24 Fun Facts About Romania For An Epic Road Trip

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I recently took an epic road trip through Romania. What they say about it is true. The cities and countryside are equally stunning, and there is lore and history wherever you go.

Romania is a country that is chock full of unusual and fun facts and I can’t wait to share them with you!

1. Romania Has the World’s Best Driving Road

Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear proclaimed that Transfăgărășan Road is the best to drive in the world. The road covers 56 miles of mountainous terrain and has numerous hairpin turns.

A panoramic view of Transfăgărășan Road in Romania

It is better to drive during the day to take in the spectacular panoramic views from the top (2,134 meters or 7,000 feet).

2. Merry Cemetery is the World’s Cheeriest Graveyard

Merry Cemetery can be found in Săpânța and is truly one of a kind due to a local artist. Stan Ioan Pătraș is a folk artist who paints crosses with whimsical epitaphs (that are often satirical) for those that have passed away. The messages are ones that the deceased agreed upon prior to their death and range from jokes to revealing dirty secrets for their loved ones to laugh at.

The Romanian’s ancestors, the Dacians often took a joyful attitude towards passing on, believing that the afterlife led to somewhere greater than life on earth. This is the happiest cemetery I’ve ever seen and is worth a visit!

3. Romania’s Tallest Wooden Church

Churches of many kinds can be found throughout Romania. Many of the older wooden churches were hand carved by the people of Maramures. A friendly competition within the region lasted generations and the hand carving is truly exceptional.

Some sites have even been named on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to the fanciful architecture and secular expression. One such church, in Săpânța-Peri has the honor of being the tallest wooden church in Europe.

4. Romania’s Rotund Village is Unique

Talk about having an architectural vision of perfection! Charlottenburg is a perfectly round village located in the Banat region, not far from Timisoara.

This 18th-century village was built with perfect symmetry in mind. Each building is symmetrically arranged, and homes are evenly placed and of the same height.

This place offers visual satisfaction in spades for those who appreciate perfection.

5. The Danube Delta is Beautifully Preserved

The Danube creates a delta before it connects with the Black Sea in the south of Romania. This Danube Delta has 23 natural ecosystems and has been preserved due to hundreds of bird species that call it home.

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For those that love nature, this place is peaceful and is as close to picture-perfect as a postcard.

6. Romania Has Their Own Mount Rushmore

No – Romania is not honoring US Presidents. However, in a style similar to that seen at Mount Rushmore in America, a large stone sculpture has been carved into stone along the banks of the Danube.

Danube statue

The carving is that of a Dacian ruler who stands over 55 meters (180 feet) tall. This stone sculpture is the highest in Europe and took 12 sculptors 10 years to carve.

7. Romanian Gymnast Earned First Perfect Olympic Score

A Romanian gymnast named Nadia Comăneci is the first gymnast in the world to achieve a perfect score of 10 in the Olympic Games. She earned the score in the 1976 Summer Games while performing in Canada.

She went on to earn several gold medals and has been induced into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

8. Biggest Gothic Church in Eastern Europe

The Black Church of Brasov is an impressive structure dating back to the 14th century. It is the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe, and the walls are a black color because of a fire that happened in 1689.

It boasts the largest collection of oriental rugs in Europe and a striking Bucholz organ. It also has the heaviest bell in Romania, and has received numerous accolades for its size.

9. A Museum that is a Whole Village

Open-air museums are the most fun to explore, and the Astra National Museum Complex is one that shouldn’t be missed. This village is made up of 300 houses and has both water and windmills, presses for fruits and oils as well as barns and stables. It is much like wandering through a real village from a time long ago.

Houses within the Astra National Museum Complex

It also has the distinction of being the second-largest open-air museum worldwide.

10. Visit an Underground Glacier

When most people think of glaciers, they think of the ones that are standing proudly in the open air, defying the sun. The Scărișoara Glacier in Romania at the base of the Bihor Mountains is the largest underground glacier on the European continent.

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It has existed for more than 3,500 years and has a volume of 75,000 cubic meters.

11. Romania Has Better Internet Speed than the USA

Romania has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world, and faster than many locations in the United States. Even Senator Bernie Sanders brought this up during his presidential campaign.

12. Weird and Wonderful Waterfalls

Most people don’t think of Romania when they think of waterfalls. However, the Bigăr Waterfall has been named one of the most unique in the world because of how the water cascades over the lichen-covered rocks.

Bigăr Waterfall with woman and bridge

It almost looks like strands of hair cascading over a woman’s shoulders. It is quite beautiful to behold and unlike any other waterfall in the world.

13. Europe’s First Electrified Castle

Romania’s Peles Castle became the first to be powered by electricity. It is located in a mountain skiing area and is an impressive example of Germain Renaissance architecture.

Even more impressive is that the heating system built in 1888 is still functioning to this day!

14. Home of a Reportedly Paranormal Forest

If you’re into the paranormal, this one is for you!

Some people believe Hoia-Baciu in Cluj Napoca is one of the most paranormal areas in the world. It has earned a reputation for causing people to feel uneasy simply by proximity.

The trees grow in twisted shapes, with scientists unsure of the cause.

The Hoia-Baciu in Cluj Napoca

There is also a clearing in the middle of the otherwise dense forest and soil samples show that there is nothing different about this area preventing growth.

15. Borat’s First Movie Filming Location

Comedic actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie “Borat” had some of its opening sequences filmed in the Romanian village of Glod.

If you’re a film buff or “Borat” fan, this place is a little off the beaten path but definitely worth a quick stop!

16. Romania Has a Gold Museum

Romania has a lot of gold resources and is amongst the most wealthy European countries in terms of gold reserves. It is also the only country to have a museum dedicated to gold!

Over 2,000 pieces are exhibited here from the corners of the globe, including pure gold from Romania’s mountains.

17. Home of Dracula’s Castle

Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula supposedly lived in Bran Castle (which is an actual castle in Romania). It has irregularly shaped turrets and a red tiled roof, making it stand out amongst the many other old castles in Romania.

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Bran Castle

If you’re a fan of literature or urban legends, a visit to Bran Castle should be on your itinerary!

18. Oldest Oven in the World

People have been cooking in ovens for thousands of years, and the oldest oven ever found was discovered in Campeni, Romania. This oven is over 6,000 years old!

19. Oldest Humanoid Fossils

Speaking of ancient history, the oldest humanoid fossils ever found were discovered in Romania. These fossils are dated between 35,000 and 45,000 years ago!

20. First City to Use Street Lighting

In many ways, Romania during the 1800s was quite progressive, particularly when dealing with new technology.

Timisoara in Romania was the first city to have street lighting in the world. They introduced the lighting in 1889 and served as an example for the rest of Europe to follow.

21. A Romanian Discovered Insulin

One of the most important medical discoveries for humanity came from a Romanian named Nicolae Paulescu who discovered insulin and used it to treat diabetes.

Insulin continues to save countless lives throughout the world today.

22. The Red Ravine of Romania is Stunning

The Small Canyon or Red Ravine of Romania is a nature-made monument. It is a botanic reserve due to the rare plants that call this area home.

Red Ravine of Romania

The rock formation on either side of the ravine tower from 80 to 100 meters in height, and have formed interesting shapes due to rainwater erosion.

22. Home of The World’s Tiniest Currency

One of the smallest currencies ever in circulation is a 10-bani note from Romania, introduced in 1917. It measures a minuscule 27.5mm by 38mm and is the world’s smallest paper money according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

23. Romania’s Arcul de Trimf mimics Paris

Bucharest is sometimes referred to as ‘little Paris’, mainly because of the similarity between the Arcul de Trimf and the Arc de Triomphe which is found in Paris.

24. Home of a Gorgeous Six-Floor Bookshop

Named one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, the Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest is a stunning place to browse and buy Romanian literature.

The building was originally a 19th-century bank that was renovated and features thousands of titles, along with a bistro bar should you get hungry!


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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