It can be tough to choose a summer vacation destination that leaves your whole crew satisfied. However, this often overlooked country might be just what you were looking for! Romania has much more to offer than its inexpensive reputation, such as these seven great reasons to visit!
The Gothic Architecture
If you’re longing for a fairytale landscape speckled with gothic castles, we have found the right place for you. The rolling hills of Romania are full of enchanting palaces and medieval fortresses like Corvin Castle. One of the largest castles in Europe, it is said to once have imprisoned Vlad The Impaler – the original inspiration for Dracula. The castle is equally impressive on the inside and opens to the public every day from April until October.
The Natural wonders
If you can tear your eyes away from the story-book castles, you will find that the Romanian landscape has even more to offer. Nestled between the mountains, the Danube River will take you past the ancient, colossal rock sculpture Decebal’s Head and onwards to the sanctuary of the Iron Gates Nature Park. Travel upstream from Eselnita, driving along the cliffside road, or sailing along the Danube and keep an eye out for the colorful birds which live along the riverside and throughout the nature park.
The Unique Cuisine
Romanian food is delightful in your mouth, devilish for your waistline, and truly a unique experience. The most well-known and traditional meal is Tochitura moldoveneasca (Moldavian Stew) which consists of polenta-like cornmeal porridge, salty fermented cheese, fried eggs, pork, traditional sausages, and fresh pickles. For dessert, try the donut-like ball of fried cheese covered in jam and cream known as papanași. You can thank us later.
The Epic Festivals
Perhaps surprisingly, Romania hosts some of the best music festivals in Europe this summer. Indie rockers and pop-punk lovers will swoon in mid-July for the line-up at Electric Castle, featuring Twenty-One Pilots, Gorillaz, and Deftones. If you stick around until September, check out some of the hottest names in electronic pop music like Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Parov Stelar, and more at Untold.
The Medieval history
Romania is a country rich with medieval history, although it is most famous for its vampiric folklore. Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s castle, is by far the most popular sight-seeing spot in Romania. Rumored to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s castle in the novel Dracula, the castle is set amongst the rolling hills of Brasov. The real villain of Romania – and inspiration for vampire folklore throughout the world – Vlad the Impaler, also called Trannysylvania home. The remains of his Poenari Castle can still be seen on its hilltop along the Transfăgărășan road.
The Infamous Highway
The seemingly impossible to pronounce Transfăgărășan highway is a renowned route for cyclists, hikers, and automobile enthusiasts around the world. The meandering highway weaves back and forth through the Făgăraș Mountains and along the Bâlea lake and waterfall. The Transfăgărășan gained popularity when it was featured on the British TV show Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson proclaimed it to be the “best road in the world”.
The Underground Theme Park
If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind experience check out the Salina Turda theme park. This amusement park is located deep beneath the town of Turda, inside the vast caverns of the old salt mine. For some wholesome family fun, you can find a sports field, bowling alley, mini-golf, and more. Then head down to the Theresa Mine where you can ride a boat across the underground salt lake to the naturally formed salt island for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com