified churches of Transylvania. Don’t miss destinations like Sighisoara, Viscri, Biertan or Horezu Monastery.
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Plus, Romania has the advantage of still having tasty and natural fruits and vegetables. This makes any dish much better. Don’t forget to try Romania’s many types of cheese, especially the local specialties from the mountain villages.
In Romania you can still travel in some old and authentic ways, the horse cart ride being the first option. You can take the steam train ‘Mocanita’ from Viseu de Sus, Maramures, on the last forestry railway in Europe, or you can navigate the mountain river Bistrita on a wooden raft starting in Ciocanesti, a small village-museum in Bucovina.
Horse cart ride, Cheile RasnoaveiBoth the steam train and the wooden raft were traditional methods of transportation, one for wood, and the other one for all sorts of goods, the only ones adapted back in the day to the mountainous landscape. But, you can always settle for a classical and reliable horse cart ride.
Take your bike or your motorcycle and adventure yourself on two of the most stunning mountain roads in Europe. Transalpina, from Novaci to Sebes, and Transfagarasan, from Pitesti to Sibiu, will take you to altitudes above 2,000 meters where pristine landscapes will take your breath away.
If you decide to go by bike, take into consideration you need an excellent physical condition. Also, check the weather before you leave and try to avoid the crowded summer weekends.
It’s not easy to make a top of the best things to do in Romania for the first time visitor. There are so many attractions to see and experiences to try that summing them up would require a complete guidebook. We do hope our list will help you plan an amazing first trip to Romania.