12 Reasons to visit Romania with children
Because hearing the (were)wolves howling at the moon is cool. Because fairytale grannies do exist and they are black belts in baking pies and donuts(duh!). Because hopping in the occasional cart hitched to a sturdy draft horse is so much fun. There are oodles of reasons to visit Romania with children. Here are our top 12.
1. Romanians love children
Surprised? Well, we are related to Italians and we are mainly Greek Orthodox. A fairly explosive combination, one should think. So don’t panic if an old lady does ptoo ptoo ptoo, as if she is spitting at your child. It simply means protection against evil eye (“deochi”). Whose evil eye? Well, her own!
An ancient superstition says that excessive admiration(especially of young children) may cause bad luck or malaise. It is customary to “spit” three times after making a compliment to someone to protect him/her from the evil eye.
Mind you, if the preventive “spitting” is omitted, there are always spells which claim to break the curse. A little magic never hurt anyone, right?
2. There’s actual food in our food
Simply because, in many parts of Romania, agriculture is still a handmade affair, largely unmechanised and small-scaled. Most of the rural population work on farms with the smallest herds, the lowest yields, but some of the highest levels of self-sufficiency in Europe. They produce enough organic food to fuel their work in the field and get them though the cold winters.
Tip: Try to eat homemade meals as much as possible when in Romania. Kids will drool at the cheese doughnuts (papanasi), walnut rolls (cozonaci) and the umpteen pies (placinte). But they won’t get to taste them before finishing their soup! Rule no.1! Romanian soups… a topic that can stretch on pages; we’ll tackle it in a future post!
3. Accommodation is easy and affordable
We may not have Mandarin Orientals, nor Relais & Chateaux, but we do have a plethora of traditional guesthouses, boutique hotels, beautifully restored mansions, not to mention the Airbnbs. Extra beds, interconnecting rooms, private kitchens, you name it! You won’t need to break the bank when travelling to Romania with kids and that’s a fact. And a darn good incentive as well.
4. No need to carry diapers or gluten-free biscuits
Guess what? Romanians have tots, too! And guess what else? They all wear diapers! So don’t stress over excess luggage and bring only what’s necessary for a day or two. You’ll find all you need and more once you get here. Also, the gluten/ dairy-free diets are no longer a secret to this neck of the woods. In big cities, you’ll find dedicated shelves at the hypermarkets or, you may go to specialised shops that offer a wider variety of products. We, personally, have a long history with food intolerances, so we do take these things seriously.
5. There are mountains
The Carpathian Mountains! Spectacular, untamed and rewarding, with plenty of natural parks begging to be hiked. In summer, you can go camping, glamping, wildlife watching, forest-berry foraging or bat-cave exploring. Winter is great for skiing, snowboarding or wild animal track hunting. Following the tracks of wild animals (bear, wolf, lynx, boar, deer) in the snow is lots of fun, as long as the beasts are not hungry (Little Red Riding-hood beware!).
6. Oh yes, and there are beaches…
Maybe not the Caribbean style, but sandy and with shallow waters; perfect for sand castles and making friends! Excellent for toddlers and vitamin D intake!
7. You don’t need to look for conventional playgrounds
Village lanes are as much fun. Children can witness “when the cows come home” and befriend the local kids. There’s no better place to play barefoot in the dirt and connect with the Earth.
They can find entertainment even in the most pious of all places: the monasteries. Provided they come across a spirited nun who lets them “play” the church bells.
8. There are the myths and legends, too
The spooky castles and Draculashire! Although we beg to differ, kids have a soft spot for all this bunkum. Just say the word “Transylvania” and watch their pupils dilate with adrenaline rush.
Tip: Use this opportunity to pour in some real history. Children will love hearing the legends surrounding this area and visiting some of the sites where these legends took place will make life-long memories.
10. Cute encounters with animals
From spring till autumn, Romania is swarming with sheep, cows, goats, geese, ducks and other critters. “The Pride Lands” of farm animals, with the fluffy sheepdogs playing Mufasa. In some households, they can even give a helping hand with goat/cow/sheep milking. We really think that goats are the most docile through :). And we know what we’re talking about.
11. You may even adopt one
A puppy for instance. If your kids fall in love with an irresistible homeless puppy while scouting around the country, get a local vet to help you and you can bring home a barking souvenir. And you name it Vlad!
12. It’s safe, affordable and offbeat
3 key words when deciding to take the kids on vacation! Romania has been the Cinderella of mass-media for years, but she’s now shaking off the ash, catching the attention of the world. Try to get here before the clock strikes midnight!
We may be perfect for you
We hope you found these 12 reasons to visit Romania with children helpful and inspiring. Whether you usually plan your own trips, or work with a destination travel designer, planning a trip to Romania can seem daunting at times.
At Romania Private Tours, our specialty is crafting bespoke tours for travellers seeking unique, authentic experiences. If you are interested in planning your trip with us, please feel free to send us an enquiry.
by Cezarina Pomojnicu, the intrepid mom of a 9-year-old