ItinerariesThursday 27 December 2018

Take a Walk on the Wild Side in the Heart of Romania

Take a Walk on the Wild Side in the Heart of Romania



Photo: Voicu Oara / CC0 1.0 

Romania has some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe

Once thought of as the land of vampires, Romania is quickly becoming one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Europe. From the bustling capital of Bucharest to the spooky home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, there are plenty of things to see and do in this unique country. But it’s not just the culture that brings people here. It’s nature. 

With some of the highest biodiversity in the whole of Europe, Romania is packed with a huge variety of landscapes, habitats, plant and animal species. Its diverse geography is home to 60% of Europe’s total brown bear population and 40% of Europe’s wolves along with over 300 species of birds. The scenery provides a stunning backdrop for beautiful Transylvanian villages such as Breb, where inhabitants keep centuries-old traditions alive and remain connected to the nature around them.    

Carpathian Mountains

The second longest mountain chain in Europe, the Carpathians cross Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland before ending in Romania. Although they stretch across so many countries, 51% of the Carpathian land mass is located in Romania. Home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe, it is no wonder that a large part of this landscape is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of many rare species of plants and animals. Hikers who are looking for the experience of a lifetime can take part in activities such as: 

  • Bear watching
  • Rock climbing
  • Exploring Berca mud volcanos
  • Watching wolves
  • Horse riding
  • Visiting the Scarisoara ice cave

There are many hiking tours available, with some guides offering multi-day experiences along the longest continuous mountain traverses in Europe, over three of the highest peaks in the country. It is worth noting that Romanians are very superstitious and believe that once a journey has begun you should not turn back, even if you have forgotten something, as this brings bad luck to the journey. Although this might not rank as one of the world’s most unusual superstitions, it is knowledge that might come in handy if you come across a bear or two! 



Photo: Photo Collections / CC0 1.0 

Romania is home to 60% of Europe’s brown bear population   

Danube

A vast and unique wetland, the Danube Delta is the biggest wetland in Europe, the largest of 19 protected wetlands in Romania and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river has been a strategically important means of transport and trade for hundreds of years, often known as “the river of kings” as it has been the preferred way for royalty to travel since Romania has had rulers.

Its jungle of canals, lakes, willows, reeds and lianas are a veritable paradise for the 300 species of birds that live there. As it is the mid-way point between the North and Africa, it is also a major resting spot for migratory birds, making it one of the best places to observe wildlife in Europe. Visitors to the Danube can add the following experiences to their bucket list: 

  • Taking a river cruise
  • Seeing Danube Park
  • Rare bird spotting
  • Trying slalom canoeing
  • Visiting the Devín Castle Ruins
  • Fishing and boating

The best time to visit the Danube is during the spring and early summer, as this is when nature comes into its own.

Black Sea

The warm climate, sandy beaches, and vineyards make the Black Sea a hot spot for tourism in the summer months. A natural border for the country, the Black Sea coast is remarkably diverse and covers a length of 245km, starting from where the Danube Delta empties into the sea and then heading south. There are hardly any tides on this coastline, so swimming here is a lot safer than other parts of the world. 

There are plenty of activities to take part in along the Black Sea coast, such as:

  • Visiting the National Museum
  • Going to festivals
  • Taking part in water sports
  • Enjoying mud treatments
  • Visiting the cave of Saint Andrei 

With so much wildlife and a variety of landscapes to enjoy it in, it is easy to see why Romania is fast becoming a bucket list destination. Just remember to bring your binoculars! 

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