Located in Central Europe between Bulgaria and Ukraine, Romania differs from its neighbors by speaking a language with Latin roots, a vestige of its having been part of the Roman Empire and in having retained its internal sovereignty while it was part of the Ottoman Empire. Historically comprised of Walachia, Transylvania and Moldavia, Romania became a united country and a monarchy in 1866.
One of the most geographically diverse nations of Europe, with landscapes as varied as the vast marshes of the Danube Delta on the Black Sea and the forested peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, it’s a culturally rich, peaceful and hospitable country that features magnificent landscapes every bit as enchanting as those of Tuscany or Provence. Its capital, Bucharest, a city of nearly 2 million, is one of the rare European capitals that has not yet been affected by mass tourism. Though the historic fabric of the city was badly damaged by madcap, megalomaniacal projects during the Communist Nicolae Ceauşescu regime (from 1965 to 1989), renovations of some of the city’s surviving Belle Epoque architecture and other historic buildings have transformed the city into an appealingly lively place.
Not to be missed is the vast province in the heart of Romania, Transylvania. This area is a place to spend time amid some of the last preindustrial landscapes in Europe, as well as to discover Romanian culture, history, food and crafts. Expect beguiling panoramas of villages filled with pastel-painted houses, fortified white-walled churches perched on hilltops and small farms practicing traditional agriculture. For now, it is unspoiled and with its traditional character blessedly intact. There are few areas like it left, and it deserves to join the ranks of major European destinations.