Romania is a country filled with well-preserved history: fairytale castles, fantastic roads through picturesque mountains, centuries-old citadels and fortifications, Gothic churches and charming towns.
But what about some less known spots, hidden among some of the most enigmatic landscapes in Europe?
When visited, the beauty of these picture-perfect places will inspire you to not only enjoy a culturally enriching experience but also to come away with some stunning shots.
Here are our top 8 incredible sights in Romania that you probably don’t know about, just waiting for a creative eye to capture them:
The Apuseni Mountains
The featuring of the famous Transgarasan Road in Top Gear’s TV Show managed to eclipse the rest of the other Romanian Carpathian Mountains, but quite unjustly in our opinion.
The Apuseni Mountains have so much to offer that is very hard to choose only one place: waterfalls, caves, lakes, rivers, gorges, a canyon, mountain peaks, citadels and natural parks, all ready to take the curious visitors to wonderful places!
Spectacular landscapes with narrow gorges and traditional villages scattered in lovely valleys where time seems to have stood still are common and look even better during the fall season.
The Apuseni Mountains also have a reputation for being a cavers’ paradise, as it preserves one of the most interesting cave fauna in the country, awaiting to be explored by amateur and professional cavers alike.
Rimetea, one of the most charming villages of Romania, is known for its traditional white houses with green windows and idyllic views. It has been inhabited for over eight centuries and is one of the best-conserved rural attractions in Romania, dominated by the traditions of the Hungarian community.
Rimetea Village is relatively close to Cluj-Napoca, the second-largest city in the country and a good entrance point to Romania.
With the impressive Piatra Secuiului Mountain that can be seen from the entrance to the village, the picturesque landscapes captured here seem to be from another world.
The Merry Cemetery
A unique place, the Merry Cemetery is proof that death shouldn’t be considered grey and dark but a passage to a better place, according to a Dacian belief. The Dacians, Romanian ancestors, believed that death is a joyful moment, as the person passes from this life of suffering to one filled with peace and happiness.
The Merry Cemetery is located in the town of Sapanta, in Northern Romania and has over 800 wooden beautifully painted crosses which carry the life stories of the bodies they mark.
All the tombstones have poetry or other writings describing the more or less interesting life of each person buried there. They are also considered exquisite pieces of art, having vibrant shades of blue, green, red and white.
This is one of the places that should be on your bucket list if you are looking to discover Romania’s hidden gems.
Danube Delta is the best-preserved delta in Europe and one of the most beautiful places in Romania for nature and wildlife lovers. Occupying the third position in the top 3 ecosystems in the world after the Galapagos and the Great Barrier Reef, it is often referred to as birds’ paradise as over 300 species make the Delta their home.
If you are into nature and wildlife photography, a sunrise shoot in the Delta is not something to be missed while in Romania!
Due to it being such an isolated place where access and means of transportation are limited, it is a perfect destination for a retreat.
The Clay Castle
Romania is home to plenty of medieval fortresses and castles, but the Clay Castle is a very unusual fairytale destination which comes in the form of a newly built hotel made of clay and sand.
Located in Transylvania, in the village Porumbacu de Sus, the Clay Castle of the Valley of the Fairies has a unique appearance and can be considered an exception on the world map of fairytale constructions.
This hobbit looking castle comes across as being one of the most incredible spots in Romania that you probably don’t know about and an excellent honeymoon destination.
Situated in Transylvania, surrounded by beautiful traditions, stunning landscapes and warm people lies Fagaras Fortress, the fortress that was never conquered. Built in the 16th century on the ruins of a castle destroyed by fire, it is one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved medieval castles.
Two walls surround the fortress, the space between them being filled with earth; the result is one robust eight-meter thick wall that provides protection. The defensive system also includes a water canal with swans around the fortification, which will allow you to capture some fairytale shots.
The Mud Volcanoes
Romania has active volcanoes that erupt like any other, but these are not the volcanoes you would expect. The Mud Volcanoes don’t spit out lava, but they spit out mud! Even if they won’t burn you, they are pretty interesting to take pictures of!
Hidden somewhere in the Buzau mountains, they were formed from the gas which comes from about 30,000 meters underground, getting through a water and clay zone and creating small cracks and craters into the ground.
As there is not any vegetation nearby the strange scenery of the cracked clay almost looks like you are walking on the moon. Just imagine the views if you are there at sunset or sunrise –spectacular!
The Fortified Churches of Transylvania
Transylvania might be known for its famous Bran Castle, but it is also home to more than 150 well-preserved Fortified Churches. While not exactly castles, these medieval defensive buildings have a similarly-astonishing architecture and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Their purpose was to offer sacred functions and to provide shelter for the population in cases of danger. They were built between the 13th and 16th centuries by the Saxons of Transylvania.
A number of seven villages are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their beautiful medieval fortified churches: Biertan, Prejmer, Calnic, Darjiu, Saschiz, Viscri and Valea Viilor.
These small castle look-a-likes offer a great cultural and historical value and they are a must-see in Transylvania!
We hope that these less known incredible sights in Romania will make you include it in your bucket list and inspire you to come and capture the beauty of this country!