|Romania, a country of 19 million, is composed of eight historic regions: Banat, Bukovina, Crișana, Dobrudja, Maramures, Moldavia, Transylvania and Wallachia. The country is rich in history with marked German and Hungarian influence. The lush natural scenery of the Carpathian Mountains, also known as the Mountains of Sunset, is mainly in Romania, circling Transylvania. One of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe is in the Carpathians.
Sibiu, Braşov, Sighișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures and Miercurea-Ciuc are major attractions for out of country tourists due in large part to their story book atmospheres, medieval castles and Transylvanian style. Spa and health resorts, museums, camping, hiking, skiing and cycling are also big draws.
Bucharest, the capital, once called Little Paris, is being intensively modernized after years of neglect under communist rule. Four large cities of comparable size rank below Bucharest. They are Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, and Constanta.
Timisoara, the capital of the Banat region, is the commercial and cultural center of western Romania.
Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania is Romania's second city.
Iasi, the capital of Moldavia, is noted for its high-quality cultural scene.
Constanta is Romania's port on the Black Sea. Mostly south of the city is Romania's Black Sea Riviera which is undergoing extensive development.
Romania has an extensive complement of castles and fortresses that are major tourist attractions. Bran Castle, linked to Dracula, was built by Tutonic Knights in 1212, destroyed by Mongol and Turkish invaders and rebuilt several times to, finally, wind up in the hands of the Habsburg family as a museum.
Since Roman times, mineral and thermal springs have served to treat a variety of medical conditions. More than a third of Europe's medical spas are located in Romania.
For the nature lover there is a network of National Parks and protected areas. The Apuseni Nature Park in the Western Carpathians is known as the Cavers' Paradise. The Danube Delta, a UNESCO Reserve, home of hundreds of species of birds, may be visited as part of a Danube River Cruise.
Transportation: Romania has four major international airports: Henri Coandă (OTP) and Aurel Vlaicu (BBU) in Bucharest, Traian Vuia (TSR) in Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca (CLJ). The three important Romanian air lines are Tarom, Carpatair and Blue Air. The country may also be reached via the European rail system. Unfortunately, local trains are slow and the road system is plagued by heavy traffic.