All posts by Diana Ionascu

5 most beautiful lakes in Romania

Zănoaga Mare

With a maximum depth of 29 meters, this is Romania’s deepest glacial lake. Located in Retezat Mountains (Southern Carpathians), the lake is surrounded by a wild area covered with slabs and juniper trees and has a mountain shelter on its shore. Tourists can get to the lake by three mountain trails: Gura Zlata – Zănoaga Lake (4- 5 hours, 9.5 km; trail mark: red triangle), Bucura Lake – Zănoaga Lake (3 – 3½ hours, 5.1 km, trail mark: red triangle), Gura Apei – Bucura Lake (10 – 11 hours, 20 km, trail mark: blue cross).


Sfânta Ana

Saint Anne (in Romanian) is the only lake in Romania to have formed in a volcano crater. It is located in Mohoş Natural Reservation in the Eastern Carpathians and is part of a spectacular natural scenery that includes the Red Lake (Lacul Roşu, see below), canyon Cheile Bicazului and old spa resorts like Băile Tuşnad. Sfânta Ana can be reached by car on DN12. Coming from Brașov, turn right on DJ 113. Before Băile Balvanyos locality, enter road DJ 113A and drive for about 7 km.


Red Lake

A natural barrier lake, Lacul Roşu (Red Lake, in Romanian) was formed in 1837 following the collapse of a slope in Ghilcoş Mountain, in the same Eastern Carpathians, next to canyon Cheile Bicazului. The colour of the lake comes from the red soil rich in iron oxides and hydroxides that ran down from the slopes in the lake basin. The easiest way to get to Lacul Roşu is by car, from Brașov (about 180 km). Drive from Brașov up to Gheorgheni on road DN12. From Gheorgheni, turn to DN12C and drive for about 25 km, until you reach the lake, on the left side of the road.



Located in the same area of the country as the Red Lake and Sfânta Ana, this 40 km long reservoir is still being used in electricity production by the hydroelectric power plant nearby. It is also known as Izvorul Muntelui (The Mountain Spring, in Romanian). This is the second largest artificial lake in Romania, set at the heart of the Eastern Carpathians, between two natural parks: Ceahlău Mountains Natural Park and Vânători Neamţ Natural Park. The shortest way to get to Bicaz is from Piatra Neamţ on road DN 15 (about 55 km).


Iezerul Ighiel

Iezerul Ighiel and its surrounding area are a mixed natural reservation in the west of Transylvania, in Trascău Mountains. The lake is a natural dam formed in Jurassic limestone, on a base of eruptive rocks. What makes it so special is the beautiful setting of the eastern side of Trascău Mountains and the tranquility of this less popular natural attraction. You can get to Iezerul Ighiel from Alba Iulia, on road 74 to Zlatna locality. Once you reach the rail road at Şard, turn right on road 107 H, pass Şard, Ighiu and Ighiel localities and continue until the lake appears on teh right side of the road.


Photo source: Wikipedia

New mall will replace Bucharest’s Pipera market

Bucharest will welcome a new mall this spring as the first stage of Pipera Plaza shopping center in Bucharest will be completed in May.

Alpha Property Group, part of Intercora group, and Romanian investor Marius Ivan develop the project on the former Pipera market premises in Northern Bucharest.

Read the entire article on

What are the Romanian Mucenici & how to make them

A religious celebration and a tasty sweet dish – this is what the Romanian word Mucenici (used in plural) means, in short. Here’s what’s behind the tradition, plus two traditional recipes for the two main regional variations of the same dish.

Every year on March 9, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Forty Martyrs (commonly known as mucenici): these were Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata who lived in the time of Emperor Licinius (308-324), a persecutor of Christians. They were tortured and executed in Sebaste (present-day Sivas in Turkey) because they refused to apostatize their Christian belief.

Read the entire article on

Costumes from Romanian Berlinale – awarded film, displayed at Bucharest mall

The costumes used in the feature length historic drama Aferim, which got director Radu Jude the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival this year, are currently on display at a mall in Bucharest.

The outfits took six months to make, said designer Dana Păpăruz, and over 30 people, including craftsmen, worked on making them.

Read the entire article on

4Dx cinema at Bucharest’s newest mall

The new Mega Mall shopping center will have the first 4Dx cinema in Romania, operated by Cinema City, as well as a sports bar, a family leisure area and a playground for children. Mega Mall will open in Bucharest on April 23.

The new Cinema City multiplex will occupy one of the largest surfaces in the new mall. It will have 14 digital cinema halls, including a 4Dx auditorium.

Read the entire article on

Romanian biologists break the ice in Polar research

Three Romanian biologists have recently returned from an Antarctica expedition and brought hundreds of ice, water, and soil samples which they will study in Bucharest. The trio researches the effects of global warming and pollution. The results of their studies could be used in biomedicine and industry.

Cristina Purcărea – expedition leader, Cristian Coman – coordinator and Corina Iţcuş are the three researchers who want to contribute to the worldwide studies on global warming.

Read the entire article on

Famous Communist-era restaurant to re-open on Herăstrău lake

Romanian restaurant chain City Grill will open an 1,000-seat restaurant in Bucharest’s Herastrau park, on the lake shore. It will be City Grill’s biggest restaurant. The chain recently leased the Pescăruş restaurant, famous in the Communist period, now a historic monument. It will keep its name – which is the Romanian word for seagull – and build on the existing brand.

Read the entire article on

French industrialist turns Romania into an international fashion brand

A tall, elegantly dressed man greets everybody with a smile in the Formens suits factory. His suit jacket fits him perfectly, and his dotted hanky in his breast pocket, matching his dotted socks, gives him a chic, youngish look. He can’t be more than 40. Where is the old confections magnate we were supposed to meet?

When reading Gerard Losson’s bio, one would expect an elderly man, of at least 60. After all, he started a business in Romania in 1997, so he would have had to be already a seasoned businessman back then to make it through the muddy waters of the post-communist transition period.

Read the entire article on

Car sharing service Uber, now available in Romania

American company Uber, an increasingly popular mobile-app-based transportation network, officially entered the Romanian market by launching its uberX app in Bucharest, on February 25.

uberX is the first ridesharing program in Romania. The smartphone application connects riders with drivers on the platform looking to share the costs of their cars.


What are ‘mărţişoare’ and where to buy them in Bucharest?

Spring is almost here; if you’ve passed by any large market or metro exit in Bucharest, you’ve probably seen street traders selling mărţişoare (trinkets) – a sure sign seasons are about to change in Romania.

The Mărţişoare are spring tokens, small objects that men offer to women on March 1, the Mărţişor Day, marking the first day of spring. They are usually small items tied with a red and white entwined cord. As most Romanian women expect to receive such martisoare on March 1 and even later until March 8, we’ve made a list of common places in Bucharest where you can buy them from.

Read the entire article on

The place for really tasty burgers in Bucharest: Burger Bar

Burger Bar is so far my favorite place for burgers in Bucharest. Twice I’ve eaten their burgers, and I was hooked. I know in Bucharest there are other places which also serve burgers (among others), but at Burger Bar – which specializes in..well, burgers – I like the combination of tasty burgers, laid back staff and atmosphere and reasonable prices.

Their Burger Bar at Dorobanti Square is small, with most tables at the basement. You can see the chef preparing the burgers upstairs, as you enter the place – it is small.

Read the entire article on

Unconventional building in Bucharest, shortlisted in prestigious European architecture competition

An apartment building in Bucharest is on the short list for the Mies van der Rohe  architecture prize for 2015 – the most prestigious architecture competition in Europe.

The building, called Urban Spaces and designed by the local architecture studio AND, is one of the only two residential projects shortlisted, among the 40 projects that made it to this stage. Only five of these will go to the final. Their names will be announced in London, at end-February, and the winners, in Barcelona, at the start of May.

Read the entire article on

Romanian song: Nu plange, Ana! by ADDA – meaning of original folk ballad

We’ve been listening to this song for a while – it’s been all over the Romanian radios and music TV stations. Our test for choosing to feature a Romanian song is usually to listen it for several times, to see if the effect wears off. We still like this one, so here it is.

It’s called Nu plange Ana – Don’t cry Ana. We’re not the only ones who like this song – it already has 9.3 million views on YouTube.


Romanians make it to the final of the Sony World Photography Awards

Two Romanian photographers made it to the final of the Sony World Photography Awards, the largest photo competition in the world.

Cosmin Bumbut is among the finalists of the Architecture section in the competition dedicated to professional photographers. He submitted a portfolio of images taken in 35 Romanian prisons (one of them is the opening photo of this article).

Read the entire article on

First online store for left-handed people opened recently in Romania

Left-handed Romanians can now purchase products adapted to their needs from a new online store recently launched in Romania.

Both children and adults can buy various items on, from pens and games to kitchen and gardening items, watches and musical instruments.


Romanian insider: Why I’m NOT ashamed about “The Romanians Are Coming”

Romania-Insider guest writer Matt Sampalean writes about the controversial documentary ‘The Romanians are Coming’, recently broadcast in the UK, which stirred street protests from Romanians who felt offended. Matt brings his own, fresh perspective.

This week’s big story in Romania is the first episode of a Channel 4 Documentary entitled “The Romanians Are Coming.”

There’s a lot to be said when a controversy-stirring documentary comes out of one of the world’s most politically correct nanny states. For one, somebody at the British Censors Bureau realized that as long as Muslims wouldn’t be offended, it was safe to air. But seriously, I’m glad it has come out because it says a number of things:

Read the entire article on

What tickets are still available at Robbie William’s first concert in Romania

Romanians queued up early on to buy tickets for Robbie Williams’ first concert in Romania this year. They bought as many as 21,500 tickets in the first hour and a half since tickets started selling on Tuesday, February 24.

By the end of the week, the organizers estimate to sell 30,000 tickets, according to Telekom Romania, the main sponsor of the event.

Read the entire article on

Romantic places and gift ideas for Dragobete: traditional Romanian lovers’ day

Even though more and more Romanians started to celebrate Valentine’s Day in recent years, Romania has its own lovers’ day – Dragobete, celebrated every year on February 24. An increasingly number of Romanians – and even foreigners – started preferring the local holiday to the foreign one.

There are several traditions related to the Dragobete, but they are not so much kept in Romania’s urban areas. Here, the day is mainly celebrated through special events, while lovers give each other small gifts.

As Dragobete is a traditional Romanian celebration, here’s a list of Romanian things that can turn into gifts for your loved ones.

Read the entire article on

Bucharest competes for a place on the Monopoly board

Romania’s capital city Bucharest is among 80 cities worldwide which currently compete for a spot on the Monopoly map.

Only the top 15 cities will appear on the Monopoly board, in this year’s special edition of the popular property game, which is called Monopoly Here & Now.

Read the entire article on

What concerts at the Enescu Festival still have available tickets. Full list

Approximately 25,000 tickets (from a total of 46,500) for the 2015 edition of the Enescu Festival were sold in just one hour from their placing on sale on Monday, February 16, at 10:00. Check out below what tickets are still available.

Fans of classical music can still find tickets for some of the concerts at the 2015 edition of the George Enescu International Festival (August 30 – September 20). Thus, the public can choose from some of the concerts in the Great Orchestras series taking place at Bucharest’s Sala Palatului and from those at the Romanian Athenaeum – the series Chamber Concerts and By Midnight.

Tickets for concerts such as the ones of the München Opera, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony (awarded with Pulitzer Prize for Music), London Symphony Orchestra to perform under the baton of one of the most acclaimed Romanian-born conductors in the world, Ion Marin, can still be purchased at prices between RON 40 and RON 160.

Among the highlights of the Great Orchestras series for which tickets are still available is the concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (September 20) – one of the 10 best orchestras in the world. Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam consists of 120 musicians from over 20 countries and has an audience of 250,000 spectators per year and its first violinist of the orchestra is Romanian Liviu Prunaru. Also, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra concerts (August 31 and September 1) bring back to Bucharest renowned Zubin Mehta, who conducted this year’s edition of one of the best known classical music events in the world: the famous New Year’s Concert in Vienna.

Tickets are available online on in the Eventim network (Germanos, Orange, Vodafone and Domo stores, Humanitas and Cărturești book shops).

Check out the full list of concerts with available tickets:

Great Orchestras Series (Sala Palatului)

Romanian Youth Orchestra – August 30
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra– August 31 & September 1
Radio National Orchestra – September 2
Staatskapelle Dresden – September 4 & 5
San Francisco Symphony – September 6 & 7
London Symphony Orchestra – September 8 & 9
Bayerische Staatsoper – September 11 & 12
Choir and Orchestra of the George Enescu Philharmonic – September 14
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – September 17 & 18
Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam – September 20


Chamber Concerts Series (Romanian Athenaeum)

Tharice Virtuosi – August 31
Belcea Quartet – September 1
Scottish Ensemble – September 2
Cluj Philharmonic – September 3
New European Strings Chamber Orchestra – September 10
Bucharest Chamber Orchestra – September 12
Les Dissonaces – Xavier Philip – September 14
Monte Carlo Philharmonic – September 16
Mozarteumorchester Salzburg – September 17
Michelangelo Quartet – September 20

Some concerts in the series By Midnight and the Morning Concerts also have available tickets.

Go here for the full program of the Enescu Festival in 2015.

Berăria H launched new menu by Chef Cătălin Scărlătescu

Said to be the biggest beerhouse in Southeastern Europe, Berăria H launched officially a new menu signed by Chef Cătălin Scărlătescu. Starting February, Scărlătescu is also responsible for the coordination of the team of chefs and the suppliers of Berăria H.

Once with the official launch on February 19, at 20:00, over 50 dishes carrying the signature of the host at Hell’s Kitchen (the Romanian version of the TV cooking show) are available at the beerhouse: from fish cream soup to Black Angus burger with onion jam and camembert in a roll made after one of Scărlătescu’s original recipe.

“The new menu is simply chemistry, physics and mathematics. The food is not sophisticated, but rather classic, specific to a beerhouse. There are no star dishes, all are worth tasting: sausages, the Viennese schnitzel, as well as the Mangalitsa meat dishes or the beef short ribs.” said Chef Scărlătescu.

Launched in September 2014 with an investment of EUR 3 million, Berăria H is located in Herăstrău Park in Bucharest and attracts up to 4,000 customers in peak days. Read more about the beerhouse here.


Photo source: Cătălin Scărlătescu facebok page

A Romanian, finalist for the first human mission to Mars

A Romanian who lives in Canada is among the 100 candidates who qualified for the third selection round for the Mars One space mission that aims to take the first human crew to Mars.

Andreea, a 34-year old Romanian-Canadian citizen, is now one step closer to becoming one of the first humans on Mars. She was selected out of 202,586 applicants.

Read the entire article on

The first 3D video game promoting Romania to be released this spring

Starting this spring, tourists can get along in some of Romania’s most beautiful places with the help of the first video game to promote tourism in Romania. Developed by an NGO promoting Romania’s rural beauty, the treasure hunt game is actually a 3D virtual guided tour including museum visits, sightseeing and even traditional Romanian products tastings. In the 3D trip to Romania, visitors are accompanied by Mihai, the game avatar and guide.

Developers announced Arad, Timişoara, Oradea, Drăguş, Belinţ, Jurilovca in Danube Delta, Vama Veche, Ecotour Romania and Drive in Romania as the first virtual tours in the country.

The official release of Play Romania is planned for beginning of April 2015. The first tours will be available online as of March 1.

Watch below a preview of the game:

Romanian movie Aferim! gets the Berlinale’s Silver Bear

Romanian film director Radu Jude won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film festival this year for his black & white historical drama Aferim!. Jude shared the prize ex aequo with Malgorzata Szumowska for the film Body.

The Romanian film was also in the race for the Best Actor award, with actor Teodor Corban in the cards to land the award, which however went to Tom Courtenay in 45 Years.

Read the entire article on

Romanian teenager goes back to tradition: weaves and knits traditional items and sells them abroad

A 16-year old Romanian has learned the traditional craft of weaving carpets and knitting, and even turned his passion into a small business. Andrei Vladimir, a teenage boy from the town of Barlad in Northern Romania, learned how to weave and knit from his grandmother, and started crafting traditional items when he was 12. At first, he made carpets for himself, but as they started to pile up, he also started to sell them, according to Digi24 and Adevarul.

He makes traditional blouses – called Ie- carpets, blankets, wool socks and hats, and sells them either at fairs, or on the internet. The teenager also sells abroad, all over Europe.

Read the entire article on

New record for Romania’s Enescu festival: 25,000 tickets sold in one hour

Over half of the individual tickets for this year’s edition of George Enescu International Festival in Romania were sold in about one hour, according to an announcement of the organizers.

The individual tickets were put up for sale on Monday morning, February 16. Some 25,000 tickets have already sold, which represents 55% of the total 46,500 tickets, according to estimations made at 12:30.

Tickets were sold out for 10 of the 22 cameral concerts to take place at the Romanian Athenaeum, as well as Orchestre de Chambre de Paris’s concert from the Midnight series.

Read the entire article on

Romanian photography wins National Geographic Traveller’s competition

Romanian Alecsandra Dragoi is the overall winner of National Geographic Traveller’s 2015 photography competition in the UK, with the picture New Year’s Traditions in Comanesti, Romania.

Alecsandra Dragoi was one of the competition’s six finalists. Her photo was the People category choice.

“Romania, I promise this is just the start to show your beauties!,” she wrote on her Facebook page, after the winner was announced.

Read the entire article on

On Valentine’s, more and more Romanians prefer romantic city breaks abroad

Romanians have started to take advantage of the cheaper plane tickets to spend their Valentine’s Day abroad. More and more couples pamper themselves with city breaks in Europe while some prefer more expensive getaways in exotic destinations in Africa or the Middle East.

Most of the couples who choose to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend abroad prefer city breaks in European cities, such as Rome, Paris, London, followed by Munich and Prague, according to Romanian online tour operator

“The average budget is around EUR 300 per person, which includes plate tickets and two nights in a 3- or 4-star hotel,” said Remus Visan, managing director of

Read the entire article on

Romania gets to Berlin Film Festival with two highly awaited films

Two long – awaited Romanian movies screened at the Berlin Film Festival this week, one of them in premiere, and both were met with a full house, and with international praises.

Romanian director Tudor Giurgiu´s movie De ce eu (Why me), pictures Romania in the year 2002: corrupt politicians, corrupt investigators and a young prosecutor who must decide between his career and the truth. A bleak picture of a society looking for a new beginning.

Giurgiu, who attended the second screening of the film on January 11 at the Berlinale, stressed on the movie’s relevance for our societies as it increases awareness of corruption. This would not only target Eastern Europe, but also include countries like Germany, with recent high-level corruption cases. „Corruption is endemic,“ the film director said.

Read the entire article on

Photo source: Facebook greatest themed library in Eastern Europe is in Bucharest

Last night, the most talked about bookshop in Bucharest opened on historical Lipscani Street in the Old Town. Right after the official opening, posted an article calling Cărtureşti Carusel “the greatest enchanted themed library in Eastern Europe”.

The arts & creativity website with over 1.7 million Facebook followers worldwide mentioned that “the Carousel of Light” building is a monumental XIX century edifice, now regaining its status of architectural jewel.

The bookstore opened on Thursday, February 12, 2015 into the very heart of Bucharest, in an area with themed coffee shops, pubs, bohemian, traditional and high fashion luxury clothing stores. According to Boredpanda, the bookstore will become a symbol trough its innovative and contemporary-elegant style.

The 6 floors of the store host 10.000 books, 5.000 albums and DVDs, a bistro on the last floor, a multimedia space in the basement and a gallery dedicated to modern art on the first floor.

Opeed daily from 10:00 to 24:00, the new venue is expected to host numerous cultural events and concerts.