Romania has a rich cultural and natural diversity. Its dramatic mountain scenery includes the densely forested Carpathian Mountains, the Danube Delta (the largest wetland in Europe) and 70km (43 miles) of fine white sandy beaches on the Black Sea Coast.
In picturesque valleysand on mountain slopes are many health and winter resorts. Romania’s cultural heritage can be experienced in the Saxon towns of Transylvania, also home to Bran Castle, of Dracula fame, the painted monasteries of Bucovina and the rural village idyll of Maramures.
The capital, Bucharest, earned the nickname ‘Paris of the Balkans’, but it is the stunning medieval city of Sibiu in Transylvania that was crowned European Capital of Culture 2007.
Romania Food & Dining
Romanian cuisine is a product of the influence of different cultures throughout the centuries - Greeks, Romans, Saxons, Turks and Slavic neighbors. The main ingredients used by Romanian chefs are meats such as pork, beef and lamb, fish, vegetables, dairy products and fruit. They excel in full-bodied soups. Breakfasts almost always include eggs, either soft-boiled, hard-boiled, fried or scrambled. Omelettes, filled with either cheese, ham or mushrooms, are also frequently served.
Things to know: Vegetarians may have difficulties, as most local specialties are meat-based. Althoughthere are inexpensive self-service snack bars, table service is the norm. There are no licensing hours.
• Soups: Ciorba de perisoare (soup with meatballs), ciorba tãrãneascã (vegetable soup with meat and rice balls served with sour cream), giblet soup and a variety of fish soups.
• Moldavian parjoale (flat meat patties, highly spiced and served with garnishes).
• Mamaliga (a staple of mashed cornmeal).
• Nisetru la gratar (grilled Black Sea sturgeon).
• Pasca (a sweet cheesecake).
• Tuicã (plum brandy) and Tuicã de Bihor (strong brandy, generally known as palinca).
• Wines: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay from the Murfatlar vineyards; Grasa and Feteasa from Moldavia’s Cotnari vineyards.
• Sparkling wines.
• Glühwein (mulled wine).