An intriguing charisma
Nowhere in Eastern Europe defies preconceptions quite like Romania. It still suffers from a poor image abroad, but don’t be put off – this intriguing country, dotted with picturesque towns and rural communities following traditions little changed since the Middle Ages, is easily accessible and a pleasure to explore.
Romanians trace their ancestry back to the Romans and tend to stress their Latin roots, although they have Balkan traits too.
A cruise to Romania will leave you in Costantia, on the Mediterranean coast.
The capital, Bucharest, is perhaps daunting for the first-time visitor – its savage recent history is only too evident, not least in the form of the Communist-era Centru Civic – but parts of this once-beautiful city have retained their appeal.
More attractive by far on a holiday to Romania is Transylvania, an ancient region offering some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Europe as well as a uniquely multi-ethnic character. Its chief cities, such as Braşov, Sibiu and Sighişoara, were built by Saxon (German) colonists, and there are also strong Hungarian and Roma (Gypsy) presences here.
In the border region of the Banat, also highly multi-ethnic, is Timişoara, Romania’s most Western-looking city, famed as the birthplace of the 1989 revolution.