Romania is, in many ways, a hidden country. In the imaginations of people who haven’t been there, all that tends to come to mind is poverty, Soviet despotism, and the Roma people, if anything comes to mind at all. But one of the most incredible, yet mostly undiscovered things about it is its stunning natural beauty.

The sprawling Carpathian mountains dominate the country’s North and West, holding attractions like the Transfaagarden Highway, Peleș castle, and a variety of beautiful mountain towns and ski resorts, as well as small charming villages with a near-storybook quality. Moving eastward, the mountains give way to rolling hills and flat, grassy plains that eventually lead to the cold Black Sea. Taken all together, rural Romania’s aesthetic can be described a kind of primal beauty. Unspoiled, yet remote and difficult to wrap your head around. There are some places where you can feel how old the bones of the world around you are; places that seem to bring you back in time. The Romanian countryside is one of those places.