Oh Romania, how I love you so. It’s funny how a three week visit to a country I previously knew nothing about last summer left me falling so head over heels for a place. I may have been biased, but I still want to go back and visit the beautiful country again and again.

Being that I travelled around the country in the summer of 2017, I got to see a fair bit (though not enough!) of Romania, inspiring me to create this post of some of the most beautiful and most instagrammable spots around the country.

Note – these are just some of many, many beautiful spots in Romania. I have no doubt I’ll be creating a second list in the near future.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Travel | 6 of the most Instagrammable places in Romania | Romania | Bran Castle | Brasov

BRAN CASTLE, BRASOV
Bran Castle is a beautiful little place that looks like it’s straight out of a book (which it kinda is) or fairytale. What makes it unique is that it doesn’t necessarily fit into the usual norm’s of a castle. With copper coloured stone tiles and wooden beams, the fortress boasts an oldy-wordly look about it. Despite the fact that it’s famous for being the home of Dracula, you can’t visit this site and not be blown away from its beauty. In summer, it’s stunning but seeing it in the snow is said to be breathtaking.

TURDA SALT MINE, TURDA
Ever been in an underground salt mine that also doubles up as an amusement park?! No, not many people have, which is why this is the prime opportunity for a ‘been there, done that’ Instagram shot. Inside, you’ll find six different mines and an underground lake. Amongst these mines, tourists can find a spa treatment room, a bowling alley, a Ferris wheel, mini golf and much more. As well as all these fun attractions, there’s also the added benefit of their surroundings and the fact that all of this takes place deep underground in a salt mine…

HOIA BACIU FOREST, CLUJ-NAPOCA
I’m never one to shy away from anything creepy, so a visit to Hoia Baciu Forest has been on my bucket list for a while now. However, as well as being dubbed as one of the worlds scariest forests, Hoia Baciu Forest is also perfect for some beautiful – and edgy – photography. It’s said to be a hub of supernatural occurrences, but the strange phenomenon of the unnatural twisted trees is what causes tourists to gather here and snap away.

TRANSFAGARASAN 
As it goes, there are many spots along this famous road that can serve as a total instagram gem. The slow and twisting drive up throughout the mountains – think stone bridges and plus green trees – is exciting enough, with many opportunities to stop and take in the view. At the very top, the view that overlooks the mountains and the road you’re about to crawl back down is a rewarding sight. The entire drive itself isn’t easy, so to make it to the top in one piece is certainly something to be proud of! Finally, on the way back down, you’ll find yourself passing by the beautiful Balea Lake – in winter, you’ll find an ice hotel here too.

PELES CASTLE
If you’re one of those people who became obsessed with A Christmas Prince on Netflix this Christmas just gone (let’s face it, who isn’t?!) then a visit to Peles Castle, where the film was shot, is a must do. The castle is beautiful in it’s own right and I dare anyone to visit and not pose in front of any of the scenery or castle that appears in the movie. As a bonus, if you do plan to visit Transfagarasan and Bran Castle in Brasov, Peleș Castle is the perfect pit stop between the two.

CLUJ-NAPOCA
Cluj is a charming little place which is oozed in history. The city boats many museums – Bánffy Palace and the National Museum of Transylvanian History are popular choices – plus the beautiful St. Michael’s Church – a perfect Instagram set up. As well as plenty of history to soak up, there’s also a fabulous nightlife with tons of chic cocktail bars and many music festivals are held there too.

Have you ever been to Romania? Are you tempted after reading this post and seeing these beautiful places? Let me know!

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A new year brings anticipation for the year ahead and January is certainly the time to start looking towards any travel plans or holidays for the year. Just after Christmas is the best time to start researching, mapping out any savings plans and, quite possibly, booking up any deals that may be discounted. I’ve thought a lot about my travel adventures in 2018 lately and although I’m still looking for some inspiration, here’s what I’m set on.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Travel  | 2018 Adventures | Berlin | Iceland | Romania | Europe | Adventures

BERLIN
Much like many other travel bloggers, I have plans to cut back and budget my money/travelling better this year by doing lots of smaller short breaks if possible. First up is Berlin at the end of the month which is already booked thanks to a cheap deal discovered on Wowcher. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go for around a year now but when I saw the deal included entry into Tropical Islands – an amazing indoor faux beach with real sand and summer-like temperatures, I was sold. I’ve wanted to go to Tropical Islands for years now, so that’ll be another thing booked off my bucket list within the first month of 2018!

ICELAND
Iceland seems doable this year if I budget right. I haven’t researched a lot into this but I know I definitely want to visit Blue Lagoon and, if travelling in a couple, I’d like to pencil in a couple of nights in one of the transparent igloos in the hope of spotting the Northern Lights.

ROMANIA
Being that my week off at the end of the month was meant to be spent in Romania (now that I’m no longer going, I booked Berlin instead!), I still really want to go, perhaps in the summer. I’ll be sad to miss visiting the beautiful country in the snow, but after our adventures there last year, I feel like I know enough to navigate the cities alone. We saw a taster of a lot of places in the summer of 2017, so this year I might split it up and fly out two times a year for long weekends in a different city each time. LuckyTrip has tons of recommendations, but from past experiences I’d love to visit Bran and Cluj-Napoca again.

UP NORTH
Vague, I know! Although I’m in no rush to visit my old uni town particularly again (since myself and a friend visited a couple of summers ago), there is a lot I’d like to see and re-visit ‘up north’ and in Tyne and Wear/surrounding areas. I’d like to spend a little longer in Newcastle and spend some time in Durham, as well as fit in a visit to Alnwick Castle again. I’d really like to visit Beamish too, and The Forbidden Corner, as both of these places I wanted to visit when I was studying in Sunderland but never got the chance to.

EUROPE, IN GENERAL
Another vague one, but I’d like to visit some more places in Europe like Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam etc. I’m set on visiting Edinburgh for next New Year’s Eve, but I’m hoping if I can budget probably I can maybe do a little bit of interrailing, if not this summer then next.

I’ve gone for the more cheaper ideas for 2018 and haven’t even thought about a ‘proper’ summer holiday, as I think smaller city breaks are going to be ideal for me this year. I think I’ll get some sun when I visit Romania but as a whole, smaller and budget adventures are appealing to me a lot more right now, as opposed to lavish beach holidays! Still, I am keeping my eye out on anymore TrekAmerica tours too!

What are your travel plans for 2018? Let me know!

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So as you all know, during the second week of our holiday, my boyfriend and I rented a car to road trip around the country!

We had so much fun, though the driving was a challenge for me. In Romania, they drive on the opposite side of the road. I’m also used to driving a tiny Ford KA so to go from that to a huge car was tough. Plus, most drivers in Romania are crazy, especially in busier cities!

Anyway, we got up to quite a lot but in hindsight I think we needed more than one night in each city. Still, here’s some highlights from the trip.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | A Romanian Road Trip | Travel | Romania | Road Trip | Transfagarasan

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | A Romanian Road Trip | Travel | Romania | Road Trip | Transfagarasan

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | A Romanian Road Trip | Travel | Romania | Road Trip | Transfagarasan

TRANSFAGARASAN
Transfagarasan is known as one of the most stunning roads in the world and likewise is the most famous road in Romania. It takes you high up through the mountains, offering stunning views, before an exciting winding trip back down. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted but somehow I did it! It was scary but the views were totally worth it and it was a really amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

A NIGHT WITH THE STARS
We spent one evening in a remote cabin in the mountains, which we found on Airbnb. This was a really special night and we chose this unique location because it coincided with the Perseids meteor shower. As it goes; the sky was actually pretty cloudy that night but we managed to spot a few shooting stars as well as a really epic thunderstorm.

BUCHAREST
Bucharest was lovely; though a bitch to drive around. After some stressful driving into the city, we checked into the hotel and headed off to a nearby vegan place. After this, we walked to a local shopping centre to have a look around the shops and stopped on the rooftop area, which was really cool. It had restaurants and bars, as well as grass, fountains and plenty of places to relax – plus beautiful views over the busy city. Then that evening we went out for a few drinks – it turns out Bucharest is very popular with tourists and even has it’s own busy strip. We stopped in a really cute cocktail bar which offered a very varied list of unique cocktails – I can’t for the life of me remember it’s name but will pop a link back into this post when I remember later. Then we found a kind of western/burlesque bar called Bordello. They had live music on by this awesome girl band and we had a bit of a dance and tried some more cocktails. This was probably the only night we got really drunk on holiday and it was really fun/romantic.Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | A Romanian Road Trip | Travel | Romania | Road Trip | Cluj-Napoca

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | A Romanian Road Trip | Travel | Romania | Road Trip | Cluj-Napoca

CLUJ-NAPOCA

Cluj was one of my favourite places, even if I did keep making rude jokes about its name, haha. We arrived pretty late this night so the first thing we did was throw our bags into our very boutique hotel (which had an amazing waterfall shower) and head out again for some food. We found a bar/restaurant by the river which was stopping serving food soon so we ordered some food for takeout and sat by the river drinking delicious Mojitos whilst waiting. Once ready, we took the food back to the hotel and ate it on the cute terrace which was sweet. The following morning we got up early and took a walk around the beautiful city centre. We visited a really fun and interactive museum where I learned a lot about the history of Romania, and then we visited the large church in the centre. Cluj was such a beautiful place, I can’t wait to return one day.
MAMAIA
For our final night of our trip, we headed to the seaside! Even though it was late afternoon when we arrived, the first thing we did was drop our bags at the apartment and go for a swim in the sea. We were the only ones in there but strangely despite it being around six, the water was still really warm. I’m glad we got to go for a swim! We took a taxi into the city afterwards (which was scary enough on it’s own as the taxi driver was crazy!) and had some food at a hotel and restaurant on the beachfront. The following day we spent a few hours in the local shopping centre and were delighted to find they had the Body exhibition there, which I’ve wanted to see for years now. So we also visited that.

Off course this is just a small preview of our time on our road trip; there are other places we visited and a lot of memories to last us a lifetime! All in all we packed in quite a lot despite only really having an evening and sometimes a morning too in each place. It was the perfect way to see snapshots of the country though from visiting eye-watering beautiful mountains to upbeat and quirky cities. I was so sad when our trip ended and I still am; I definitely miss Romania already and can’t wait to visit again soon.

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Yesterday marked one full week in Romania and we’ve already packed quite a bit into this short amount of time, despite the fact that we’ve not even started on our road trip yet! In fact, I don’t even know where to start when summing up my time in Romania so far.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Brasov

Last Wednesday we touched down in Bucharest and took the coach to my boyfriend’s hometown of Onesti. Here, we were greeted with both smiling and emotional faces as Vincent was reunited with his family for the first time in around a year; and I was touched that they welcomed me with open arms too.
Our first few days were busy – we had lots planned but luckily his family were also up to visiting some of the touristy places too which was great as it meant we’ve been able to spend tons of time with them. On our first full day in Romania, we packed up a picnic and drove to a beautiful spot just out of town for a relaxing afternoon enjoying the sunshine and gorging on delicious food. And my god, the views were beautiful. I honestly felt like we were in somewhere like Canada instead. I had no idea that Romania is a place filled with such beautiful countryside – I get blown away more and more each day.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania
The following day we took a trip to Brasov and Bran. Brasov is a really quaint town which is often seen on Pinterest due to it’s gorgeous architecture and colourful buildings. Here, there’s lots of outdoor eating spots, hidden gems tucked away and accessible via alleyways, a beautiful and large courtyard with a fountain and the famous Black Church (amongst other things). We spent the morning strolling around Brasov and visiting the Black Church, which is named aptly so due to an arson attack which saw the church survive but it’s walls turned black.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Brasov
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Brasov |
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Brasov | The Black Church

Next up was Bran, which is a classic fairytale town. Unfortunately it was really, really busy so we couldn’t get many photos, but we took the time to explore Bran Castle which is also known as Dracula’s Castle. I enjoyed this tons as the views from the castle were beautiful but both my boyfriend and I admitted it was far too overcrowded – still, it was worth it.


I’ve already decided I’d love to come back in winter and view the castle covered in snow.

TIP – If you’re into horror/being scared out of your wits like me, there’s a really cool ‘horror house’ on the way up to the castle that you can visit. It’s only short but it’s a lot of fun!

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania | Bran | Bran Castle | Dracula's Castle
After a packed few days, we took it easy for the rest of the week. We headed to the local pool and then spent the remainder of our time with family and exploring the neighbourhood. I was really happy we had the chance to do this because obviously it’s fun to see all the pretty tourist attractions, but I also wanted to see where my boyfriend grew up and feel less like a tourist. We ate at local restaurants, visited bars and went food shopping – a LOT. I soon learned that Vincent’s family loves to shop and that on any given day can visit at least six different establishments/supermarkets to get everything they need – yes, we counted. But hey, I ain’t judging!
I’ve had so much fun so far and I’ve also been overwhelmed with just how welcoming and lovely Vincent’s family is – I think it’s definitely going to be emotional leaving. But technically we’re only halfway through our holiday as today we head off onto our big Romanian road trip…
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Formidable Joy | Travel | Romania
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As some of you may already know, I have recently gotten into a new relationship. Before this, I was officially single (but dated) for around five years, so it’s definitely taken a lot of getting used to. For the most part, I’m not used to being looked after so well!

Although we’ve only been together a short time, my boyfriend and I are already comfortable talking about our future and future plans. Some of these plans include a holiday together in the summer, where we will travel to Romania (his home country) for a week, before roadtrippin’ it down to Greece (if possible) for a week too.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Before meeting Vincent, I have to admit, Romania was never on my list of ‘must travel’ places – although I’d always been intrigued by the famous Dracula’s castle! But since we’ve been together and been planning this holiday, I have changed my mind entirely. From what I’ve seen online (and heard from him), Romania is such a beautiful country. 
Therefore, I’ve spent a good few weeks scrolling through Pinterest in awe, pinning tons of places I’d like to visit. Here’s what’s tickled my fancy so far.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania
Doesn’t it all look so pretty?!
I can’t wait to drive through it’s vast countryside, and there’s also this really famous road –  Transfăgărăşan – which is dubbed the most dramatic (and second highest paved) road in the country, which I can’t wait to experience.

If I’m really honest though, I’m trying to do as little research as possible. I’m going so that my boyfriend can show me what Romania is to him – I trust him to show me the best places or the places that mean the most to him and to take me off the beaten track.

As for Greece, we have no immediate plans yet – but there are many beautiful photos I’ve seen drawing me to various places. In particular, we have our mind on Athens, but we really like the idea of just jumping in the car and seeing where it’ll lead us. I’ll be doing another post on Greece travel inspiration soon too…

And by the way, you can follow me on Pinterest here!

Please note, all images above are taken from Pinterest and you can click on each individual image to see the source – I do not own these images. The first image is taken from Pixabay.

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