One of the highlights of Eastern Europe is undoubtedly Romania. Tucked in a forgotten corner of Europe and bordering a multitude of different kinds of countries, Romania is a diverse place with some incredible features of its own. Although I am partial to the smaller cities of Brașov and Cluj-Napoca, there is still much that I want to explore including the Black Sea city of Constanța.
Visiting Brașov Romania
The best part of my trip to Brașov may be the beds at the hostel I stayed at. Secret Boutique Hostel did not have a kitchen but man were those beds incredible, queen size with two pillows and a privacy curtain. The town of Brașov is cute and absolutely beautiful. You must hike up the mountain to the Brașov sign and get the views of the whole valley. When I went in the fall, the low haze made this whole scene feel eerie.
The town is so neat in that you can conduct your own walking tour. There are signs throughout the town and the woman working the hostel was super helpful and gave me a map with all of the main sites. You can walk the town in about an hour and it’s 100% worth it. In addition, Brașov is the perfect place to spend a day trip investigating the Dracula Castle in Bran and the historical castle in Sinaia. All of these places are within a few stops on the train and definitely worth visiting.
As for the city of Brasov itself, the nightlife is pretty solid although not what you will find in larger cities. It only has 300,000 inhabitants and thus finding some wild Berlin style party is not feasible. We organized a big group from the hostel and had a nice meal at Sergiana for some authentic Romanian food. Later we went to Irish Bar (that was the actual name) and played some drinking games while the DJ played music. That place closed at 1 so we wandered for a while and opted against this club that was mostly dudes in the city center called Mood. Club is a strong word, it was a bar with lights that was empty so we settled on a more low key spot called Muzik Cafe. The late night stragglers had a few beers and called it a night around 3.
I will readily admit that Bucharest is not my favorite city. I have been twice and it’s never done anything to win me over. It’s crowded, bad traffic, the people are not great, the sites can be cool, but the bars are pricey for what they are. One positive is that the public transportation system is pretty good. You can get to the airport easily even though it’s pretty far outside town. Their parliament building is extremely impressive and the free (not free) walking tour will give you great history about vampires and Vlad the Impaler.
On my most recent trip I stayed close to the airport and close to the Champ Du Golf simulator. Romania is not a country known for its golf as there are only a handful of courses in the entire country. However, this simulator was really cool. It was $50 for nice clubs and a full hour on the simulator. I somehow left there feeling worse about my swing.
Places Harvey Wish He Hadn’t Missed
Romania is a much bigger place than people realize. It is also a fairly diverse country; it offers hillsides, mountains, plains, and beaches. The third, fourth, and fifth largest cities in order are: Timișoara, Iași, Constanța. I would love to visit all of these as they offer different things. Candidly, I have only met people who have stopped over in Timișoara and they enjoyed it. The thing about mid-sized Romania cities is that they are all medieval looking, offer some sort of hiking in the area, and they’re all gonna be relatively cheap and pretty.
Iași has a cool looking building called the Palace of Culture, a late communist style building that sort of resembles the parliament building in Bucharest. I’ve literally never heard of anyone going to Constanța, which makes me want to visit even more. Constanța is the largest port on the Black Sea. For those unaware, the Black Sea touches Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympics.
"Harvey Falcon" is the the senior adventure corespondant for Ski Bum Van Life. From Europe to Asia to South America and beyond Harvey offers an exciting take on adventure travel. Read all his stories here.
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