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49 Places to Visit in Romania

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49 Places to Visit in Romania.

Places to visit in Romania that will inspire you for your own holiday. A list of 49
most picturesque places from well known spots to the less famous ones. From natural places to castles, old medieval cities, Danube Delta and more unique spots in Romania out off the beaten track.

Table of Contents

No. 1

Bucharest - A City You Have To Visit In Romania.

The capital city of Romania hides plenty of beautiful places, with interesting stories behind.
When in Bucharest, make sure you will not miss Carturesti-Carusel bookstore – one of the coolest places in the city, Tepes Castle in Carol Park – a replica of the medieval Poenari Citadel, Dr. Nicolae Minovici Folk Art Museum – one of the first neo-Romanian constructions in the capital, or Macca-Villacrosse passage – connecting Lipscani Street and Victoriei Avenue.
Bucharest is also a good starting point if you have in mind other places to visit in Romania. Plus, the nightlife in the capital city of Romania will certainly not disappoint you.

No. 2

Corvin Castle - Straight Out Of Fairy Tales

Located in the city of Hunedoara, Deva county, it will take around two to three hours to visit the whole castle, but it will worth your time. Among other interesting stories, you will find out how the Franciscan friar and inquisitor John of Capistrano was spying from a secret place in his tower on the people who had meetings in the Diet Hall in the absence of John Hunyadi. He was then reporting everything to the governor Hunyadi, who was punishing the ones plotting against him accordingly. Corvin Castle is one of the most interesting places in Romania, featured in TV shows such as Most Haunted Live! and Ghost Adventures, and more recently in The Nun movie.

No. 3

Danube Delta - The the largest river delta wetland in Europe

The only delta in the world declared by UNESCO a biosphere reserve, Danube Delta stretches across 5800 sqm and 82% of its surface is in Romania. There is no surprise that this natural wonder is considered a biosphere reserve, since is home to 4029 animal species, from which we can mention 135 fish species, 54 mammal species and 331 bird species.
Millions of tourists chose the Danube Delta as their vacation destination, exploring the pristine landscapes and experiencing the local traditions of Dobruja – one of the historical regions of Romania. The actual beauty of this place cannot be put into words and therefore Danube Delta should be a must on your travel list.

No. 4

Maramures County - Maramures is a rural fairytale

Maramures County is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Romania, thanks to its beauty and authenticity. Situated in the North, the county consists of four traditional areas, once part of the Maramures historical region. Thanks to the fact that is one of the favourite vacation destinations for both Romanian and foreign tourists alike, here you can also find the best places to stay in Romania.

History, tradition, culture, folklore, breath taking views and religious sites – Maramures County has plenty of treasures waiting to be discovered by each tourist.

Some of the places in Maramures you should not miss are Sapanta Merry Cemetery – a unique place where death is treated with humour, Barsana Monastery – part of UNESCO World Heritage, a beautiful religious site entirely built from wood where tourists often choose to stay overnight thanks to the peaceful atmosphere.

Vaser Valley – one of the most beautiful and authentic places in Romania that survived the test of time, where you can take a ride through the Carpathians with Mocanita, the last steam forestry train in Europe.

No. 5

Bistrita - There is more than Colibita Lake.

Bistrita is famous amongst the fairytale places in Romania thanks to the tallest (75 m) medieval tower in the country, part of the Lutheran church, built in the 14th century. The oldest gothic sculpture in Transylvania, dating back to the year 1320, can also be found in the Lutheran church in Bistrita.
Different cultures have contributed to the growth of this city, and the proof can be found in Bistrita-Nasaud County Museum, where tourists can see German, Celtic and Thracian artefacts.

No. 6

Tulcea - Danube splits here in three different channels.

The proximity to the Danube Delta is not the only reason why Tulcea should be added to your list of places to visit in Romania. The city from the gates of the Danube Delta is hosting the biggest aquarium in Romania in The Danube Delta Eco-Tourism Museum Centre, where tourists can also find out interesting information regarding the cultural and natural heritage in the area. One of the tallest buildings in Tulcea is the Azizyie Mosque, built in 1877 and considered a historical and architectural monument. The mosque is the largest in Dobruja region. Those who want to learn more about the cohabitation between Romanians and other people who inhabited the area can visit the Ethnography and Folk-Art Museum in Tulcea. With a collection of more than 8000 pieces, the museum is hosted in a beautiful interwar building.

No. 7

Bran Castle - Visit 'Dracula's Castle' in Transylvania?

Bran Castle has been surrounded by mystery since the beginning and nowadays is one of the most famous places in Romania. Legends say that the castle was built by order of the Teutonic Knights, between 1211 and 1225, but the first official document mentioning Bran citadel appeared in 1377.

In the 14th century, according to chronicles, the castle’s garrison consisted of English mercenaries. Their job was to protect the most important “gate” to Transylvania – the King’s Road – controlled by the castle.

Over centuries, the castle witnessed the rise and fall of several rulers, and in 1920 was gifted to Queen Mary of Romania, who turned it into her favourite summer destination. This was also the time when various secret passages and chambers were discovered in Bran Castle.

The castle is not the only thing bringing tourists in the area. Bran is one of the best places to stay in Romania, regardless of the season. Thanks to its proximity to Brasov, the numerous good restaurants and accommodation options, the fresh air and the beautiful landscapes, the city is preferred by both Romanian and foreign tourists.

No. 8

Libearty Bear Sanctuary - Face To Face With The Rescued Bears!

Head to Zarnesti to see this Libearty Bear Sanctuary which is home to 90 brown bears that are rescued. Just bear (no pun intended) in mind that the path to Bear Sanctuary is a forest road and it could get tricky over the winter. But all of it is worth it.

Rescued from being held captive, abused and in extremely poor conditions, the brown bears now live in their natural environment, enjoying the rest of their lives in an area of around 170 acres. Thanks to its size, the sanctuary is considered by most specialists as one of the most ethical of its kind.

The sanctuary is giving the animal lovers the option to adopt a bear. So, if after your visit you will fall in love with a specific bear, you have the opportunity to help in taking care of him. The minimum donation is 5 Euro/ month, but you can also become an exclusive adopter, by donating 600 Euro/ month (the total spending for each bear/ month). Since caring for around 100 bears and maintaining the sanctuary in good condition costs more than 60000 Euro/ month, any help is more than welcomed.

No. 9

Viscri Village - The Reinvented Saxon Village

Regarded as one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this place is visited almost every year by Prince Charles. The village became famous after Prince Charles of Wales bought an old house there in 1996.

The Fortified Church in Viscri should not be missed, and not only because it is a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Built in the 13th century and surrounded by defensive walls, two towers and two bastions, this is a real jewel of medieval Transylvania.

The village is a true source of good energy and it is the ideal place for those who need to spend some relaxing time, away from noise and surrounded by real, natural beauty.
Everything is special in Viscri, including the accommodation. Actually, here you can find one of the best places to stay in Romania in terms of authenticity. Many old houses have been renovated and turned into comfortable B&Bs like Viscri 125, while the traditional elements have been kept.

If Prince Charles loves to spend time here, you will love too for sure. Check our Transylvanian story tour for more,

No. 10

Rasnov Fortress - One of the hidden gems of Romania.

Rasnov Citadel is one of the best-preserved fortified landmarks in Romania. The first traces of human settlements on the site date back to the Neolithic Age and archaeologists found proof that the area was inhabited also in the beginning of the Bronze Age. Thanks to its strategic position, the Dacians also used the area to build a settlement. Unfortunately, the legionary soldiers destroyed it in the second Roman-Dacian war.

The first mentions of Rasnov Fortress date back in 1335, but it was supposedly built between 1211-1225. Over time, it was renovated and modified multiple times. The fortress protected the people inside against several attacks until 1612, when Prince Bathory conquered it. Nowadays, Rasnov Fortress is among the top 10 places to visit in Romania, having one of the richest cultural agendas in the country.

No. 11

Bucegi Mountains - Romania's spectacular spot mountains.

Bucegi Mountains is one of the best places to visit in Romania, full of natural and architectural tourist attractions and explored by tens of thousands every year, regardless of the season. Breath taking landscapes, spectacular waterfalls and grandiose castles – these will amaze you with every step you take in Bucegi Mountains.

The highest peak in Bucegi Mountains is Omu, at 2505 meters. Although is one of the highest points in the Romanian Carpathians, it is easily accessible if you go hiking and you are using the proper equipment.

On the Bucegi Plateau you will be able to see the Sphinx and Babele – two of the most important natural symbols in Romania, considered fascinating by many and surrounded by legends. You can either take a cable car from Busteni and reach the plateau or you can go hiking on the marked trails. Other attractions that you should not miss in Bucegi Mountains are Peles and Pelisor Castles, Urlatoarea Waterfall and Prahova Valley – a top ski resort in Romania.

Bucegi Mountains are a true wonder for nature lovers, and it is recommended to take at least a week to be able to visit all the tourist attractions. The trip will be delightful, and as a plus you can also find there some of the best places to stay in Romania.

No. 12

Alba Iulia - Home of Alba Fest and Alba Carolina

Alba Iulia is a city with a history that spreads across millennia. From the times when the Romans built the first city on the site – Apulum – until today, this place has witnessed many important moments, including the Great Union in 1918 and the coronation of King Ferdinand I and Queen Mary in 1922.

Without a doubt, the main attraction is Alba Carolina Citadel – a dynamic place with a story that starts in the year 106 B.C. Alba Carolina, as it can be seen nowadays, was built in the 13th century as a military fortress for the Habsburg Empire in the fight against the Ottoman Empire and it is one of the most important places in Romania.

The star-shaped fortress is incredibly well preserved and on its premises you will also have the chance to visit the Princely Palace, the Orthodox Unification Cathedral, also known as the Coronation Cathedral, the Batthyaneum Library, the Union Hall, the Roman Catholic Cathedral built in 1009 – the oldest and longest cathedral in Romania, the National Museum of Unification, the Apor Palace and many other interesting places.

Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard, an event that takes place every day at 12:00 at the Medieval Hotel, bringing back to life a small piece of the citadel’s history. Also, every year on the 1st of December, in Alba Iulia take place festivities to mark the National Day of Romania and the Great Union.

No. 13

Oradea - an underrated city in Romania.

Located in the west side of the country, Oradea is one of the most developed and beautiful places in Romania, with a special architecture, lots of tourist attractions and easily accessible by car or air, thanks to the nearby airport (Oradea International Airport).

Oradea Citadel, recently renovated, is one of the top attractions in the city. It was built somewhere between 1077 and 1095 and includes a Gothic palace, a Renaissance palace and the Roman Catholic Cathedral – the biggest Baroque church in Romania and South-Eastern Europe. The best time to visit the citadel is during one of the festivals that are being held on its premises: the Christmas Market, the Harvest Festival or the Medieval Festival. Another interesting attraction in Oradea is the Zion Synagogue, on the 3rd place in Europe by size. Built in 1878, the synagogue is so big it can host 1000 people at once.

Nowadays, the place is a cultural centre where lots of events take place. Darvas La Roche House is another must see in Oradea, being a unique attraction in Transylvania thanks to its Art Nouveau style. Last, but not least, don’t miss a walk in the Union Square – the old city centre – or on Calea Republicii – a pedestrianized street, the main destination for shopping and food.

No. 14

Iasi - Also Called Cultural Capital of Romania.

Iasi can be reached by car, train or airplane and it is a city with many tourist attractions. Cultural, religious or natural sites – Iasi has a little bit for everyone. If you are a culture enthusiast traveller, don’t miss Mihai Eminescu Museum – a place dedicated to one of the most beloved Romanian poets.

The Palace of Culture – one of the most remarkable buildings in Romania and an architectural masterpiece, the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University Library – ranked as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world and holding more than one million volumes, or Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre – a spectacular building both inside and out, the first national theatre in Romania.

In between museums and libraries, you can breathe some fresh air and relax in Copou Park or in the Botanical Garden, where you will find more than 800 types of roses. If you are looking for some peace of mind, you can always visit one of the 70 churches and monasteries in Iasi, from which 30 are historical monuments.

You will definitely not have time to visit them all, but you should not miss Golia Monastery, the Roman-Catholic Cathedral, or the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral. Iasi is one of the best places to stay in Romania if you want to visit more in the region, thanks to the fact that it is a clean, not crowded city, filled with nice people, interesting stories, culture and history.

No. 15

Apuseni Natural Park- Where Tradition Meets Nature.

Apuseni Natural Park is situated in the western part of Romania, in the Apuseni Mountains. The oldest marked mountain hiking trail in Apuseni dates back to 1900 and until today the beauty of the area does not cease to amaze.

Thanks to the diverse fauna, flora and landscapes, the protected area received the Tourist Destination of Excellence award in 2009 in EDEN Gala held in Brussels. With more than 1500 caves divided into categories according to the scientific importance, Apuseni Natural Park is one of the places in Romania you should not miss, especially if you are a hiking or speleology enthusiast.

It’s true, only some of the 1500 caves are opened to the public, the rest being explored only by scientists.

One of the caves you should explore in Apuseni Natural Park is the Bears’ Cave in Chiscau, Bihor County. It is named after the bears’ skeletons found inside, some of them 17000 years old.

The length of the cave is 1500 meters. Vartop Glacier Cave is another natural wonder in Apuseni Natural Park, located in Arieseni, Alba County. Three footprints from the Neanderthal Age are still conserved inside, and other incredible shapes made of ice and limestone can be admired. The length of the cave is 340 meters, and the glacier has 1600 cubic meters.

Scarisoara Cave is famous for the largest underground glacier in Europe, with an incredible volume of 80000 cubic meters and an age of 4000 years! Located in Garda de Sus, Alba County, this cave is 720 meters long. Regardless on the cave you are planning to explore in Apuseni Natural Park, it is best to hire a guide if possible, just to be on the safe side.

No matter what your choice will be, you should know that Apuseni Natural Park is one of the best places to visit in Romania for nature lovers.

No. 16

Lake Vidraru - Next Amazing Trip

Lake Vidraru is 156 meters deep, has a length of 10.3 km and a maximum width of 2.2 km. Its impressive volume is reaching 465 million cubic meters! When it was first opened, in 1966, Vidraru Dam was ranked the 5th biggest dam in Europe and the 9th in the world.

Many of the tourists get to visit the lake thanks to the beautiful road that takes them there – Transfagarasan. This is maybe the most impressive road in the country and one of the must-see places in Romania – carved in the mountains and worldwide famous thanks to the Top Gear TV show.

No. 17

Eforie Nord - Between the Black Sea and Lake Techirghiol

Eforie Nord is one of the best places to stay in Romania, considering its strategic location – between the Black Sea and Lake Techirghiol. The sapropelic mud from the lake induces clinical and biological effects in people who suffer from arthritis, and if you want to enjoy the benefits of such a natural treatment, Eforie Nord is the place to be.

As for the beach in Eforie Nord, it has a length of approximately 4 km and a width of 20 to 100 meters, depending on the area. Most of the beach area is equipped with chairs and beach bars, and tourists have to pay to access it. The water is perfect for swimming, windsurfing, yachting and other summer activities. Unlike other beach resorts in Romania, Eforie Nord is opened all year round, thanks to the spa centres that attract visitors regardless of the season.  

No. 18

Vama Veche - The Fishing Village Turned Party Hotspot.

Most of the people who go vacation in Vama Veche prefer to set their camp straight on the beach and this is not surprising, since the village became famous since the 70s thanks to its hippie vibe. Nowadays, even though many hotels and restaurants were built in the area, Vama Veche still remains one of the different places in Romania, where you can watch sunrises like no others.

Parties and folk festivals are also a reason why so many free-spirited people keep returning to Vama Veche. So, if you love the unconventional, partying on the beach and hippie vibes, you should definitely choose this place as your next vacation destination.

No. 19

Bucovina - Painting God in Romania!

Located in the northern side of Moldavia region, Bucovina is the perfect destination for those who love culture, history, spending time in the nature and last, but not least, good food! Of course, many places in Romania can be described in the same way, but Bucovina has something no other place has – the monasteries and churches that made this area worldwide famous.

Since 1993, seven churches in Bucovina are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage, thanks to the wonderful and unique frescoes depicting biblical and historical scenes, and in 2010 another monastery was added to the list. Therefore, it is a must to visit Voronet (built in 1488), Arbore (built in 1502), Patrauti (built in 1487), St John (built in 1514), Humor (built in 1530), Probota (built in 1530), Sucevita (built in 1528), and Moldovita (built in 1532) churches and monasteries.

Although not part of UNESCO, other churches and monasteries, such as Bogdana or Putna, are extremely beautiful and should be visited. Bogdana Monastery is the oldest stone building in Moldavia and Putna Monastery is the place where Stephen III of Moldavia or Stephen the Great – the voivode – is buried. The prince is an important figure when it comes to the cultural development of the area, supporting monastic communities and funding the building of more than 12 churches and monasteries. He also supported literature, by completing, correcting and even dictating several chronicles.

If you visit Bucovina, you should not miss Marginea village, one of the unique places in Romania and in the world. People in the village are still using ancient Dacian pottery techniques to create beautiful black ceramic objects. Ciocanesti – a village filled with beautifully painted houses – is also a must-see place in Bucovina and a unique place in Romania.

Vatra Dornei - The Places Where You Would Want To Spend Your Christmas!

No. 20

Vatra Dornei is one of the best places to stay in Romania during winter season for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, having four ski slopes: Dealul Negru, Veverita, Parc 1 and Parc 2. Dealul Negru is one of the biggest ski slopes in Romania, with a length of 3200 m and a height of 400 meters.

The trail’s difficulty is medium. Veverita and Parc 1 ski slopes are similar, with the first being 180 meters high and 850 meters long, and the second 900 meters long and 160 meters high. The difficulty is also medium, and unlike Dealul Negru, the two trails can be used at night thanks to the performant lightning system. Even when the weather is not favourable, the snow guns make Veverita and Parc 1 slopes perfect for skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing. There is good news for beginners also.

Parc 2 ski slope is only 50 meters high and 550 meters long – which makes it perfect for tourists who want to learn skiing or snowboarding. Beginner classes with excellent instructors are available in Vatra Dornei. Chairlifts are available on all four ski slopes, but the price of the pass varies.

No. 21

Sighetul Marmatiei

Situated in a valley between two rivers, Iza and Tisa, the municipality of Sighetu Marmatiei is one of the most important cities in the famous Maramures County, with a rich culture and hosting many historical buildings. It is also a good starting point for tourists who want to visit more places in Romania, respectively in Maramures.

It is a must to visit the Memorial Museum to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance, a place of great national and international importance. Located inside a former political prison, the place makes a strong statement. Tourists can visit the cells where members of the resistance were imprisoned during the communist regime. The experience is both overwhelming and eye opening.

Maramures Village Museum is another interesting place in Sighetu Marmatiei. This time the experience will be more relaxing. Tourists will be able to see different architectural styles specific to the area, including a wooden church built in the 16th century.

Sighetu Marmatiei is offering more than plenty of museums to visit. Every year, on the 27th of December, Winter Customs and Traditions Marmatia Festival celebrates the Romanian folklore. Another appreciated festival in Sighetu Marmatiei, Aeternus Maramoroslensis Medieval Festival, is held in September.

No. 22

Suceava

Built during the time of Peter I and significantly developed under the reign of Stephen the Great, Suceava Citadel should be the first place you visit in the city. It was first documented in 1388 and has played a great part in winning several battles against ottoman and polish armies.

Next on the list of places to visit in Suceava should be Bucovina Village Museum, where you will be able to observe the authenticity of one of the most beautiful places in Romania. Popular architecture is carefully depicted in replicas of old houses and the whole site is carrying visitors back in time, to meet the true spirit of Bucovina.

The History Museum in Suceava is another interesting attraction, with ancient, medieval and modern artefacts exhibited in more than 25 rooms. The museum is hosted in a spectacular Neoclassical building.

No. 23

Retezat National Park

Retezat National Park is one of the protected places in Romania, located in Hunedoara County, and spreading on an area of more than 380 square kilometres. UNESCO also included the park in the international network of biosphere reserve, with a specific area of the park – The Twins (Gemenele) – being strictly protected and declared an intact virgin forest.

Nature has been generous with this area, home of almost 1200 plant species, of which 130 are endangered and 90 are endemic species, meaning that exist only in this specific geographical region, and nowhere else in the world. The fauna is also diverse in Retezat National Park, with species such as wildcats, wolves, lynx cats, bears, rabbits, boars, mountain goats, otters and deer populating the area. Besides mammals, more than 185 bird species live in Retezat National Park.

Hiking enthusiasts will be happy to know that Retezat National Park is home to the biggest glacial lake in Romania, Lake Bucura, but also to the deepest glacial lake in the country, Lake Zanoaga. Plus, the park has 50 mountain peaks over 2000 meters, with Peleaga being the highest (2509 meters), and more than 60 lakes and springs. 

No. 24

Balea Lake

Located at an altitude of 2034 meters, Lake Balea and Balea Waterfall are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Romania. The glacial lake is part of Fagaras Mountains and you can get there either from Sibiu (77 km away) or from Curtea de Arges (85 km away) via Transfagarasan.

In summer, the landscape is truly amazing, and the place has an energy like no other. The lake’s water is like a mirror where you can see the reflection of the mountains around. The waterfall is spectacular, with green areas around, where visitors can rest their legs surrounded by an abundance of different species of plants and flowers.

In winter, tourists can visit the Ice Hotel, Ice Restaurant and Ice Church in Lake Balea. The ice blocks used to build these structures are cut from the lake itself. If sleeping at -20 Celsius is not something you wish to experience, don’t worry, you can just visit the hotel and then get accommodation in one of the warm and cosy places around. Winter sports enthusiasts are also welcomed in Lake Balea, where they can choose between skiing, snowboarding, tubbing or even skating on the frozen lake.

In winter season, the area is accessible only by cable car. The route length from Balea Waterfall to Balea Lake is 3700 meters and the fee for climbing is 35 Lei. The same fee applies for descending, and if you carry a luggage you should pay another 5-10 Lei extra. Children up to 12 years old have discounts.

No. 25

Brasov

The city of Brasov is one of the most famous places in Romania and visited by tourists from all over the world. It was founded in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights and nowadays it is among the most beautiful cities in the country. Reaching Brasov, you will immediately notice how different cultures are mixing and creating a harmonious architecture.

A renowned symbol of Brasov – The Black Church – is the biggest gothic church in South-Eastern Europe, with a capacity of 5000 seats, a height of 37 meters and a length of 90 meters. Built in 1377, it was first named St Mary Church, but after a devastating fire in 1689 the locals called it The Black Church. Inside, tourists can find the biggest oriental carpets collection in South-Eastern Europe, but also the biggest organ built by Buchholz masters that still works nowadays. In summer, you can even attend one of the organ performances.

Walk towards the Council Square, where you can rest for a while in one of the many cafes or restaurants around. Most of them are located in old buildings and have their own story to tell. The 18th century architecture is impressive, and as you relax in front of a coffee you can have a better view of the surroundings.

Other places you should not miss while in Brasov are The Council Hall – a masterpiece built in Venetian Gothic and Baroque styles in 1420, hosting Brasov History Museum, where tourists can find more than 3000 artefacts; The First Romanian School – located next to St Nicholas Church, this is the place where children took lessons for the first time in Romanian language, in 1530; and Rope Street (Strada Sforii) – one of the narrowest streets in Europe, with a width of 1.11 to 1.35 meters and 80 meters long.

Brasov is not only a place where you can learn about Romanian culture and history, but also one of the best places to stay in Romania, thanks to the variety of accommodation spaces and activities that can be done in the area. For example, you can take a full day to go to Aventura Park Brasov – a place spreading 25000 sqm in the woods, where you can climb trees and enjoy other exciting activities, or to the Aquatic Paradise – a leisure centre with a capacity of more than 2000 people, where indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, saunas, a gym, a covered football field, a volleyball court and many other facilities are waiting for you to spend some quality time.

Sighisoara

No. 26

Situated in the heart of Transylvania, Sighisoara Medieval Fortress is directly connected to Vlad Dracul, who is the father of the famous Vlad the Impaler, and who lived in the citadel for around four years. Built in the 12th century by the Saxon colonialists, this is one of the few medieval fortresses that are still inhabited and is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage.

All the attractions are interesting inside the fortress, but make sure you will not miss the Clock Tower – the main entry point in the citadel, 64 meters tall. Inside the tower you can observe two niches with symbolic figurines, like the Peace Goddess, Justice and Righteousness, Day and Night, The Executioner and others. Even though the figurines can be seen from outside the tower, the experience is totally different when you take a closer look.

Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful and authentic places to visit in Romania and there is no wonder that thousands of tourists are visiting the city every year. Some of the best times to visit Sighisoara are March, when Sighisoara Blues Festival takes place, and July, for the Medieval Festival and the Craftsmen’s Fair. If you want to enjoy the experience of visiting this city to the maximum, you can book your accommodation inside the citadel’s walls.

Fagaras

No. 27

Fagaras is a quiet mountain city, with a history that starts in the 13th century, when it was first mentioned in an official document. The main attraction point in the city is the citadel, located exactly in the centre of Fagaras. The citadel was partially rebuilt in in 1539 and then again in 1650, when the Renaissance style was used for the architecture. In the 18th century, the site was fortified with a brick wall built in Vauban style. In time, Fagaras Citadel served multiple purposes, with its premises being used as soldier barracks, military prison, Bishop’s Palace or political prison for the communist regime.

Another tourist attraction in Fagaras is St Nicholas Church, built in 1698 by the ruler of Wallachia, Constantin Brancoveanu. It is the oldest church in Fagaras and considered an architectural monument. The murals and the Romanian (Brancovenesc) style make this church a truly special edifice.

The Franciscan Monastery, built in 1782, is also a beautiful place in Fagaras. The Rococo style can be observed, elegant and sophisticated, while outside the monastery you can check the time by using one of the two sundials.

While in Fagaras, you can also pass by Fagaras Museum or the Holy Trinity Church.

Sinaia

No. 28

Sinaia is the most beautiful city in Prahova Valley and it is known among Romanians as The Carpathian Pearl or the Royal City. King Carol I of Romania and Queen Elisabeth had a major contribution to the development of the city, by building Peles and Pelisor castles.

Peles is maybe one of the most beautiful places to visit in Romania, and it was built between 1873 and 1914 in Neo-Renaissance style, as a residency for the royal family. In those times, Peles Castle was the first in the world to be fully powered by locally produced energy, with the help of the power plant built on the site. Some of the 166 lavishly furnished chambers of the castle are opened for the public, and few of the most notable are The Imperial Suite – with a perfectly preserved 500 year old Cordoba leather wall, The Grand Armory – with 1600 weapons and pieces of armoury, The Hall of Honour – spreading over three floors and decorated with sculptures, stained glass and bass-reliefs, The Turkish Parlour, The Florentine Room and The Theatre Room. One cannot truly describe the opulence in Peles Castle and the expressive elements that can be found there, so a visit to this magnificent edifice is a must.

Pelisor Castle is part of the same complex as Peles and its main purpose was to serve as summer residency for the royal family, mainly for the heir to the throne, Prince Ferdinand. It was built between 1899 and 1902. Luxury and grandeur are still noticeable in Pelisor’s 99 chambers, although the castle is smaller than Peles. For example, there is the Golden Room, with real gold decorating the walls and the furniture. Queen Mary, King Ferdinand’s wife, had a major contribution in decorating the castle with Byzantine and Art-Nouveau elements.

Even though Peles and Pelisor castles are the symbols of Sinaia, there are also other important landmarks that should be visited in city, like George Enescu Memorial House – built after the plans of the renowned composer himself, Dimitrie Ghica Park, Carmen Sylva Alley, Sinaia Museum – hosted in Stirbey Castle, Sinaia Casino – an emblematic edifice opened for visitors during Sinaia Forever Festival, and Sinaia Monastery. 

Horezu

No. 29

Besides the pottery, Horezu made it on the list with best places to visit in Romania also thanks to Horezu Monastery. Part of UNESCO’s World Heritage since 1993, the monastery was built between 1690 and 1693, during the rule of Constantin Brancoveanu. Horezu Monastery is a masterpiece and a clear example of the Romanian or Brancovenesc style.

It is recommended to visit Horezu in the beginning of June. Every year, in the first weekend of June, in Horezu takes place the “Cocosul de Hurez” Fair, aimed to celebrate the oldest tradition in the area, kept alive even today – the pottery.

Constanta

No. 30

Another interesting place where you can spend some time, if the weather is too bad to go to the beach or to stroll the streets, is Constanta Aquarium. Built in 1958, it was the first aquarium in Romania and today is hosting many marine species spread across three sections: The Black Sea, Freshwater and Exotic Fish.  Other places where you can spend quality time indoors are Constanta Planetarium, The National History and Archaeology Museum and The Romanian Navy Museum.

Govora Baths

No. 31

The mineral waters in Govora Baths were discovered by locals in 1876 and until today the resort is well-known in Romania. The spring waters here are rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, chlorine and other minerals. The spas and medical facilities in Govora Baths are used to treat respiratory illnesses, some degenerative diseases, neurologic disfunctions and rheumatic diseases. After the treatment sessions, tourists often take walks in the beautiful park in the area or in the walking areas around the hotels.

Talking about hotels, Govora is one of the best places to stay in Romania, with beautiful villas offering accommodation and one of the most exquisite hotels in the country – Palace Hotel. The building dates from the 20th century and it was the first hotel in Romania with its own spa centre. Its architecture is impressive, combining Art Nouveau and Neo-Romanian styles.

Cluj-Napoca

No. 32

A modern city, the most important IT centre in Romania and Eastern Europe, Cluj is developing at a fast pace, but this is not affecting its charm. The cobbled streets, the bohemian vibe, the young and friendly locals, renowned music festivals, delicious food and the impressive architecture make Cluj one of the best places to visit in Romania.

St Michael’s Church, the symbol of Cluj Napoca, was built between 1316 and 1487. The organ inside the church is the original one from 1753 and still works, although it was restored several times. It is located nearby Union Square and this is the place where you will also find Banffy Palace, the Arts Museum and the Continental Hotel, built in 1894.

The Museum Square in Cluj is the oldest in the city and it is also called The Small Square. Here you can spend some relaxing time in one of the many coffee shops and you can also visit Transylvania Museum and the Franciscan Church.

If you visit Cluj in summertime, you can enjoy a beautiful walk in The Simion Barnutiu Central Park. Here you also have the possibility of taking a boat ride on the park’s lake. On the lake’s shore you will notice the casino, built in the 19th century and used today as a cultural events centre. Other outdoor places that you should visit in Cluj are The Botanical Garden – with over 100 species of tulips and more than 300 types of roses, and Romulus Vuia Park – an outdoor village museum filled with traditional houses from different areas in Transylvania.

Other interesting places in Cluj that you should not miss are Cetatuia Hill, Calvaria Church, the Pharmacy Museum, the Opera House and the National Theatre.

Cluj is hosting cultural and academical events, concerts, sport events and festivals throughout the year, so anytime you decide to pay it a visit you will have something interesting to do. If you’re planning on visiting Cluj Napoca during UNTOLD and Electric Castle music festivals, you should book your accommodation as soon as possible, because the hotels in and around the city will definitely be fully booked. 

Timisoara

No. 33

Timisoara is a truly multicultural city, with influences coming from German, Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian and Italian people. Regardless, you will not be able to hide the surprise on your face when you will learn that Timisoara has no less than 14000 historical buildings! The huge squares surrounded by important edifices, the old palaces, the museums and parks – all of these make Timisoara one of the best places to stay in Romania for a city break or for a prolonged vacation.

Start discovering this city in the Opera Square, where you will find an impressive number of buildings and palaces with a spectacular architecture in Art Nouveau, Neo-Byzantine and Baroque styles. Today, many of the palaces in Opera Square – Dauerbach, Loffler, Szechenyi, Lloyd, Weiss and others – are hosting restaurants, shops or public institutions. The Culture Palace is hosting the Romanian National Opera and three theatres: the German, the Hungarian and the Mihai Eminescu National Theatre. Another building that will definitely catch your eyes in the Opera Square is the Metropolitan Cathedral, with an impressive Byzantine and Moldavian architecture.

Another place in Timisoara hosting many interesting attractions is the Union Square. Here you will find the Art Museum, the Roman-Catholic Dome or the Bruck House.  You should not miss the oldest building in Timisoara – Hunyadi Castle, hosting the Banat National Museum. The castle was built in 1447 on the ruins of an older castle dating back in 1307.

A monumental building in the city with a very special architecture is the Citadel Synagogue, built more than 100 years ago in Moorish style.

Last, but not least, Timisoara is a city famous for its local beer. Timisoreana Beer Factory is one if the city’s symbols, being the first factory of its kind in Romania. This is the place where, in 1847, Johan Strauss had his first concert outside Vienna. Nowadays, tourists are welcomed to visit the Factory’s Museum, where they have the opportunity to learn about the history of the place.

Histria

No. 34

The ruins of Histria are located in Istria town, where you can also find the Archaeology Museum. The museum visit may be more revealing than visiting the citadel’s ruins, because this is the place where you will be able to see many base-reliefs discovered in the citadel’s basement, some marble pieces that used to be the facade of an important temple, ceramic objects, amphoras, documents and also an impressive collection of 2000 years old shrines. 

Targu Jiu

No. 35

Targu Jiu is mostly known for the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brancusi, consisting of three sculptures: The Endless Column, The Gate of The Kiss and The Table of Silence. Considered one of the greatest outdoor sculpture ensembles of the 20th century, the work of art is even more impressive given the fact that Brancusi refused to be paid for it.

Even though the city is mostly known thanks to the renowned Romanian sculptor, you should know that Targu Jiu was first mentioned in 1406 and a visit to the Gorj History Museum will reveal more interesting facts in the history of this city.

Sibiu

No. 36

Sibiu is an important cultural centre in Romania, where many people, both Romanians and foreigners, choose to spend few days to relax. Two of the most famous areas in the city are the Big Square (Piata Mare) and the Small Square (Piata Mica).

The main attraction in the Big Square is the Council Tower, built in the 13th century and a symbol of Sibiu nowadays. Brukenthal Museum, hosted in the palace with the same name, is also located in the Big Square and you should definitely pay a visit, especially because it is the first museum in Central and Eastern Europe, opened for the public in 1817. The Brukenthal Palace was built in the 18th century by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, the governor of the Grand Principality of Transylvania and a man with an exquisite taste for art.

Piata Mica has its own symbol, the Bridge of Lies. An interesting fact about this bridge is the fact that it has nothing to do with lying. Built in 1859, this is the first suspended bridge in Romania, and it was initially called “Podul Culcat” (The Laid Bridge). In Romanian, the word “culcat” means “laid”, but in German, the homonymous word for “culcat” is the word “lugenmarchen”, translated also as “lie” or “minciuna” in Romanian. With time, the locals came up with this myth saying that if someone is telling a lie while on the bridge, the structure will collapse.

The best thing to do in Sibiu is to walk around the narrow, cobbled streets and discover every corner of this city, one of the most beautiful places in Romania. You can start with the Stairs Passage, part of the old city’s fortified walls and tucked with small coffee shops where you can have a stop. Continue with a walk towards the Goldsmiths Square, where you will find the oldest Romanian restaurant, The Golden Barrel (Butoiul de Aur).

As for the accommodation, Sibiu is one of the best places to stay in Romania, with plenty of good hotels and cosy aparthotels scattered around the city centre. For a great experience, you can choose to rent an apartment or a room in one of the Saxon houses near the Big Square.

Turda

No. 37

One of the most visited places in Romania and the main attraction in Turda, the Salt Mine is definitely a must for everyone. But if you visit Turda, you should know that this city is hiding other treasures also.  If you have some spare time you can pay a visit to the Roman Castrum built by the Fifth Macedonian Legion (Legio quinta Macedonica), where you will notice ruins of the old main entrance gate, of the roman baths (thermae), and of the commandment building (principia). The castrum is just 10 minutes away from the city centre.

The Princely Palace is another attraction you can visit in Turda. It was built in the 15th century in Gothic style and served as a residency of Prince Sigismund Bathory at the end of the 16th century. Nowadays, the palace is hosting the History Museum. 

Mamaia

No. 38

Palm trees, luxurious hotels, lots of restaurants, walking areas, an aqua park (Aqua Magic), the cable car (Telegondola) and the best clubs in Romania – this is what Mamaia has to offer to its visitors. The resort has a 10 km long beach with a width of almost 200 meters in some of the areas. Most of the beaches in Mamaia are private, so you will have to pay for a seat. The price depends on the area you are choosing, and you should know the north side of the resort is the most expensive.

A worldwide famous music festival – Neversea – is held in Mamaia every year in July. Big names such as Steve Aoki, Jessie J, Afrojack, G-Eazy, Lost Frequencies and many others have performed in Neversea, and the lineup is getting more and more interesting every year.

Another music festival – Sunwaves – takes place in the Black Sea resort in the beginning of May. The experience is truly amazing for electronic music lovers and some of the best DJs in the world are performing every year in Sunwaves.

The best time to visit Mamaia is from June to September, when you can enjoy the sun and the water to the maximum. Get ready to dance the night away in one of the many clubs in the north side of the resort, as Mamaia is one of the best places to stay in Romania if you are looking for fun!

Mangalia

No. 39

Previously, on the site of modern Mangalia was the ancient Greek city of Callatis. The city was founded in the 6th century B.C. as a Greek colony and later conquered by the Roman Empire. In honour of the great civilizations that founded the city, locals have named one of the largest music festivals in the country, held yearly in Mangalia, Callatis Music Festival.

Other than attending the festival or enjoying your time on the beach, in Mangalia you can also visit some interesting sites: the ruins of Callatis dating back to the 6th century B.C., the necropolis of the citadel dating back to the 2nd century B.C., the Scythian tomb, the Marina and the Esmehan Sultan Mosque dating back to the 16th century. 

Poiana Brasov

No. 40

Poiana Brasov is one of the top skiing places in Romania, with a complex infrastructure for practicing winter sports. Chairlifts, cable cars, 12 ski slopes with different difficulty grades, the possibility of renting equipment – all of these can be found in the mountain resort nearby Brasov. Poiana Brasov has excellent hotels and spas, ranging from 3 to 5 stars. The restaurants serve delicious traditional Romanian food, but international cuisine dishes are also very popular.  The place is not only a winter destination. Tourists are filling the resort throughout the year to escape the bustling cities. Located at an elevation of 1020 meters, at the bottom of Postavarul Mountain, Poiana Brasov is the perfect destination for those who want to escape the summer heat.

Summer and late spring are also good times for hiking. From Poiana Brasov you can climb to Cristianul Mare Peak in Postavarul Mountain or to Solomon’s Stones. The trails are properly signalled and not too difficult. 

Curtea de Arges

No. 41

Curtea de Arges is a municipality in Arges County and the former capital of Wallachia. The city has a rich ecclesiastical history, being the seat of the Latin Bishopric, the Orthodox Archbishopric and more recently of the modern Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese.  Curtea de Arges Cathedral is the symbol of this city and a place surrounded by the famous Romanian legend of Mesterul Manole (the cathedral’s architect). In popular culture it is believed that Mesterul Manole, following a dream, had to sacrifice his own wife, Anna, in order to finish building the cathedral. The whole plot is kind of interesting and draws a lot of curious visitors.

Another religious site you should visit in Curtea de Arges is St Nicholas Royal Church, built by Basarab I – an important ruler of Wallachia – and resembling a stone fortress. But religion is not the only thing drawing tourists in this city. Landmarks such as the Royal Court site, with edifices built in the 13t, 14th and 16th centuries by various rulers, are worth paying a visit. Nearby the Royal Court you will find the Municipal Museum, inaugurated in 1969 and holding more than 12000 artefacts. 

Busteni

No. 42

Busteni is a less famous mountain resort, although it has plenty to offer – beautiful landscapes, winter sports, hiking, an amazing waterfall and an incredible palace. All of these make Busteni one of the best places to visit in Romania.

The first thing you should do in Busteni is take the cable car and climb on Bucegi Plateau to see the Sphinx and Babele – the most famous natural symbols of Romania. The climb takes around 10 to 15 minutes and the landscape on the way up is magnificent. You can also go hiking from Busteni to the plateau, but it is recommended to have a local guide with you, as the trails are a little bit difficult. Once you reached the Sphinx, it will take you two more hours to walk to Omu Peak, the highest in Bucegi Mountains. The trail to Omu Peak is much easier and indicators will help you arrive safely to the destination.

Another amazing natural wonder in Busteni is the 15 meters high Urlatoarea Waterfall. The hike to the waterfall takes around 30 minutes and this is actually the easiest trail in Bucegi Mountains.

Last, but not least, it is a must to visit Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni – a top attraction in the city and in Romania. The view from the castle’s terrace is breath taking and the interior decorated with stained glass, mosaics and murals is truly impressive. It was built in 1900 for a wealthy Romanian, member of the aristocracy and politician – Grigore Cantacuzino – who also had a palace built in Bucharest. 

Predeal

No. 43

One of the best mountain resorts in Romania, Predeal, is also the city with the highest elevation in Romania. Surrounded by Bucegi, Postavarul, Baiu and Piatra Mare mountains, this place is a true winter wonderland. Hiking enthusiasts will be happy to know that Predeal is the starting point for reaching the Seven Stairs Canyon (Canionul Sapte Scari), the Ice Cave (Pestera de Gheata), Tamina Waterfall, or Rasnoavei Gorges.   In winter, 8 ski slopes are ready to receive everyone who wants to enjoy skiing and snowboarding, regardless if they are beginners or more experienced. The slopes are equipped with chairlifts for adults, but also for the younger visitors.

Even though the mountain resort can accommodate more than 5000 tourists in its hotels, villas and lodges, it is wise to book your stay in advance, as it tends to get crowded, especially in the weekends. 

Baia Mare

No. 44

Baia Mare, the capital city of Maramures County, is a good place to start if you are planning to visit more of the region, as it is located just 10 km away from the airport.  Being one of the most important places in Romania when it comes to the mining industry, in the city you will find the Mineralogy Museum. This place is unique, thanks to the fact that all the minerals displayed – more than 1000 – are sourced exclusively from the Maramures region.

Don’t miss the 40 meters tall St Stephen Tower, where you can enjoy breath taking views over the entire city. Also, before lunch or dinner, take half an hour extra for a walk in the Liberty Square, where you can find buildings dating back to the 15th century. 

Piatra Neamt

No. 45

Piatra Neamt is a city located in Moldavia region, surrounded by mountains and known as the Moldavian Pearl. The place where the modern city is located nowadays was inhabited since centuries and known as Petrodava Citadel.

Most of the landmarks and attractions in Piatra Neamt are scattered across the city centre, so it should not be difficult for tourists to visit as much as possible.

Don’t miss The Royal Court, a complex of historical landmarks such as St John the Baptist Royal Church – built in 1498 and impressing with its beautiful facade, Stephen the Great Tower – a 19 meters tall monument built in 1499, and The Royal Court Museum – recently inaugurated following some important archaeological discoveries in the area.

Cucuteni Neolithic Art Museum is one of the newest culture places in Romania, inaugurated in 2005, but it should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Piatra Neamt. Here you can find unique works of art, some of them more than 5000 years old, typical to Cucuteni-Trypillian culture.

Don’t leave Piatra Neamt before taking a ride in the cable car. You will enjoy breath taking views and you will be able to have a clearer picture on the city. 

Arad

No. 46

Some of the interesting places you can visit in Arad are The Administrative Palace built in 1874, Gai Monastery built in 1762 in Baroque style, The Serbian Church, The Red Church built in Neo-Gothic style in 1905 and The Catholic Cathedral built in 1904 in Renaissance style.

Deva

No. 47

The most famous landmark in the city – Deva Citadel – is one of the most important fortresses in medieval Transylvania, located at the top of a mountain. You can either walk or take the cable car to the citadel – both ways, you will be amazed by the view over the city once you reach the top.

Deva is a place where you will find a diversity of religious landmarks, such as the St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral built in 1861, the Franciscan Monastery built in the 18th century, the Synagogue built in 1896, or the Calvin Reformed Church from the 19th century.  From the cultural landmarks, don’t miss the Magna Curia Palace – one of the oldest buildings in Deva – where you will find the Museum of Roman and Dacian Civilization. 

Biertan

No. 48

Biertan is a village in Sibiu County and the place where one of the first Saxon settlements in Ardeal was founded, in 1224. More than 100 years later, in 1397, Biertan was recognized as a citadel.

Of course, it is a must to visit the fortified church in the village, the main reason why Biertan was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage. This is the most representative site of its kind in Transylvania – an architectural monument reflecting the lifestyle of the Saxon community.

Besides the church, the village itself will leave you speechless, with its traditional houses and local culture. Tourists from all over the world visit Biertan and wish to come back over and over again, thanks to the special vibe this small village in Transylvania has. 

Herculane Baths

No. 49

Herculane is a 2000 years old baths resort, one of the most appreciated places in Romania in the past. Unfortunately, the grandeur of this city was not maintained in modern times, but nevertheless it remains one of the places that worth a visit.  In the year 153, when the area was part of the Roman Empire, Herculane was a major attraction spot for the roman aristocracy. Impressed by the healing properties of the thermal waters in the area, the Romans started to build aqueducts, baths, impressive statues and shrines as a way to thank the gods for the miraculous waters.

More than 1500 years after the Romans founded Herculane, in 1736, when the country was part of the Austrian Empire, the modernization and reconstruction of the baths begun. This is why most of the buildings in Herculane have impressive Baroque elements. In 1852, the Austrian Emperor was seeing Herculane as the most beautiful resort on the continent and Empress Elisabeth was spending most of her time there, this being one of her favourite destinations.Nowadays,

Herculane’s purpose remains the same as 2000 years ago: the use of its waters to heal different health issues. Hotels and spas in the resort offer a wide range of treatments at very affordable prices and it will be a shame not to try the Roman Thermae that General Marcus Aurelius Pius himself was using. 

Erika Dragu

Erika Dragu

Erika Dragu is a freelance writer and native Transylvanian. She grew up in the small town of Miercurea Ciuc, surrounded by mountains and medieval villages.

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