Romania

The low down:
Stalin liked Brasov so much that he even emblazoned his name Hollywood-style on the side of Mount Tampa. Nestled into the Transylvanian mountains, Brasov tempts most visitors with its traditional architecture, gothic “black church”, and medieval fortifications. It is also worth, however, seeking out its more recent history. The bullet marks from the anti-Ceau?escu riots in 1989 are still visible on many of the towering communist apartment blocks.

Getting there:
Return flights to Bucharest with British Airways costs £177. A train to Brasov takes two and a half hours and costs £6.

Where to stay:
The Kismet Dao Villa Hostel, tucked in the medieval Schei quarter, is an easy and safe stroll from the centre of Brasov Dorms from £9 pppn, with free beer provided.

Three of the best:
>> If you want to see the ‘real’ Romania, it is worth taking a bus ride through nearby Saecele, a series of collectivised villages. Be careful though, being conspicuously non-Romanian may make the journey somewhat interesting!

>> Dracula buffs can find the small hill where the historical Dracula, Vlad Tpesh, impaled his victims after defeating the city. “Dracula’s Castle” (pictured) in Bran is also accessible by regular buses.

>> The Sergiana (Muresenilor 22) serves both traditional and modern Romanian food in a maze of “olde worlde” cellars.
Rebecca Fox

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