Are you looking for that kind of quiet vacation that makes you forget the fast-paced city noise and chaos? Would you love a hideout from the hurried civilization and reconnect with nature to recharge your batteries? Romania provides an easy solution to your needs with its magnificent mountain landscapes and the many villages distributed along the mountain lines. All of them are brimming with traditions, colors, culture, and very down to earth locals. This is, however, not quite the solution for those planning to be lazy and rather fits those of you who love being active outdoors and, in particular, have a passion for exploring places on two wheels.
If you are wondering where to begin with, then we suggest what has been declared the first tourist village in Romania since 1960, Sirnea. This is located at the bottom of the Piatra Craiuli Mountains in Brasov County. If you are fond of enjoying nature landscapes from a high angle, here you will be satisfied with a glimpse of paradise at an altitude of 1,400 meters.
What makes Sirnea popular is also its traditional and recurring feast called “Sumedru’s Fire” which enchants the village every year on October 25th. During this special occasion the village children dress up in traditional folk attire and start dancing around a big fire that they have made. And it doesn’t stop here. The most courageous among them will take a leap and jump through the fire on the other side of the Sumedru’s flames as they are known.
If you are determined to opt for Sirea, do not forget to check out the other noteworthy sights around it. Great places to start with include Dambovicioarei Gorges with its cave, Piatra Craiului National Park, the Bats Cave at Pestera village and Moeciului Gorges.
To some of you this village name may sound familiar and yet you can’t quite remember where you heard it. If you are a royal gossip aficionado, chances are you know that Prince Charles bought a house in Viscri and uses it as its preferred place where to relax during visits in Romania. Viscri is a village of just 1,000 people and was originally born as a Saxon village. In spite of its modest size, this village hosts a premium UNESCO World Heritage listed place. This is its church, one of the oldest Saxon churches in the records.
Once again, due to the size of the village, you may be surprised about the innovative projects going on at this site. In fact, the “Natural Wool Socks from Viscri” projects was recently started here. Cutting on waste, this initiative sees the village women knitting about 10,000 socks, hats, gloves, slippers, and sweater that are then sent to a warehouse in Germany to be later sold across the country. The idea originated from the exchange tradition according to which women in the village originally gave away old wool sweaters for food. But this has now become a true eco-business.
Once you are in Viscri, a bried walk through the streets will turn into a mouthwatering experience if done close to mealtime as the delicious smells will be invading the streets. Local dishes include chicken soup with noodles, several types of jams, and homemade bread. The Viscri jam has been launched as a prestigious product in Paris in 2012 where it is sold in a bag with a silver teaspoon. However, you’d be far better off getting it delivered with a smile right from the source and tasting it in the village with some of their generous inhabitants.
If you’re feeling like visiting a museum, you may feel at a disadvantage whilst biking on a mountain. And yet Ciocanesti village, or the “museum village” as it is called, offers just that. The village owes its name to the fact that it is one of the very few Romanian villages that preserved its traditional architecture over the centuries. It will not take you long to notice how the modern technologies of house building have left this site untouched and hence did not spoil the rustic atmosphere of the landscape.
If you are wondering where the name of the village comes from, that has an even older history. Ciocanesti refers to the time in which the inhabitants used to create armor and weapons for the Moldavian voivodes armies. According to the legend, Stephen the Great released in the air an arrow created by the inhabitants of Ciocanesti village when he set the building site of Putna Monastery in Moldova.
Ciocanesti is located on the Bistrita Valley and welcomes you with a myriad of colors due to its painted houses.
If you are in for a fairy tale kind of atmosphere, then you should not pass on Botiza. Located in the Iza Valley, in the middle of the Maramures region, Botiza is an old village first documented in 1373. Among its highlights you will find the Botiza Monastery and the Borcut mineral spring. Also here you will have the impression that time has stopped. The locals themselves seem to have figured out the formula to reverse the signs of the passing of time.
And once you have reached Botiza, do not forget to check out the sister village Barsana, another location that the locals are proud of for its picturesque look. Barsana is located nearby Botiza within the Maramures region.
If you are still not tired of biking through the beauties of Romania, popular biking tours are also run in Transylvania and other regions. Keep on reading on our blog for more tips about exploring Romania or directly contact us if you need support in designing the Romanian vacation of your dreams.