About Romanian Friend
That’s Romanian for ‘hi’ :)
Welcome to Romanian Friend! I’m Marius, the guy with the vision behind everything you see on this website. I gave up a career as an international corporate lawyer to start this project and give something back to my country while doing something I'm (far more) passionate about: travel and helping others. You can check my Instagram or LinkedIn to see that I'm a real person, just in case you're curious :)
(me hiking in Romania, September 2017)
So, what's Romanian Friend all about?
A story, of course!
Romanian Friend was 'conceived' in late 2016 and the website was launched in April 2017. I like to think of it as a community business. it’s an online marketplace where you can book online tours in Romania with local guides and hosts that we carefully select and work with to create the best Romanian experiences! On our blog you'll find lots of info about visiting Romania (suggestions, travel tips, a map, etc). Finally, you can get help from us with planning your trip, recommendations on what to visit and tours, or a custom itinerary - we're a travel advisor. Read more about how Romanian Friend works and what we do.
How Romanian Friend is this: imagine you had a friend from Romania that you would ask: I want to visit your country - where should I go, what should I see, eat and do?
That's Romanian Friend.
How it all started
As a Romanian expat who likes to travel (a lot!) SO MANY people have asked me what to visit in my country - except for Dracula Castle. That's usually the only thing people know about Romania. I soon realized there aren't any good websites with recommendations for tours and places to visit, reliable travel info and someone friendly enough to help with planning a trip in Romania - so I decided to do something about it on my own.
At this point you might ask yourself Is planning a trip to Romania so hard?
Not hard but challenging. The Romanian tourism industry has several problems: low number of visitors (about 3,5 million in 2018 for the entire country compared to 17 million in Amsterdam!), lack of a clear vision and modern strategy from the government to promote the country as a travel destination, no information about representative and traditional local communities and places (except for Dracula - again!), underdeveloped tourism infrastructure (city info points, public transportation, maps & English boards, etc), a fragmented tourist services market with lots of individual guides and specialists on their own and with little online visibility or support, and the list can go on...
Since I'm proud of my Romanian roots and know the good - and less good - parts about my country, I founded Romanian Friend to try to solve these problems and be a friend to both tourists and locals.
Through Romanian Friend I personally created a network of handpicked, independent and trusted local guides, small business owners and non-profit organisations all over the country who offer authentic, off the beaten path trips and truly local travel experiences. are selected, reviewed and personally experienced by me and my team because we want to promote the right people with great services, extensive knowledge and real passion for what they do. The best of Romanian tourism, really.
Why? Because our mission is to support responsible tourism through (our) tours. How? By including the services and products of small businesses, craftsmen and organisations so the benefits of tourism are distributed fairly.
What does this mean for you? You get to meet real locals passionate about what they do or with an interesting story to share - and that's one of the travel experience you can get! No chain hotels, restaurants or the usual touristy Dracula crap. No one else is doing this in my country and international travel companies are only interested in making a profit and can't pretend to know as much as a native does!
So if you book a tour with Romanian Friend you will make a to Romanian tourism and support our work through the booking fee you pay. We're a self-funded sustainable business trying to make it on our own. A 'lean start-up' if you will.
What's in it for you? Why book a tour on Romanian Friend?
First, booking any of our tours will save you precious time, energy and stress because you don't have to do travel planning & research on your own, look for guides and trips on 10+ websites, contact them individually to ask for details or availability - and miss out on a great experience. We already did that for you! Romanian Friend is a marketplace with 100 tours and experiences all over Romania hosted by friendly and knowledgeable guides. With our blog and instant support, you have everything you need to plan your visit in one place!
Second, we make sure you get a great deal and value for money on our tours because we know the real costs of being a tourist in Romania and review all tour prices so that they are fair for everyone. Nothing here is overpriced, only fair.
Third, you get a personal reward by doing tourism that benefits local communities - we believe this is the best way to experience a new culture and we know what a traditional and authentic Romanian experience should look like - that's why everything you see here is carefully reviewed or created by us!
Finally, you get our friendly help (aka travel advisory service) with whatever Romania-related questions you may have for planning your trip, as well as quick and instant support with your booking. I've travelled a lot in my country, have an extensive network of contacts and know many things tourists won't find or manage on their own. A friend here to help!
Meeting locals, seeing our famous countryside (hello Transylvania!), hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, enjoying traditional Romanian dishes with locals over a glass of palinca or learning UNESCO handcrafts hundreds of years old - that's what your Romanian Friend recommends you do if you visit our country - have a look at our selection of local life tours in Romania.
So that's what Romanian Friend is ‘about’ - finding the best tours and guides so travellers can see the beauty of Romania while having a great time on their holiday - and a meaningful travel experience!
I invite you to explore our website, find inspiration on where to go in Romania and contact us if you need any help with planning! You can also subscribe to our newsletter: with each start of the season we send you some pictures, videos and interesting news from Romania!
Thanks for reading and sorry I couldn’t keep this story shorter!