Having my roots in Romania this country used to be our yearly family vacation destination during my childhood. Since I moved to the UAE more than 13 years ago it was off the Radar for a while. Partly because the flight connection was not very convenient but on the other hand I also wanted to discover new places.
About two years ago I started traveling there again after a very long break and I realized I had forgotten how wonderful this country actually is! With more airlines flying there now directly it makes it easy and affordable to reach there in five hours’ time. Fly Dubai is offering daily flights to Bucharest and Wizz Air has regular direct flights from DWC airport. Visa-free entry is offered to EU, UAE & US nationals but also for multiple entry Schengen-visa holders. To be on the safe side you should always consult the Embassy website to confirm the details.
Romania is located in Eastern Europe and borders the Black Sea to the east, Bulgaria and Serbia to the south, Hungary to the west and Ukraine and Moldova to the north. The second longest river in Europe called the Danube which has its spring in Germany (my actual home country) runs through ten countries before emptying into the Black Sea at Romania’s Danube Delta.
You can easily rent a car from the airport. Driving in Romania might seem a bit crazy at first but you will get used to it quite quickly. Just be aware of the numerous police controls. If you only plan to stay in Bucharest public transportation seems to be a great idea due to its very well established system and cheap price. Whereas it might be more convenient to have a car in order to reach the hidden treasures of the country.
Previously a communist country it is today part of the European Union. And ever since it joined the EU in 2007 the country has developed significantly. In its capital Bucharest you will find amazing architecture, plenty of parks and lakes and a lot of life! People know how to enjoy their life here. You can find lots of restaurants everywhere, shopping malls with international brands on the rise and nightlife like nowhere else.
Bucharest can fill up your whole trip with all the museums, churches and events. If you are there for a weekend trip you should definitely visit the Palace of Parliament. It is known to be the world’s biggest parliament building which was built during the ruling of the former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Guided tours are offered displaying only a fraction of the 3 main buildings and over 1000 rooms. Just make sure you carry an ID or passport with you.
Head down to the old town and experience a little bit of French flair with all the street cafés, beautiful buildings and architecture as you would find in Paris. You will even discover a replica of the Arch de Triumph. During the communist times and with a tragic earthquake in 1977 a lot of those buildings were wiped out but there are still jaw-dropping places here and there.
You definitely cannot miss out on paying a visit to the Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Here you will find a collection of traditional houses of different regions throughout Romania. Not only will you get a glimpse of how people still live around the country but you will be also thrown back into a different decade. Situated in the Herăstrău Park directly next to the lake you can spend hours roaming around.
But not only the city life is worth a visit if you love the adventure and action there is plenty to do! The Black Sea is a two-hour drive away. Constanta is very famous for the locals to spend their weekends during the summer there. And if you like Kitesurfing or other water sports – this is the right address. With plenty of lakes around Bucharest itself, there are also options for wakeboarding or waterskiing close by.
If you are more of a mountain& nature person you should definitely head over to Brasov. Travelling only 170km to the north of the capital you will discover a completely different world. Romania is great for road trips with its picturesque and diversified landscapes. If you want to get some fresh air during the hot summer months this is definitely the right place. On the way, you have to make a cultural stop at the Castelul Peleș in Sinaia. Once a home of King Carol I of Romania it now offers everyone the experience of being thrown into a time of royalty. Surrounded by the Southern Carpathians paragliding is very popular in this area. If you don’t need the adrenaline kick plenty of trekking routs can be found in the mountain forests. Or if you are looking for some more cultural and historic experiences head over to the Bran Castle also known as Dracula’s Castle home to Vlad the Impaler which was associated with the Irish novelist Bram Stoker’s Dracula character. But the Transylvanian Mountains are not only an insider tip during the summer months. In the wintertime, they turn into a fairytale set up. You can go on dreamy horse rides through the forests or if you need a bit more action you will find numerous well-established skiing areas. If you find yourself on that road trip through Romania, you cannot miss out driving on the famous dreadfully twisting and winding 90km stretch of mountain road Transfagărășăn through the Carpathians. Driving through more tunnels and viaducts than on any other road in Romania you will reach the Lacul Bȃlea glacier lake at more than 2000 meters’ altitude. This trip will reward you with a breathtaking view over the valleys and mountains. And if you dare to make this drive in the wintertime you will be able to stay in one of the few ice hotels in Europe.
If you still have a few hours left upon your return to Bucharest and before your flight, you have to plan those to spend and enjoy at the biggest thermal bath in Europe. Plenty of Saunas and different mineral baths offer some relaxing and recovering time after an amazing road trip through the country. ■