Must-see Romania. Surprisingly wild, reassuringly charming.

Romania is a European country that stands at the gates of the Orient. So, the traveler has the unique chance to taste a well-balanced blend of many cultural aromas. A land with a two-millennium history, Romania has many enjoyable contradictions to offer. Ultramodern cities and perfectly preserved medieval cities within a few hours' reach. And, hidden in the Carpathian mountains, there are villages where people stubbornly keep the traditional way of living, rites and ancestral beliefs. From the Carpathians to the Black Sea and the Danube Delta, Romania is truly blessed with a vast amount of wild beauty.

Unspoiled wilderness and then some.

For those in search of raw nature, Romania is maybe the last European country to have huge areas completely untouched by man. The Carpathian Mountains, which cover one-third of Romania's territory, shelter more than 400 nature reservations with countless species of flora and fauna. The avid tourist can indulge in a multitude of activities: hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting and rock-climbing - to give just a few examples. And there are many modern skiing resorts, such as Poiana Brasov and Sinaia. Another uniquely wild place in Romania is the Danube Delta. Hundreds of rare bird species live there, including the Black Pelican. And with over 160 species of game fish, fishing expeditions are always a big success.

Castles, vampires and ancient customs.

Transylvania is perhaps the most mysterious part of Romania. Home of legendary Vlad the Impaler - also known as Dracula - Transylvania is famous for magnificent castles, gothic architecture, and numerous cultural sights. Tourists can even visit the only inhabited medieval fortress in Europe - Sighisoara. Romania has other equally interesting regions, such as Bukovina and Moldavia. Bukovina is a genuine oasis of Orthodox spirituality. One-of-a-kind painted monasteries are built here. The most stunning is Voronet Monastery (1487), which is deemed a masterpiece of Byzantine art.

Sun and parties at the Black Sea.

The Romanian Black Sea Coast stretches out for 244 km (153 miles) offering beaches with soft sand in over 15 sea resorts. The locals are famous for fabulous parties that last all summer long, especially in glamorous sea resorts like Mamaia. Besides fun and sun, tourists have the opportunity to visit many historical sites. Ancient Greek ruins and artifacts are scattered everywhere. That's because the main coast cities - Constanta and Mangalia - were affluent colonies known throughout the Greek world as Tomis and Callatis.