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Romania: Famous for Castles, Fortresses

''Did you know the spine-chilling tale of Dracula was inspired by the Romanian Count Vlad Dracul?''

LOCATION : Romania is located at the intersection between central and South-Eastern Europe, North of the Balkan Peninsula and on the western shore of the Black Sea.

WHY GO THE DISTANCE : Romania boasts of its wonderful castles, old forts, beautiful mountains, medieval cities, huge diversity of wildlife, beaches, fantastic roads and mesmerizing landscapes. The place has it all, from the bustling city of Bucharest, to towering mountains in the ancient Carpathians, to beautiful beaches on the Black Sea.

Although the place inspired many vampire tales and stories, it’s a myth in reality so don’t even expect to encounter one. It’s a dynamic country with rich in history and culture. Surprisingly, unlike other European countries it’s pretty affordable in terms of both accommodation and food. The place did not have a very good image in the earlier times and saw maximum development only in last ten years and is one of the recent members of the European Union.

Even during peak season, the place is not that crowded. One can have great time skiing or snowboarding in the winter in the Prahova Valley. The countryside is largely untouched and beautiful and the locals are very welcoming and known for their hospitality. This region truly reflects rural Romania with peasants on horse-drawn carts.

Going around within the city is very comfortable with fairly well-connected by trains, buses, and planes to the rest of Europe, and you can even use your Eurail pass here. Although widely spoken languages are French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, most locals know little of English here so even verbal communication is not a big hurdle.

BEST TIME : Summers and early autumn are the best months to take back most from the trip. Sun bathing at beaches, Transylvania’s festivals and hiking trails, bird watching at the Delta and exploring painted monasteries can be done comfortably during summer and early autumn months. Winters can be way too harsh with temperatures going in minus but ideal for those interested in winter sports.

GETTING THERE : There are regular flights from New Delhi to Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The airlines offering their services on this route include Aeroflot, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airline, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, Alitalia, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch, Austrian Airlines, Gulf Air, Lufthansa and Air India.

ATTRACTIONS : The Carpathian Mountains:
The second largest range in Europe after the Scandinavian Mountains. Carpathian are a semicircular shaped mountain belt and known for impressive landscapes, amazing wildlife and a variety of plant species.

Is the birth place of Vlad Dracul, better known as Dracula, and good for short trips on foot.

The People’s Palace in Bucharest:
Also known as the Palace of the Parliament is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. The palace comprises rooms, restaurants, libraries, saloons and offices.

The Peles Castle:
An architectural masterpiece, the castle originally was a place to relax for the country’s monarchs. Its imperial bedroom is worth seeing besides the theatre room, council room, arms room and living room. These rooms house fine collections of paintings, ceramics, sculptures and weapons. Wooden carving in the castle draws maximum tourist attention.

The Danube Delta:
It’s a naturally formed delta where the Danube river flows into the Black Sea. It’s home to a large species of birds and fish and has some amazing landscapes. An ideal place for nature lovers.

The Black Sea: Ideal for those looking for beach holidays and safe bathing. Accommodation is not a problem as there are a plenty of resorts around.

Brasov for world famous Bran Castle: The city also enjoys a vibrant street-life with many bars and restaurants.

Vorone? Moastery:
Know for frescoes of bright and intense colours. The katholikon (main church) of Saint George at Vorone? Monastery is one of the famous churches of Romania.

Being Romania’s capital, one gets to see blend of traditional and modern architecture in Bucharest. There are plenty of museums, cemeteries, historical sites, shopping centers, and architectural sights here.

CEC Palace:
Built in eclectic style and is topped by a glass and metal dom.

FOOD/DRINK : The place offers a lot of variety in food that has influence of Greeks, Romans and Turks cuisines and is affordable too. From grilled meatballs and meat wrapped in cabbage leaves to pork stew and doughnuts, finding good food in Romania will not be a problem. Sausages, salami and cheese are regularly used during celebrations. A traditional Romanian meal may include national food cabbage rolls (or stuffed cabbage) with porridge made out of yellow maize flour, to any kind of pies and cocoa sponge cake. If a salads fan, try hand on beef salad or Romanian sweet pepper salad. Mamaliga is a staple side dish in Romania that often replaces bread or other grains. The regular choice in drink is tuica (plum brandy).

We tried these restaurants:
• Caru' cu bere in Bucharest: Has very tradition and beautiful interiors and built in Gothic
style. Gothic vaulted ground floor system is richly decorated with paintings, stained glass,
mosaics and carved paneling. Food is good too.
• Bordello in Bucharest: Each side it is available for you to connect with, the friendly Pub,
the intimate Library Lounge or the flamboyant Mulanruj. Over the past 4 years Bordello
has earned itself the title of “most awarded bar in Romania”.

SHOPPING : •Baneasa Shopping City in Bucharest: Has over 200 shops selling electronic products, clothing, textiles, watches, shoes, cosmetics and even furniture.
•Sun Plaza in Bucharest: Another big and beautiful mall of the city with more than 150 stores.
•AFI Palace Cotroceni in Bucharest: One of the largest malls in the city with plenty options in food and entertainment besides shopping.
•Hand Woven rugs made by local women, which are found displayed on their fences and in local markets.
•Open-air markets for handicrafts.
•Herzei for ceramics

Source / Review By : Bhavishya Dabral Goel

Bhavishya is a product developer - behavioural consulting with Pearson Talentlens

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