Romania is one of the most magical countries that should be on every traveler's bucket list. From fairytale castles, farm-fresh food, colorful squares, and a well-connected transit system of affordable buses and trains, it's a must-visit destination. A major bonus -- it’s outside of the Schengen Zone, which is key for those of you who are trying to navigate and lengthen an overseas trip as long as possible while following the Schengen Zone ninety-day visa limitations within central Europe. It’s no surprise that tourism is on the rise in Romania and as of late has generated more than five percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product!
From the majestic Carpathian Mountains, historic Transylvanian castles, and beach resorts along the Black Sea, Romania has something of interest for every world traveler. It is jam-packed with interesting towns full of unique hostels. It is easy to find Romania hostels in a variety of places from the capital of Bucharest to smaller cities like Sibiu. Romania, of course, has had political unrest in the past with World War II and a long era of Communism. Today, the country is incredibly peaceful and safe. It joined NATO at the turn of this century, and has become a part of the European Union in recent years. But remember, not all European Union states are in the Schengen Zone or use the Euro as currency!
Some basics to know before your departure -- the local currency is called the Romanian Leu. Thanks to a favorable exchange rate, Romania is an extremely affordable country to visit for American and EU citizens! The official language is Romanian, which is an Eastern Romance language. While it is is a secular country, meaning it has no official religion, its citizens are primarily Christians, more specifically Romanian Orthodox. When you're planning your trip and booking your hostel in Romania, make sure to look up the twelve non-working public holidays so that you aren’t traveling on days when sites will be closed and transportation will be limited.
While Romania is quickly gaining popularity worldwide among travelers, it is still a very affordable place to visit. Safe and dependable regional transportation is widely available with trains, buses, and even shared rides, which make it very easy to visit multiple cities on your trip. Most travelers start their Romanian adventure in Bucharest, the capital of Romania and the sixth-largest city in the EU. It has a few interesting sites to see and offers some really great walking tours, but you won’t need more than a few days here. Romania hostels are available in abundance in Bucharest and you’ll have your choice of budget and luxury options in the city center.
A trip to Romania wouldn’t be complete without spending time in Brasov. It is the perfect hub to visit the region's many castles, mountains, and picturesque cities. In Brasov, you’ll find many Romania hostel options. The city itself is really quaint but you’ll spend most of your time doing day trips to the Peles Castle and historic Sighișoara. There is even the world’s largest brown bear sanctuary nearby, Libearty, where you can ethically learn about these formerly captive creatures who now roam free on seventy acres of forest land. It wouldn’t be right to talk about Transylvania without mentioning the famous Bran Castle also known as Dracula's Castle, as it inspired the structure seen in the famous movie. The real Dracula inspiration, Vlad the Impaler, never lived here, but it is believed that he was imprisoned here. If you have time and would like to visit a castle he really did live in during his lifetime, be sure to add Poenari Fortress to your itinerary. Book a room in a Brasov hostel in Romania near the main train station or at least a bus stop to make the commute easier!
The Romanian city of Sibiu was in recent years chosen as a European Capital of Culture and is a great stop for travelers making their way from Brasov to Timisoara. The city is relatively small but is home to a few Romania hostels. It can easily be seen in a day. Timisoara is home to one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and is a hub for trains and buses to other eastern European cities.
Throughout Romania, you’ll find the nightlife scene is mainly made up of local pubs and bars. Fortunately, smoking indoors was recently banned in the country, so you don’t need to worry about looking for nonsmoking establishments! Romania is also home to great wineries that are easily accessible from large nearby cities and make great day trips by public transportation to avoid driving and staying at expensive winery resorts. Another cool landmark to visit are the salt mines located in the city of Turda.
More than a quarter of the country is forest land, so you’re sure to find a path to hike, plants to admire, and animals to observe. Nature lovers should explore one of the largest biodiverse World Heritage Sites, the Danube Delta! World Heritage fans will also enjoy discovering the six cultural sites in Romania, including many churches, monasteries, and villages. Your hostel in Romania will be happy to help you plan your trek or excursion to any of these monuments and will be able to tell you the transportation schedules.
Local cuisine is similar to what you’ll find in Romania’s Balkan neighbors in Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. You’ll feast on delicious soups; an array of meats including pork, chicken, and beef; and the perennial favorite, polenta! As aforementioned, the local wine is not to be missed and you should also try the local brandy, which is made of plums and can be up to seventy-percent proof in alcohol content! Speaking of plums, Romania is one of the largest plum producers in the world! More than three-quarters of the crop is used to make the country’s liquor.
With tourists seeking out this country year round, Romania hostels are likely to book up, so it is best to plan ahead and book a Romania hostel bed in advance. If you’re looking for a beach vacation but want to avoid crowds and raised prices, head to the Black Sea in late August and early September for warm weather and affordable Romania hostels that won’t be overpacked. If you’re looking for a winter adventure, you’ll find the best rates at Romania hostels located in the mountains to be before or after the holiday seasons in December and January.
Handwritten by local expert for Romania hostels Lola