Because Prince Charles Has Three Houses in the Countryside–And Charles Knows Country
SVEDUNEAC DORIN LUCIAN//GETTY IMAGES
Bucharest is getting its first real luxury hotel this year (the Corinthia) and has a burgeoning food scene. But the real star is Romania’s countryside: Bukovina, with its painted monasteries; Maramures, with its wooden churches; and Transylvania, a.k.a., Dracula country—romantic reminders of what this continent looked like centuries ago. In an era of shrinking biodiversity, Romania’s Carpathian Mountains contain the largest swath of virgin forest in Europe; its meadows, which have never been sprayed with pesticides, are miraculously abundant in flora and fauna, with Europe’s largest populations of bears, wolves, and lynxes. Prince Charles, one of the country’s most vocal protectors, rhapsodized that here “man lives in harmony with nature.”
Prince Charles during a walking tour of Bucharest’s old town in march, 2017.CHRIS JACKSON//GETTY IMAGES
You can go tracking with guides and otherwise geek out on the natural world, and because the hinter lands are unfenced, there is excellent horseback riding and cycling. When Charles is not around, you can stay at Zalanpatak, one of his meticulously restored homes (seven rooms, no phone or internet). Small, family-owned inns are becoming increasingly stylish, and even a tad modern (i.e., WiFi). Copsa Mare, a Saxon village at the edge of a vast forest, has four charming cottages suitable for two to eight guests; larger properties include Raven’s Nest, Sesuri, and Viscri 125. All will immerse you in local culture, customs, and cuisine.
TO BOOK: Raluca Spiac has the keys to this kingdom and can arrange bespoke activities, such as a stay at a castle in Zabola owned by Austro-Hungarian aristocrats, where a day of 4×4 adventures culminates with a lakeside dinner, a performance by a gypsy band, and some astronomer-led stargazing. A peek at the old-fashioned life just may be the bucket-list trip of the future. RALUCA@BEYONDDRACULA.COM.
Zalanpatak READ REVIEWS
Copsa Mare Guesthouses READ REVIEWS