It’s not possible to see everything Romania has to offer in one trip – and we don’t suggest you try. What follows, in no particular order, is a selective and subjective taste of the country’s highlights: outstanding architecture, natural wonders, spectacular hikes and unforgettable festivals.
Once a refuge for Ceauşescu and visiting dignitaries, Peleş remains the country’s most opulent palace.
Romania’s noisy, chaotic capital boasts a number of terrific museums, remarkable architecture and arguably the best nightlife in the Balkans.
Revolution Square, Victoria Avenue in Bucharest, Romania © Augustin Lazaroiu/Shutterstock
This remote and beautiful landscape is teeming with fabulous wildlife, and promises some of the finest birdwatching in Europe.
© Calin Stan/Shutterstock
Strewn with lively resorts and sandy beaches, the Black Sea coast offers everything from wakeboarding to kayaking, while Constanţa is a cultural hub with a fine restaurant scene.
Scattered among the lush hills of southern Transylvania are dozens of marvellous fortified Saxon churches.
Romania’s greatest sculptor has bequeathed an impressive legacy of striking works of art, such as the Endless Column in Târgu Jiu.
© Radu Bercan/Shutterstock
Hit the slopes in Poiana Braşov, or at one of the country’s other popular, good-value centres.
Poiana Brasov famous ski resort in Romania © Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock
Beautiful architecture, terrific museums and fabulous festivals make the once great Saxon town of Sibiu an alluring destination.
Cloaked in beech, fir and pine, the gorgeous rolling Bucovina hills are a walker’s paradise.
Shadowed by mountains and boasting a fine Baroque centre, this erstwhile Saxon settlement is one of Transylvania’s most appealing cities.
11 Vişeu de Sus train ride
Jump aboard the early-morning logging train for a meandering ride up the picturesque Vaser valley.
© Andreica Ioan Daniel/Shutterstock
12 Bear- and wolf-tracking
Spend a day trailing Romania’s largest carnivores – if you’re lucky, you may see one of these magnificent creatures up close.
At this enjoyable and unusual spectacle, Transylvanian shepherds vie to see who has the most productive animals.
14 Merry Cemetery, Săpânţa
True to its name, the Merry Cemetery is a riot of beautifully carved and brightly coloured wooden headstones.
© Niall O'Donoghue/Shutterstock
Wonderful rural retreats offering cheap, friendly and relaxing accommodation, and great home-cooked food.
The beguiling landscape of this isolated region is dominated by marvellous wooden churches.
The crucible of the 1989 revolution, this most cosmopolitan of Romanian cities promises handsome architecture, fine parks and a vibrant arts scene.
Fresh from the highland pastures, a sample of tasty sheep’s cheese is a must.
© Maryna Kovalchuk/Shutterstock
Atmospheric medieval town with a brooding skyline of ramparts, towers and spires.
© Cristian Balate/Shutterstock
20 Făgăraş mountain hiking
The spectacular peaks of the Făgăraş provide access to some rewarding hikes.
The Princely Court at Târgovişte is just one of many sites linked to the Dracula legend.
The monasteries of southern Bucovina and Moldavia are renowned for their magnificent exterior frescoes.
Don’t miss the wild, irrepressible sounds of Romanian folk and Gypsy music.
© Aleksandar Kamasi/Shutterstock
24 The Carpathian range
One of Europe’s least spoiled mountain ranges, full of wildlife and first-class hiking trails.