One of Europe's most intriguing destinations, Romania is resolutely rural and yet vigorously chasing the attractions of contemporary Europe.
Explore the capital Bucharest to uncover one of Eastern Europe's best-kept secrets. Far better known are the tales of Dracula; relive Bram Stoker's tale in the narrow passages and secret stairwells of the mock Gothic castle in the small town of Bran, which has historic links to Vlad the Impaler.
Village life is on display in Marmures, Romania's rural heartland, and Southern Bucovina, where monasteries are decorated gaudily in bright colours and covered in murals that recount stories and legends.
Those interested in birds and wildlife other than bats should head to the Danube Delta. This protected wetland area of lily-covered lakes and shifting sand dunes is a haven for birdlife that's best enjoyed aboard a traditional wooden kayak.
The Carpathian Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps, run through the country; hike the rugged slopes on well-marked trails in wildlife-filled stretches such as the Fagaras Mountains to see some of Romania's most spectacular scenery. There's also good hiking, mountain biking and skiing in the Bucegi Mountains.
Elsewhere, travel along the Black Sea coast to enjoy sandy beaches, spas and resorts as well as historical monuments and vineyards.