The capital of the “Black Sea Côte d’Azur”
The Casino: a magnificent art nouveau building
Splendid Roman mosaic floors

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Ovid’s bittersweet exile

A visit to Constance during an MSC cruise of the Mediterranean means landing in the capital of what we might define as the Côte d’Azur of the Black Sea. As you will have the opportunity to appreciate when you set ashore from your ship, Constanta has a history of over 3000 years.

Behind the port we can see the city’s well known feature, the Casinò built in 1909, a handsome Liberty building designed by architect Daniel Renald and built on the Mediterranean coast, just a few steps away from where your cruise ship is anchored. An excursion to Constanta usually starts from Piata Ovidiu, Ovid Square, where we find the statue of the Roman poet who was exiled here by Emperor Augustus, and where we also find the remains of a magnificent Roman building with splendid mosaics.

One can then visit the Orthodox Cathedral built at the end of the 19th century next to the ruins of the ancient city of Tomis and the Grand Mosque of Mahmudiye. There are a host of museums which are worth visiting during your vacation. Whereas for those who love marine life we advise a visit to the Aquarium or to the Dolphinarium near Lake Tabacariei. One can delve into ancient history with an excursion to the Greco-Roman archaeological sites such as Histria.

There are a number of seaside resorts along the coasts of the Black Sea. Mamaia is perhaps the most famous. Its name means “grandmother” because it is the oldest port of the Romanian coast. It is just five kilometres from the centre of Constanta and its eight kilometres of coast extend along a narrow strip of land between lake Siutghiol and the sea.

Another incredible spectacle is offered by the Danube Delta, second in Europe in terms of extension and a UNESCO world heritage. Here, amidst canals and little islands, is the largest cane thicket in the world and home to a vast variety of animal and plant species. Here we find medium-large wild mammals such as wild cats, foxes, wolves, deer and boars.

Must see places in Constanta

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    An intriguing charisma
    An intriguing charisma

    Nowhere in Eastern Europe defies preconceptions quite like Romania. It still suffers from a poor image abroad, but don’t be put off – this intriguing country, dotted with picturesque towns and rural communities following traditions little changed since the Middle Ages, is easily accessible and a pleasure to explore.

    Romanians trace their ancestry back to the Romans and tend to stress their Latin roots, although they have Balkan traits too. 

    A cruise to Romania will leave you in Costantia, on the Mediterranean coast. 

    The capital, Bucharest, is perhaps daunting for the first-time visitor – its savage recent history is only too evident, not least in the form of the Communist-era Centru Civic – but parts of this once-beautiful city have retained their appeal. 

    More attractive by far on a holiday to Romania is Transylvania, an ancient region offering some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Europe as well as a uniquely multi-ethnic character. Its chief cities, such as Braşov, Sibiu and Sighişoara, were built by Saxon (German) colonists, and there are also strong Hungarian and Roma (Gypsy) presences here.

    In the border region of the Banat, also highly multi-ethnic, is Timişoara, Romania’s most Western-looking city, famed as the birthplace of the 1989 revolution.