Top 5 reasons to take a look at Romania now before the rest of the world discovers it:
1. It’s gorgeous. Magnificent mountains, lush countryside, the ecologically significant Danube Delta, and picturesque villages await the adventuresome traveler. In just hours you can leave the vibrant modern capital of Bucharest and head to the countryside, passing vineyards and fields of sunflowers on the way to medieval towns with pastel-colored homes and ancient clock towers that still work. Take another route and you can head to exquisite remote castles or beautiful fortified churches while you pass quaint gingerbread homes with barns still housing the family’s horse, cow, goat, and wooden cart for transportation.
2. It’s an art lovers dream – from the massive outdoor sculptures of famous Constantin Brancusi, including the iconic “Endless Tower” in Targu Jui, to the treasure trove of paintings by Nicolae Grigresco and his peers- once hidden from the world during Communism and now housed in museums all across the country. But it is not just the traditional arts – it’s the pottery, linens, embroidery, wood carvings and paintings, icons, churches, parks full of sculptures, architecture and even the once-ornate museum dedicated to its famous occupant, the great George Enescu, one of the world’s most beloved composers. And, music lovers should never miss a symphony at the gilded and pitch-perfect Antheneum.
3. It’s an easy place to visit. Most Romanians are welcoming to Americans – in fact, they like us. They often speak some, if not perfect, English, the roads and transportation are clearly marked, and, most of all, it’s safe. You can feel perfectly secure taking the Metro, bus, taxi, or even walking from one end to the other of the capital of Bucharest alone in the middle of the night – despite its population of over three million people.
4. It’s affordable. A great pizza and pitcher of amazing Romanian red wine for two served on a clean white tablecloth, is often a mere ten dollars. A three-star hotel is as clean and perfect as a five-star hotel. World-class museums welcome you to stroll all day for a cost as low as a mere $3.00 to visit. Public transportation is reasonable and, unlike most of Western Europe, toilets are always free – plus, they come with adequate supplies of paper.
5. Inexpensive and fabulous wine! Last, but not least, it has wonderful wineries at a fraction of the cost of elsewhere. In fact, tours are often free as are the samples. Given adequate notice, some even prepare traditional food for picnics. If the samples are not enough to quench your thirst, buy a bottle for a few dollars. Most small hotel rooms have a corkscrew and glasses ready for the weary traveler. And remember, you don’t have to just sample the wine – they also have homemade plum brandy at every corner- that is worth a try, or two.
Now, you don’t have to take my word about why you should visit Romania while it still has its charm and mystique. Ask Prince Charles, who has restored old homes in remote villages just waiting for you to check in and spend the night. When, he is not staying there, of course.