Top travel destinations: The most picturesque villages in Romania (I)
Ciocăneşti is like fairy tale village in northern country, on Bistrita valley, with its exquisite traditionally painted houses peeping out from hills that escort the road linking Moldavia region to Maramures. Not far away from the Vatra Dornei mountain resort, it is among the few Romanian villages that managed to preserve its deep rural ancestry despite the passing of time, due to its iconic natural surroundings, but also to the painted houses with rural motifs.
The traveler’s eye is „warned” over the village’s importance right by the entrance, as the signboard reads „museum village”. The name of the renowned hamlet dates back in the times when villagers used to make weapons and armors for the armies of the Moldavian Princes. Read more about its „gems” here.
Rimetea is one of the most beautiful villages in Transylvania, located in Alba county, central Romania, at the base of Trascau Mountains. Because the village is bordered by steep slopes that gives the impression of two sunrises, the locals used to say that it is here that the sun rises twice.
The fairy-tale land with green windows and white houses is renowned for its unique architecture and wonderful landscape, with houses as if landed from a 19th-century picture.
Coltesti Fortress, built in the 13th century, is 5 kilometers from Rimetea, a citadel that was erected around 1296 by voivode Thoroczkay in Trascau as as a hideaway from the Tartars’ invasions.
And last, but not the least, Rimetea is the place where the old meets the modern, as, due to its location and steep slopes, it is the ideal destination for extreme and aircraft sports, such as paragliding, off road and hiking.
Viscri village, located at about 90 km away from Brasov, has become famous worldwide after Prince Charles had bought a house there. The house has been reintroduced in the touristic circuit in 2016, after having been restored while preserving its Transylvanian Saxon traditional particularities. The house serves as a three-star pension, has five rooms that can be rented from EUR 40 up to EUR 85 per night.
With a population under 1,000 inhabitants, Viscri is home to one of the most spectacular Saxon fortified churches, besides being one of the six listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.
An A-list made by The Telegraph in 2015 ranked the Fortified Church in Viscri, as the 5th among world’s most beautiful churches. And that was definitely a fact, as the number of tourists saw a spectacular rise that year, with 32,000 tourists visiting the village and the church, most of them being foreign tourists.
Traditional dishes are also famous in Viscri, such as the „pita bread”, the chicken soup with homemade noodles, but also the jams. Few people know about the Viscri Jam, officially launched in Paris in 2012, which may be a treat for foreigners, but also for Romanian city dwellers, who have become more in want of natural organic products to remind them of the childhood spent at the grandparents’ farms.
Colibita is a another „precious stone” of the Romanian countryside. Located in Bistrita Bargaului commune, in Bistrita-Nasaud County, Transylvania, 38 kilometers from Bistrita, the village is reveling in the wild natural area of Calimani Mountains, and is often compared to a bucolic landscape in Switzerland due to its untamed beauty.
The artificial lake in Colibita, located at an altitude of 900 meters, stretches on 270 hectares surface area, with 13 kilometers length and an approximately volume of 65 million cubic meters of water. The artificial lake appeared creating a dam between 1977 and 1991 for power efficiency, water supplies for downstream establishments, industry, irrigation and water flow control for Bistrita River.
Colibita is also renowned among foreign tourists, who are extreme sports enthusiasts, as they can enjoy kayaking, rafting, canoe trips or water skiing up here, but also among expats or foreigners who chose to settle down or buy a house here, like British writer John Row, who has been lured by the nature and fresh air of Colibita.
Not to mention that this gorgeous location is half an hour drive from Bistrita and 20 km from Dracula’s castle in Tihuta Pass.
Botiza, hidden on Izei Valley, at the heart of Maramures region in northern Romania, welcomes tourists with another storybook look. One of the oldest villages on Romania’s territory, the village has been certified for the first time in 1373 under the name of Batizha.
It is also located at the foot of the Tibles Mountain, which originates from the Latin word Cibele that means „the great mother of all gods”. Botiza is also known for the fact that free Dacians lived here.
Besides the breathtaking natural surroundings, Botiza is home to Botiza monastery (made of fir tree hardwood) and to the mineral waters springs: one thermal spring water and four fresh water springs.
If you are in the neighbourhood, don’t miss another iconic settlement for the Maramures spirit: Barsana and its scenic monastery.
To be continued…stay tuned to discover more picturesque Romanian villages.