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 just love villages! Your description tells me so much about India itself, our villages are pretty much similar…
    These are beautiful shots of Romania!!
    Wish you a happy weekend Amanda:)

      I feel like villages all over the world are probably pretty similar to this. But it was definitely interesting to see for myself.

        You are right Amanda! All those villages have those simple folks and are pollution free too.
        Its always a joy to explore a village.

    I’m definitely a city person, but I do love seeing the countryside when I’m traveling. This looks amazing. It’s almost crazy that places like this can still exist so close to modern cities.

    That tiled house is both incredibly tacky and really awesome at the same time!

      It IS almost crazy! But I’m glad places like this still exist.

      And yes, those tiled houses were apparently very popular in the 1970s and are now considered quite tacky. But I kind of loved them!

    Beautiful scenes. I’m sure your experience there is one you will not forget. I would love to spend some time there; I’m sure the people are lovely. I lived in a very rural area of the Czech Rep. and though it wasn’t as back in time as this, it was different, much simpler and slower than what most of us are used to. Moldova is also a great place to see this kind of life.

      No, I am definitely not likely to forget Romania anytime soon. The trip was so amazing! Bulgaria was also really nice.

    I am very fond of this post of yours. The landscape, the view from the hotel, everything ring a bell to my trip to Romania two months ago. It was much better than I had imagined.

      I felt the same way! Romania was way better than I ever could have imagined.

    Romania isn’t strictly on our itinerary but wonderful posts like this one make us grab the map & often reconsider where our journey really lies ahead.

      You should most definitely consider adding Romania to your itinerary!!! It’s actually really easy to travel through (most people speak English, and the infrastructure is better than you’d imagine), and is absolutely worth it.

        As you’re with the tour I guess your taking a coach/bus throughout Romania?

        Wonder how much train travel is, etc.

          I was on a tour, yes, but we actually used public transport (trains and buses) the whole time – no big coaches for us! However, our guide always bought the tickets, so I’m not exactly sure how expensive they were. Not too pricey though, as traveling through Romania is quite cheap!

            price for train ticket?
            about 10 euro for 166Km in 2:37h
            5 euro for 166Km in 3:39h
            (Bucuresti – Brasov two of the most important city)

            sorry for my bad english

              Thanks for that! (And for the warning about taxi drivers – I was warned of the same thing in both Romania and Bulgaria.)

            *and be aware of taxi drivers, they always try to take advantage of tourists

    Beautiful pictures, Amanda! I’m just back from Turkey, and visited a lot of small villages in the north of the country. I fell in love with the warmth of the people =) But just like in Romania, things are changing fast, and younger people are opting for change. Fairly so, from their perspective, which means the best time to go back in time is indeed now.

      I’ve heard great things about rural Turkey, so that’s very cool you got to experience it! I’m sure it’s similar to rural Romania and Bulgaria — simple way of life and lovely locals.

    Wow. Such a different way of life and so beautiful. It makes me want to build a house with my bare hands and live off the earth. But you’re right – it wouldn’t be fair to deny them modern advances for our privileged romantic fantasies. But I hope I get the chance to go and there is still some of this beautiful culture there to explore. Thanks for sharing.

      Quite a few times a couple of us on the tour said we wanted to buy a run-down house in the Romanian countryside and retire there. Even with satellite TV and cellphones, it would still be peaceful and quiet!

    Am I the only one who looks at the brooms in the last photo and thinks of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”? 🙂

    There is something so intriguing and charming about rural Eastern Europe. It’s really neat that you got to spend so much time in the Romanian countryside! Sounds like a great tour for sure!

      The tour was fantastic, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to see these countries differently (i.e. not just the big cities). Rural Bulgaria was also lovely, but I especially enjoyed Romania!

    Romania, my country, has many enchanting places to visit, big cities or small towns, like the ones you recommended. Maramures is indeed a special part of the country, and we still have many traditions in place here. I like the people dressed in traditional costumes going to church, I like houses and let’s not forget Romanians are famous for their ospitality.

    I’m very glad you liked rural Romania – and that you shared your impressions here 🙂

      “Enchanting” is a great word to describe your country. 🙂 I loved it!

    Rural Romania looks like the place to be. I have always been one who preferred the countrysides than the cities – and these photos describe why perfectly. Great photos!

      If you’re a country girl at heart, you would LOVE this part of the world!

        That’s me , country girl at heart. I would love to visit for a year or 2. I love the old ways.

    Rural Romania looks quiet and peaceful. You took some beautiful photos Amanda!

      It is definitely the place to go if you want peace and quiet and some friendly locals. Glad you liked the photos!

    Lovely pictures! I’d really like to go to rural Romania now.

      Thanks, Rachel! It’s a very easy place to take photos of – it’s so pretty!

        Hi, I am thinking of moving to this village I am currently living in Mexico with my husband. We are 25 years old with 2 young kids. Is there a possibility that we can live in the village?

          There are photos from more than one village in this post, so it depends on which village you mean by “this village.” Some of the villages in Romania are VERY small. I guess it depends what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for!

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