Top travel destinations: The most picturesque villages in Romania (II)
Măgura is another epic village in Romania. Located in Brasov county, near Moeciu, right inside the Piatra Craiului National Park, Măgura is another pattern of what life in the countryside means, a life on a mountain top.
Here, the never ending green of the hills is racing with the mountain air, while the pastoral world of the flock of sheep and the chirp of the birds are the only ones disturbing the silence of these realms.
Tourists, photographers, families with kids, trekking aficionados are frequently met in Măgura or in Pestera, a neighboring village, in search of fresh air, of mountain climbing or to capture the iconic territory on camera.
Bran, Zarnestilor Gorges, the Bat Cave are close to Măgura, not to mention the extreme sports activities available in the region, such as trekking, bungee jumping, the zip line and the Via Ferrata at Rasnoavei Gorges.
Oh, and worth mentioning is that British author and journalist Arabella McIntyre-Brown is among the foreigners who settled down in Romania, choosing Măgura as her home.
Şirnea / Şirnea is a village as if out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels. It is another hamlet in Brasov, close to Măgura, at the foot of Piatra Craiului Mountains, at about 1,400m height. In 1960, Şirnea was declared the first tourist village in Romania.
Besides its picturesque surroundings, Șirnea is also famous for its traditional events, like the Summer Olympiad or the Sumetru’s Fire (the patron saint of sheepherders and crops), due every year on October 25. The children get dressed in the folk costumes typical to the village, they make a big fire and dance around it. The bravest of them jump through the fire.
Breb from Maramureş, is one of the best preserved traditional villages of the region, with its local colors luring Romanian and foreign photographers every year, in order to capture the rare prints of the past. The village is guarded by some natural reserves, such as Cocoşului, Lacul Morărenilor and Taul Chendroaie. There is also an old wooden church in Breb, dating back in 1300, and, of course, the wooden gates, typical to all Maramures province, are owning the place in this area.
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Pleşa is one of the villages in Suceava, northern Romania, also ranked among the most beautiful ones in Romania. Very close to Gura Humorului, Pleşa is almost exclusively inhabited by a Polish community. Besides the scenic view of the place, the village is a real gate to the heart of Polish culture, traditions and gastronomy. It is home to the Polish community for over 180 years, who emigrated from the Czadca region near the Slovak-Polish border to Bukovina in the early 19th century.
Tourists can find traditional pensions to accommodate and the iconic surroundings to explore.
Drăguş, is another Romanian village full of legends and mystery, at the foot of Fagaras Mountains, but also recently famous for its Bavarian-like look due to its saucy and modern statute.
The villagers inspired their names from the Fagaras Land’s legends, stories with dragons, ogres and demons. It is not by coincidence that its Transylvanian Saxon name is Drackendorf, which means the villages of ogres, of devils.
In Drăguş, stories and fairy tales come to life in the Corn Labyrinth, where you can meet Princess and Prince Charming, but also the bad witch and the ogre.
The village is also renowned for its furrier, Dumitru Sofonea, declared a human live treasure, for he is among the last people who know the secrets of this craft in Romania and his robes have become symbols around the world, among its owners being late Tudor Arghezi, Gandhi or George Bush.
Tourists can discover epic mountain paths on Muchia Drăguşului or Valea Sâmbetei, but the village is also a good start point to climb the Moldoveanu Peak (2,544m) and is a ski destination during the winter.
But, above all, Drăguş is an example of a modern village, which has living standards like in any modern, decent city: they have water and sewage systems, paved roads, a German speaking kindergarten, all acquired through European funds.