Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Sun May 08 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | May 8, 2016 10:00 PM ET

    You Could Always Go To Romania

    You Could Always Go To Romania

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    Let’s just say you’ve decided to go ahead and depart for Europe. First off, congratulations for making that fabulous decision, you won’t regret a thing, I promise. I’d like to take this opportunity to humbly suggest that while you are probably penciling in going to places like Italy, France, England and Germany, you could always go to Romania.

    Why? Well, Romania is home to much of what most of us go to Europe for in the first place. Medieval towns? Romania has it. Fairytale castles? Romania is rolling in them. Grand capital city? They’ve got you covered. Rich folk culture full of tradition? Definitely. Underrated wine? Oh yeah. Gorgeous mountains? That too. Heck, the Romanians even threw in beaches on the Black Sea.

    READ MORE: Transylvania Boasts a Theme Park Nearly 400 Feet Underground

    So why haven’t you heard a lot of this stuff about Romania before? Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know these things:

    Transylvania is Tremendous

    This region is without a doubt the rock star of any Romanian travel experience. Assuming you like storybook medieval towns, enthralling history, and majestic mountains that is.

    Towns like Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu are all travel-dreams-come-true, home to cobbled centers and mountain surrounds. They were all settled by Saxons from Germany, and retain their traditional grandeur in spades.

    In sleepy Sighisoara, you will find twisty-turny streets and the birthplace of the real Dracula (Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes) all in the shadow of the enchanting clock tower; Brasov stars with an uber-romantic town center and hikes to Mount Tampa that end in priceless views that pair perfectly with local wine at sunset; and Sibiu shines with its stoic town towers and sophisticated feel.

    Maramures is Authentic with a capital “A”

    The most mysterious of Romania's regions, Maramures is cut off from the majority of the country by thick forests, and as a result, centuries-old folk traditions still survive and thrive here. In addition, the region is world famous for being home to steepled, eerily beautiful wooden churches, with eight of them being deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Barsana Monastery is a great place to see one, which is also home to a myriad of fascinating murals.

    The Castles Are High Class

    Romania is second to none when it comes to castles, with Peles Castle often coming in atop the European castle power rankings. It was built as a playground for the royal family, and still stuns with its German New-Renaissance architecture and sweeping views of the surrounding Carpathian Mountains.

    While Pele’s Castle was more of a summer play house, plenty of castles in Romania were actual fortifications, and one such example is Bran Castle, dubiously dubbed “Dracula’s Castle.” There’s no real evidence that Vlad ever really lived here, but it’s still a fun day out. The most underrated may be the Gotch Corvin Castle, home to a large moat and drawbridge, which if you are like me, I used to think all castles had.

    Bucharest Buzzes

    Not to confused with Hungarian capital of Budapest — even though tons of people do, including infamously Michael Jackson at a concert — Bucharest is home to grand boulevards, flowing fountains, and a fascinating albeit turbulent-at-times history. Much of its design was based on Paris, and it still shows.

    READ MORE: A Plea for Balkan Tourism Unity

    The Transfagarasan is Entrancing

    I honestly don’t know how this road isn’t a household name. Just one glance at the twists and turns in any image of the Transfagarasan Highway shows how special this motorway is. Regarded by many as the “best drive in the world,” a trip down the Transfagarasan isn’t solely about twists and turns, as it also offers a portal to Romania’s diverse wildlife and village life.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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