Anybody that knows me well will know that Romania is a very special place for me. It was the first place I went to teach English after completing my CELTA and also the first place I felt like I was going out of my comfort zone travelwise. Many of my friends and family, when I told them of my plans to go and teach in Romania for summer, asked me “Why Romania?”. My answer and general travel philosophy was and still is “Why not?!”. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, one which I repeated the following summer. The welcome I received in Romania was incredible and is something that will stick with me for a long time.
My travels in Romania were mostly concentrated in one part of the country due to my work, so rather than the usual top 5 cities, I present to you my 5 favourite things I did/ saw in Romania!
- Peles Castle
I have been to this castle a few times and it’s always a place I recommend people visit if they visit Romania. The summer palace of the former monarchs is an absolutely incredible visit. It has amazing gardens where I’ve seen a few proposals take place too! You’ll find Peles near the city of Sinaia- it’s a very famous attraction in Romania so you will find plenty of tours to take you there. There is even a room modelled after the Alhambra in Spain so it was a nice surprise to see a little bit of Spain in Romania!
2. Brașov City
I got to know this city quite well as it was the closest city to the camp where I was working. My favourite part is the funicular which takes you up to the Brașov sign (who needs Hollywood?). The views from up there are great and it’s a nice walk around. I also found the Black Church really interesting which was scorched black from a fire years ago.
3. Bran / Dracula’s Castle
How can you spend nearly two summers in Transylvania without adding Dracula’s castle to the list? If you’re expecting a terrifying experience in the castle dedicated to one of the most famous horror stories in history…. well you might want to keep searching. Dracula’s Castle otherwise known as Bran Castle won’t creep you out. However, it is a great visit to include on your Romania itinerary. It’s a really beautiful castle that somehow ended up being associated with Vlad the Impaler, a theme heavily promoted by the town. In case you haven’t noticed so far, Romania is a great places for castles!
4. Bucharest – parliament tour
I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the capital with my colleagues at the end of summer. I still remember the excitment of getting on the bus knowing that our work was done and we were heading to Bucharest! One of my favourite experiences was the tour of the Parliament building that we did. It’s absolutely huge (one of the largest and heaviest government buildings in the world) and doing an hour tour will only allow you to see 3% of it!
5. King Michael I Park / Herăstrău Park
Bucharest has two experiences on the list with the park being my number 5 visit. The park in the middle of the city was a great place to relax in the summer sun with my friends. We went to one of the restaurants that jutted out over the water and had lunch with a view. The park is a nice place to walk around and find some nature (and summer shade!) in the capital- you can even go on the hunt for the Michael Jackson monument.
My time in Romania working and exploring was incredible. It was the place where I started my TEFL adventure and I got to know a place I might not have considered otherwise. The people I met were wonderful and they looked after us so well. I would love to head back to Romania one day and check out some other cities – is Romania on your list?