When I first heard that I was heading to Romania for Erasmus+ program, the only thing that came to my mind was: DRACULA! I could picture myself in that cold place, full of old castles, dark forests and snow. The actual perfect place for vampires to live. The idea of this dark place obviously came from the Legend of Vlad Tepes or ”Vlad Dracul”, which actually means “Vlad Devil” in Romanian. He was a king that was known for killing his enemies putting them in spears and making rivers of blood in his castle. Everyone thinks of Romania as the place of the vampires, but it is not just this.
I saw how wrong I was when I arrived in Romania on July 2017 and the country was full of sunlight. The parks were green and the gardens were incredible. I was shocked by the Romanescu Park in Craiova, where I could see the gorgeous trees and plants and many students walking, playing or simply having a nice picnic on the soft grass.
Environment and background
More than that, I could not believe that Romania was a country with such beautiful mountain and sea landscape.
There is a notable road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains called Transfagarasan. It appeared in Top Gear rated as the best road trip in the whole continent and even though you can be a little afraid to drive there, it is definitely unmissable. You can rent a car and spend a day watching and enjoying the astonishing view. It is 90 km of a lost paradise!
I was speechless when my Romanian boyfriend took me to a village in Constan?a County, on the Black Sea coast, near the border with Bulgaria, called Vama Veche. There I could find not only the sun, the white sand and the beautiful sea, but the energy and the vibe of the place is indescribable. All young people hanging around, making parties, or just sitting and contemplating together what nature has to offer. It reflects the rebellious, wild spirit of the Romanian new generation that breaks up with the old-fashioned communist way of thinking and seeks for freedom in all its senses. Vama Veche is a known place for young people who like to camp, especially on the beach, in a hippie vibe
Enjoying the ambient, the nightlife and the people
Many of the tourists come to the area looking actually for the music festivals that are very often over there: Sun Waves – an electronic music event on the beach the gathers people from all over the world to enjoy one of the best festivals in Europe; or Untold, which is in Cluj and is an annual Event that could not be more wonderful! Great music, great people, incredible vibe and the best thing: you can meet all the nationalities in only one place. The biggest difference between the festivals in Romania and the famous ones in Netherlands, Belgium and Germany is that in Romania you can experience a great party paying much less than you would pay in any other country in Europe.
Actually, one of the things that called my attention was that everything in Romania is cheaper than you can expect. For instance, taxis are very cheap, restaurants and alcohol (beer, wine, cocktails) are usually very good and not expensive at all. You can buy a big glass of beer for less than 1 Euro, and it is unbelievable for European standards. But remember not to drink on the streets: it is illegal and you could get a fine.
Romanians look very happy about the price of the alcohol, infact they drink, celebrate a lot and produce their handmade drinks which are very strong. Do not forget to try Tuica, one of the most typical products of Romania, usually made from plumbs; but it is possible to make it from other fruits as well.
Maybe it is due to the cold that arrives on the winter: I have, for the first time in my life, been on a weather of -20 C. It is beyond belief that it could change so much from the summer when was +35 C; But certainly the drinking habits help to stand the cold better and they make a great use of it: when the winter comes, be sure you will have already chosen your favorite bar to spend your nights! It will be a good idea as well if you want to make new friends. Romanian people are very easy-going, friendly and they tend to love foreigners. That might be the reason why they speak so good English even though their educational system is not focused on it. If you are making new friends, remember an important rule: never confuse their capital (Bucharest) with the capital of Hungary (Budapest): they have a huge rivalry between the countries and they will not appreciate your mistake!
I was also used to see all around the world on the news articles that could describe Romanian people as thieves, murders and corrupters. In the beginning, I was even a little bit scared of walking alone on the streets, especially during the night. But on my stay in the country I could see and understand that it was a very big misconception: they are not like that. In fact, Romania is mostly a safe place. I can not consider it a paradise, of course, there are bad people all over the globe, but I can assure that the biggest part of the population is nice, open-minded and excited about meeting new people.
Well, Romania is a marvelous place if you see it on a nature point of view, and if you are seeking for fun at a fair price, it is definitely the destiny you should pick!
Here I will leave you guys some places I particularly loved and I recommend:
– Romanescu Park (Craiova – Dolj)
– Botanic Park (Craiova – Dolj)
-Transfagaresan (Carpathian Mountains)
– Bran Castle “Dracula’s Castle” (Bran)
– Peles Castle (Sinaia)
-Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)
-Poiana Brasov (Brasov)
-Iron Gates ( Danube River, between the borders of Romania and Serbia)
-Red Lake (Harghita County)
-Vama Veche (Constanta County)
-Therme Bucuresti (Bucharest)