Photo Travel Destinations in Romania

Photo Travel Destinations in Romania

Why should you take a Romania Photo Tour?

If you are in search of unique scenery and authentic cultural landscapes, a photo tour to Romania might be exactly what you are looking for.
Though not too much is known about this ancient Eastern European country, Romania is becoming more and more popular with tourists from all around the world – and most of all, with photographers who are eager to discover its natural beauty and rich historical legacy of medieval cities, castles and citadels, picturesque Orthodox churches, quaint villages, and most of all, the Romanian people.
Located at the crossroads between Orient and Occident, Romania stands as a unique and diverse culture which can be beautifully captured in photographs.

Here is a list of the 6 best travel destinations in Romania for a complete photo experience:

The picturesque and remote villages

We say that Romania is not yet completely westernized. Even though in the large cities one can feel the “winds of change” coming slowly from the Occident, in the rural areas there is a “different kind of the wind that still blows.” In the remote villages, time seems to flow in a different manner, respecting old traditions and superstitions. The locals are still eating food from their backyard farms; kids are too busy running outside to spend time surfing the Internet. An old lady sweeping the porch of her house is a very common sight, and you will be surprised to see the cows driven by the cowherd coming from the field each day at exactly the same hour, heading to their own courtyard. Sounds like a Fellini movie, you would say, and guess what? You are in the middle of the action. In Romania, you will find many places like these: in Maramures and Transylvania most of all, there are special hidden gems that attract tourists from around the world. They enjoy a complete rural experience and discover other dimensions of traveling. Villages like Vadu Izei, Botiza, Viscri and Valea Zalanului (where Britain’s Prince Charles has several  guesthouses; read more here), Biertan, Sibiel, and Crit are some of the reasons for the saying “Romania starts where the asphalt ends.”

At sunrise and from the right perspective, these villages are like fairy tale settings that photographers can capture very easily. We can say that this is the spectacle of rural life, simple and slow but with a certain genuine beauty that inspires a comfortable and peaceful feeling for the viewer. These villages and their surroundings are a highlight of any photo tour in Romania.

Best time to visit for Romania photo tours:

Summer and autumn are the perfect time to visit the villages of Romania as that is when they are more accessible. In these months, you can also capture the people working on the fields: making haystacks, taking in the harvest, making wine, working in the vineyards, picking fruit in the orchards, and so on. Winter is also very special in Romanian villages as the winter holidays are very strongly related to traditions that are kept quite rigorously from generation to generation. But also, take into consideration that getting there might be more difficult in winter because of heavy snow.

Rural Romania, Maramures, Breb

Rural Romania, Maramures © Daniel Gheorghita

The Roma people

Any visit to Romania should definitely include a proper discovery of the Roma communities. A Photo Tour of Romania can help tourists go beyond their preconceptions and discover the story of the Roma by visiting some local families, getting to know them, and capturing their typical way of life. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

Best time to visit for Romania photo tours:

Summer and autumn are the best time to visit the Roma villages, as they are very active these times of the year, working in their workshops.

The Blacksmith, Viscri, Transylvania

The Blacksmith, Viscri © Daniel Gheorghita

Romania’s natural scenery

Romania is blessed with a very diverse natural environment including plains, hills, and mountains together with numerous rivers, caves, waterfalls and virgin forests. What is typically Romanian is the way nature blends with people’s settlements and their activities, as the locals learned long ago how to respect the environment and live in harmony with it. A drive through the Carpathian Mountains can be the best opportunity to capture impressive mountain peaks, waterfalls, mountain lakes and valleys as well as bucolic villages with traditional wooden houses, the shepherds with their flocks, or local villagers making haystacks. The photo opportunities are again quite numerous.
The rolling hills of Transylvania offer some of the most typical sights of this legendary region. The famous Saxon villages with their imposing medieval fortified churches could not find a better natural setting than the gentle hills of Transylvania.

Also, the Danube Delta is one of the best travel destinations for Photo Tours in Romania. Considered the youngest land in Europe, the Danube Delta is home to some 300 species of birds, 130 species of fish and typical wetlands vegetation. Thanks to all these natural riches, the Danube Delta was classified as part of UNESCO world heritage in 1991.

Best time to visit for Romania photo tours:

Summer and autumn are the perfect time to capture the beauty of Romania’s natural scenery as nature is most impressive at these times of the year. During the winter only some places are accessible; others like the Danube Delta or some high mountain valleys are not.

Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania, Romania

Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania © Daniel Gheorghita

Medieval castles and fortresses

The cultural identity of Romania is not complete without its medieval castles and citadels that hide many intriguing stories between their walls. Elegant Peles castle is by far one of the most beautiful castles in Romania – some say even in all of the Europe.  Medieval Bran castle is probably the most photographed castle in the country, thanks to its role in the film “Frankenstein,” and Corvinus castle impresses with its the authentic Gothic style, being unique in Romania.
But it’s Sighisoara’s medieval citadel that remains the main attraction of Transylvania, being one of the few medieval citadels in Europe that are still inhabited. Here, time seems to run in another dimension: visitors feel that they are on a journey back in time when knights and fair ladies used to fall in love before the era of dating, and freedom was the priceless treasure of the community. Here you will find out the story of the citadel, you will see the well-preserved walls and towers of defense and admire the medieval houses lining the narrow old streets.

The medieval legacy of Romania includes also the sometimes hidden, yet imposing fortified churches built by the Saxons in the 12-14th centuries. These are not simply churches – they are an expression of how the Saxons used to stay united and help each other in the past. Usually, the church is located up on the hill and surrounded by the typical German houses, together forming some of the most beautiful scenery of the region.

Best time to visit for Romania photo tours:

You can photograph the medieval castles and fortresses in any season. Each time of year has its special charm, and most are accessible throughout the year.

Biertan, Transylvania, Romania

Biertan, Transylvania © Daniel Gheorghita

The cities

You will be surprised by the many cosmopolitan cities in Romania which represent important urban hubs for the country’s economy and most of all, for the active cultural life. With some of them, time has been gentle; with others, one can still see the scars of different political regimes that changed the identity of each place. Romania’s capital, Bucharest, is by far the city of the most contrasts, hated and loved at the same time by its inhabitants. The city has survived  numerous wars and many political regimes and wears the marks that these events left behind. And so, the “little Paris” stands side by side with the Communist legacy that Nicolae Ceausescu created for Romania. Nowhere else in Europe will you find such an intriguing contrast that fascinates each visitor.

But let’s not forget the beautiful medieval cities and compact old towns in Transylvania which boast some of the greatest architecture in the country. The Transylvanian cities, which are highly appreciated by photographers, are Sibiu (former European capital of Culture in 2007), Cluj-Napoca (former European capital of Youth in 2015), and Brasov, with its famous Black Church.

Best time to visit for Romania photo tours:

Summer and autumn  are the perfect seasons to visit the cities of Romania as you can capture both the green vegetation of summer and the colors of autumn together with the beautiful architecture. But winter is also a great time to visit the cities when they are nicely decorated for the Christmas holidays and play host to the charming Christmas Markets.

Photographers in Bucharest enjoying a coffee.

Photographers in Bucharest enjoying a coffee. © Daniel Gheorghita

The Orthodox churches

Religion and traditions are deeply rooted in the life of Romanians, either in the cities or most of all, in the villages. The only Orthodox Latin country in the world, Romania offers an impressive array of religious architecture, many examples included in the UNESCO World Heritage thanks to their unique style and locations. These churches fit perfectly into the natural environment and play a very important role in the lives of the villagers. A typical scene to capture could be Romanian peasants walking to the local church on a Sunday morning or an Orthodox priest during the religious service. The options are many and, as mentioned before, typical for Romania. In Maramures, one can easily admire the famous wooden churches (Sapanta Peri, Surdesti, Barsana) and in Bucovina the charming and unique painted monasteries (Voronet, Sucevita, Moldovita).

Best time to visit Romania for photo tours:

Summer and autumn are the perfect time to visit the churches thanks to the natural settings where they are located. Visiting them during winter can also be rewarding, as the winter holidays are quite a celebration and the snowy landscape can give a special touch to your photos. But you should also take into consideration that getting there might be more difficult in winter because of heavy snow.

Barsana Convent, Maramures, Romania

Barsana Convent, Maramures © Daniel Gheorghita

Kurt Hielscher, Henri Cartier-Bresson and… Romania

Romania has inspired famous photographers from all over the world. We can say that the most representative photo albums were made by Kurt Hielscher, who visited Romania in 1931 and released a photo album in 1933 called simply “Romania”. Here you can admire his photographs. Also, Henri Cartier- Bresson visited Romania in 1975 and created a complete photo album of the country.

You can also admire on many photos of the authentic beauty of Romania and on our blog Romania in 10 pictures. And you can book your Romania Epic Photo Tour here.

Valentina Marinescu

Valentina Marinescu

Travel is my first name. If my passion for traveling involves a bike, it's even better. And if the day ends with a good book and a dry red glass of wine, then I live in a paradise.
Valentina Marinescu

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