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When planning a trip to Europe many go to the more popular destinations, such as France and Italy. They are known for their food, fashion and warm temperatures. Not everyone thinks of visiting countries that are more remote or unique. One country in particular that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves is Romania. I know what you’re thinking: visiting Dracula’s castle and Transylvania. However, there is more to Romania than a famous vampire and a densely forested area of southeastern Europe. Romania has beautiful architecture in its castles and churches as well as natural attractions. The countryside is full of colorful structures and friendly folk. Here are a few places you must visit on your trip.

  1. Bran Castle — The inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this castle-keep is full of myth, history and intrigue with its orange turrets and intricate stonework. The castle sits atop a hill in Transylvania and is only eight miles from a ski resort. Dracula is loosely based on the 15th-century Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). Stoker choose the prince for his gruesome way of displaying the heads of those he killed. Yet, Stoker never visited the castle. Tepe may have stayed at the castle, which was enough for the Romanian government to link Tepes (and Stoker’s story) to the castle in order to boost tourism in the 1960s. The castle certainly fits the story due to its gothic look and location.
  2. Sibiu — If you are looking for a truly medieval town, Sibiu is it. In the 12th century, this town was once as wealthy as Paris or London. Built by Transylvanian Saxons, who were German settlers, it was one of the seven walled citadels. The grandeur of city was from the powerful guilds that had lived there. It’s easy to believe you have stepped back in time by the remnants of the medieval walls, buildings with steep roofs and gables and cobblestone streets.
  3. Praid Salt Mines — Travel 50 levels underground to the largest salt mine in the country! The mines are beneficial for treating an array of illnesses (e.g. asthma) due to its microclimate (average temperature of 60°F) and ozone. People come from all over the world to explore these cavernous mines which date back 20 – 22 million years. There is plenty to see and do, since the government made a large investment to turn the salt mines into “galleries.” There is a coffee shop, 3D cinema, adventure park, church and more.

These are just a few of the many unique places to explore in this majestic country. There is something for everyone — from the adventure seeker to the traditional tourist. Romania’s tourism is booming and deserves a spot on everyone’s bucket list.