Five winter hiking trails in Bucegi mountains

Skiing is very much talked about among winter sports enthusiasts in Romania, but there are many other ways to enjoy breathtaking mountain views and working out outdoor. Hiking during wintertime is a great alternative for those who don’t know how to ski or prefer discovering places, a slower pace and a bigger freedom to move.

Here are 4 wintertime trails in Bucegi, the most popular mountain area in Romania. The Bucegi mountains have the densest network of marked hiking routes: 39 approved trails, most of them accessible during the cold season.

1. Trail: Sinaia (900 m) – Poiana Stanei (1270 m) – Sinaia
Marking: blue stripe
The trail length is about 2 – 2 ½ hours.

2. Trail: Gura Diham (987 m) – Poiana Izvoarelor (1455 m) (red stripe)
Poiana Izvoarelor – Diham tourist cottage (1320 m ) (blue cross & red dot)
Diham tourist cottage – Saua Baiului (1363 m ) – Gura Diham (blue triangle)
Marking: red stripe, blue cross, red dot, blue triangle
The trail length is about 4 – 5 hours.

3. Trail: Sinaia, Cota 2000 – Piatra Arsă tourist cottage (1950 m) (yellow stripe)
Piatra Arsa tourist cottage – Pestera Hotel (1610 m) (blue stripe)
Pestera Hotel – Padina tourist cottage (1509 m) (red stripe)
Marking: yellow stripe, blue stripe, red stripe
The trail length is about 4 – 4 ½ hours.

4. Trail: Padina tourist cottage (1509 m) – Saua Laptici (1830 m) – Valea Dorului tourist cottage (1820 m) – Mioriţa (1987 m) – Cota 1400 (red stripe)
The trail length is about 4 – 4 ½ hours.
Marking: red stripe

5. Trail: Cota 2000 – Babele
Marking : yellow stripe
The trail starts in Sinaia, Cota 2000 and ends in Babele (from where you can take the gondola for Busteni). The trail length is about 2 – 2 ½ hours.

When hiking during wintertime, make sure you have complete equipment including a map, adequate winter boots & waterproof clothes, a back pack, a headlamp, a first aid kit, a thermos bottle, food and sweets. Before heading out to the mountains, you may also want to pack trekking sticks, snowshoes and sun glasses.

Păltiniș, the oldest ski resort in Romania

The ski season is opening in Romania and winter sports fans are starting to plan their weekends away on mountain resorts in the Carpathians. If you are one of them, make sure you visit the oldest ski resort in Romania, located 32 km away from Sibiu, in Cindrel mountains. Since 1894, thanks to altitude of 1442 m, Păltiniș is the highest ski resort where tourists can enjoy the longest winter sports period.

Păltiniș is known to have ski slopes of medium and light difficulty, artificial snow and even a snow fun park. Enthusiasts will find here the newest slope complex in Romania, Arena Platoș, and several ski slopes with various degrees of difficulty: Oncești 1, Oncești 2, Păltiniș Dealul Poplăcii, Păltiniș Santa, Păltiniș Dăneasa, Oncești Păltiniș and DăujoaraPăltiniș. Located on Poiana Poplăcii plateau, 1 km away from Păltiniș at an altitude of 1400 m in Cindrel mountains, the Arena Platoș complex has five slopes for winter sports, equipped with four cable transport installations, snow cannons, nocturnal area, rentals center, ski and snowboard school and an Austrian après ski bar. For more details on the slopes and the rest of the facilities in Arena Platoș, visit their well organized website (English version available).

What makes Păltiniș a must-visit mountain resort is also the weather phenomenon common here, the temperature inversion. In days when it takes place, one can see a truly charming vue: beyond the sea of clouds down in the depression, appear the peaks of Făgăraș mountains to the east, Rodnei mountains to the north-east and Apuseni mountains to the north-west. At sunset, the Vălare area offers a wonderful scenery as well, over Sibiu and Făgăraș mountains.

A tourist attraction worth visiting is Schitul (hermitage), a wooden church built in the 1920s where the famous Romanian philospher Constantin Noica was buried. Noica’s memorial house is located in Păltiniș and can also be visited.


How to get there

By car: From Sibiu, take the county road DJ 106 A (32 km)

By train: you can get only to Sibiu, as Păltiniș has no train station




Address: 1 Strada Pricipala (Main Street), Păltiniș, Sibiu county

Phone:+40 269 215 000




Address: DJ106A, Sibiu county

Phone: +40374 905 090



Bujorul de munte Guesthouse

Address: Poiana Poplăcii – Platoş area, DJ 106 A FN, Poplaca village, Sibiu county

Phone: +40722-193055


Rimetea: the village where the sun rises twice

It is considered to be the most beautiful village in Transylvania and there is a legend saying that here, in Rimetea, the sun rises twice.

Half of the little over 300 houses have been restored, thanks to a funding program that helped turning it from an ancient mining village to a charming and successful agro-touristic region. Over 75% of the tourists coming here are foreigners and their number keeps growing from one year to another, attracted by the beauty of the wild landscape, traditional architecture and the locals’ hospitality.

Due to conservation efforts, Rimetea was awarded the European Commission’s Europa Nostra Award for the conservation of the material cultural heritage and, earlier, the village was designated a protected architectural and urban area. The oldest heritage sites are the two fortifications, one from the Latène age and the other from the medieval age, prior to the Mongol invasion. Most of heritage buildings date from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

What to see in Rimetea

Anyone can enjoy a stroll to discover the architectural beauty of traditional secular buildings (houses, stables, workshops etc.) spread from the center of the village to the outskirts. The oldest house in the village is the home of a miner, built in 1668 and renovated after 2004.

Rimetea also has the oldest working water mill in the region (over two centuries old). A small blacksmith’s workshop still stands next to the mill structure.

Tourists can also visit the Unitarian Church in the center of the historic town and the main square. Built on the site of a medieval church between 1780 and 1804, its oldest part is the tower enlarged in 1670.

The ethnographic museum in Rimetea has an impressive collection of over 11.000 objects exhibited in only 5 rooms, reflecting what used to be the main occupations of the inhabitants of the area: mining, metallurgy and woodworking.

Visitors shouldn’t leave out the village’s cemetery established at the beginning of the eighteenth century, a record of the development of folk art in the village and a unique place in Romania, as some tombs are carved into the rock.

What to do in Rimetea and nearby

Throughout the year, tourists come to admire local architecture, enjoy the taste of traditional cuisine and the locals’ hospitality.

Around the end of February, on the Saturday before the start of the Easter Fast or the Great Fast, villagers celebrate Shrove Tuesday (“lăsatul secului de carne” in Romanian) through a ”fărșang” (“farsang” in Hungarian) – a carnival whose main event is a ritual procession, a burlesque of the burial of winter, symbolizing the chase off of evil spirits. The fărșang is specific to Catholic and Protestant communities in Transylvania and is the equivalent of carnival in Catholic and Protestant countries.

During the warm season, Rimetea is a great destination for hiking, climbing and air sports, especially paragliding. Other sites nearby worth visiting are the Colţeşti Fortress (or Trascăului Fortress) built in 1296 in the neighbouring village Colţeşti, Piatra Secuiului – a limestone massif divided into two parts by a ravine which makes the sun, from May to September, to actually rise twice for people living in the north of Rimetea, Cheile Vălișoarei – the gateway to Trascăului depression and home to 27 caves (the longest is 134 m) – and the famous Salina Turda salt mine, nominated in 2014 by Business Insider as the most beautiful underground place in the world (read more about Salina Turda here).

How to get there

Rimetea is located in Alba County on DJ107M county road.

Getting there by car:
– from Cluj (less than one hour drive): take the E60 road from Cluj to Turda, follow DN1/E81 to DN75 in Mihai Viteazu, take the DN75 exit from DN1/E81 and follow DN75 and DJ107M to Rimetea,
– from Sibiu (about 1h 40 minutes): take the A1 road to Aiud and then continue on DJ107M to Rimetea,
– from Bucharest (about 5 ½ hours): take the E81 road from Bucharest to Sibiu and follow the route Sibiu – Rimetea above.

Alba Iulia, history at the heart of Romania

Alba Iulia is a tourist destination many may have never heard much of, but this up and coming tourist spot will definitely see increasing interest in the future. It’s time to plan a trip there before it gets too crowded. Most travelers go there with low expectations, but end up in awe and decide to revisit.

What the majority know about Alba Iulia relates to its rich history – this is the place where the great 1918 Union took place, which makes the city commonly referred to as the other capital city. But only a few people know about the Alba Carolina citadel, which now, after the restoration with EU and private money, looks stunning. The citadel and the relaxed feel of the city will definitely turn Alba Iulia into a tourist magnet.

It’s the heritage that makes this city a must-include-in-my-holiday destination, but it’s not only that. The main attraction is the Vauban fortress called Alba Carolina, and a trip around the citadel – which should be guided, otherwise you’ll miss a lot of stuff – is a trip through Romania’s history, back to the Dacian and Roman settlements, to the Habsburg citadel in the star-shaped configuration designed by the French engineer Marshal Vauban. Should you need a guided tour, the place to ask for one is the Museum of History (where the Union Hall is also located), where they can organize tailored tours, depending on how much time you have. They’re talented story tellers too – the museum director Gabriel Rustoiu is one of them.

The Vauban fortress was built between 1715-1738 after the Habsburg conquest of Transylvania, and it looks great restored. The seven gates of the star–shaped fortress are a tour in themselves, and what sets them apart from other Vauban–type fortresses are the decorations that are still present on the majority of them.

But the history of the place goes further back in time: this was the place where King Michael the Brave unified the three Romanian provinces for the first time (and for a short time) in 1600. Later on, in the 20th century, this was the reason the city was chosen for the Great Union of 1918. To this end, the Union Hall within the Union Museum is a must see. Later on in 1922, King Ferdinand and Queen Maria were crowned in Alba Iulia, at the Orthodox Cathedral, which was built for this occasion. A rarity to see an Orthodox Cathedral so close to a Catholic one, which had been on the site since the year 1000 – and yet they ‘live’ together in the Alba Iulia fortress.

There are several palaces that need to be visited – so book at least a day for your tour of the fortress. You will be impressed by the attention to detail and by the local authorities’ understanding of the need for entertainment. If you visited other citadels in Romania and found it a bit boring, it might not be the case here. From the guards dressed in historic costumes who perform a change of guard ritual every day and fire the cannons on Saturdays at noon, to the photo magnet statues located here and there in the fortress, everything creates a positive experience.

The fortress is a lively place, especially if you happen to visit while they organize one of their frequent cultural events. But even apart from that, a lot people from down the city spend time there, a lot of them biking and mixing with tourists. The change of the guard is also very popular among tourists and locals alike, and so is the new Roman guard the Museum of History has put together – people dressed in Roman army costumes, performing their ritual during the evening.

The city itself is very quiet and perfect for de-stressing, as it is not on the main transport route, like the nearby Sebeș is, so chances are high you will enjoy a stress–free weekend. There’s plenty accommodation available – check below for our recommendations.

While in Alba Iulia, there are several other destinations apart from the citadel. One is the Râmetului Gorge, which was an adventure in itself and a must try for those who like adrenaline and a bit of climbing – it’s good for beginners as well.

Once the highway being built to reach Sebeș is finished, it will be even easier to get to Alba Iulia from Bucharest, but even so, on the Bucharest – Pitești – Râmnicu Vâlcea and then the Olt Valley route, it takes about five hours to travel the 350 kilometers before reaching Alba Iulia. The road there is good, although in some areas only just acceptable, but scenery on the Olt Valley is so beautiful that you’ll ignore some bumps in the road. If you have time, stop at the Cozia monastery in Căciulata, just at the entry to the Olt Valley.

On your way back to Bucharest you can take a slightly longer route via the Jiului Valley and make a stop at the famous Sarmizegetusa Regia Dacian site in Hunedoara county. Then head back to Hunedoara and Petroșani to enter the beautiful Jiului Valley. In 2013, the road was closed for repairs three days a week, on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, so better check before planning the route.

By Corina Chirileasa

Pietrosu Rodnei, the biosphere reserve in Northern Romania

Pietrosu Rodnei is a biosphere reserve in the north of the country, part of the Pietrosu Mare reservation, spreading across 3300 hectares in the northern side of Rodnei Mountains. Located in Maramureş County near Borșa and Moisei localities, the natural reservation is bordered by Culmea Hotarului in the north, Piatra Albă in the east, Repedea Valley in the north-east, Gropi Mountains and Jneapănu Bătrânii-Râpi in the south and Izvoru Dragoș Valley in the west.

The Pietrosu Mare reservation has the most impressive glacial landscape in Rodnei Mountains: cirque glaciers Buhăescu, Zănoaga Iezerului, Zănoaga Mare, Zănoaga Mică, Rebra and Gropi. Among the most important peaks in the reservation are Buhăescu Mare (2221 m), Buhăescu Mic (2199 m), Gropi (2063 m), Piatra Albă (2061 m), Hotarului (1905 m) and Bătrâna (1770 m). The glacial lakes in the reservation are Iezerul Pietrosului (3450 sqm) located in the Iezer cirque at an altitude of 1825 m, Buhăescu I, Buhăesu II (1700 sqm and 5,20 m deep), Buhăescu III and Buhăescu IV.

How to get there

The most popular place where most tourists start their trip to Rodnei Mountains is Borșa resort in Maramureş County. Borșa can be reached by car on DN 18, coming from Baia Mare and Sighetul Marmației, or on DN 17, coming from Suceava, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Vatra Dornei and Bistrița.

Where to stay

Victoria Hotel
Address: 9 Strâmtura St., Borşa, Maramureş County
Phone: +40 745 805 353/ +40 744 121 565/ +40 262 342 349
Web: http:

Nordica Guesthouse
Address: 10/B Brădet St., Borşa Resort, Maramureş County
Phone: +40 747 861 500
Web: http:

Nature and tranquility at Cernica and Caldarusani monasteries

When out of ideas on what to do during the weekend and longer trips out of Bucharest are not an option, we’d recommend exploring the areas around the Romanian capital city. There are plenty of places to choose from for visiting, but this time let’s visit two monasteries. Two of the many surrounding Bucharest.

If you feel like a true explorer, the visit to the monasteries could include a drive through some of the nice villages around Bucharest. Not all of them are worth your time, but some might be just worth the trip.

Cernica monastery is first on our list. The first time we saw it, it was for a funeral, but that didn’t stop us from admiring it, and made a promise to return. Come next weekend and the nice spring weather, and we were there.

The full story here.

Tara Luanei: the mysterious land in Buzau

Mysterious is the best word to describe the land in Buzau Mountains, known as Tara Luanei (The Land of Luana). The name of the area is related to a legend known by the elders who used to live in the villages around. Luana, supposed to be of Sumerian origin, was the name of an old wise man who used to reign the land and a fortress. According to the legend, he also knew the cure for death, a cure connected to the healing springs in the area.

Legends and superstitions are woven around this region with ancient rupestrian paintings, plateaus with rocks which actually grow, instead of decreasing their size from erosion and places where paranormal activity has been reported. Tara Luanei is a less accessible but magnetic place near Bucharest, the part of Geopark Buzau which defines the area around the Bozioru, Nucu, Alunis, Colti localities in Buzau county.

Rupestrian settlements in Nucu-Aluniș

In the area of Bozioru-Alunis-Nucu localities lies a rupestrian settlement with 29 dwellings. The most known piece of this complex is the 700 years old church in Alunis village, one of the few places dug in rock where religious ceremonies are still held. The settlement is classified as an A class historical monument, some of the dwellings dating from the sixth century BC, while others from the Christian or early Christian period. In one of the caves – Fundul Pesterii – researchers have identified iconographical documents of over four millenniums.

Babele in Ulmet

Despite common knowledge, the rocks in Ulmet grow and even multiply. In scientific terms, the trovants (by their geological name) are supposed to be a transition form between mineral and vegetal. But they never cease to amaze, some people believing they have supernatural origins or that they are the evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Located on an isolated, sand plateau they have a strangely well burnished surface, with forms varying from perfectly oval to the shape of a mushroom or a flying saucer. The tallest rock in the formation has a height of two meters. They are called Babele due to their resemblance with a better-known rock formation of the same name in Bucegi plateau. You can get there taking the road from Bozioru village to Valea cu Teiu, going up towards the ridge of the rock formation.

Amber Museum in Colti

Six kilometers away from the rupestrian settlements lies Colti, locality famous for its yellow amber collection. Amber is an organic semiprecious stone resulted from the fossilization of several pine species dozens of years ago collection. The collection in Colti is unique in Romania and one of the few of this kind in the world. The most remarkable piece is an amber clod of almost 1.8 kg.

How to get there:

From Bucharest: Bucharest – Urziceni on Eurpean road E60, Urziceni – Buzau on European road E85, Buzau – Parscov on national road DN10, Parscov – Buzioru on county road DJ203L

From Brasov: Brasov – Parscov on national road DN10, Parscov – Buzioru on county road DJ203L


Accommodation nearby:

Check out hotels and guesthouses in Buzau on our dedicated section

Europe’s giants in Romania: bison reservations

Romania is one of the few places in Europe where the bison (bison bonasus) still lives. This amazing species dominating the deciduous forests in medieval Europe is almost extinct now, as there are only about 5.000 bisons in the world.

In Romania, they were re-introduced when the first two animals were brought from Poland and kept in the Haţeg – Slivuţ reservation. According to WWF, in the spring of 2015, a new group will be brought in Tarcu mountains in order to grow the bison population in Romania up to 500 individuals until 2022.

Dragoş Vodă reservation – Moldavia


Address: 2 Zimbrului St., Vânători Neamț locality, Neamț county

How to get there: Take the county road from Târgu Neamţ tothe Neamţ Monastery. At about 1,5 km, turn left.


Haţeg – Slivuţ reservation – Transylvania

This is the oldest bison reservation in Romania.

How to get there: Located in Hunedoara county. On the road from Haţeg to Strei turn left at an indicator. You will reach the location after approximately 3 km. Find here the location of the reservation on the map.


Neagra reservation –Bucşani

This reservation has the largest number of bisons in Romania.

How to get there: Located in Dâmbovița county. Take the DN72 roadfrom Târgovişte to Ploieşti, then the county road from Adânca to Bucşani. Pass Bucşani, enter Răţoaia and turn left at the church. Drive or walk forward until you reach the reservation.


Valea Zimbrilor (Bison Valley) – Brașov

Open in 2008, it has a family of 5 bisons, donated by three zoos in Europe.

How to get there: Located in Brașov county. Take the national road 10 from Brașov to Buzău and turn right when you reach Brădet, on the road 103A. Cross the Acriș locality and as you head for the other end of the locality, you will find Valea Zimbrilor on the left side of the street.

(photo credit: Michael Gäbler, Wikipedia)



Prislop Monastery, popular pilgrimage spot in Romania

For almost seven centuries now, Prislop monastery has been one of Romania’s most important spiritual points. Located at an altitude of 640 m and a distance of almost 15 km from Hațeg, a 500 years old locality in Hunedoara county, in the past years it has become a very popular pilgrimage spot for both laic and religious Romanians. The main reason is that here lies one of the country’s spiritual leaders during Communism, monk and priest Arsenie Boca, said to have made wonders and guided people closer to God. It is a certainty that he was persecuted by the Communist regime at that time, forcing him to secretly practice his duties as a priest.
The Prislop monastery is also known for hosting a Saint Mary icon said to have made wonders, as well as the icons hand painted by Arsenie Boca, orthodox leader whose name is deeply tied to the rebirth of the monastery.
According to the legend, princess Zamfira, the second founder of the monastery, was ill when she arrived at the Prislop monastery and was cured by the water she drank from the monastery’s spring.

For more details, visit Prislop Monastery’s facebook page.

Tourist attractions nearby

Sarmizegetusa, Corvin Castle, Dinosaurs Geopark in Hațeg, Retezat National Park and the Deva Fortress

How to get there
The shortest route, from Bucharest: take the E81, pass Pitești and Râmnicu Vâlcea, enter Brezoi locality and continue on road 7A. When you reach Petroșani, take road 66 until you reach Hațeg (town in Deva county). From there, take the road 687 which reaches the Prislop Monastery.

Sarmis Cristal Guesthouse
Address:Str.Progresului Nr.57, Sarmizegetusa, judetul Hunedoara.
Phone: 0754.030.337

Casa Cânda Guesthouse
Address: 190 Strada Principala, Salasu de sus
Phone:0740 132 925

Hotel Diamond & Complex Ovi
Address: Lacului St., Cinis, Hunedoara county
Phone: +40757 102 850

Corvin Castle: the standing legend

Best-known for the shivers sends tourists down their spine, Corvin Castle is one of the most important tourist attractions in Transylvania. Also known as Corvins’ Castle, Hunyad Castle or Hunedoara Castle, it is the largest medieval building in Romania still standing. With 42 rooms, two terraces, two bridges (of 55 and 30 meters), 7.000 square meters of built surface and a tower 72 meters high, it has an aura of an unbeatable fortress.

The Gothic-Renaissance castle, most probably built in the XIV century, has managed to defy wars, fires and generations for hundreds of years.  Host of imprisonments and even executions throughout time, it gave birth to dark legends of killings and sufferance. Vlad the Impaler is said to have been imprisoned here by Iancu de Hunedoara, the ruler who owned the property at that time, reason for which the castle ended up being associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, although the writer sketches another location for his setting, closer to Moldavia. Another legend is the one of the twelve Turkish prisoners who were promised they would be set free if they dug a well 30 meters deep and to whom, after 15 years of work, liberty was denied. It is said that the inscription on a wall “you have water, but no soul” belongs to them.

During modern times, several well-known film productions chose Corvin Castle as setting, some of them portraying world or Romanian historical characters: François Villon, Vlad Tepes, Mihai Viteazul, Alexandru Lapusneanu, David, The Damned Kings, Vlad, Jacqou le Croquat, Blood Rayne.

The Corvin Castle can be visited every day, from Monday to Sunday during 09:00 – 17:00 (last entry is 40 minutes before closing time). Entry fee is 25 lei for adults and 5 lei for students and pupils. An audio guide is available for Android and iOS phones, you will pay 6 lei for it.

If you are looking for a very special place for an event, it is good to know that the castle administration is open to renting: the wedding chapel is 800 RON/hour, while castle festivities cost 1.200 RON/hour.

For more information on the facilities, check out the official website.


How to get there


1-3 Castelului Street, Hunedoara city, Hunedoara county

GPS coordinates:

Latitude N 45 45.006
Longitude E 22 53.302

Road access:

From south: E79 via Targu Jiu – Petrosani – Deva

From north: E79 via Oradea – Beius

Romania’s Semmering: the oldest mountain railroad

The first mountain railroad in Romania was built in 1863, during the reign of the Austrian Empire in Banat, the country’s western region. Located between Oravița and Anina, it is unique in Romania and falls into the A class category of historical monuments.

The Oravița — Anina mountain railroad is also known as Banat’s Semmering, in comparison with the similar, but famous Austrian railroad. Today, Banat’s Semmering is still considered to be a masterpiece in railroad constructions, unique in Romania and south-eastern Europe. It has 14 tunnels dug in hard rock, ten viaducts and four train stations, on a 33, 4 km route with a level difference of 340 meters. The railroad has cuts into rock totaling 21 km and support walls on a length of 10 km. But the great art of the construction lies in its slope of 20 per thousand, compared to the other railroads which have a slope of 14 per thousand.

The beauty of the landscape throughout the route is breathtaking in any season. “Throughout the road, the beauty of the landscape goes hand in hand with the thrills each unexpected kilometer gives: tunnels dug in the mountain rock, viaducts over deep valleys and open crossings.” says Prof. PhD. Gheorghe Popovici in his book on the mountains in Banat region.

Today, the train traveling this route consists of a Romanian diesel-electric locomotive, built specifically for the Oravița – Anina line and two second class wagons with wooden benches, built in 1914. The wagons were reconditioned several times, but the shell and the interior remained unchanged. Interior heating is on steam. The average speed is 17 km/ hour, the road from Oravița to Anina being traveled in two hours.

How to get there

By car, from Bucharest: Bucharest – Pitești: E81 road; Pitești – Craiova: E574 road; Craiova – Orșova – Plugova (locality in Caraș-Severin county): E70 road; Plugova – Oravița: 57B


Noblesse Guesthouse
Address: 51B Trandafirilor St., Băile Herculane, Caraș-Severin county
Phone: +40255 560 566

La Ponton Guesthouse
Address: 1016A Dunarii St., Eşelniţa, Mehedinți county, DN 57 – Orșova – Moldova Nouă national road
Phone: +40 25 231 49 49


UNESCO World Heritage site: Rudăria water mill park

The largest complex of water mills in southern Europe – 22 watermills, two centuries old – stretches on three kilometers along the Rudăria river, at the foothills of Almăjului Mountains in Banat (western region of Romania including Timişoara). The famous water mills park attracts tourists from Romania and abroad, as the site is included in the UNESCO World Heritage and was recently revamped by the “Astra” Village Museum in Sibiu.

Although the use of these primary hydraulic systems was introduced in the area in the second and third centuries, the first 8 mills were officially registered in 1722. Just 50 years later, in 1874, 51 mills were functional. In the meantime, due to floods and other events, their number went down to 22. Locals still use them for grinding and as a meeting place. One mill grinds about 130 kilograms in one day and is managed by 15 to 25 families from the village. Visitors can understand better the milling system here in the museum at Rudaria, where a dismantled mill is exhibited.

Surrounded by mountains, the Efitime Murgu locality (in older times called Rudăria, after the river crossing it) in Caraş-Severin county has a picturesque landscape: Aninei and Semenicului in the north-west, Almăjului in south, Locvei mountains in south-west and Ţarcului and Cernei mountains in the background, towards east.

How to get there

By car, from Bucharest: take E81 road to Piteşti, then E574 to Craiova and E70 to Orşova. As you pass Orşova, continue on E70 until you reach road 57B. Turn left on 57B and continue until you reach a roadsign indicating the Eftimie Murgu locality. Turn left on that road (571F) and continue until you exit the village. After a few miles it reaches a forestry road and the entrance at the mill park.


Photosource: Wikipedia

Romania’s most spectacular canyon – Cheile Nerei National Park

If you are looking for wild scenery and tranquility, Cheile Nerei is the place to go. A reservation known for its wild, untouched places, it offers a restful break from civilization. Between the Sopotul Nou and Sasca Romana localities, throughout around 20 km, Nera crosses a spectacular, narrow gorge, forming the longest canyon in Romania. The walls are up to 200m high, as the water of Nera and of its tributaries dug and formed into the limestone rock lakes, canyons, caves and cascades.

The most impressive spots in the park are Lacul Dracului ( Devil’s Lake, the largest karstic lake in the country, 9.3 m deep, formed by the collapse of cave roof), Valea Rea (Evil Valley) canyon, Ochiul Beiului Lake, Beusnitei Cascades which succeed one another on the gulch, Voinii Cave, Pestera Mica (Little Cave), Pestera Mare (Big Cave).


The Cheile Nerei – Beusnita National Park is located in the South-West of Romania, Caras Severin County
Geographic coordinates in the central area are 44º 45 ‘north latitude and 21 ° 53’ east longitude.

Road acces
The only national road that reaches the park is DN 58, Caransebes – Resita – Anina.
The city of Caransebes is located on E 94 ( DN 6 ), between Timisoara and Drobeta Turnu Severin. You can also reach Resita from Timisoara on DN 58 B, 120 km. Points of access to the park: Oravita, Sasca Montana, Sopotu Nou, Carbunari, Bozovici, Anina.

The two access roads to the park are DN 58 (asphalt road, Caransebes – Resita – Anina, 84 km) and DN 57 B (asphalt road, Baile Herculane – Bozovici – Anina – Oravita). They reach the park but visiting the park is possible only by foot or by bike.


Here are the waymarked trails available in the park:

Symbol Waymark trail Duration
3 – 4 h
2 – 3 h


Map of the park available here.




Rocker’s Inn

Address: 763 Sasca Montana, Caras Severin county

Phone: +40735 532 674






La Vechea Moara

Address: 530 Sasca Montana, Caras Severin county

Phone: +40723 141 458





Casa cu Platani

Address: 14 Brazilor, Ciclova Montana, Caras Severin county

GPS coordinates: Latitudine 45.0333333 / Longitudine  21.6833333

Phone: +4 0766 541 784






Cabana Sapte Brazi

Address: Nucilor Street, Oravita, Caras Severin county

Phone: +40752 133 301





Where to eat:



Rocker’s Inn – Restaurant

Address: 763 Sasca Montana, Caras Severin county

Phone: +40735 532 674







La Vechea Moara – Restaurant

Address: 530 Sasca Montana, Caras Severin county

Phone: +40723 141 458


A two-day tour of Brașov citadels

While driving on weekends to ski resorts in Brașov county, take a short detour to discover the fortresses and citadels in the area. Little jewels of history, they spread throughout the Brașov – Râșnov – Bran – Făgăraș region on a distance of about 100 km. You can reach them by car, train (and, during summer, by bike on cycle lanes).

If you want to dedicate an entire trip to visiting the fortresses and castles, here is an idea for simple two-day visit:

Day 1

Start your tour in Brașov city with the Citadel, the old defense system – the city wall, the towers and bastions, the Ecaterina and Șchei gates –, the first Romanian school. Continue with a cable car ride to Tâmpa. At its foothill, the Woodcutter’s Tower is open for visitors who can admire here old handicrafts. Pass Poiana Brașov to get to Râșnov, where you can spend about two hours visiting the Râșnov Citadel, a landmark in Romania. The Citadel’s opening hours are daily from 09: 00 to 19:00.

Day 2

On the second day, use the morning energy to visit the Bran Castle, famous for the Dracula myth (it takes about two hours as well). The museum is open on Monday from 12:00 to 18:00, and from Tuesday to Sunday – from 9:00 to 18:00. Move on to Făgăraș, where the well set-up museum of the Făgăraș Fortress is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00. Make sure to take advantage of the souvenir stands and shops and renew your wardrobe with knitted wool clothes made by the women in the area. And if you’re interested in seeing how the wool was washed in the old days – using nothing more than water and inventiveness, stop by Vâltorile de la Lisa (the Lisa Whirlpools).

Buşteni, the popular mountain resort in Romania

One of the most popular mountain resorts in Romania, Buşteni is a little town located in Prahova Valley at the foothills of Bucegi mountains, near Sinaia. At an average altitude of 930 m, it offers great panoramas for those on the lookout for nature’s beauty and it’s an ideal starting point for hiking, climbing and skiing in the mountains.

Many tourist attractions are spread around the resort, from the natural ones: Urlătoarea (howling) Cascade, Babele and the Sphynx – rock formations on the Bucegi plateau, the National Park Bucegi, Poiana Crucii, to historical monuments such as the Cantacuzino Castle, Biserica Domnească(the Royal Church) built by King Carol I and Queen Elisabeta of Romania and the Caraiman Monastery, located right at the foothills of the Caraiman mountain. For more activities and sightseeing, also check out our Sinaia section on the website.

Buşteni is fitted with cable car transport connecting the area around the resort with the Bucegi plateau. The route by cable car has a length of 4350 m and a height difference of 1235 m. Tickets are RON 35 (EUR 8) for adults and RON 18 (EUR 4) for children, students and pensioners.

The resort is also known for the Kalinderu ski slope, one of the most modern in Romania, homologated by the International Ski Federation. It has a length of 1.500 m, an average grade of 37% and a width of 40 m. Prices for the chairlift at Kalinderu are RON 20 (EUR 4) for adults and RON 10 (EUR 2) for children, students and pensioners. Near the Kalinderu ski slope, tourists can enjoy a Fun Park with a slope for beginners (150 m), baby ski (120 m), tubbing track, slide and a carousel. A four hour pass at the Fun Park is RON 25 (EUR 5).

How to get there: You can reach Buşteni by car on DN1 (136 Km from BUcharest, 35 Km from Braşov) or by train, on the Bucharest – Braşov route.

For accommodation in Buşteni, go here. For restaurants, go here.

(Photo credit: Stefan Jurca, Wikipedia)

Three places with winter wonderland scenery

Balaban Inn in Bran, Transylvania

Near Bran Castle in Transylvania, on a hill high above Simon village lies the Inn on Balaban, a place with a remarkable panorama of the Carpathian Mountains. The 360 degrees scenery includes the Piatra Craiului mountain range, the Bucegi mountains to the east and the Rucăr – Bran corridor to the south.

Location: Simon village, Braşov county (near Bran)

Phone: +40722 606 138


GPS coordinates: 45.4830, 25.3675

How to get there by car:

From Bucharest (2 1/2 hours): Go north from Bucharest on Route 1 (direction of Otopeni Airport) to Ploesti, continue towards Sinaia until you reach the town of Azuga. A few miles later after crossing a large curved concrete train overpass, turn left onto Route 73A and go about 12 miles (21 km) to Rasnov. Turn south at the intersection to Bran about 7 miles away (12 km) and at the small but busy town center ask for instructions or call at the Inn.

From Brasov: Pass through the village of Bran, about 1 km after passing Bran castle take a left following the signs for Simon village. In Simon turn left at the church and follow the signs and the gravel road for approximately 4 km.

Check out more information on the Balaban Inn in a Romania-Insider article written by Friederich Niemann.


cabana-dochia-ceahlau-romania-smallCabana Dochia, Eastern Carpathians

At 1750m altitude in the Eastern Carpathians, in the upper region of in the Ceahlău mountain range, on the plateau, between Lespezi (1805 m) and Bîtca Gheodon (1845 m) peaks, Cabana Dochia opens a dominant view towards east, south-east and south. Open for the first time in 1908, it is the only high-altitude retreat with accommodation in Ceahlău. If you’re in for winter hiking, firewood heating with terracotta stoves and thirst for adventure, Cabana Dochia is a must-visit place this time around.


Phone: +40730 603 801, +40730 603 802

How to get there:

By marked tourist paths, from the base of the mountain, from all cardinal points; from Ceahlău village in 4½5 hours; from Izvorul Alb or Secu localities in 5½-6 hours; from Izvorul Muntelui retreat in 3½ or 44½ hours; from Neagra village in 6-7 hours; from Telec village in 5-5½ hours; from Pintic village in 5½-6 hours; from Durău resort in 3-4½ hours.


domeniul-cerbilor-facebook-smallDomeniul Cerbilor, Bucovina

This is a peaceful place at the heart of Bucovina. It offers a beautiful view over gentle slopes and forests surrounding it. The sunset on the horizon and the fog settling among pine trees are even more awing if enjoyed behind the glass wall covering one side of the guesthouse’s ground floor.

Lucky visitors can even see deer in the area.

Location: Delnita, Colacu village, Fundu Moldovei locality, 72271 Suceava county

Phone: +40737 864 577 (reception), +40744 597 407 (manager)


The Old Mill in Hosman

Hosman is a typical Transylvanian Saxon village in Hârtibaci Valley, preserving one of Europe’s the last authentic medieval landscapes: flowering meadows, forests, haystacks spreading on hills and a fortified church that dominates the panorama with Făgăraş Mountains in the background. In this landscape, the Old Mill in Hosman is a complete snapshot of the life of a Transylvanian village.

Revived by the family that passed on traditions from one generation to another, the places includes a mill, a bakery and a smithy workshop open for both visitors and locals.

In the front part of the building, the old home of the miller, a traditional bakery and an oven on wood for baking bread were set up. Luiza, a baker who took on the family tradition, rediscovered traditional recipes from the region and now makes bread for both tourists and locals. Some bio specialties made here are also available in Sibiu, at the Biocoop association of organic producers in the area.

A second building of this living cultural ensemble consists of the mill and the blacksmith workshop. The actual mill has a simple circuit for grinding corn and a complete circuit for grinding wheat grain, elevators, seed cleaning systems and a restored sieve for flour, made in 1920 in Braşov. Next to them is an old “Langen & Wolf” engine, brought to Hosman after the Second World War. The smithy shop also has a few tools and an old threshing machine. Just like the mill, the blacksmith workshop was renovated on its initial site. Although the main mode of transportation here is the cart pulled by horses, there are no other public blacksmith workshops open in Hosman, so villagers still come at the Old Mill for repairs and other services.

The barn of the household was set up to host small events like workshops and presentations and local events. Besides guided tours of the Old Mill, hosts organize here bakery, smithy and milling workshops of two hours, for both adults and children. They can be accompanied by translation for an additional fee.

Overlooking the street, the mill shop sells bread and pastry goodies, all made at the Old Mill. In an authentic setting with carefully restored furniture specific to shops in Altana region, the small shop also sells souvenirs made by local craftsmen. This is where tourists can also find presentation materials with details on the surroundings, including details on accommodation in the area and visiting routes in the program initiated in 2007, “Traveling among cultures in the footsteps of Samuel Brukenthal”.

A special thing about the Old Mill is that they can organize brunches and picnics with homemade bread and traditional delicacies in the apple tree orchard behind the mill. Tourists can also take their breakfast, lunch or dinner at the mill, based on reservations.


Visiting the old mill

The Old Mill can be visited from May to September, from Monday to Sunday, 12:00 – 16:00. Visits are made based on appointments by e-mail or phone.

Old mill guided tours of 60 minutes are available in English, German, Hungarian and Romanian.


How to get there

Hosman is located 27 km away from Sibiu and can be reached by car on road 106, turning right on road 45, the main street that crosses the village.


The Old Mill/ Moara Veche/ Alte Mühle/ Régi Malom, Hosman village, Nocrich locality, Sibiu County

Phone: +40 748 800 049 (Gabriela Cotarus)

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: (info available in German and Romanian)



Photo source: Moara Veche – Alte Mühle – Régi Malom – Old Mill facebook page

Putna: Europe’s oldest wooden church

Few tourists who visit Romania’s legendary Putna monastery know that the silent little wooden church they pass by to get there, just 1 kilometre away, is Europe’s oldest wooden church. Built around 1350, this is the oldest and the only medieval wooden church known so far in Romania. Although modest and almost forgotten compared to other legendary religious edifices in the country, its remarkable age and archaic plan make it priceless.

According to specialists and historians, the wooden church of Putna was actually built in Volovăţ, another locality in the region, during the reign of Dragoş Vodă, in the mid XIV century, but was relocated by Ştefan cel Mare, Moldova’s best-known ruler and iconic character in Romania’s history. The aura of legend that grew in time around the now famous Putna monastery seems to come from this little, modest-looking wooden church said to have hosted once the tomb of the legendary ruler Dragoş Vodă.

The age of the church was established in 2003, after Romanian architect Alexander Baboş took 16 samples from different old parts of the structure. These samples were analyzed by Swedish specialist Hans Linderson at the Laboratory of dendrochronology in Lund, Sweden.

Just like many other wooden religious edifices in the country, the old wooden church is currently facing several dangers – the main ones are the xylophagous insects, moulder and moisture – requiring urgent conservation and restoration works, currently postponed due to lack of funds.

How to get there

The wooden church in Putna or Dragoş Vodă’s church is located in the cemetery of Putna village in Suceava County, in the Moldavian region of Romania. As you cross the village on road 2H, the wooden church is on the right side of the road, one kilometre before the Putna Monastery (located on the left side).

By car: Road E85: Bucharest – Urziceni – Buzău – Focşani – Bacău – Suceava – Slobozia Sucevei; road 2H: Slobozia Sucevei – Rădăuţi – Vîlcovu de Jos – Putna

The Romanian Banat: a land of gorges and wilderness

Just like its inhabitants living together – Romanians, Hungarians, Germans and Serbs – the land of Banat in Western Romania reflects harmony and diversity in its surprising variety of landscapes: from the depths of caves, the wilderness of forests and mountains to the peaceful flow of the Danube through the gorge where it enters Romania. Banat’s natural attractions make up a long list worth taking the time to travel there. We came up with a top 5 places, each of them worthy of a long article:

Clisura Dunării

The name comes from the Serbian word “klisura” and means the Danube Gorge or Gate. The place also known as Defileul Dunării is actually the area where the Danube enters Romania. Located in southern Romanian Banat, at the border with Serbia this place includes tourist attractions like the Baziaş Gulf, the Dead Nera (Nera Moartă in Romanian; Nera is a river crossing Banat region and entering Danube in Clisura) natural reservation, the Dacian fortress or the castrum (Roman camp) in Divici or the Martins’ Lavin (Râpa cu lăstuni in Romanian) natural reservation in Divici. A lacustrine village opened with European funds in gulf Berzasca in Clisura should make 30 bungalows available to tourists starting this spring.

By car, Clisura Dunării can be reached from Timişoara on road DN 57 up to Oraviţa, then Moldova Nouă. In Naidăş locality take the road to Zlatiţa, Socol and Baziaş, all three of them localities in Clisura Dunării.


Cheile Nerei – Beuşniţa National Park

The wilderness in Cheile Nerei is still untouched thanks to the difficult access in the area. Spreading on almost 37000 hectares around the middle course of the Nera River, this karst area hides an amazing floral richness, very diverse and unique landscapes. The main attractions here are the gorge dug by Nera River and its tributaries, the karst lakes Eye of the Bey (Ochiul Beiului in Romanian) and Devil’s Lake (Lacul Dracului in Romanian), the waterfalls Beuşniţa, Bigăr and Şuşara, the caves and abysses Plopa, Ponor, Dubova and Ox’s Cave (Peştera Boilor).

Cheile Nerei- Beuşniţa national park is located in the south region of Aninei Mountains in Caraş-Severin County. The park can be reached on roads: Resita – Oravita – Sasca Montană, Reşiţa – Oraviţa – Anina – Bozovici, Reşiţa – Anina – Bozovici, Bozovici – Şopotu Nou – Cărbunari.


The abyss in the Clearing of the Pit (Poiana Gropii in Romanian)

With a difference of level of -236 meters and a length of 1029 meters, this is the deepest abyss (very deep chasm) in Banat. It is actually a chain of steep wells and galleries with a creek at the end of it, the trail of which gets lost in a deep gallery. Unfortunately, the abyss can be visited by experienced speleologists only, but a visit to its impressive entrance can be very interesting.

The abyss is located at about 6 kilometers from Cuptoare locality in Caraş-Severin County, close to the mountain trail marked by the blue dot which starts behind the forest canton Poiana Bichii.


The Semenic – Cheile Caraşului National Park

Canyons, caves, pit caves, sinkholes, ridges, valleys, pasture and forests that stretch on Anina and Semenic Mountains form eight natural reservations brought together under the name of Semenic – Cheile Caraşului National Park. In this strictly protected area, any form of use or exploitation of natural resources, any form of usage of the land is forbidden.  That is why, tourists can experience untouched wilderness in the caves Răsuflătoarei, Comarnic, Popovaţ and  Exploratorii ’85 (Explorers ’85 in Romanain), Nera’s Springs (Izvoarele Nerei in Romanian), the gorges Cheile Caraşului and Cheile Gârliştei, Caraşului Springs (Izvoarele Caraşului in Romanian), Buhui, Turbării.

From Bucharest, the Semenic – Cheile Caraşului National Park can be reached on road E70 (Bucharest – Craiova – Drobeta-Turnu Severin – Orşova – Topleţ) and national road DN6 – Mehadia.

By car, access to the park is possible from any locality surrounding it: Reşita, Iabalcea, Carasova, Anina, Prigor, Crivaia or Gărâna (the last of them hosts of one of the most popular jazz festivals in Romania).


The Sphinx of Banat

Also known as the Sphinx in Topleț, this enigmatic megalith is still a reason for controversy among specialists. According to some, the 16 meters high and 8 meters wide rock resembling the head of a man was naturally formed in time, through wind and rain erosion. Others believe that its striking resemblance with an impressive, mysterious human profile is the result of an anthropomorphic representation.

The rock is located on Cernei Valley in Caraș-Severin County, on road E70 Bucharest – Timisoara. It can be seen from distance, across the Cerna river, on the right side of the road to Timisoara, after Toplet, about 3 kilometers before reaching the train station at Băile Herculane.


Photo source: Clisura Dunării facebook

Schitul Dărvari, a hermitage at the heart of Bucharest

If you didn’t know it’s there, the thick walls at 3 Schitul Dărvari Street would tell nothing about it. Although the name of the street makes it clear enough for a child to figure out the riddle, it is still hard to believe that this is a hermitage at the heart of the capital.

However many books and articles are being written about Bucharest, some places remain unknown by most passers-by and tourists, to the delight of hunters of urban hidden treasures. Regardless of religion, this hermitage is an oasis of tranquility for anyone to enjoy, just a couple of minutes away from the heavy traffic in Romană Square.

Schitul Dărvari was founded in 1834 in the central area of the city, near the Grădina Icoanei (Garden of the Icon in English) park. Some years later it hosted 12 nuns who cared for the church and sang at the offices. In 1864, the hermitage was closed, only to reopen five years later when Romanian monks returning from the famous Athos Mountain in Greece found shelter here. In 1933, Schitul Dărvari was restored by the grandson of the founder and the church was painted in fresco by Iosif Keber, in neo-Byzantine style. In 1959 the hermitage was closed by the communist authorities, leaving the hermitage to reopen only in 1996, after the fall of the communist regime.

Today, Schitul Dărvari is inhabited once again and has been officially declared a historical monument.

Visiting hours

The gate of the hermitage opens every morning at 07:30 and closes in the evening at 19:30.

Office hours

For those who want to listen to an Orthodox office, the church at the hermitage holds daily offices: in the morning, from 07:30 to 10:30, and in the evening, from 17:00 to 18:30.

Frankincense workshop

Schitul Dărvari opened a frankincense workshop using the original recipe and technology from the monasteries at Athos Mountain in Greece. Frankincense (tămâie in Romanian, from thymanea in Latin) is used in all Orthodox rituals and symbolizes a gift offered to God as a sign of thankfulness. It is actually an aromatic resin of exotic trees of the genus Boswellia from India and South Arabia.

At Schitul Dărvari, you can find six fragrances: Bizantino, Pascalia, Athos, Bethleem, Jasmin, Gardenia and Rose. A 50 grams box costs RON 5 and a 10 grams box – RON 1.5.


Photo source: Schitul Dărvari official website

Taking a walk on the wilde side: Retezat National Park

Probably the most impressive mountains in the country, the Retezat National Park –is the place to visit for those looking for wild adventures in Romania. With twenty peaks of over 2.000 meters (the highest peak, Peleaga, reaches 2.509 meters) and 80 glacial lakes, including Bucura Lake (pictured) – the largest glacial lake in the country – this is the most complex mountain massif in Romania’s Carpathians. Located in the Southern Carpathians, in Hunedoara County, this UNESCO biosphere reserve covers over 38.000 hectares of the Retezat-Godeanu massif. Not only does it have spectacular, truly breath-taking views, it is also the home of the rare chamois, lynx, wildcats, roe deer, red deer, bears, wolves or wild boars. Retezat is also famous for its floral diversity, sheltering around 1190 superior plants species of the 3450 species known in Romania. Out of them, 130 are rare ones, included in the “Red list of superior plants in Romania”.

To enter the park costs only RON 10, while for kids under 14 years old entrance is free. The ticket is valid for one week, regardless of the number of times you enter the park during this period. The ticket can be paid at the visiting points in Nucşoara, Gura Apei, at the Codrin (Cârnic) Hut, the Pietrele Hut and at the other access points in the park available on the official website (page in Romanian).


Tourist attractions nearby

  • The Dinosaur Geopark in Ţara Haţegului – a special protected area where dwarf dinossaurs, unique in the world, have been discovered;
  • The bison reservation in Haţeg – Slivuţ – read more about it here;
  • Defileul Jiului National Park – a gorge formed by the Jiu River between the Vâlcan Mountains and Parâng Mountains;
  • The ruins of the Roman camp at Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the former capital of Roman Dacia and the museum with artifacts from that period;
  • The Prislop Monastery – one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Romania, built in 1400 by the monk Nicodim with the help of legendary ruler Mircea cel Bătrân.


How to get there from Bucharest, by car

The easiest way is to take the road E81 from Bucharest to Râmnicu Vâlcea, then road 67 up to Târgu Jiu. From Târgu Jiu turn right on E79 and enjoy the view as you cross the national park Defileul Jiului. When you reach Ohaba de Sub Piatră, turn left on road 667 A and drive through villages Sălaşu de Jos, Sălaşu de Sus and Mălăieşti to reach Nucşoara. This is where you will find the park administration, at number 284.

The administration of the Retezat Park can be contacted by e-mal at [email protected] or by phone at +40 733 888 586.


Where to stay (guesthouses)

Pensiunea Retezat
Address: 351 Nisipoasa St., Clopotiva village, Râu de Mori locality, Hunedoara County
Phone: +40 254 897 119, +40 758 836 582

Cabana Retezat
Address: 321 Clopotiva village, Râu de Mori locality, Hunedoara County
Phone: +40 754 037 921, +40 374 901 243

Casa Iulia
Address: 112 Horea St., Haţeg, Hunedoara County
Phone: +40 761 320 778

Cabana Foresta
Address: 10 Cabanelor St., Câmpu lui Neag, Lupeni, Hunedoara County
Phone: +40 741 155 151

Address: 82, Sarmizegetusa, Hunedoara County
Phone: +40 744 794 051

How to make a traditional Romanian Easter lunch

This is a good time of the year to impress you dear ones with how much you know about your new home and its cuisine. Whether it’s you family back home or your new friends in Romania, plan a surprise and cook them a Romanian Easter menu. It is rather simple to do it and fun. You can even invite them over to cook together. We came up with the best-known dishes Romanians cook on Easter. Here are the recipes:


Drob (similar to a haggis; cooking time: about 120 minutes)

Ingredients: lamb guts (heart, liver, kidney), 5oo grams of chicken liver, 4 boiled eggs, 4 raw eggs, 4 bunches of spring onions, 3 bunches of fresh parsley, 3 bunches of fresh dill, 2 slices of bread, one cup of milk, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.

Place the lamb guts and chicken liver in a saucepan with cold water for about an hour. Wash them well and boil them in clean water with salt. If they make foam, make sure you clear the foam with a spatula or sieve. Boil 4 eggs for about 5 minutes from the moment the water starts boiling. Chop finely the spring onions, the parsley and the dill. Let the lamb guts and chicken liver cool well and then grind them together with the two slices of bread soaked in milk. Mix them together with the chopped herbs and raw eggs and add salt and pepper. Grease a baking pan (the form is the same as the one used for the cozonac recipe, see below) with oil and dust it with the bread crumbs. Place half of the mixture in it, put the boiled eggs and then pour over the rest of the composition. Bake it for 40 – 45 minutes.


Lamb sour soup (cooking time: about 45 minutes)

Ingredients: 1 kg of lamb meat and bones, 2 or 3 bunches of green onions, 1 dry onion, 2 carrots, 1 parsley root, 3 or 4 spoons of vegetable oil to cook the vegetables, 30 – 40 grams of rice, 2 bunches of fresh lovage, 1 liter of fresh borş (fermented mix of bran and water) or the juice from one lemon, 2 yolks, cream and salt.

Chop finely the green onions, the dry onion, the carrots and parsley root, then cook them just a bit in oil. Wash the meat well put it in cold water to boil. Once it starts boiling, throw away the water, wash the meat well and the put it back to boil in fresh water. Put the cooked vegetables to boil together with the meat. When they are almost done, wash the rice and add it in. after the rice is boiled, add the borş or the juice from one lemon. Let it simmer until the meat is well cooked. Turn off the stove and add the fresh herbs. Mix the two yolks in a bowl and add soup from the cooking pot, little by little, until the bowl fills, mixing gently. Add this to the soup and mix well.


Cozonac (traditional cake Romanians make on Easter and Christmas) – check out the recipe for cozonac here


Pască (pictured; traditional round cake with cottage cheese and raisins Romanians make on Easter and Christmas; cooking time: about 50 minutes)

Ingredients: Dough – 2 ½ teaspoons of dried yeast, 1 cup of warm milk, ½ cup of sugar, 80 grams of soft butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 eggs, 4 ½ cups of flour (type 000, available in any hypermarket). Filling – 500 grams of cottage cheese, sugar, 3 eggs, 3 teaspoons of vanilla-flavored powdered sugar, raisins, 5 tablespoons of semolina and lemon zest.

Put the yeast in warm milk, adding the soft butter. Mix well the eggs with sugar and add salt. Pour it over the milk, add the vanilla-flavored sugar and the flour. Knead until you have an elastic dough, slightly sticky, but which doesn’t stick to hands. Cover it and let it rise until it doubles its size. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing together all its ingredients. Split the dough into three unequal parts. Spread one in a greased and dusted baking pan. Split the second into two: from one, make decorations to put on top of the cake, and from the second make a ribbon to place around the walls of the cooking pan. The last part of the dough is used to make a braided ring to be placed on top of the ribbon. Add the filling, grease well the top of the cake with a mixed egg and put it in the oven. Take it out when it is browned enough.


Painted eggs (cooking time: 15 minutes)

Ingredients: 10 eggs, kit for painting eggs (available in any hypermarket in various colors), 7-8 tablespoons of grape vinegar, oil.

Wash the eggs well and put them to boil in water for about 10 minutes. In another pot, boil 200 ml water, add the egg paint from the kit and the grape vinegar, add the eggs. Take them out after 2 minutes (or the time mentioned in the instructions on the kit) on a plate to cool. Grease them with oil for shine, once they are dry.



Survey: a quarter of Romanians discard culture, while half of them read books

Almost 25% of Romanians believe culture is ‘not very important’ while 63% of Romania’s population never goes to the theater. These are some the findings of the Cultural Consumption Barometer to be launched next week.

However, Romanians are not ignoring culture altogether: almost half of them read a book or more a month and 43% visit museums once a year or more often.

Read the entire article on

Saving the Romanian wooden churches

The European heritage organization Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute have a plan to save wooden churches in Romania’s southern Transylvania and northern Oltenia regions while creating some jobs in the process.

The churches were included in ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ heritage sites in Europe in 2014, following a nomination by the national heritage NGO Pro Patrimonio Foundation.

Read the entire article on

New mall in Western Romanian city of Timişoara

South – African fund NEPI recently started work on its new shopping mall in the Western Romanian city of Timisoara. The mall will cover 70,000 sqm in southern Timisoara, and will include a 4,000 – sqm multiplex cinema. NEPI will invest EUR 78 million in the new mall, whose completion date was not yet announced.

Read the entire article on

Fire destroys 5 hectares of Bucharest’s Văcăreşti Delta

A fire destroyed some 5 hectares of vegetation in Bucharest’s Văcăreşti Delta, on Wednesday, March 11. Several fires affected the area in the past months.

Bucharest’s Delta is located in the area of the former Văcăreşti lake, in the south-eastern part of Bucharest. It covers around 200 hectares, including some 80 hectares of water.

Read the entire article on

Castle Break: discovering castles and mansions in Romania

A Romanian NGO called Arche Association recently launched Castle Break, an initiative that aims to promote less known castles and mansions in Romania through cultural tourism.

Tourists can choose from several cultural tours organized in different regions in Romania. The tours include visits to local craftsmen, city tours, traditional products tastings and visits to castles and mansions. For this year, the association planned seven tours comprising over 20 castles and mansions in Romania.

Read the entire article on

20 funny expressions Romanians use

There are plenty of expressions and sayings in the Romanian language, many of which very hard to translate. Foreigners who embark on a journey of learning the local language sometimes learn it the hard way.

Romanians have their own funny ways of expressing feelings or talk about different things, but most of the time these expressions are hard to understand if you are not a local; some of them however might be similar, or close to expressions in English.

Here’s a list of 20 funny Romanian expressions, their word-by-word translations into English, followed by explanations of what exactly do they mean.

Read the entire article on

Romania’s Prince Nicolae crosses Romania by bike

Romania’s Prince Nicolae will cross Romania by bike, on a route linking Sighetu Marmatiei in the northern Maramures region to the Black Sea port of Constanta in south-east Romania, for humanitarian purposes.

He will travel over 1,000 km in 11 days, between April 23 and May 3.

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Debenhams will re-open in Romania

British retailer Debenhams will make a comeback in Romania end-March, by re-opening and expanding its first shop in the country. Debenhams plans to open its three-storey shop in the Bucuresti Mall shopping center, which will cover some 2,800 sqm. The retailer previously occupied the space under a different local franchiser, until 2013.

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