In recent years, rural destinations have become an increasingly attractive option for tourists looking for a quiet vacation spot, and a way to re-connect with nature and a traditional way of life. The post-pandemic travel context seems to favor them even more, as these spots stand in contrast with mass-tourism destinations. We outline some suggestions below.
Close to the area of Bran – Moieciu, the commune of Fundata (in opening photo) is a highlight of local rural tourism. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, with views of the Piatra Craiului Mountains and the Bucegi Mountains, traditional food, and numerous hiking and mountain biking options. It also boasts “the cleanest air in the country.” It is a great spot to explore the Piatra Craiului National Park, the Zărnești Gorges (Prăpăstiile Zărneştilor), the Moieciu and Grădiştea gorges (Cheile Moieciului, Cheile Grădiştei), or the Dâmbovicioara cave.
This summer (August 30), the City Hall of Fundata is organizing another run of Nedeia Munților, a fair showcasing the food prepared by shepherds in the area, a folkloric music program and dances, and the work of local artisans. More details here.
How to get there: The commune is located at the border between Braşov and Argeş counties, in the Rucar-Bran. Access is on the E574 road, from Braşov or Piteşti. Bus connections from Brașov are available several times a day. A list is available here and here.
The more quiet part of Moieciu, one of the most popular rural tourism destinations in the country, Măgura is the perfect spot to discover a simpler, traditional way of life. The landscapes, made up of mountain ridges and hills with sheep flocks, are incredible year-round, and there are many routes to explore hiking or biking, for instance to Cabana Curmătura, La Table, or Prăpăstiile Zărneștiului. Visitors can also venture to the Liberty Bear Sanctuary in Zărnești or to the peasant fortress in Râșnov. More on what Măgura has to offer and how to get there here.
In the northwestern part of Alba county, tourists can find the commune of Albac, at the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. Spruce and fir tree forests alternate with mountain meadows to create the wonderful surroundings of the commune, which sits in the valley of Arieșul Mare river. Eighteen villages make up the commune, among them the very small one of Pătrăhăițești, where the locals carry on the traditions of the moți, inhabitants of Țara Moților.
You can find here the Pătrăhăițești Falls and a museum displaying various wooden items created by the locals, among them the tulnic, a type of alphorn used by mountain dwellers and by shepherds for signaling and communication and for guiding sheep and dogs. From Albac, you can also explore the Cetățile Ponorului cave, a five km-long site with the biggest cave entrance in the country. More on Albac here.
How to get there: Albac is 17 km away from the town of Câmpeni, on the national road DN 75.
This is the place to go for a holiday on the shore of Europe’s second-longest river, at the Danube Gorges (Cazanele Dunării), in Mehedinți county. Here, you can enjoy the fantastic natural landscapes and fresh air, go fishing on the Danube or the smaller creeks and rivers, or try a walk through the forests or up to the waterfall on the Ponicova River, the Ponicova Care, or to the Ciucarul Mare Plateau. Visitors can also enjoy boat rides from Dubova to Orsova and explore the area on a bike trip.
How to get there:
Cobor, a village in Ticușu Vechi commune, in Brașov county, is a place to experience farm life but also wildlife. At the Cobor Biodiversity Farm, visitors can find a quiet place to recharge and take part in seasonal farm activities, attend photo camps, do some trekking or go exploring the nearby surroundings, on bike, or on foot. It is also a great spot for wildlife or bird watching, as the roe deer, the wolf, fox, bear, and wildcat are among the animals that can be encountered in the area. More about the Cobor Farm here.
Valea Verde - Cund, Mureș
The small village of Cund, in Mureș county, is one of the best holiday spots for those looking for a quiet place in the middle of nature. A Saxon village that has seen most of its Saxon population leave in the 1990s, it is not the home of the Valea Verde resort, the project of the German couple Jonas and Ulrike Schäfer. You can find accommodation at apartments or houses spread in the village that have been restored in keeping with the original style. The food served at the Valea Verde Restaurant is part of the experience, sourced locally as much as possible. Last year, the restaurant received one of four bonnets of the French culinary guide Gault&Millau, which lauded its “authentic and gourmet cuisine” and the menu “reflecting a modern, multicultural approach of the local, rural gastronomy.” When you tire of spending time by the lake or in the spacious lounge and pavilion, you can go truffle hunting, hike to see the surroundings, or try a cart ride. More on the resort and how to get there here.
A small village in the commune of Râmeț, in Alba county, Cheia is a beautiful spot to discover Trascăului Mountains. In 2018, less than ten people lived there, including two former Bucharest residents and their children, who relocated there. The two bought a household here and refurbished two traditional houses, one of which is available for rent.It has a straw roof and no electricity, according to its Airbnb description, so those deciding to holiday here are in for a traditional experience. In addition, they can enjoy the Râmeț gorges and the surrounding wild forests and beautiful landscapes.
Part of the Biertan commune, in Sibiu county, the village of Richiș can be a perfect spot to experience Saxon Transylvania while staying at one of the refurbished traditional houses in the village. There is a rich heritage to be discovered in the area, in addition to beautiful landscapes and great food. You can explore the surroundings on a walk or cycling, and completely disconnect from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
How to get there: Richiș (Rechesdref) is some 5 km away from Biertan, following the 141B road. Tourists coming from Bucharest can take the DN1/E60 road.
Mila 23, Tulcea
This village in the commune of Crișan, in Tulcea county, is located in the Danube Delta, the largest in Europe and home to over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes. It is a village of fishermen, accessible by way of water. It is also the birthplace of canoe champions, at world and Olympic competitions, among them Ivan Patzaichin, who won seven Olympic and 22 world championship medals, including four Olympic gold medals. A holiday here is an opportunity to explore the unique landscapes of the area, do some birdwatching, and of course, try the fish dishes.
How to get there: From Tulcea, a ship operated by Navrom Delta takes passengers to Crișan, from where another boat needs to be taken to Mila 23. Check with the boarding house you decide to book in Mila 23 for further transport details, as some can transport guests directly from Tulcea.