Nice cities to visit in Romania

Most people that I met while traveling made big eyes and funny, Dracula related jokes when they heard I’m coming from Romania. It’s because the world doesn’t really know anything else about this Eastern European country other than the legend of Dracula. While that’s impressive already that people have heard at least this, I’m here to tell you: Romania is not all about Dracula, as the matter of fact for locals the spooky story doesn’t represent much anymore. On the other hand the beautiful medieval towns and the nature can always be a good reason to visit.
Timisoara
One of my dearest Romanian towns is Timisoara. Timisoara is located in the western part of the country, only two hours away from the Hungarian border and it’s considered the Little Vienna due to it’s similar architecture to the Austrian capital. It’s the city where the revolution started, but it’s also the city where nowdays the western culture finds its way into the Romanian society. Very laidback university town, Timisoara is lively and  rich in cultural events and festivals, being chosen as the European Culture Capital for 2021.
The city center is a great spot not only for shopping, strolling, people watching but also relaxation, because right next to the dominant cathedral there is plenty of green space and on both sides of  the Bega river serve as jogging or walking locations.
It’s considered also the town of flowers and as the name suggests springs is a great season to notice the numerous flowers planted all over the place. In front of the opera house kids and adults feed the pigeons, which are already so acostumed to people that it’s common the have them on your shoulders if you’ve got some food for them. A few steps from the city center there is Unirii Square, another nice place to hang out at. The church and buidings around the square offer a diverse view and for architecture lovers a good opportunity to notice the beauty of the baroccan style. While it’s the oldest square in town, it’s vibe is not at all outdated. The big number of terraces, where one can taste the typical Romanian food or enjoy a glass of wine, sometimes offer also live music and definitely a lively atmosphere. 
Sighisoara
From the west let’s travel to central Romania a bit and discover one of the prettiest medieval towns I’ve visited. Sighisoara has a unique charm that touched my heart instantly as I walked around a bit. Surrounded by the old walls and the towers of the Citadel, the town is listed by Unesco as World Heritage Site and it’s a definitely must visit place if you are in Transylvania and especially if history interests you. The defence towers of the town served as defense during the wars and were hollow and contained elevators inside.
In Sighisoara you will found also a few churches , the most significant being the Church on the Hill, which is right next to one of the oldest schools from Transylvania, to which also nowdays pupils walk through the covered stairs that have been built as a protection.  From the hill the sights are beautiful and peaceful. Locals are friendly and keen on sharing their own life experiences and stories in an outstanding English.
Brasov
If you’ve made your way to Sighisoara you can’t miss out on Brasov, another medieval town, much bigger an noisier, but with more options for the curious tourist. In winter it’s perfect for sports lovers, having well maintained ski resorts, in spring it has been good for hiking.
Tampa mountain is just a few minutes walk from the main square and in less than one hour hike you are on the top and can admire the stunning view. 
If one hour hike sounds like a lot, the easier version is to just walk at the base of the mountain or to one of the fortresses that are located on the hills surrounding the city. The views are still nice and very little physical effort is required to reach them.
In Brasov there are already plenty of signs of the German influences, one main example being the Black Church, which is the main gothic style monument in the country and it has the biggest six-ton bell.
Sibiu
In Sibiu the German influences are even more obvious than in Brasov, but the inviting atmosphere on a sunny day is the same pleasant. The typical big square with churches and shops around, lots of pigeons and relaxing people are a reminder that you are still in Transylvania.
Walking around I’ve discovered also the most beautiful street of Sibiu according to the sign and I can tell that it was indeed nice with all the colorful houses and flowers in front of them.
Romania’s oldest castiron bridge is called the Bridge of Lies and it’s right here, in Sibiu and it’s the pride of the town.
I haven’t met Dracula while being in Romania and shame on me, but I didn’t even go to the castle. On the other hand spending a little time in the towns and noticing the differences between them, probably was something I needed to do. Romania has its beauty, sometimes hard to see it, but it’s there. 
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Zürich in winter

Winter may not be warm, but it’s still beautiful and pleasant to a certain extent, especially in places such as Switzerland. The postcard perfect country is a great getaway destination, although far away from being cheap, it’s enjoyable on a modest budget too.

Zürich, the largest of the swiss cities, still small on an international scale, with just above 400 thousand inhabitants, is the main hub for visitors and expats. With its international airport located just 10 minutes train ride out of the center, Zürich is a cosmopolitan city that offers everything that any other city may have to offer. From shopping malls to cinemas, local and international couisine, a lake, two rivers, a hill that swiss people like to call mountain and a lot of delicious chocolate and cheese, Zürich has it all.

A dayticket for the local transport costs Chf 8,80 and it’s valid 24 hours. With such a ticket you’re good to go on bus, train, boat and tram, but make sure you limit yourself to the city only, which is zone 110, for further than that you’ll need an additional ticket.

The main train station is walkable distance from most attractions, however the cold winter temperatures will most likely force you into a tram.

Bahnhofstrasse is the central shopping street, where, if you’re on a budget you’ll be only window shopping, because stores like Louis Vuitton and Prada, won’t be inviting.

On the other hand, Zurich is a great spot for outdoors lovers, even in winter, the panoramic viewing points being for free and available for everyone that wishes to have a look at the city from above.

By tram 3 from Central to Römerhof station and from there by the Dolderbahn you’ll reach the gorgeous castle that serves as a posh hotel, called Dolder Grand. The viewing point from next to the hotel is amazing and the surrounding forest is great for strolling around in the snow.

Grossmünster, the church with the two tours, visible from everywhere in the center area, is a great place to go for a view. The ticket costs Chf5 to climb up to the tower, but it definitely does worth it.

You can’t leave Zurich without strolling around the lake, which on a good day, when the sky is blue will be looking amazing, with the mountains in the far backdrop .

Walking around in Zurich is tempting in any weather and the old town is charming and pretty. Lots of boutiques, cafes and sweet local shops, it’s a nice place to visit.

Although the coldness of people and the general rigid and formal atmosphere, Zürich is nice to visit for a few days.