So, you read my warnings about becoming a digital nomad and decided to go wander round the world anyway :) And you’re probably just thinking of your next destination for remote work.
I vote for Romania! And you’ll see why in a little bit.
Sometimes Romania feels like the land of all possibilities. Beyond tales of vampires and Dracula, there’s a country rich in culture, people, folklore, food and natural beauty. And these are only a few of the reasons why Romania should be next on your list.
What can you expect if you’re going to work remotely from Romania?
- 5th fastest internet connection in the world
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Romania, the land of Dracula and garlic and, according to what many imagine, endless villages and Middle Ages habits, actually has the 5th fastest internet in the world.
In fact, Timișoara, a Romanian city, reached the fastest download speed in the world in 2013. Wow, right? Not that we like downloading stuff. Not at all.
The point is that you’ll never yearn for good internet connection in Romania. Even the tiniest, most remote villages from Romania have stellar internet connection and speed.
Romania is one of the places that allows you to have the best of both worlds — lots of nature and the possibility to live in secluded places, if that’s your thing, and also access to the fast lane of technology.
2. Living costs are really, really low
In fact, Romania and Poland have the lowest food prices in the whole European Union.
A liter of milk is 79 US cents, a kilogram of chicken thighs is 2.83 dollars, one kilogram of tomatoes is 77 cents, a bread is 13 cents, and a kilo of cherries is 1.54 dollars.
There’s also this nifty website where you can compare food prices in different supermarkets in Romania, but keep in mind that there are a lot of neighbourhood shops and farmers’ markets as well, which tend to be cheaper.
Going out doesn’t break the bank, either. It’s easy to find good food in nice places for 6.42 dollars — a meal that includes soup and a second course.
Beer costs 51 cents for half a liter, and a bottle of decent wine can start from 3.6 dollars.
And since we’re on the topic…
3. Food is really, really good!
There’s everything! With so many different influences, all Romanian food is delicious!
Romania has been under the Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Otoman one as well, for hundreds of years. This is, I think, one of the reasons why Romania has such a diverse cuisine.
Plus, Romania is a Balkan country, and a south-eastern European one with a latin spirit close to Italy’s and, oddly enough, Latin America’s, so there’s that thrown in the equation as well.
You can imagine what diversity you can encounter there!
There’s loads of sweets, fish from the Black Sea, meats, vegetarian food, and everything in between. You can also find a lot of restaurants from different countries from all over the world, run by natives who cook traditional food.
From all the countries I’ve been to, and that’s 26 of them to date, I found the most diverse cuisine in Romania.
4. The nature is beautiful
There’s the Carpathian Mountains, sanctuary to the last virgin forests of Europe and some of the wildest places you’ve ever seen.
900 km of mountains are home to the largest brown bear population in Europe (were these supposed to be the scaredy ones? I think it was the black ones…) and 45% of the big carnivores’ population of the continent. Lynxes, wolves. Think of all that wildlife waiting for you!
I’m not sure if that’s more enticing, or rather scary, but, there you have it. There’s still a lot of untouched nature in Romania.
And there’s places like Ineleţ, a constellation of 7 villages right on top of the mountain, where you get by hiking through a forest, then climbing a wooden staircase placed vertically on the mountain. How cool is that? Plus, there is no electricity on top of the mountain, in the villages.
Romania is a country of contrasts, where you can find the fastest internet speed in the world, but also small villages with no electricity. And that is oddly nice, a point supporting the country’s love of diversity.
But mountains, picturesque villages and the biggest forests in Europe are not the only nature you can see in Romania.
There’s also the Black Sea, with its salty, seaweed scents and warm waters, hundreds of sparkly lakes, and the Danube Delta, a magical, mysterious place that feels like the end of the world. It’s the second largest delta in the world, with 5200 square meters of pure nature, lots of nooks and crannies to explore, 12 different habitats and many endangered species. It’s one of those dreamy places where everything seems possible, and the man still feels more in touch with nature than ever.
And, speaking of diversity…
5. Romanians love foreigners
The country is very hospitable, and warm.
Within 5 minutes of meeting you, a Romanian will readily invite you to dine and sleep in their house, and will excitedly share everything they have and know with you.
Holidays are usually spent with both friends and family, strangers talk with eachother on the bus or on the tram and it’s easy to feel at home, no matter where you come from.
Romanians are also known for loving different cultures and easily picking up foreign languages. Pretty much everyone will know at least basic English, and most young people speak a few more languages, too.
Romania has one of the most nomadic populations in Europe, occupying the 4th place in a top of 5 countries with most emigrants. The vast majority of Romanian emigrants actually live in Italy and Spain. Romanians know their priorities — warm weather and a latin mood first, everything else — second.
6. There’s the Transfăgărășan
Ok, maybe not all roads in Romania are great, but we do have a few highways, and there’s the Transfăgărășan, which more than makes up for it.
Biking or driving, it’s a dizzying, slithering road going up to 2,042 meters and back down, across the Făgăraș Mountains.
There’s also the Transalpina, the less known sister of the Transfăgărășan, which some say is even more beautiful than the popular road.
As luck would have it, along the southern section of the Transfăgărășan there is the Poenari Castle, the residence of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Count Dracula.
You need to climb 1,480 concrete stairs if you want to reach it, and the view (and shivers) are worth it. Also, I’m not saying vampires will try to get you, but there is a reason why we like dousing everything in garlic. Just saying, you might want to stock up.
And, speaking of castles…
7. There’s just so many castles!
And I’m talking real castles. Like this beauty right there.
That is the Hunyadi Castle, an architectural jewelry and one of the largest castles in Europe. And the best part about Romanian castles is that they still look lived-in. No empty halls there. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they were actually still lived-in.
In the quaint interior court of the Hunyadi Castle, there are frequent artistic shows and performances, and it feels like you have just stepped in another world when discovering an opera concert at the end of that beautiful bridge that seems torn right out of a fairytale with princes and princesses.
And that’s not the only castle. There is also Peleș Castle, set in a forest near Sinaia, on a medieval route that was connecting Transylvania and Wallachia.
Peleș is actually a palace, although frequently called a castle, with an interior so rich and stunning that it leaves you breathless. All the rooms there look like they are still home to kings and queens, and the decor surrounds you in warm, deep colours.
There is actually about 250 castles in Romania, scattered throughout the country. Some in cities, some in forests, some on tall cliffs.
8. Beautiful cities
If you thought Romania was all forests and mountains, you must have not seen a few of these cities.
There is the capital, Bucharest, with its huge Palace of the Parliament — apparently the heaviest building in the world.
Bucharest has a specific energy that I haven’t encountered anywhere else yet, and lush, beautiful parks like Herăstrău and Cișmigiu, walked through by Romanian poets, painters and musicians in search for inspiration since times immemorial.
Bucharest is special in its own right, and it’s a city that never sleeps.
That being said, I would strongly recommend against setting base there for any longer period of time — the traffic is insane. The same drive you make in 20 minutes at night can take you 3 hours during the day, which sometimes makes me wonder in disbelief at car owners’ patience there.
If you want to set base for a while in a Romanian city, try Timișoara, Brașov, Cluj or Sibiu, where you can find beautiful, colourful architecture, rivers flanked by weeping willows, mountains, flowery parks, cobblestone streets, terraces, open air pools and many cultural events.
9. The weather
How to leave that out?
Summers are very warm. Downright hot, in fact, and can get up to 40 something degrees Celsius in the shade, sometimes.
Lucky there are all those open air pools, right?
Thanks to the weather, many types of fruit grows naturally in Romania, and has a different taste than most imported sortiments.
It’s easy to eat locally in Romania. Juicy watermelons, plums, peaches, cherries, and even figs and oranges.
There’s a special summer mood, with those dry, hot days, and warm evenings with crickets and frogs singing into the night. And there’s always the mountains and lakes to keep you cool in the warm weather.
Even when it’s a bit cooler, like in the winter, most of Romania is almost always sunny. That’s about 250 sunny days per year.
And yet, you still have colourful autumns, blossoming springs and snowy winters.
In fact, on some of the highest mountains, snow can still survive well into June.
Romania is such a beautiful and diverse country. Sometimes a country of extremes, but always one worth exploring.
Romania is a hub for digital nomads nowadays, for all the reasons aforementioned, but also because it has become an IT hotspot, with specialists sought after from all around the world. In fact, Romanian is, apparently, the second language spoken in Microsoft offices around the world. How about that?
Whether you’d like to go there for 3 months, a year or longer, or just a holiday, Romania has something to offer to you.
And I’m going to explore a bit more of it soon.