Romanian Friend a travel website that promotes handpicked, off-the-beaten-path tours and trips in Romania, has launched and is ready to reach independent trip-planning world travellers looking to discover authentic Romanian culture and local life or looking for special-interest trips. Just like getting travel advice from a friend, Romanian Friend offers friendly advice and instant support to curious travellers looking to explore the country, and connects visitors with selected local partners and guides through its simple and safe booking system for tours and trips.
A friend to help travellers and local businesses
Founded in January 2017 by a team of young locals passionate about their home country and modern travelling, Romanian Friend fills a void left by local tourism agencies that offer only standard and mainstream sightseeing tours and foreign-based tour booking websites that lack local knowledge or true insights about Romanian local life and culture.
The team of natives behind Romanian Friend use their local knowledge and connections to identify, research and select local guides and small business owners before becoming partners. The selection process focuses on two criteria: first, quality tourism services so that Romanian Friend clients get the best value for money and second, to see whether similar views are shared about Romanian cultural heritage, how and what should be visited and promoted.
Romanian Friend’s mission is to support the development of local businesses and communities by promoting responsible tourism and travel experiences in Romania in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Responsible tourism is a form of tourism that minimizes environmental impact while enhancing the travel experience of both tourists and local communities through a deeper socio-cultural connection and understanding based on mutual respect for diversity. Responsible tourism also creates positive economic benefits by using the services of local businesses: traditional guesthouses, meals with locally sourced products, visits to local workshops or sights, etc. as opposed to mainstream tourism practices involving hotels, restaurants, resorts and SPAs.
“We work with our local partners to create and promote immersive trips and unique Romanian travel experiences that will benefit both travellers and local destinations in our country. Both need a Romanian Friend to help and we consider ourselves a vertical social enterprise with a trickle-down effect through our activity,” says founder Marius Iliescu.
Selected and unique tours and trips in Romania
While some tours cater to general sightseeing interests of travellers, most trips are a combination of various interests and activities: ethnographic exploration tours, off-the-beaten path guided hikes and countryside bike trips, wildlife watching or caving lessons, traditional food tastings, visits to local sights or crafts workshops. Some tours are organised in collaboration with local NGOs or charities to showcase community projects and causes (environmental, conservationist, doing restoration work, etc.).
“Most people don’t know that you can go bear watching in Romania, learn woodcarving or taste dishes or products that can be found only in one region of our country. Romanian Friend wants to change that.” says Marius. “Right now, we are working with 25 partners to promote around 60-70 tours and trips in various parts of the country. We have plans to grow our network of partners, but only if our criteria for quality and responsible tourism are met.”
All tours and trips can be booked online and customized in accordance with clients’ preferences.
The Romanian Friend team can also help visitors create tailor made itineraries by giving advice and connecting to the right local guides with in-depth knowledge of a specific region or travel interest. Visitors will also find plenty of tips and useful info to plan their trip to Romania, including an interactive map showing tours, attractions and events around the country and a ‘local feed’ with insights and stories about Romanian local life.