Tour of Romania

The best travel experiences are when you encounter something unexpected and wonderful, whether it be a plate of food, historical figure, or other aspect of a vibrant culture. Or sometimes, when you’re really lucky, it’s an entire country.

Romania caught me by surprise.

After visiting nearly every other European nation, falling in love with the continent over and over again, Romania was still just a name on the fringe for me. I had mental images of horse carts and Dracula, plus vague recollections of orphans under an autocratic regime, but nothing that urgently demanded a visit. Plenty of ominous shadows, but minimal promise of reward. Luckily for me, Covid shrank my navigable world, so I headed over to check Romania off the list.

Bucharest was my first stop, and it was immediately clear that my absence of enthusiasm had been wrong. The city’s reputation for feral dogs and poverty is outdated and undeserved. Bucharest does have a certain compelling sense of disrepair, but it reminded me more of Venice than Chernobyl. Here was a jewel of a former age, the interbellum “Paris of the East” with its ornate neo-baroque architecture and manifestations of refinement, now showing a poignant blend of collapsing edifices from former eras among the glittering evidence of a nation on the rise.

Things only got better from there, as every stop on my multi-month voyage was better than the last. From royal elegance to countryside humility, feudal fortresses to lush verdancy, and an overarching sense of welcome and intense safety that made it easy to relax at the end of every day with a handmade lemonade, perfectly light on the sugar the way I like it.

A career as a tour guide inevitably fosters a habit of wishing I could take everyone everywhere with me (hence this website) but it didn’t take long to realize that my dream Romania trip is too good to leave as just a fantasy. With the help of a Romanian colleague and the folks at Imprint Tours, I have put together a tour of this unexpected country that will hopefully share my appreciation with fellow travelers who love the sites of Western Europe but are ready for something wonderful off the beaten track.

Romania is ready for you. Are you ready for it?

Next departure: August 25, 2022. More information about the tour here, more info about Romania here.