A Postcard from Romania

At the end of January I went on a short city break with my friend – my very first holiday of the year in the very first month of 2018 – to Romania. Unlike all my previous holidays this was a tour, and instead of staying in one city for the five days we was in Romania we travelled from the capital city of Bucharest, to Peles Castle in Sinaja, to Brasov, to Bâlea Lake, and finally to Bran Castle in Bran.

Was it a lot to pack into five days? Yes, but was it an amazing holiday? Also yes.

Romania (1)

Romania (2)

Bucharest is like plenty of capital cities I’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have something unique to offer. Most of our time there was spent wandering around the winding streets of the Old Town and seeing what hidden gems we could find. We saw the Stavropoleos Church and the Old Court where Vlad the Impaler used to reside. After Bucharest we headed off to Peles Castle, which is probably one of the most gorgeous buildings I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Romania (3)

Given we went to Romania in the middle of January the further into the country we travelled the more snow there was, and the colder it got as well, but it really added to the fairytale atmosphere the city of Brasov had, which was our next stop. If I had to pick between Bucharest and Brasov for my favourite city Brasov would win.

Romania (4)

Romania (5)

The highlight of the trip for me had to be the time I spent at Bâlea Lake. We took a cable car up the mountain and most of the day was filled with the various snow activities the lodge hosted; I went tubing, snow mobile-ing, rode a raft and banana boat around on a frozen lake until the hood of my coat was covered in ice. That evening dinner was served in the ice restaurant amazing, food but really cold considering I was sitting on a block of ice, and at night I slept in the ice hotel.

If you have a chance definitely definitely try to go to the ice hotel in Romania. While absolutely freezing (and honestly I can’t emphasise that enough; even wearing a pair of thermal socks and a pair of slipper socks under my boots I still lost all feeling in my toes) it’s the experience of a lifetime, and the views at the top of the mountain simply cannot be missed.

Romania (6)

Romania (7)

Romania (8)

Our last stop was Bran Castle, the famous home of Vlad the Impaler (or Dracula). More of a fortress than a castle I can’t say Bran was as gorgeous as Peles Castle was, but it was still a great part of the trip. After all when you think of Romania Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, is normally one of the first things that comes to mind.

Romania (9)

Romania (10)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • If you are going in the winter, take sunglasses…When I saw this advice in the brochure I laughed; travelling somewhere in the middle of January, when there is going to be snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures, sunglasses are the last thing you’d think to pack. However in all seriousness you will need them, and possibly sun cream too, if you’re going up into the mountains and it’s a clear day.
  • Make sure to try the local food, especially the desserts…Papanași is a traditional fried Romanian dumpling/doughnut and it is beyond yummy, I’m tempted to travel to Romania again just to get another one, also the kürtoskalács (chimney cakes) cannot be missed. I’ve had them in Prague and Budapest now and they’re probably my favourite food ever.
  • Make sure you have good shoes, and wrap up well if you’re going in the winter…Take thermals, take multiple pairs of socks, take plenty of woolly jumpers. The temperatures get really cold, and while inside any building the heating is cranked up high outside it doesn’t take long before the freezing cold starts to affect you.

A Postcard from Romania (2)

Like Krakow and Budapest Romania is a good place to go if you’re on a tight budget. Everything there was quite cheap and you get a lot for the money you’re paying as well.

The tour me and my friend went on, if you’re interested, is called The Ice Hotel Experience and it was all arranged through Untraveled Paths. I would highly recommend this company; they did an amazing tour and it wasn’t expensive to book either. We got to see so much more of Romania with them than we would have if we’d gone and arranged everything ourselves.

41 thoughts on “A Postcard from Romania

  1. You got to visit a lot in only a few days. If you have the opportunity and more time on your hands, a short trip to Sighisoara would also be fun because it’s so colorful and full of history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like so much fun — and it looks freezing too 😆 Personally, I’d choose traveling to tropical places over snowy places, but certain places (like Romania, it seems) appear so much more magical with snow on the ground and on the roofs of the buildings. Your pictures are gorgeous and seem straight out of a medieval movie! Great post! 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely fun, definitely freezing as well but after a while I did kind of get used to the weather. Nine times out of ten I choose warm and tropical places to go to, but at the same time there’s something to be said for the snow. It was magical being there honestly, and thanks so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m bookmarking this for when I eventually make it to Bucharest! I had a chance to go when I studied abroad, but I was so worn out from traveling that I decide not to go, and of course now I regret it! Glad you had such a fun trip—it looks beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yep it does sound like a lot to pack into 5 days but WOW it looks like it was absolutely amazing!!! That’s so cool you got to see where Vlad the Impaler used to reside!! It’s so lovely that it was all snowy as well 🙂 And wow an ice hotel?!?! That’s legitimately the coolest thing I’ve ever heard! (no pun intended!) It looks like such a magical thing to do. And of course Dracula comes to mind for me too 😉 I absolutely love your advice as well- so great that you included that! And I had chimney cakes in Prague and Budapest too- and they’re just the best!! And always good advice to wear thermals and lots of thin layers in cold places (it took me *so long* to realise how important that is lol) And it’s good to know it’s easy to do it on a budget as well 🙂
    Awesome pics as well 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a lot but definitely amazing as well, and a brilliant trip overall! Bran Castle was a highlight, but the ice hotel couldn’t be beaten and it was kind of the main event of the trip as well. The part me and my friend and everyone else on our tour was the most excited for.
      Chimney cakes are incredible, I need to find somewhere in England that does them so I can get my fix here too, and yeah after losing all feeling in my toes a few times I valued my thermals when I could finally put them on. 🙂
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Omg the tour you did sounds amazing 😍
    I love all your pictures (and all the snow), they made me really want to go to Romania, even though this was a place that I never had the urge to go to before! I definitely have to go there sometime in my life, because the ice hotel sounds like an incredible experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was amazing, and thanks so much Caro. 🙂 It wasn’t a place I’d had the urge to go to before either but the pictures I saw before I went made me more excited, and it ended up being a brilliant holiday as well. I’d definitely go back there one day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just stumbled across this on my reader and had to check it out haha :)) I’m a Romanian blogger and yes, I definitely have to agree with you on so many things! However, fun fact, the Bran castle actually isn’t where Vlad the Impaler lived:)) Everyone seems to think so, but after you research you’ll find he actually lived in a wholly different place. It’s just bad advertising on our side…
    Brașov is beautiful! And Sinaia as well- a few cities similar to Brașov are Sighișoara and Sibiu, if you ever decide to come back and visit more, haha.
    There are definitely a few must-sees in Bucharest- have you been to the Carousel library in the Old Town? It’s… gorgeous, it’s one of my fav places in Bucharest.
    Thanks for sharing your experience! I hope you enjoyed it enough to come back soon 😀
    Great post! (oh, and our papanași are like… really good :’) I totally get you)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh that’s so cool, I love the fact that WordPress kind of connects bloggers from all over the world (until people let me know where they’re from I never really know how far around the world people are posting from and I do love knowing that). You know, I actually think I remember reading something like that, but you think of Bran castle you tend to think of Vlad the Impaler (at least I do).
      I will definitely keep those two places in mind, because like I said Brasov was my favourite part of the trip so I’d love to see more cities like it. I think we did see the library, god it was beautiful, I wish I’d gotten a couple of pictures of it actually.
      That’s all right, and one day I would love to come back as well! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is! Yep, that’s okay, I fell in the same trap until mum showed me the error of my ways- I was pretty shocked haha :’)
        The library is actually gorgeous oh my god it’s… a work of art. At night, the fairy lights light up and it’s like walking into another land haha 😀
        Well, I’m sure we’d love to have you back 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well I know now so you’re passing that knowledge on (and one day I’ll hopefully be able to do the same thing!)
        Oh, I didn’t see it at night, but now I feel like I need to go again simply for that sight (and the papanași too, not gonna lie!) 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so jealous I’ve been wanting to go to Romania FOREVER! How did you find going to a country with a different language? (Sorry if you speak Romanian, I just assumed you only spoke English!) Anyway, I’m curious because I’d love to go but I am horrible at other languages lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hope you make it there some day then. No I don’t speak Romanian (I don’t actually speak any language other than English though I’m trying to learn one) but most people there spoke very good English so there wasn’t much of a language barrier. Also going on the tour meant places where they didn’t speak English we had someone who spoke Romanian to translate. If you want to go but you’re worried about the language don’t be would be my advice. 🙂

      Like

  8. Wow what a trip! It sounds like you had such a great time Beth! 😀 The Ice Hotel sounds like such an experience! I bet going some place in the winter made it less busy as it would be in the summer! Your pictures are gorgeous! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was amazing, and yeah I had a brilliant time as well. Definitely an experience, and now it’s an experience I’ve had it’s one I don’t need to repeat either! 😀
      Possibly, but I imagine it would be just as nice in the summer, and thanks as well. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The pictures you took look positively lovely, Beth! Romania is so beautiful and I really like that section with little tips you provided. People really underestimate the sun during winter haha but snow blindness and such is a real thing. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kat! 😀 It’s definitely lovely, and I got to see a lot of the country as well which was amazing because the cities are so different from one another.
      Yeah I didn’t expect to even need sunglasses but I was quickly proved wrong, and I was so glad I had them as well.
      That’s all right, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. OH I love these pictures, Beth, the country seems so lovely and certainly has this magical vibe, all covered in snow… though I wouldn’t really like to go to the Bran castle in that weather, that just adds some of the creepiness to it, if you ask me hahaha. And an ice hotel?? that is such a cool… but cold place ahah, it’s so original though 🙂
    Thank you so, so much for sharing these, certainly makes me want to travel soon 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! 🙂 ❤ Yeah it really was, and it felt magical as well (kind of a quaint magical that you get in fairytales which I loved). Well it was Dracula's home, so I kind of expected a certain creepiness to it.
      Definitely original, and definitely an experience as well (also now I've had the experience I don't need to do it again, I can cross it off my list).
      That's all right, and oh I hope you get to travel soon. I bet you're looking forwards to your trip to Paris for that reason (among others!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Beth!! ❤
    Wow this trip looks amazing! Love the photos! The Bran castle sure has that Dracula vibe haha. And I can’t believe you slept in an ice hotel!! Was it cold inside as well? The food looks amazing!!
    Romania (as well as many other places in Europe) is definitely on my list! However, though I am Canadian, I am not too fond of the cold so I would likely go when it is warmer, if I ever get to go :’)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sophie. 🙂 ❤ Thanks so much. Yeah when I saw Bran castle from a distance as we drove up there I did think it had that vibe about it, more so than any other place I saw.
      It was freezing inside the ice hotel, and I was really nervous about sleeping on the bed of ice but there were plenty of blankets and a sleeping bag that keeps you warm down to temperatures of -17 degrees, so I was toasty while I slept at least. 🙂
      I imagine it would be just as amazing in the summer, and yeah if you're not a fan of the cold definitely go in the warmer months. Can't recommend the ice hotel because god was that freezing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great that there were blankets to keep you warm in the ice hotel! I can’t imagine falling asleep otherwise 🙂 When it comes to visiting the ice hotel, I think I will live vicariously through others (like you haha!) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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