One of the great things about Romania is that it has 4 very distinct seasons and each of them provides really interesting travel experiences.
So here is a review of the best things to do in Romania that we’ve included in our tours in 2019.
During the cold winter
The snowy landscapes of the first months of the year brought to Romania a group of travelers interested in the cold (they are the kind of people who sleep at home with the window open even in winter). They were fully rewarded with wonderful photos of picturesque mountain villages and landscapes dotted with haystacks and barns, under snow. Their winter experience was completed with a night stay in an ice hotel located at more than 2000 m altitude and a dog sledge ride pulled by Greenland dogs.
Spring and nature’s revival
Jay and his wife from LA took advantage of the spring time and also of the Easter holiday and its traditions. During the Easter days, they witnessed the rituals of the Mass, attended by villagers dressed in beautiful folk costumes and they savored traditional food specific to the Easter festive meals. They were lucky enough to spend both the Orthodox Easter and Catholic Easter in Romania, being a week apart. In a Hungarian Catholic community from Transylvania they witnessed “The watering” where boys sprinkle fresh water or perfume on girls in order to wish them well-being. They also attended “The shooting of the rooster” where children compete one with each other to shoot the rooster drawn on a target (the origins of the tradition is centuries old, at a time when the community was hiding from invaders and a rooster revealed their hiding location, so they had to kill it).
Caroline from UK and her adult daughter also came in spring: “We started in Bucharest, traveled by train to Sighisoara, walked for a few days in Saxon Transylvania – staying in the fortified villages, then went with a car and guide to Maramures and Bucovina in the north […] Gorgeous wildflower meadows all over Transylvania and we loved the village home-stays with their delicious home cooking. Everybody dressing up for church in the villages on Sunday was an unexpected delight.”
Spring brought to the country also Romanians from the diaspora, Liliana being one of them. Living in Ireland and being married to an Irish man, she decided that it’s time to show to her husband the beauties of Romania. After traveling for 4 days in the country, they decided to own a holiday home here so they can return more often.
Summer for the warmth lovers
The 2019 summer season in Romania started with Yap from Singapore and his group of friends. They roamed the country from one corner to another, driving through scenic mountain roads and visiting major sights. But they probably enjoyed the most an occasional stop to a lavender field and the boat trips on the channels of the Danube Delta. The Danube Delta is very rich in flora and fauna and one of the most diverse places on Earth.
We celebrated 4th of July with a group of Americans doing a wine tour and watching the much-loved fireworks. Their visit coincided with the annual Festival of Hearts from Timisoara so they were also able to have an insight into the atmosphere and culture of the city.
With each passing year, Jewish heritage tours are more and more among the things-to-do-in-Romania that people choose. In the past centuries an important Jewish population lived in what is nowadays Romania and those who have left the country or their decedents are traveling to Romania in order to connect with their past. This was the case of Mickey from Canada and her family as well. They traveled with their grandfather to Arad, where he was born, and they’ve also visited other Jewish sites in order to learn about the grandfather’s roots and history.
Keen on learning about the history of her birth-country, Mariana from USA, traveled to Romania at the end of summer and explored Romania for 20 days. She also did research for a book she is writing. Passionate about medieval history, she met with historians and talked about her interests, she visited off-beaten sites but with rich history and she enjoyed discovering for the first time the villages from bucolic Maramures.
The Fall colors and harvest time
As temperatures drop, the leaves of the trees turn to beautiful warm colors. Life in the villages is bustling as villagers are working hard to gather the crops, the shepherds descend from the mountains with their sheep and the women store vegetables and fruits for the upcoming winter. Sally first came to Romania in 2018 and fell in love with the rural life. In 2019 she returned for a private tour focused on traditional crafts and occupations. Of greatest interest was the annual shepherds market near Sibiu.
One of the most interesting tours we had in 2019 was the tour organized for Pieter from Belgium and his 10 friends. All turned 40 in 2019 so they chose to spend a long weekend here as Romania’s country code is 40. They hiked in the Apuseni Mountains, known for their beauty and various hiking trails. They also explored Turda Salt Mine, an impressive and unique place, and they descended into Scarisoara Cave, the biggest underground glacier in Romania.
Fall in Romania is of special interest for photographers, as well. Therefore, one of the fall tours of 2019 we need to mention is the photo tour organized for a group of photographers from USA. Firstly, they’ve focused on street photography in Bucharest and then they traveled to Bucovina to capture the beautiful fall landscapes and the traditions of the region. Transylvania with its medieval towns and rural life was also of interest. And they caught the peak of the fall colors in the mountains near Brasov. If you are asking yourself what other things can you do in Romania besides the ones mentioned above, here is something different: a cooking class, just as the group of photographers who learned how to cook sarmale and papanasi (traditional meals from Romania).
Winter came back
With the coming of December, the cold winter settled again on the Romanian land. The most interesting tour in December 2019 was over Christmas and the New Year for which Tracy from Canada came to Romania a second time in 2019 (after her visit in February). Christmas was truly magical as she received carolers at the guesthouse in Maramures, attended Christmas mass in an old wooden church, went on a steam train ride and saw the “bear dance” traditions. And the Christmas markets set in the old towns in Transylvania and the New Year fireworks were also highlights.
In 2019 we organized over 30 tours and some of the other best things we did in Romania this year were bear watching at observatories in the forest, visiting a violin factory, attending two traditional weddings and the “sheep milk measurement” in spring. And sometimes just a walk on dew and observing the sunrise on a misty summer morning in the mountains was enough to make the best of a tour in Romania.
We thank all our guests for choosing us to organize their holidays in Romania and all of our partners for our great collaboration.
We look forward to providing more wonderful travel experiences in 2020 and beyond!
Have a wonderful, experience-rich, 2020!