Romania is home to impressive scenery, and while it is mostly popular due to its ‘land of Dracula’ fame, that’s not the only thing that makes this Eastern European country worth visiting. With its unique history, medieval castles and impressive nature, Romania is a great destination for travelers who want to explore the world without breaking the bank. And unlike other European countries, food prices and hotels are affordable. Plus, Romanian people are very welcoming and want to make sure you’ll have a great time while discovering their country.
And while Romania is not very popular with Scandinavian tourists, in this article we’ll share what Nordic tourists like doing most, and are impressed about when visiting Romania.
1. Organic food and surprisingly good wines
Romania is not your typical destination for foodies – but it impresses thanks to its rich traditional cuisine made with home-grown, mostly organic products. It may not be fancy like French cuisine, but it is inviting especially if comfort food is what you’re looking for.
While pork is king in most dishes, Romania also excels at salads, soups called ciorba – a mix of slow boiled veggies and meat. And here’s an interesting fact about the country’s food: while the taste seems familiar, it doesn’t actually resemble anything you’ve tried before. How is that so? Well, it’s because Romanian cuisine borrows cooking techniques and dishes from neighboring cultures like Hungarian, Slavic and Turkish, combining them to create a unique Romanian taste.
Some of the foods that surprise Scandinavian tourists visiting Romania include stuffed cabbage rolls, polenta with shepherd’s cheese, and tripe soup. If you’re visiting during Summer, fresh garden vegetables and seasonal fruits should be a ‘must’ on your list. Go to any farmer’s market in a major tourist city to have your pick straight from producers. We’ve also seen a particular interest from Norwegians for game meat. Romania is known as Europe’s last wilderness reserve and in some areas, for example in Busteni, there are restaurants who serve game meat from authorized sources prepared in traditional recipes.
Besides food, Romania also stands out for its fine wines. During the 18th century, the country was famous for producing one wine called Grasă de Cotnari which is a white wine that combines very well with refined desserts. And for reds, the typical and most popular type is called Feteasca Neagra, a fruity and flavourful wine. This may come as a surprise for many people, but Romania is one of the largest wine producers worldwide, alongside France, Italy, Spain and Germany. When they visit Romania, Scandinavian tourists, especially Danes and Swedes, like doing wine tastings in Dealu Mare and Transylvania, which are very popular for their wineries. Most tourists are pleasantly surprised to discover how good Romanian wines are – and cheap too! A medium quality wine starts from 7 Euro while premium ones range between 15 – 25 Euro.
2. Enjoying Bucharest’s posh nightlife
The second thing we’ve seen Scandinavian tourists love to do in Romania is enjoy Bucharest’s bustling and posh nightlife. Our capital is also famous for its eclectic architecture combining buildings from the Belle Epoque era, reminiscent of Paris, with communist neighborhoods and modern office towers.
Besides this and the many tourist attractions it offers, Bucharest is very famous for its nightlife for several reasons. First, everyone can find a bar in Bucharest to fit their preferences. From student budget-bars to hotspots for live rock or jazz music. Or from hipster bars with inspiring design, to urban gardens in the summer and posh clubs in the Northern part of the city – the diversity of Bucharest’s nightlife scene attracts many people of all ages who want to enjoy a night out.
Going out is part of Romanians’ everyday life, which explains why there are so many pubs and bars. Club owners in the city really put effort into creating welcoming settings for people, great services and interesting menus. From 22:00 onwards, most bars put on very good music so people can dance until late into the night and have a great time. One thing you should know is that clubbing in Bucharest starts around midnight, and most usually charge an entrance fee. And people dress up to look at their best – so you should too!
Some of the best places for luxurious – and expensive – clubbing in Bucharest include BOA, Fratelli or Nuba. The next level includes Control, Expirat, Interbelic. Finally, in the Old Town area there are over 30 clubs and bars which attract many tourists especially over the weekend – so a perfect destination for a pub crawling!
3. Climbing the highest mountains
Finally, after they’re done eating and partying, we noticed Nordic tourists enjoy exploring Romania’s mountains and have a bit of adventure. The Carpathian Mountains take up almost 65% of Romania’s land area and, as you can imagine, have a lot of natural and wild beauty to offer. The beauty of the Carpathian Mountains lies in their different types of rocks, the rich flora and fauna, and the spectacular landscapes. Wildlife watching – especially bears!, walking, cycling and horse riding are some of the best activities you can do in the Carpathians.
Experienced hikers, especially from Norway and Finland, prefer Fagaras and Piatra Craiului Mountains as they are the most challenging but also most beautiful. The best period for hiking is May-October, but wintertime is also an option if you’ve got the gear and physical fitness required – which Nordic tourists often do.
Bucegi Mountains are also quite popular and accessible from Bucharest, and a good destination for ski enthusiasts. The popular resorts of Sinaia, Busteni and Predeal will offer plenty of choices for tourists.
Parâng Mountains close to Sibiu hosts the 4th tallest peak in Romania, specifically Parângul Mare Peak, which is 2,519 m tall. Since this is a very wild area and quite inaccessible, we’ve seen a particular interest for hiking trips in this area from Nordic tourists. Depending on your fitness level, climbing the mountain can take 5-6 hours, but the descent is faster, taking around three hours. However, that doesn’t make it less demanding! Since there are no places to buy food in the area, having enough food is vital. It’s best to climb Parângul Mare Peak between June and September.
Romania is an underrated holiday destination
Every country is unique in its own way, and it’s the same for Romania. Tourists can immerse themselves in the interesting culture and traditions, taste the delicious food and enjoy the beautiful landscapes – everything at an affordable price!
Scandinavian tourists enjoy visiting Romania and being surprised by its offering. Usually tourists from the Nordic countries prefer a luxurious experience with boutique hotels, beautiful views and high quality food. So if that’s you – maybe it’s time to start planning your trip to Romania?