When you think of Europe, you automatically think of its romantic, whimsical castles, perched high on a hill overlooking a picturesque town below. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was normal for royalty to walk these palaces, surrounded in gilded hallways and gold, stuccoed ballrooms. It’s also fascinating to wonder what they might think today to see thousands of tourists every day walking through their homes. But nonetheless, the average girl can finally experience what it’s like to be a princess, if only for a few hours in some of Europe’s most beautiful castles!
We traded in Roman ruins, Venetian architecture, delicious pasta and gelato in Italy for a two week road trip through the Balkans visiting new, up & coming destinations as the mysterious veil over Eastern Europe is slowly disappearing. While we had wanted the romance of Tuscany and the Almafi coast, we decided that Italy is 1. Expensive. 2. Crowded 3. Typical for honeymooners. Don’t get me wrong, I have a serious love affair with Italy and I still want to go, but I found myself more intrigued by the lesser known.
Ok, by now you’ve heard of Bucharest and the country’s most impressive castles and learned about the myths and legends of Dracula, but have you ever heard of Timişoara? Probably not. As the third largest city in Romania, it’s one of the loveliest urban centers as it shakes off the remnants of a dictatorship and is today one of the top destinations in the Balkans to visit.
Bucharest. A sprawling capital city with over 500 years of fascinating history and culture, blending old crumbling buildings with new, hip cafes and shops. Wait, are you sure I didn’t mean Budapest? Yes, I’m sure. Wouldn’t want to mix up the two cities like Michael Jackson did during his visit in 1992. But to find these cool and unusual places in Bucharest, you have to break out your investigative skills.
What better way to introduce you to Romania than by starting with some of the country’s most renowned and impressive castles beyond the capital of Bucharest? Scattered throughout Transylvania are a plethora of castles, but three of the most well-known are all a hop-skip and a jump apart from each other making for an easy two day visit.
Let’s admit it, half of the reason why we have an addiction to travel is so that we can try new authentic foods that we can’t get at home (of equal deliciousness). PLUS, they say that “when you travel, calories don’t count”, riggght?
For some, trying new foods helps people to understand a culture better than visiting any ol’ tourist landmark. You wouldn’t have truly experienced a new city if you didn’t try the food. You would be missing out on some of the most jaw-dropping mmm, mmm, mmmmms.