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TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO ROMANIA:
PLACES TO VISIT, AIRFARE, TOURS, ACCOMMODATION, RESTAURANTS, WHITE PAGES, YELLOW PAGES, TRAVEL TIPS
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PLACES TO VISIT

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania
-- The Danube Delta biosphere reservation (1991), home to "over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species"
-- Seven painted Churches of Moldavia (1993), dating from the 15th-16th centuries, all in Suceava county in southern Bucovina (northern Moldavia). With the exception of Arbore and Pătrăuţi, the churches listed are all monastery churches. They are the churches of Humor, Moldoviţa, Probota, and Voroneţ monasteries, and the Church of St. George of the Monastery of St. John the New in Suceava. Missing on this list is the church of Suceviţa (with a memorable fresco of the Ladder of Virtue on the north wall), which is definitely a must-see for anyone visiting these monastery churches. The five most important of these churches -- Arbore, Humor, Moldoviţa, Suceviţa, and Voroneţ -- retain impressive exterior murals (as well as interior ones).
-- The Monastery of Horezu (1993) in Vilcea county, in 17th-century Brancovan style, remarkable for "the richness of its sculptural detail" as well as for its mural painting
-- Seven Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania (1993, 1999), founded by the Saxons since the 13th century and remarkable not only for their 13th through 16th-century church ensembles but also for "a specific land-use system, settlement pattern and organization of the family farmstead that have been preserved since the late Middle Ages"
-- The Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains (1999), including Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital of Dacia, now in Hunedoara county; all of them fell to the Romans in the 2nd century AD.
-- The Historic Center of Sighisoara (1999), actually extending from the hill-perched citadel to encompass the Lower Town at its feet. The historic center has preserved much of the urban structure of the medieval Saxon town.
-- Eight Wooden Churches of Maramures (1999), out of ninety-three in Maramures county declared monuments of architecture, a vernacular "interpretation of the Gothic style . . . crystallized in the 18th century [and] thus creating a model, even a style, described as the 'Maramures manner' " (quote from the 1998 evaluation of the UNESCO advisory body, listing the grounds given for inscription by the Romanian party).
Added: January 30, 2006.

Romania -- from VisitEurope.com
Romania at a glance, with fast facts and main tourist areas.

Romanian National Tourist Office, New York
Quick sketch of the country, a look at Romania by region, phone number for airlines flying to Bucharest, travel tips and list of attractions.

Visiting Romania -- from RomaniaGuide.com
Country profile and quick info guide for the traveler, ancient, medieval, modern and 20th century history, overview of several places to visit and accomodation, a few Romanian phrases, books about Romania, and a quick photo tour.

Lonely Planet World Guide -- Destination Romania
Lonely Planet Guide to Romania, with Facts for the Traveler, Off the Beaten Track, History and Culture, and other sections with Lonely Planet's facts and views on Romania.

Romania Travel Guide -- Romania In Your Pocket
The BBC WebGuide considers this site "extremely worthwhile."





BOOKS


Maramures Gallery by John Rausch
John Rausch tells you all you need to know about Maramures, complete with pictures and travel tips. He has done an excellent job. It's the best Web site on Maramures, covering geography, history, social aspects, travel, folk costumes, wooden architecture, carpet weaving, plum brandy, and so much more.

You'll Die Laughing, if You're Not Already Dead
"Their lives were the same but they want their epitaphs to be different," says Dumitru Pop, the carver of the blue wooden crosses in Sapinta's Merry Cemetery. A wonderful article by Peter S. Green, capturing the atmosphere of Sapinta and commenting on the colorful crosses, their carved images, and their epitaphs. From Peter S. Green, The New York Times, May 29, 2002, available on the Web site of the Romanian National Tourism Office. Also see images of the Merry Cemetery on TravelRomania. Updated: January 28, 2006.

Getting Around to Sighisoara, What to See and Expect -- on StudentUniverse.com
A run-down of quick facts on this small town home to a citadel, a covered medieval stairway and church on a hill, as well as to a few museums related to Vlad Dracula, to handcrafted souvenirs, and a yearly Medieval Arts Festival in late July. Added: February 2, 2006.

History of Sighisoara -- on VirtualTourist.com
Inhabited since at least the 6th century BC, Sighisoara became a thriving medieval town in the 14th and 15th centuries, and, according to this account, the second most important town in Transylvania in 1937. Since 1992, Sighisoara has played host every summer to a Medieval Arts Festival, during which time visitors can see plays, attend concerts, and stroll around the medieval citadel and its surroundings. Also included in this travelogue are a few pictures. Added: February 2, 2006.

History of Brasov -- on VirtualTourist.com
Stoica Family's Homepage includes links to photos of several cities in Romania as well as a history of Brasov. Added: March 9, 2006.

www.Montania.ro
Sinaia travel guide. Sinaia lies in Prahova Valley 120 km north of Bucharest and 49 km south of Brasov. It is home to Peles Castle, built by King Carol I in the 19th century to serve as the royal family's summer residence. Today Sinaia is a busy resort, with easy to expert-level slopes to enjoy in the winter and a whole range of mountain trails to explore in summer. Added: August 3, 2007.

About Cluj/Kolosvár/Klausenburg
Short history of Cluj (Kolosvár in Hungarian and Klausenburg in German) from Retro Youth Hostel in Cluj. Also included is an overview of the city tours they provide. Added: August 11, 2007.

Tourist attractions in Cluj and surroundings
Read about the Botanical Gardens, the various spas, the Turda Gorges and other natural attractions, and get a quick overview of the main historical monuments in the city. Added: August 17, 2007.

Monasteries of Romania
Read about Monasticism and Monasteries in Romania, The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, Oltenia and Its Cultural Heritage, and The Monasteries of Neamt County.

Romania (and Moldova) Highlights -- from Lonely Planet author Leif Pettersen
Get your info fix before visiting Romania from someone who has traveled the country wide and far while working on the Lonely Planet guide Romania & Moldova. Leif Pettersen, a co-author of the 4th edition of this book (May 2007), has put together a Web site with numbers, facts, and informed tips on Transylvania, the painted monasteries of northern Moldavia (southern Bucovina), Maramureş, the Danube Delta, and mountains of Romania -- to name just the places and sights he considers to be highlights of Romania. Added: April 7, 2010.

Visions of Heaven in Romania
John Moore travels to northern Moldavia (northeastern Romania) to see the celebrated painted monasteries, whose outer walls are said to be decorated for those who gathered around the church when there was no room for them inside. He marvels at the poignancy of the Biblical scenes, the beauty of the pigments, and the state of the preservation of the frescoes, and rejoices to see that the churches are at the center of thriving religious communities. TheStar.com (Toronto Edition), July 5, 2008. Added: January 20, 2010.

Hiking in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains -- with Apuseni Experience (Oradea)
A 11-day trip will take you from the Bears Cave to the Felix thermal spas near Oradea. The karst relief offers a whole range of caves and tunnels, gorges and waterfalls. Apuseni Experience also offers weekend trips. Added: August 11, 2007.

Things to see in Craiova
Stoica Family's pages on VirtualTourist.com also include a few photos of Craiova, with a nice introduction to the architectural look of this southern Romanian city. Added: March 9, 2006.

Tourism in Romania -- from Astral Telecom
Find quick facts on the monastery churches at Humor, Voronet, Sucevita, Moldovita and Arbore, five of the seven painted churches of northern Moldavia which made their way on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. This site also offers a page on outdoor activities, including watersports, caving, rock climbing, horseriding, hiking and camping. Other pages introduce you to the Danube Delta, Maramures, the Black Sea Resorts, Bucharest, and other places. Added: April 18, 2002. Updated: April 2, 2010.

To learn more about Romania, see the slide shows with travel notes on the PICTURES OF ROMANIA page.


TRAVEL AGENCIES

InfoTravelRomania
InfoTravelRomania is a tourism portal where you'll find links to tours organized by major travel agencies specializing in incoming tourism. You'll also find an extensive list of travel agencies operating in Bucharest, news from the tourism industry, information on major attractions in Bucharest and other parts of Romania, and more. Added: April 1, 2010.

Transylvania Live USA
Transylvania Live organizes a whole array of tours for tourists interested in exploring various side of Transylvania: the Dracula connection; the scenery in the Transylvanian Alps; the annual medieval festival in Sighişoara and the shepherds' meeting on Mount Jina; cultural highlights such as castles, Saxon fortified churches, the Bears Cave, the Bruckenthal Art Museum in Sibiu, and the citadel of Sighisoara; and more. Transylvania Live also offers combined tours of Transylvania and other parts of Eastern Europe, as well as trips to the Danube Delta and other places in Romania. To see the links to the various tours, see their menu and go to the bottom of their home page. The company collaborates with a host of knowledgeable and skillful guides. Added: April 2, 2010.

Explore Travel
The young team at Explore Travel and its network of collaborator guides organize a number of interesting active tours (involving climbing; hiking and trekking; horseback riding; mountain biking), special interest tours (geared to lovers of gastronomy and wines; Romanian villages; painting; and photography), and study tours (focused on agriculture, forestry, and wine production). On their Web site you can also find a nice collection of photographs of Romania. Explore Travel is based in Piatra Neamţ. Added: April 1, 2010.

Romanian Mountain Guide -- on www.MountainGuide.ro
If you're interested in weekend hikes and multi-day tours in the Romanian Carpathians, you've come to the right place. See the suggested trips, read the enthusiastic testimonials, and view the superb photos. Iulian Cozma is the certified mountain guide and owner of the Web site who makes it all happen. Added: August 3, 2007. Links updated: February 3, 2010.

Active Holidays in the Carpathians, Transylvania, and the Danube Delta
Walk, hike, trek, ski, snowboard, bike, and horseback ride in Transylvania, watch wildlife in the Carpathians, birdwatch in the Danube Delta, and see some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites -- all with Active Holidays Romania. The Web site includes some inviting photos. Added: January 26, 2010.

Maramures -- Living Museum
Medieval Tours travel agency offers individual custom tours throughout Romania. One such tour starts in Bucharest, continues through Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Cluj, among other places, and eventually reaches Maramures, where the visitor is spoiled with visits to numerous places of interest: Baia Mare, Sighet, Sapinta, Birsana, Botiza, Ieud, and so much more. The final days of the tour are just as satisfying, although the visits through Sighisoara and Brasov may be a bit rushed. For more info and great photos, see www.medievaltours.ro. Added: August 17, 2007.

The Tour of Bucharest -- with Mr Peter Company
Read about the history of Bucharest, and take three virtual tours with Mr Peter Company Travel Agency. Added: January 30, 2006.

Green Mountains Holidays in Transylvania, Romania
This travel agency, based in Cluj County, offers hiking trips, cycling and horse-riding trips, bird watching in the Danube Delta, caving trips, and so much more. Travel with a guide or on your own. One hiking trip which peaked my interest is a 13-day tour of spectacular places in the Apuseni Mountains. Rolling valleys and mountainous outcrops, canyons and caves, and a whole array of wildlife will challenge your feet as well as your photo abilities. The Web site includes a series of nice photos as well as a description of this trip, reasonably priced for such a professionally-led tour. If you're passionate about photography, you can go on a photo safari in the Apuseni Mountains. For more info, explore the Green Mountain Holidays Web site. Updated: August 11, 2007. Last updated: April 2, 2010.

Go Romania Tours
Go Romania Tours offers many private tours as well as small-group tours. Some of the tours of note are the 14-day Grand Combo Tour of Romania and Moldova; the 5-day combo tour of Romania and Bulgaria, for those with little time to spare; the 1-day wine-tasting tour departing from Bucharest; and the Dracula Halloween tours or dinner party in Sighişoara. Go Romania Tours also gives you the option of self-drive holidays, for which the travel agency can provide car rental, hotel accommodations, suggested itineraries, and guided day trips. Added: April 2, 2010.

Karpaten Turism
Karpaten Turism is one of the top incoming tour operators in Romania. Their offer extends to include faith travel as well. They organize four religious trips: Ecumenical Romania, Orthodox Balkans, Christian Romania, and Monastery Tour in Romania. Also worthy of mention among the niche tours are the hunting trips, the nostalgic journey with steam locomotives in Transylvania, and the 8-day wine trip to Romania. Added: April 2, 2010.

Travel Agency Pan Travel in Cluj-Napoca
Explore Romania's mountain villages and hiking treks, monasteries in Bucovina, castles and old towns in Transylvania, Maramures with its wooden architecture and Merry Cemetery, spas, lakes and passes, Bucharest, plum brandy, fresh trout and much more with the 15-day Discover Romania Circuit from Pan Travel in Cluj-Napoca. Pan Travel's other tours, with an emphasis on "off the beaten tracks," include One Week Hiking in the Apuseni Mountains, and Tour on Horseback in Dracula's Country. Pan Travel rates its tours in terms of their emphasis on Culture, Nature, Comfort, Human Contact, and Fitness for walking and climbing. Added: May 9, 2002.


ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation in Romania -- from Lonely Planet author Leif Pettersen
When looking for accommodation, you might want to start here, with a few tips from Leif Pettersen. Added: August 11, 2007. Link updated: April 7, 2010.

Bucharest Hotels - from Yahoo! Travel
Reviews of Bucharest Hotels, with links to images. You can also book a room through their site.

The JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel and Radisson Blu, top choices for business travelers, vie for the top position on the 5-star hotel market. (See a Money Express article, dated January 12, 2010, here.) If you're on a budget, you may prefer the Ibis Bucharest or other good value choices reviewed on TripAdvisor. Added: October 8, 2005. Updated: April 7, 2010.

Bucharest and Romania Hotels on HotelsRomania.com
HotelsRomania.com is part of the HotelsCentral network. Here you can check availability and book your hotel room. See rates, descriptions, and pictures of some of the major hotels in Romania. Updated: October 9, 2005, and April 7, 2010.

EastComfort -- Apartments in Bucharest
Hotel rooms are expensive and sometimes not that spacious or centrally located, so apartments are a great alternative. EastComfort offers great-value apartments in the very heart of Bucharest, as well as in other key locations in the city. If needed, EastComfort also offers airport pickup service, a mobile phone, and car rental. Added: September 22, 2002. Updated: April 7, 2010.

If you are looking for budget accommodation in Cluj-Napoca, try the nice Retro Youth Hostel. Very close to the center of town, the safe, clean, and fun Retro Youth Hostel also organizes trips to various sights in the vecinity of Cluj.

Budget accommodation in Sibiu and other places -- from HostelEurope.com
Get info and ratings on various hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels around Romania. Locations include Bucharest, Braşov, Sighişoara, Sibiu, Timişoara, and several Black Sea resorts. Added: January 28, 2006. Updated: April 7, 2010.


RESTAURANTS

Wondering where to dine out in Bucharest?
Here's a list of Bucharest Restaurants: American, Austrian, Belgian... with contact data and photos.

Restaurants in Several Cities of Romania -- from RomaniaByNET.com
Lists restaurants in Bucuresti, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Craiova, Iasi and Sibiu.

Restaurant in Bucharest a "gem"
Glowing review of Hotel Capsa and its restaurant. By David Roland, International Travel News, December 2004.


AIRFARE

Discount airline tickets to Romania
Lutetia Travel offers discounted consolidator airfare from several US cities to Bucharest. Added: April 18, 2002.

Discount Fares to Europe
Pick your city and departure dates, and see if you can find a best buy for Romania.


TOURISM NEWS

Bucharest Baneasa airport reopens after upgrades
Baneasa airport (Aurel Vlaicu Airport) had been closed for four months. It is now open to flights from many low-cost airlines such as Blue Air, Wizz Air, MyAir, Germanwings, SkyEurope and AlpiEagles. AP, International Herald Tribune, August 19, 2007. Added: August 21, 2007.

The New Curse of Dracula?
Little, if anything, has been heard recently about former tourism minister Dan Matei Agathon's project of a Dracula Park near Sighisoara; so the info in this 2001 article about the jobs this project would create might not be of interest. Still, the article gives info on other matters as well, such as the extent of financial support needed to preserve this historic site, as well as of vampire lore infusing the atmosphere in Sighisoara. Tens of millions, not millions of US dollars are needed if Sighisoara is to be spared a "state of 'total degradation'" in the next fifty years, and this money has already started to pour in, not only from the Romanian state but also from international foundations, such as the Messerschmidt Foundation, which will spend at least $1.5 million US dollars restoring landmarks in Sighisoara. There is also the danger of "hodgepodge" restoration to be reckoned with, as the town hall has no appointed office to take such matters in hand. By Mark Andress, Business Week Online, November 19, 2001. Added: February 6, 2006.


TRAVEL MISC

Romanian Diplomatic Missions Abroad
From the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a list of Romanian Embassies, Permanent Missions, Consulates General, Consulates, Honorary Consulates, and Cultural Institutes worldwide. Link updated: April 2, 2010.

Romania Visa Application
You'll find here entry and visa requirements, addresses of embassies and consulates in Romania, as well as travel tips and general info about Romania.

The Embassy of Romania in Washington, DC
The official site of the Romanian Embassy in the US. Read here about their services, and about travel to Romania.


DICTIONARIES ONLINE

Romanian-English Dictionary -- on www.dictionarromanenglez.ro
One of the best Romanian-English and English-Romanian Dictionaries online. Site includes Joke of the Day, links to online games from partner site diseara.ro, and a list of most searched words. Added: August 11, 2007.

Romanian Dictionary Online -- from Industrial Soft, on www.dictionare.ro
English to Romanian and Romanian to English dictionaries online. Available through WAP on mobile devices as well. For a fee you can download the dictionaries. Also advertised on the Web site is a Teach Yourself Romanian CD-ROM. Overall it's a useful Web site, although the dictionary pages are a bit cluttered with advertising.

Romanian-Hungarian-English Dictionary -- from Transylvania.info
A useful link if you're visiting Transylvania. Includes several diacritics.


ROMANIAN WHITE PAGES AND YELLOW PAGES

Romanian White Pages
Online searchable phone book.

Search the Romanian Yellow Book/Yellow Pages
Search a company by name, location, and domain. Added: August 23, 2002.


CURIOSITIES

Ice Hotel Opens in Romania's Transylvanian Mountains
Aurelian Nica and his partners have finished building their ice hotel. It now stands at an altitude of over 2,000 meters and it's ready to welcome visitors at a price of 69 lei (23 US dollars, 19 euros) / 134 lei (45 US dollars, 37 euros) per night until it melts down in May or June. Added: February 4, 2006.


The 4th edition of the Lonely Planet guide Romania & Moldova is out (May 2007). This edition is co-authored by Robert Reid and Leif Pettersen.














Unlike the more practical and tips filled Lonely Planet Romania and Moldova travel guide, Blue Guide Romania (Blue Guides) is rich in colorful descriptions and bets on luring you to Romania.


Parting the Curtain: An American Teacher in Postcommunist Romania

If you're thinking of spending a few months or years in Romania, try to get your hands, eyes, and mind on Anne Coe Heyniger's book. Its strength is in the story and the perceptions of a teacher who came to Romania for a year and ended up staying seven. The story is well told, consistent with the facts, and representative of Timisoara of the early 1990s. The books also wins through the author's willingness to bare herself in front of her Romanian friends and today's readers. This is a testimonial by a gracious woman and a talented writer.

While Anne Coe Heyniger talks mostly about her life in Timisoara, Caroline Juler's Searching for Sarmizegetusa will take you to Maramures, Brancusi's Endless Column in Tirgu Jiu and to Rosia Montana -- among other places. The book is illustrated by the author herself, with drawings and maps that are as memorable as the writing! So is the account about Angela Gheorghiu visiting Romania, and the portraits of several Romanians that Caroline Juler undertakes with so much spirit and color.

Both authors are talented and experienced writers and their descriptions manage to coalesce at the other end into sensible, scent-filled visions, or into funny, humor-filled scenarios that probably cut across many cultures to speak about individual reactions that most of us would relate to. Two experiences, two perspectives, and two beautiful writers: Parting the Curtain: An American Teacher in Postcommunist Romania and Searching for Sarmizegetusa.





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