Romania, our featured destination is a wilderness with some luxury thrown in. It has long attracted visitors longing to visit ancient ruins, savor delectable cuisine, relax in quiet country sides and shop the hottest trends. All around the yummy fish that swims from the Black Sea lies endless opportunities to try something new for both the seasoned traveler and the new visitor.
A fascinating style of life, landscapes of scenic grandeur and heavenly beauty, wonderful hospitable people, a moody weather and an apart charm make Romania an unique mix of contrasts. It is impossible to describe in words but easily accessible by plane from almost any European capital. An idyllically nature with endless forests covers over a quarter of its territory and shelter a huge diversity of wildlife. Actually it is one of the top 50 most ecological countries, offering the enjoyment of the most virgin environments, the cleanest waters and the largest biodiversity. Its exciting past left as testimonies not only legends and famous people but also countless treasures from architecture to customs. One of the most inciting and picturesque travel destinations in the world and among the less expensive in Europe, this country has three distinct regions:
- Transylvania – the land of legends whispered in front of the fireplace,
- Walachia – the land of alternating fields of deep green wheat and vibrant yellow rape,
- Moldavia – the land of crystal clear golden wine, buffaloes and Byzantine painted churches.
Politics. Safety. Currency.
Since 1991 Romania is a democratic Republic with a bicameral Parliament. Klaus Iohannis is the President (elected in 2014). The national flag is tricolor: red, yellow and blue.
No immunizations, vaccinations or unusual health precautions are necessary before visiting Romania. This is an incredibly safe country if you keep your nose clean. In accordance with Europol statistics, the Romanian rate of delinquency is almost 5 times smaller than the average of European Union states. Actually it is the same with that from Greece, Cyprus, Malta or Portugal. In 2010 GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications published the yearly top of the most admired countries in the world and Romania’s strengths were the peace, the security and the protection of the surrounding environment.
The national currency is the “leu” (lion), the plural “lei” (RON = Romanian New Leu). In important towns there are plenty of ATMs and major credit cards (especially Visa and MasterCard) are accepted but if you travel in remote areas (such as small towns or villages) it is wisely to carry Romanian currency in cash.
Weather. Hotels. Cuisine.
This year-round destination is suitable for any type of experiences from private escapades with the loved one to large events up to 5,000 guests. More than 3% of the about 350 hotels – from which 280 are boutique hotels – classified at 4 and 5 stars, belong to international hotel chains: Carlson Rezidor, Marriott, Wyndham, Accor, Hilton, InterContinental, Best Western… Romania and Vietnam are the first among countries that offer free WiFi in hotels (99%) followed by Taiwan, Cambodia, Poland, Morocco, Slovakia (98%), Japan, Columbia and Montenegro (97%).
The delicious cuisine with culinary traditions influenced by different cultures creates – from meat, fresh vegetables, diary products and tasty fruits – quite a banquet for gourmets. Romania is the home of more than one third of all Europe’s natural mineral springs, so don’t be surprised to taste one of the purest water in the world both here (for inexpensive prices) and in other many foreign countries where it is exported.
Dress code. Spoken languages. Etiquette.
No matter when you decided to visit Romania we recommend you to put in your luggage rain clothes, thin ones (if you come here in the summer on the coast and in the lowland) and warmer clothes (for visits during the winter or in the upland). You can wear casual dress in most occasions, but not at business meetings where you must wear formal dress (suit and tie or the women’s equivalent).
Romanians are fabulous hosts with an innate sense of humor and also great tellers. Most of them are Orthodox Christians (85%) and Catholics of Oriental and Roman rites (5%). English, French, German and Hungarian are widely spoken languages here besides Romanian. (Among the newspapers published in English there are: Bucharest Business Week, Romanian Economic Daily, Nine O’ Clock…)
As regard the etiquette, Romanians appreciate the customary courtesies. If you pay a visit to someone at home bring a small gift: flowers – always an odd number ! – or chocolate (for women) and a bottle of good wine, liquor or whisky (for men). But don’t expect your hosts to unwrap always their gifts in your presence ! The most common form of greeting is handshaking. Between persons that just meet each other is respectful to use Mrs. or Mr. when using their names. Since they are spontaneous and open, don’t consider an impoliteness or an amiss if they directly tackle subjects about Romania, its politics and problems, history, a person’s age, income, religion or sexual orientation, but always remember to give diplomatic answers.
Hall of fame
Romania’s hall of fame includes leaders like
- King Decebal and Emperor Traian,
- the Princes: Mircea the Old, Stephen the Great, Michael the Brave,
- Prince Charles of Hohenzollern (later King Carol I of Romania), King Ferdinand I of Romania,
- His Majesty King Michael of Romania – still living in Bucharest with the Royal Family,
- communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
and great minds renowned in varied fields from music, sculpture and picture to prose, poetry or sport:
- composer George Enescu,
- world-famous sculptor Constantin Brancusi (his monumental works are well represented in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Art Museum of Romania in Bucharest and in the park of Targu Jiu near his home village),
- playwright Eugene Ionesco,
- actor Johnny Weissmuller,
- pan flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir,
- Nadia Comaneci, the first female gymnast awarded a perfect 10 score in the Olympics
- tennis man Ilie Nastase,
- ballerina Alina Cojocaru and
- soprano Angela Gheorghiu.