Straddling Central Europe and the Balkan perimeter, Romania is a country that continues to be full of contradictions of the past and present. From Bucharest's Communist-to-Bohemian artsy haze and daunting Palace of the Parliament, to the simple, uncomplicated village life in Maramureş, Romania has the best of the modern world constantly bumping into its medieval history.
If a Dracula hunt is what you're after stop by Sighişoara where the man behind the myth — Vlad the Impaler — was born. True to its spirit of contrasts, the country's monasteries are no sombre, quiet affair. The brightly-painted structures demand your attention and are one of Romania's most popular attractions in the Bucovina region. The Orthodox churches however, retain their stately grandeur and one can drop by at the weekly services to appreciate the magnificent architecture at hundreds of churches across the country. For winter sports, the Carpathian Mountain slopes are perfect for a holiday spent skiing, biking, or hiking and on the Black Sea coast, Mamaia has all the high-end luxury resorts, nightclubs, restaurants, and holiday energy to keep you occupied for several days on end.
Romanian food is known for being heavy on meat dishes, but its sheep, buffalo, goat, and cow cheeses don't get the attention they deserve. Buy these in the smaller towns and villages to get some of the good stuff! Wine, beer, and stronger alcohols such as palinca and ţuica are available throughout Romania and can hold their own against any competition from Western Europe.
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Romania has several international airports of which the main ones are in Bucharest (OTP and BBU), Timişoara (TSR), Târgu Mureş (TGM), Constanta (CND), Cluj-Napoca (CLJ), and Bacau (BCM). There are very few international flights that fly directly to Bucharest from Canada. A cheaper alternative is to fly via a major US city like New York, or fly to London, Vienna, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt and get a connecting flight to Bucharest. You can book your flight to Romania from several airline choices including Air Canada, Delta, British Airways, Alitalia, KLM, Air France, and Lufthansa.
Temperatures vary widely across the country. Generally speaking, however, winters are quite cold with the temperature dipping to -35°C in some areas of Transylvania while summers are hot, especially in Bucharest where temperatures have soared to 40°C in recent years. The year-round average in the North is 2°C while towards the south it is 7°C. A large number of tourists head to the beach between June and August, while bird-watchers arrive from April to May, and the hiking season begins in June. The mountain ski resorts remain packed from December until well into March so the best time to visit for those not keen on sharing the Romanian tourist spots is from May to June or September to October.