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A Village in Rural Romania

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What do you imagine Romania is like? I’ll stake cash that you wouldn’t imagine the rural paradise we’ve found ourselves in. Fate has brought us to a village in rural Romania, Breb, in Maramures. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful, unspoiled place I’ve ever been. Maramures is the county in the north of Transylvania tight on Romania’s border with Ukraine and it’s very close to paradise.

A meadow in a Romanian village

Bucharest was an eye-opener, a city we loved far more than expected.  A pleasant sleeper-train journey to the north of Romania and we are in another world and time. The little village of Breb in Maramures County is the most lovely, peaceful, beautiful place I think we’ve ever visited.

There is no traffic, no noise, just birdsong and humming bees. The grass grows long, lush and studded with wildflowers. Every villager produces fruits and vegetables in the gardens of their traditional homes and owns at least a few chickens if not cows, sheep, rabbits, goats and pigs.  It’s early summer here, some days are hot, others cold, the weather is yet to make up its mind. There is still a little patch of snow up on the mountain.

There are no real shops, pubs or restaurants. Everything seems home-made, but these people aren’t poor, don’t think that. They live well in this village.

My children have been wandering the meadows, picking wildflowers and playing in the icy stream. They can roam around the village safe from traffic and any other hazard, with the unlikely exception of wolves, bears and giant Romanian shepherd dogs.

We’ve seen none of the above around the village, but we have seen deer just outside town.

I thought I’d share with you some images of this beautiful place. I wish I was a “real” photographer, I’m not, but these photos will give you an idea.

This is our home in the village, a loft room above an animal shed, currently occupied only by chickens. The wooden shingles are made in the village. We have good wifi and electricity, the kitchen and bathroom facilities are in another building.
Every home has an outside toilet, a good way from the house.
 Sledges wait for winter snows on the side of the barn in a Romanian village.
Sledges wait for winter snows on the side of the barn.
Not many village buildings are painted, but most have these poo shoots to muck out the dairy cattle housed inside.
Traditional Romanian dancing on Sundays in a neighbouring village. With a handy bottle of polinka stashed in a belt.
This wasn’t put on for the tourists, there are hardly any.
A posy of wild flowers my son picked in the meadow.
A friendly cat to stroke
Dam building in the stream that flows through the river in Romania
Dam building in the stream that flows through the village.
Chef gets a cookery lesson in this village kitchen, which is also a bedroom. The stove keeps this room warm in winter.
The wood fired cooking stove.
A village garden
A house well stocked with wood for heating and cooking.
Another typical village house and barn.
Horses in the orchard.
This is billed as Prince Charles’s hose. It’s not, but he was involved somewhere. Huge gates and outside pots are typical of Maramures.
A shot of home made cherry palinka before dinner

So what do you think?
Would you like to live here or would it be your worst nightmare?
I ask because we’re seriously considering buying a little place here to use as base. The kids love it, but could we take this much peace and quiet and harsh winters? We can afford it, but would it work for us?

I don’t know yet, watch this space.

UPDATE: Romania won. Our hearts are forever lost to this village. It’s now one of the places in the world that we call home.

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Lee Feldman

Saturday 6th of October 2018

We are a traveling family- kids 7 and 14- in Breb now ( October 5-15th). We really love it here and the people are so kind. I'm curious which house you bought, as I am considering doing the same. We are staying at Casa Din Vale, owned by Roxana and Florin, and we eat at Ana's every other evening. Hoping to bump into you guys one of these days!. We will be at the church for coffee and cake on Sunday.

Alyson Long

Tuesday 23rd of October 2018

We're in Nepal sorry! The house we bought fell through, it's outside the village. The house we lived in is very close to Roxy and Florin.


Sunday 28th of August 2016

Not quite so idyllic in the - 30 temperature of the Romanian winter I suspect.


Sunday 28th of August 2016

It only got down to, I think -18C last winter Mark.It was a brilliant experience seeing out the winter up there, and great fun for the kids. It's all in this post We're back over there for winter again this year, the ski season is great.


Sunday 14th of June 2015

It looks amazing Alyson but yes, probably as a base and a retreat to come back to rather than as a place for life. Romania is on everyone's lips right now but be careful with the exchange of contracts. It has to be legal in Romania and a Romanian Nortar will have to be involved so that there's no "argument" about who actually owns the property. Oh, and don't forget to buy the land with it as that's the norm on the continent! Good luck. :)


Sunday 14th of June 2015

It's all in hand Victoria ;)

Eva Angel

Monday 25th of May 2015

Wow!!! Amazing nice place and picture and their culture....i know about something about Romanian people.they are very friendship.... next August i will go Europe tour and i hope i will go Romania..........

Barbara Head

Sunday 24th of May 2015

Hi Alyson, I'm following your post with great interest, I'm travelling with my children, 9 12 & 15 years for 12 months, trying to find a slice of heaven. The place you e photographed in Romania looks amazing. I would love to live somewhere like you have found. Reading your post, your list of reasons for and against heavily weight towards 'no reason not to do it'. I look forward to the outcome and wish you and your family the very best x Barb


Sunday 24th of May 2015

I wish it were that simple to decide Barbara, it's such a big step and the amount of work is scary. Good luck with your journey, if we do buy, come and visit, we have an idea for family home/un schooler retreats. A place where city kids can experience rural life, a fully equipped learning room full of books, games and DVDs and a peaceful break for mum or dad, or both. What do you think?

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