Our pick of Romania’s highlights, from buzzing Bucharest to mountain trails and ghoulish castles
The capital is in an exciting stage of development, with EU investment resulting in sympathetic modernisation projects and a general buzz around the city. But you can still visit Ceausescu’s obscenely grandiose palace and other communist-era monstrosities, plus medieval churches and monasteries. Stay in the Hotel Christina, a boutique hotel in the centre.
• Doubles from £54 B&B, hotelchristina.ro
A cycling tour of the remote mountains of Romania reveals a world of myth and tradition, bears and wolves – and the world’s most comfortable outdoor sleeping quarters
• See an audio slideshow of the trip here
Pushing through a damp, flower-decked meadow on the hilltop, we reach the edge of a narrow valley filled with giant bog rhubarb. Before he plunges down into it Nelu, the hunter, turns to me with a grin: “In this vegetation, the bears can just pop up – right in front of you!”
I am wishing that I had changed out of my cycling gear. These shoes have no grip and the shorts are much too tight for escape manoeuvres.