Why you should travel to Romania
After years of enjoying weekend city breaks to Europe, we decided to do something different.
With Matt's birthday falling in late October, we scoured the internet for alternative places to visit and, it being around the date of Halloween, Romania kept coming up.
We researched the country further and soon found ourselves excited about the prospect of escaping the city lights for a short road trip through the mountains and countryside.
Romania is a beautiful country, and one which we are keen to return to, so we've put together seven main reasons that you should consider it for your next holiday in Europe.
Before we arrived in Romania, we'd paid a mere £300 for our return flights and car hire for five days. Our four nights accommodation (1 night in Bucharest and 3 in Brașov) came to £122.
At just £211 each for all transport and accommodation we were feeling chuffed with the amount we'd saved already by ditching the standard city break.
Aside from driving the Transfăgărășan highway from Bucharest to Brașov, a highlight of our trip was tracking bears and learning about the nature, culture and history of Romania with Danut Marin which cost €55 each. This was the most expensive part of our trip, as most meals came to around £10 or less per head and the beer... well, that was ridiculously cheap too.
In rural Romania, shepherds sleep in outdoor huts to keep the bears away and people travel by horse and cart.
Villages such as Magura in the Carpathian Mountains are free from hordes of tourists and many traditions are still going strong, like woodcarving and creating homemade schnapps.
The landscape along the Transfăgărășan Highway is varied and dramatic, the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian countryside boast gorgeous colours and the medieval castles are impressive.
The people too, are friendly and welcoming, which is perhaps more important than anything!
it's easy to get around
After reading plenty of reviews about the state of the roads and the need to watch out for livestock and horse carts, we were starting think we'd made the wrong decision by getting a hire car.
In fact, the roads were to the same standard (and in some cases, better) than what we've driven on in England. When we drove up to the mountains there were some potholes and uneven ground, but that's expected.
We also spoke with people who had taken publish transport around the country, who were surprised at the ease, reliability and comfort they'd experienced on trains and buses.
It's only going to get busier
The time to visit Romania is now.
As more people discover the country's beauty and variety (and cheap beer?) tourist numbers will rise and potentially threaten the peacefulness that we loved so much about our visit.