Romania has a lot to offer due to the country being basically the legacy of what used to be part of the last vestiges of the Eastern Roman Empire as it slowly became cut up from intrusions from all directions. Even the Romanian language was derived from Latin and is one of the Romance languages despite some inclusion of Slavic words and verbs. But that was to be expected when the country is surrounded by Slavic-speaking countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, and at one time, the Soviet Union (when Moldova and Ukraine were both part of it). There is quite a bit of history in Romania but don’t just consider Bucharest, the capital, as the only destination to go to. Instead, a lot of the cities and the countryside outside of Bucharest have far more to offer. That’s why Brasov, also known as Kronstadt, should be one destination.
Compared to the urban jungle of Bucharest where the capital city of Romania is nothing but streets and cars and more streets and more cars, Brasov is neither too small nor too big and rather well located in central north Romania, a great starting point to actually start the Romanian journey. If you’re into the winter sports of skiing and snowboarding then Brasov is pretty well-accommodating to tourists since the locals are also used to the summer traveling tourist hordes (or more like smaller groups moving about in the country). The locals in this part of the country are quite friendly in the sense that their country had suffered greatly under the Soviet iron curtain so any way to advertise the country’s offerings to foreigners is a great thing for them. That’s why the Romanians are looking to invest vast sums into their own infrastructure and their tourism in order to improve the country into the next century so as to not fall behind.
Brasov has quite a bit of neat looking buildings that contain quite a bit of history. The city itself was actually known as Kronstadt which the city and the area of Transylvania was actually part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. It was after World War I when Austria-Hungary disintegrated when Transylvania proclaimed its union with Romania which it is now part of today. However, there is still Austrian, German, Hungarian historical influences, however, scant that might be.
Tip: Most Romanians cannot speak English. Some of the younger generation people in the cities can speak some English but you might benefit even more from knowing French, Spanish, and/or Italian since some of the words are similar due to the Latin foundation. Some Romanians might even know another Romance language because they might have lived and worked there. I met an older lady working in a restaurant who could not speak English but spoke Spanish so we communicated in that language instead.
Tip: Stay away from the panhandling gypsies. I’ve encountered them before in Spain and I usually just walk away from them but there are far more gypsy beggars in Romania, probably a higher concentration of them in Romania (and Bulgaria) than in other parts of Europe since the living standards are lower in this part of the world or they have setup some kind of foundation for themselves there such as a farm. Gypsies for the most part are nothing but trouble and they WILL rob you if you are not careful so heed extreme attention to where you are at and where are your belongings are. That includes your stuff in your vehicles if you rent an automobile. They will be sly by trying to avoid physical one-on-one brute encounters with you and will instead take your stuff when you are not looking unlike the street urchins in Lima, Peru, where they’ll come out to ambush-pummel you.
Tip: Romania has two peak seasons: winter and summer. Winter brings in all the snowboarders and skiers while summer brings in all the warm-weather folks. Since Romania is still relatively undiscovered by the tourist masses as a big-time tourist destination, I would have to say the summer time is a great time to go. You’ll still encounter tourists all over the country regardless of the season but you be prepared for some weird weather at times so bring an umbrella. You just never know when it will RAIN!