Village Scenes: Life in Rural Romania

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“It's like stepping back in time.”

How often have you heard this phrase? Probably plenty. But how often has is actually been true?

Well, in the rural villages of Romania, this phrase rings incredibly true — when you visit, you really DO feel like you've done a time warp and been transported back at least a handful of decades, if not more.


During my time in Romania, I had the pleasure of experiencing it all — cities, tourist hot spots, and, yes, even tiny villages. Having gotten a taste of the contrast between city and country life here, I think I'm better able to appreciate the way life moves a bit slower in rural Romania.

I'll be writing much more about traveling through post-communist Romania in the future, but for now I want to share some of my favorite village scenes with you. Because, in Romania, I really think it's the villages that will steal your heart and your imagination.

Vadu Izei, Romania
The view from my guesthouse room in Vadu Izei.

Romania is full of small villages like the ones I'll describe to you here, where little wrinkled old ladies sit out on their front benches to gossip in the evenings, where shepherds still tend sheep and cows, and where you're more likely to be awoken by a rooster than morning traffic.

Yes, electricity, satellite dishes and cell phones abound here, but you are able to easily look past them to the essence of life in the Romanian countryside.


Life is still blissfully simple in these regions.

You can still find fresh homemade bread, cheese, and butter on the table each night.


Farmers still use horses and carts to do farm work and transport everything from hay to firewood.

Viscri, Romania

Kids still play OUTSIDE instead of on smartphones or in front of the TV.

Viscri, Romania
The blacksmith's daughters

Yes, these regions are poorer — people live with very little here, and have to be resourceful to survive. I was humbled to see some of the small homes and watch some of the back-breaking work (like building hay stacks by hand) that form the reality of life in rural parts of Romania. But, in seeing all of this, I was also able to appreciate the honest simplicity of it all.

Here, then, are some more of my favorite village scenes from my time in Romania:

Green fields and haystacks in Maramures:


A tiled house in a Maramures village:


A “traditional room” in that same Romanian house:


Morning in Vadu Izei, a small village in the Maramures region:

Vadu Izei, Romania

A woodcarver's shop:


A horse and cart in Vadu Izei:

Vadu Izei, Romania

Rolling Romanian countryside:

Viscri, Romania

Two little girls in traditional dresses at a village festival near Viscri:


The main (and basically only) street in Viscri, a village in Transylvania:

Viscri, Romania

An old woman on the street in Viscri:

Viscri, Romania

Old windows:

Viscri, Romania

And the cows coming home at night to be milked in Viscri:

Viscri, Romania

These are scenes that may very well disappear in the not-so-distant future. As mentioned above, paved roads, electric wires, satellite dishes, and cell phones are swiftly starting to appear in these villages in abundance. New, modern houses are being built next to the remains of more traditional homes. It probably won't be long until every village cafe and guesthouse offers free wireless Internet.

This is no surprise, of course. Romania is swiftly developing now that it's shedding its communist past, and these advancements are just par for the course.

It's silly to expect these places NOT to develop. I would never want to see a place be denied modern comforts just for the sake of tourists who want to see a “traditional Romanian village.” Rural Romania will develop, and probably will do so quickly as the older generations are replaced by younger ones.

So the bottom line is, if you want to see Romania like this, you'd better go now.

Viscri, Romania
It won't last forever.

Which of these photos most makes you want to visit rural Romania?



*Note: I am on a complimentary “Explore Eastern Europe” tour with Intrepid Travel, but all opinions are completely my own.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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91 Comments on “Village Scenes: Life in Rural Romania

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  1. I love the village scenes. The old horse and buggy days are gone here but I am glad to see they still exist in Romania. I plan on going to Romania in April or May this year. I can hardly wait!!!


    Maramures is probably my favourite destination in Romania! Loved it, there is so much to do and see. I sometimes feel like I should have made my whole blog just about Romania haha, thanks for this article!

    I was wondering if people use soap for proper hygiene and cleanliness, I’m a germophobe actually.

      Yes they use soap. Just because people live in rural areas doesn’t mean they don’t bathe or wash their clothing!

    Romania is the best.

    I was lucky to visit Romania twice. Once back in 2011 when I was in Bucharest, Sighasoara and Sibiu. Then again in 2015 when with my girlfriend we visited Maramures county, Brasov, Sibiu, Sighasoara and Viscri.

    It is truly a beautiful place. Really our favorite trip ever.

      It’s one of the countries I always recommend to people who want to see a slightly different side of Europe. 🙂

    Did you visit “our” village, Breb, Maramures? Some of the photos look very similar, but not quite right, maybe. We’ve been living there on and off for a year now, we just visited and fell in love. Such a beautiful place.

      I’m not positive, but I don’t think so! We stayed in Vadu Izei and Viscri, and that’s where most of these photos were taken.

    Just returned from Romania, it was an awesome holiday. Looking forward to visit again next year.

    I am currently spending 8 months in Romania and I agree, the villages are the best experience. It’s like being thrown back in time, and so beautiful. You could shoot Western movies in many places here.

      Haha, so funny that you mentioned Western movies! But yeah… loved the villages!

    I loved the pictures, the colour that they gave to your article. The natural way of sharing your experience captured my attention. Beautiful!
    Transylvania is a land of many wonders and the place with the largest cultural diversity in Romania, where for centuries, Romanians, Germans and Hungarians have been living together.

    My freind and will be spending the first two weeks in october exploring Romania…your articles have increased our excitement on our upcoming adventure…… Jeff from Long Beach California.

    I loved seeing this. I have visited Romania before. Was this near the castle in Bran?

      These photos were taken all over Romania, not just in one location! Most of them were from the Maramures region, and from Transylvanian villages like Viscri.

    Hi Amanda,

    I’m an author endeavoring to finish my memoir to be published next year. I wanted to ask you if I could use your url to reference as the site I found today when googling. Your beautiful photos (i won’t reference them as I’m not using them just the url site) swept me off my feet. Much the same way I felt that momentous day in 1975. We visited Bucharest, Brasov and Maramures as well as other cities. I was fifteen when I saw that picturesque scene. Thank you so much. I wanted to share with you what I wrote today. I would also love to stay in touch..:-) Here it goes!

    “I don’t exactly remember the route we took to visit Maramures, but I realize now that the rural road we passed had a profound effect on me. Little did I know that I would be lost in a time warp? After all, I unfortunately have no memory of visiting Maramures wooden churches dating back to the seventeenth century. So today I researched on google and uncovered yet another déjà vu. I wouldn’t be offering Romania the justice that she so deserves if I didn’t offer you a peek.”

    “We cruised through the heart of Transylvania and uncovered a rural jewel during the Communist era of that time. This section of Romania tugged at my heart like a long forgotten Brothers Grimm fairytale. Yellow and white houses with red roofs and flower-filled wooden balconies mimicked Hansel and Gretel’s. Undulating lush green hills and grazing sheep lay tucked against the Carpathians. Grass-growing valleys dotted with bundled hay shaped like Nestles Kisses and sprouting church spires made me smile. I was lulled into a fairy-tale sleep of hills alive with ringing church bells and horse-drawn buggies.”

    “There is no doubt in my mind that the heart and soul of Romania prevailed in the landscape. I witnessed that pulse of life—the ebb and flow of rural Transylvania—where provincial culture survives and embraces medieval manners.”

    Warmest wishes and Happy Travels!!!

    Carina Sue Burns

      Hi Carina! Yes, please feel free to reference my site if you’d like to. And good luck with your memoir!

        Amanda, my story will be published this year – will let you know when

    I went to Sinaia. My God I like the architecture, I guess it’s called Brancoveano.
    Next time I ant to get me a girlfriend there with Ink black hear and green eyes.
    Oh yaaa

      Haha, Romanians are quite attractive! Good luck with that goal.

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