Romania is a large country that seems to have taken in a breath of fresh air since the fall of Communism in the 80s. With lots of beautiful sights under its belt, it is a country that needs to be explored over several days in order to really get a good perspective of the contrasts that lie within its borders. On the one hand there are cities that resemble those found in western Europe, while on the other, it is possible to find ancient sixteenth-century villages dotting the countryside.
However, the main fascination during our trip lay in Transylvania. Since Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, in 1897, the largest region in Romania, Transylvania, has been renowned for the gothic charms of its medieval castles (of which there are over a hundred), dark forests and snow-capped mountains. Encircled by the Carpathian Mountains and rich in myths and medieval sites, Transylvania provides the perfect picture for any horror film, which is still its main draw despite the recent development. The areas that have a predominantly Saxon influence, is where you will find the medieval architecture that is so often associated with vampires and gothic literature. The counties to visit are Sibiu and Brasov; Brasov is most popular for its Bran Castle, in the village of the same name, which is where Dracula is supposed to have been set. However, be warned that although the castle looks truly impressive from the exterior, the interior is a huge disappointment - the recent renovation has stripped the interiors of its iconic eeriness.
If however reliving Count Dracula's ordeals isn't for you, the other region not to miss out on is Moldavia. An easy-going area with lots to see, do and taste, as well as friendly and relaxed locals, provides a lovely break for the last stop on our itinerary. Lasi is the main city of the region, but the place to visit is Bicaz, which is a modern town but from which you can access the area's lakes, canons and the Carpathian Mountains for a more cheerful experience than in Brasov.Sofia, Bulgaria