Family Abroad

Our 2-Month Adventure Around Romania


As a family who loves to travel, we so excited to explore Romania, a country known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating history. We knew that this would be a unique and memorable adventure for our family, filled with surprises and new discoveries.

Throughout our journey, we experienced the warmth and hospitality of the Romanian people, as well as the country’s natural beauty, from the majestic Carpathian Mountains to the colorful cities and charming little villages. We also immersed ourselves in the country’s fascinating history, visiting castles, historic sites, and learning all about Romania’s past.

This blog post will provide you with a detailed account of our family’s 2-month travel through Romania. Join us as we explore this captivating country and discover its hidden gems.


Our trip to Romania was certainly met with skepticism from some of the Romanian people we spoke to prior to our trip. However, we were determined to explore the country and make our own judgments. As we made our way to Transylvania, we got more and more excited, knowing that we were in for a unique experience. The anticipation of visiting the town of Dracula himself was palpable, and we couldn’t wait to see what the spooky town of Bran had to offer. And we’re happy to say, the country definitely exceeded our expectations!

As people who have had the pleasure of exploring Romania firsthand, we can confidently say that it is a hidden gem that deserves much more recognition. Despite not being as popular as other European destinations, Romania has so much to offer for travelers seeking adventure, culture, and history.

Romania is filled with natural beauty, which offers endless opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities. The countryside is dotted with picturesque villages, each with their unique charm and traditions. Romania’s cities are also vibrant and full of history, with beautiful architecture and cultural landmarks to explore.

Breathtaking landscape scenery of Romania’s hills and mountains

Romania is also incredibly affordable compared to other European destinations. Accommodations, food, and transportation are all reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Overall, Romania may be off the radar for many, but it is a country that should not be overlooked. Its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality make it a destination that is well worth exploring.


We arrived in Bucharest by a short flight from Athens, Greece. After collecting our luggage, we went outside to get a taxi to our hotel. Since we were 5 people with quite a bit of luggage, we had to get 2 taxis. Luckily, the hotel was only 5 minutes away.

Arriving in Bucharest Airport

Our hotel was the Vienna House Easy by Wyndham. We were only going to be there for one night before driving to our Airbnb the next day.

Once we arrived at the hotel, we were told that it was still too early to check into our rooms, so we decided to go to the mall to shop for “fall and winter clothes”. We took the hotel shuttle to the nearest mall, and we were surprised that it looked just like an American mall!

After about an hour of shopping, headed to the food court and ate in an Italian restaurant. After that, we did some more shopping and soon it was time to head back to the hotel.

When we got to the hotel, we all settled into the rooms and then headed to the restaurant for dinner. During dinner, we met this wonderful woman who told us about her homeland of Moldova and about her experiences of now living in the United States. She recommended some places for us to visit, and we told her all about our travels. We were exhausted from the day’s activities, so we called it a night and got a good night’s rest before our road trip to our Airbnb the next day.

Dejani and Our Airbnb

We started our morning early with breakfast at the hotel, and then started packing up the car and heading out on our 3-hour road trip to Transylvania. Once we got out of the city, we started to see the mountains and villages. It was rural but very beautiful. There were lots of small shops along the road with traditional Romanian clothing and toys. We loved seeing the scenery from the car. There were even horse-drawn carriages and wagons going down the street! It was such a charming sight and definitely reminded us of Mexico. The town also had cobblestone roads, which reminded us of Edith’s hometown, San Miguel de Allende, and plenty of other places in Mexico.

The 3-hour drive went by smoothly, and then we arrived in a small town called Dejani (near Fagaras), where our Airbnb was located. Our host, Horace, and his parents were already there, waiting for us. 

Dinner at our Airbnb with our host, Horace

The house was A-MA-Z-I-N-G! We had a great view of the mountains, a huge backyard, a hot tub, a creek running through the backyard, and enough rooms for everyone to have their own space.

A view of the backyard of our Airbnb

After Horace showed us around the house, we settled into our rooms and then headed to grocery store. Horace’s mom kindly drove us into town and showed us where a grocery store was. We decided to go eat first and we walked to a restaurant called Derby. The food was good, service was great, and it was very affordable! We walked back to the grocery store and got all of our essentials. We were amazed at how affordable everything was and, frankly, it was quite a relief from all the expenses in Greece. We headed back home and settled into our new home!

The next day, we started working again. Thankfully, the WIFI was fast and we were able to work with no issues. Later that day day, Nathan and Kathy started to get the hot tub ready! You may be wondering why I said “get it ready”. It’s because we had an old school one that got heated from firewood! We had to start burning the fire around 4-5 hours before we wanted to go in so the water would be hot! They had to go and put in more wood every 30 minutes to keep the fire going. Later on, we cooked the first of many amazing homemade dinners.

After dinner, we finished watching our movie and then hopped in the hot tub. The water felt amazing, and we all jumped in. As we were looking up at the night sky, we saw a big bright comet that lasted around 30 seconds! We were all amazed at what we just saw, and we couldn’t believe it. That experience was definitely one of our fondest memories from our trip.


The Transfagarasan Highway is one of Romania’s highlights. This stunning mountain road is known as one of the most beautiful and challenging drives in the world, and it certainly did not disappoint.

The Transfagarasan highway in Romania

We started our drive to the famous Transfagarasan Highway prepping ourselves for the unavoidable car sickness. The Transfagarasan Highway is famous for their hairpin turns, so we prepared for it by taking some anti-nausea medicine. The drive there was unbelievable! The warm colors of the trees and foliage during the fall season added an extra layer of beauty to an already picturesque landscape.

Aerial view of the famous hairpin turns of the Transfagarasan highway in Romania

Coming from Texas, where the fall season is not as pronounced, it was a real treat for us to witness the changing of the seasons in Romania. The orange, red, and brown leaves falling from the trees created a stunning and magical scenery.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Transfagarasan Highway also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing during the winter months.

We pulled over to the side of the road to take some pictures and videos and then drove some more and then saw a stop that had a view of the waterfall, so we pulled over. We actually found that they had a cable car that will take you past the waterfall to Balea Lake! We bought a round trip ticket and rode the cable car, and we got to see the Transfagarasan Highway from above. After the 10-minute cable car ride we made it to the top and we went to go eat at the restaurant. We explored the area a bit and saw the little market that they had there. The local market had a small selection of things like honey, beef jerky, and other local products.

Nathan and Don wanted to hike to the top of the surrounding mountain of Balea Lake. As we climbed higher and higher, the views only became more breathtaking. When we finally reached the top, we were treated to a panoramic view of the famous Balea Lake below, surrounded by the towering mountains, and the winding Transfăgărășan Highway.

Don and Nathan hiking to the top of the surrounding mountain of Balea Lake

But that was not all. As we turned around, we saw the stunning Capra Lake on the other side, adding yet another layer of beauty to the already awe-inspiring scenery.

Breathtaking view from Don and Nathan’s hike

Kathy, Bethany and Edith went back to the car and actually drive the Transfagarasan Highway. While we did the hike to the top of the mountain, the girls took the cable car down to the car and started our journey. We were so amazed at how beautiful everything was, and all the turns. The drive was pretty fast and we were already at the top before we knew it. Nathan and Don were still doing the hike, so we decided to drive through the tunnel and see what the other side of the mountain had to offer. The drive was incredible, more mountain views and hairpin turns. Once we got the message from the boys that they were done and heading back, we turned around to meet them. We meet up with them and they told us about their amazing experience hiking up the mountain and showed us pictures of it. We headed home since it was starting to get dark and decided to eat at home.


Brasov was one of our favorite destinations in Romania, and we ended up visiting twice! The first time we went, we were excited to see the Christmas market, but unfortunately, it was still being set up. However, we made the most of our time by exploring the charming streets of the old town and taking in the city’s unique architecture. We even wrote a blog post highlighting some of the top places to visit while in Brasov, which you can read here.

Old Town, Brasov, Transylvania, Romania

We stayed at the Hotel Bella Muzica both times, and we highly recommend it. The location was perfect for exploring the old town, which was easily walkable from the hotel.

One of the highlights of our first visit was during Kathy’s 22nd birthday, where we went to an Escape Room with a Game of Thrones theme. It was so much fun, and we all worked together to solve the puzzles and clues. We had 8 minutes left on our one-hour time limit, and we were all so proud of ourselves for completing it. It was a great way to celebrate Kathy’s special day and create unforgettable memories during our trip.

After the Escape Room, we were starving, so we decided to try out a nearby Indian restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious, and we were happy with our choice. Once we finished our meal, we strolled around town and stumbled upon the town square, where we spotted a massive Christmas tree. It turned out they were setting up for the town’s Christmas Market, and we couldn’t wait to come back and see it all lit up.

The second time we went to Brasov, we decided to take it easier and enjoy the city at a slower pace. One rainy morning, Don decided to go out and explore Brasov on his own, which we wrote about in a blog post, and you can also check out our vlog here.

Some of the top places to visit in Brasov include the Old Town Square, the Black Church, Rope Street, and the Weaver’s Bastion. The Old Town Square is the heart of the city and features colorful buildings, outdoor cafes, and a beautiful fountain. Our hotel was a short walk from the old town, which made going around and exploring extremely convenient.

Aerial view of the Old Town, Brasov

The Black Church is an impressive Gothic church that dates back to the 14th century and is one of the largest churches in Eastern Europe.

The Black Church, Brasov, Romania

Rope Street is a narrow passageway in Brasov’s Old Town that is believed to be one of the narrowest streets in Europe, and is a popular spot for tourists to visit and take photos. Lastly, the Weaver’s Bastion a well-preserved medieval fortification in Brasov, Romania that dates back to the 15th century and is now a museum showcasing the history of the city’s fortifications.

Another unique sight that Brasov has to offer is their Brasov “Hollywood” Sign, also known as the Brasov letters or the Hollywood-style Brasov sign. It is located on Mount Tampa and can be seen from the old town. The sign consists of six large letters spelling out “BRASOV” and is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and enjoy the beautiful views of the city and surrounding mountains. To reach the sign, visitors can take a cable car or hike up the mountain. It’s definitely a unique and memorable experience to see the Brasov sign during a visit to the city.

Famous Brasov letters on the hill, Romania

Brasov Christmas Market

We absolutely loved visiting Brasov’s Christmas market during our trip. The atmosphere was truly magical, with festive lights, decorations, and holiday music filling the air. The market was extremely well-organized and had plenty of vendors selling handmade goods, delicious food and drinks, and traditional Romanian treats. We enjoyed wandering around the market, trying local food, and picking out some unique souvenirs to take home. Edith enjoyed the market the most, and she shopped for a few trinkets and Christmas decorations.

Christmas market and decorations tree in center of Brasov, Transylvania, Romania

One of our favorite features of the market was the live performances. We were lucky enough to catch some great traditional Romanian dances and music on the main stage. However, the real surprise was a performance by people in full-body BEAR SUITS with pompoms, dancing and drumming to the delight of the crowds. It was something we had never seen before and added to the joy and uniqueness of the experience. Overall, we had a wonderful time at Brasov’s Christmas market and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the city during the holiday season.

The McClure’s in front of the huge Christmas tree at the Brasov Christmas Market


Sibiu, located in the heart of Transylvania, is a charming city with a rich history and unique architecture that makes it a very “Instagramable” destination. With its picturesque cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and iconic landmarks like the Bridge of Lies and the Evangelical Church, Sibiu offers plenty of opportunities for great photos. The city’s old town area is particularly stunning, with well-preserved medieval walls, towers, and gates that all add to its charm.

Main square in Sibiu, Romania

One of the most unique attractions in Sibiu are the “houses with eyes.” These buildings have small, eye-like windows built into the roofs, giving them a distinctive appearance that is both intriguing and a little bit eerie. Another popular sight is the Bridge of Lies, a historic bridge that old legends say will collapse if someone tells a lie while crossing it (it turns out to be a misunderstanding based on the literal translation, but it makes for a fun story).

An example of Sibiu’s “Houses with Eyes”

For those interested in religious history, the Lutheran church is a must-visit. This impressive building dates back to the 14th century and is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. The Stairs Passage, also known as the Passage of Stairs, is a narrow staircase that leads from the Lower Town to the Upper Town. It’s a bit of a climb, but the view from the top is worth it. Finally, the Clock Tower is a striking landmark in the city and offers visitors the opportunity to climb to the top for stunning panoramic views of Sibiu.

We have a dedicated blog post of the top things to see in Sibiu, or you can watch our full Vlog of Sibiu here!

Sibiu Christmas Market

Staying at the Rabbit Hole Hotel in Sibiu was a fantastic decision, as it allowed us to experience the Christmas market right from our hotel window. It was such a magical experience waking up each morning to the sound of carols and the smell of delicious food. Unlike the Christmas market in Brasov, Sibiu’s market had a lot of kid-friendly activities, making it a perfect family destination. The Ferris wheel and merry-go-round were popular with the kids, and Nathan and Bethany couldn’t get enough of the ice-skating rink.

Christmas Market in Sibiu’s main square, Romania

One of the special features of the Sibiu market was the huge nativity scene. The attention to detail was impressive, and Edith absolutely loved it. We also bought gingerbread cookies from one of the food stalls, and they were the best we’ve ever tasted. Edith was also excited to try the hot wine, which reminded us of the traditional Mexican Christmas drink, Ponche. It was the perfect way to warm up in the chilly weather and get into the festive spirit.

The next morning, we had some breakfast and walked around town for a bit then headed back home to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Sibiu

At around noon, we started preparing our Thanksgiving dinner to ensure it would be ready on time. Unfortunately, our kitchen was quite small and only two of the stovetops were working, so we had to make the best of what we had. Despite the limitations, Edith managed to cook up a scrumptious feast including cauliflower mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, buttered corn, pineapple ham, stuffing, and candied yams.

Our delicious home-cooked Thanksgiving feast in Sibiu

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, we watched a movie and savored every bite. Although we missed our family and the grand feast we usually have back home, we still managed to enjoy our intimate Thanksgiving celebration together.


Sighisoara is a charming little city, filled with history and legends. Count Dracula is said to have lived in the city until he was four years old, which adds to the city’s appeal. Although the city takes advantage of its connection to Dracula (which we love and find amusing!), it is still a beautiful place to visit even if you’re not a fan of the vampire legend. The pastel-colored houses and buildings give the city a picturesque feel. We stayed at the Central Park Hotel, which is conveniently located in the center of the town, and it provided us with easy access to many shops and attractions.

Stone paved old street with colorful buildings in city center, Sighisoara

Unfortunately, the timing of our trip didn’t align with the Christmas market in Sighisoara. However, there were still plenty of other sights and experiences to enjoy. One of these experiences was hearing the clock tower bells ring at noon. Many people gather around the clock tower at this time to witness the spectacle, and the atmosphere is full of excitement and anticipation as the clock tower chimes. It is a wonderful moment to capture on camera or simply soak in as part of the Sighisoara experience.

Sighisoara’s walls are still intact and surround the town, and each entrance to the wall is named after a trade or guild. The remaining towers include the Bootmakers Tower and the Ropemakers Tower. The walls provide a unique glimpse into the town’s history and trade heritage. Although only a few towers remain of the original number, it’s still an impressive sight to see.

Another place to see is the Pupils Staircase, which is a covered wooden staircase that dates back to the 17th century. It connects the lower part of the town to the upper part where the Church on the Hill is located.

Don and Edith exploring Sighisoara!

We continued to walk upward and got to visit the Church on the Hill and we were even invited inside for a tour by the caretakers. The church had beautiful frescoes that were uncovered underneath the plaster, and we got to see some painted, wooden chests that people before would fill up with food or other provisions to survive a siege. The underground crypt and human-sized headstones with intricate carvings were other interesting features of the church. One unique feature of the Church was an altar dedicated to the grandmother of Jesus.

Watch our Vlog of Sighisoara here!

Bran Castle

Bran Castle is known for its association with the fictional character of Count Dracula, created by Bram Stoker. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Saxons and was originally used as a fortress to defend the border between Wallachia and Transylvania. Over the centuries, the castle changed hands many times and was used for a variety of purposes, including as a royal residence, a customs point, and even a hospital during World War I.

Medieval Bran castle in Romania, Brasov, known for Dracula story, one of landmarks of Romania (XIVth century). The castle was built on the border between medieval Walachia and Transylvania.

We were thrilled to have tickets to visit Bran Castle, famously known as Dracula’s Castle, on Halloween. Being a family that loves Halloween and dressing up, we all dressed up as vampires (of course!) and embarked on the hour-long drive from our house to the castle.

However, upon arriving at the parking area, we were surprised to see a massive crowd, which made finding a parking spot difficult. Finally, we found one, but it meant walking for 25 minutes to reach the castle. To our surprise, no one else was dressed up in costumes, making us feel a tad insecure.

In the end, we decided to skip the castle and instead stopped by a beautiful spot with trees for a family photo session as vampires in Transylvania.

Our vampire photoshoot in a forest in Romania

Back home, we changed out of our costumes and relaxed for a bit before Nathan and Kathy surprised Bethany with a Halloween scavenger hunt complete with prizes and lots of candies. We all joined in the fun, and later, we carved pumpkins to round off our Halloween in Romania. Despite our initial setback, we thoroughly enjoyed our time and made the most of the situation.

Nathan, Bethany, and Kathy Halloween-ing at Home

Since the first time we went was sort of a failed attempt, Don and Edith decided to visit on another day.

During our tour of the castle, we were able to see many of the rooms and chambers that were used by the royal family when they lived there. The castle is now a museum, and visitors can see everything from the antique furniture to the intricate artwork on the walls and ceilings. One of the most impressive features of the castle is the collection of medieval weaponry on display, including swords, shields, and armor.

As we walked through the castle, we learned about the various legends and stories associated with Count Dracula and his supposed connection to the castle. While there is no historical evidence to support the idea that the real-life Vlad Tepes, who was the inspiration for the fictional character of Dracula, ever lived in the castle, it’s easy to see how the spooky atmosphere and history of the castle inspired Stoker’s imagination.


Our trip to the Cantacuzino Castle was definitely one of our favorite parts of our Romanian adventure.

This castle is particularly famous for being the filming location for “Nevermore Academy” in the popular Netflix series “Wednesday.”

The drive in was stunning, with pine trees dusted with snow and a colorful town at the bottom of the mountain. When we arrived at the castle, we couldn’t resist doing the iconic “Wednesday dance” in front of it, which was so much fun! You can see the video on Tiktok.

Although we didn’t get to take a tour of the castle itself, we enjoyed the spectacular views of the surrounding area.

The castle’s setting was truly picturesque, and we felt lucky to have had the opportunity to visit the filming location of the TV show.


During our trip to Romania, we were blown away by the country’s beauty and charm. From the stunning scenery to the warm and welcoming people, Romania quickly became one of our favorite travel destinations. We were equally impressed by the delicious food, which offered a unique blend of flavors and culinary traditions. Every town, village, and city that we visited had its own unique character and attractions, and we enjoyed exploring them all.

Despite being underrated by some, Romania truly exceeded our expectations and left us with many wonderful memories. Our stay was peaceful and calming, and we felt a strong sense of connection to the country and its people.

Overall, we highly recommend Romania as a travel destination for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable experience. Romania definitely holds a special place in our hearts, and we can’t wait to return and explore even more of this beautiful country.

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