10 of the Best Cities in Romania to Visit
Romania is one of my favourite countries in the world. With its beautiful architecture, colourful buildings, heart-warming food and old traditions there is a lot to take in when visiting. Upon arriving in Romania, I was so excited to learn more about the countries culture as Romania is still a lesser-known destination when it comes to travel. I visited some incredible cities in Romania which I want to share with you!
Transport in Romania
Getting around in Romania is relatively easy if you know how the system works. Most people travel by bus within Romania however trains are also popular but keep in mind that are incredibly old, not maintained and very slow so don’t have any high expectations.
Another way which I recommend is by rideshare with BlaBla car. I had some great rides within the country and some very friendly drivers who told me more about the traditions and must-see places to visit during my trip. I had some great experiences!
The ultimate way to get around in Romania is by car so you have total freedom and can stop off at some beautiful undiscovered places along the way. Driving is relatively easy, just stick to the rules and be wary of bad roads.
Travelling from to and from cities in Romania is super easy as there are lots of transport options between these routes, so you don’t have to worry too much!
Sibiu is one of the most charming cities in Romania which is located near the centre of the country. It’s a popular stopover for travellers wanting to explore more of Transylvania. The city is a cultural hub with jazz and festivals taking place within Sibiu. The old part of the city is like walking into a perfectly kept museum and feels like it hasn’t been touched by an ounce of modernism, so you get the real feeling of how the city was years before.
Sibiu was also the city which held the first hospital, pharmacy and school within Romania, so the locals are incredibly proud of the meaning that the city has. You can visit the pharmacy museum which was the first pharmacy and the oldest in Romania being over 150 years old! You get to step back into what the 18th-century pharmacy would have looked like!
Sighisoara is a UNESCO world heritage city that has a unique charm. There’s an old and a new part of Sighisoara. The old city is lined with cobbled pathways, dramatic Gothic architecture and is also the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula). You can even visit his childhood home although it’s quite kitsch as downstairs has been turned into a vampire-themed restaurant. However, there are lots of other authentic experiences to be had in Sighisoara.
One of the best things to do is pay to enter the clock tower and museum. Whilst walking up the stairwell to the top you can check some of the old artefacts and history of the city. When you reach the top, you get a 360 view of the city from above. If you visit in winter, it’s especially magical to see the snow-capped rooftops.
Iasi is the capital of the region Moldavia which is on the border of Romania and Moldova and it’s one of the many cities in Romania that’s rich with culture. It’s not the most popular place to visit as it’s quite far from the popular places you would normally visit in Romania like the region of Transylvania or Bucharest. Iasi is known as a university city, so education is key here! But that means that the city is full of great bars and cafes with a younger vibe.
The city is small and unique as you’ll see a mix of medieval buildings with soviet style buildings in between and a lot of greenery. One of the best things to do is visit the botanical gardens as well as visiting the most iconic building in Iasi, the palace of culture.
It’s said to have one of the most beautiful libraries in the world – Gheorghe Asachi technical university library. If you’re a book lover, then this might be a worthwhile site to check out!
If you have time, make sure you do an overnight/rushed day trip then visit the UNESCO Painted Monasteries of Bukovina. These colourful monasteries will be unlike any monastery you have ever seen before! From Iasi, it’s around a 2.40-hour drive so you may want to spend a night in the nearby city of Suceava.
The capital of Romania, Bucharest has come leaps and bounds in recent years. It used to have a reputation for being too grungy, however, these days many new businesses are popping up and it’s becoming a haven for backpackers and creatives.
A great thing to do when arriving into the city is to take a walking tour and get all the local recommendations on the best cafes and restaurants to visit as well as learn some history of the city. Communism had a big impact on Bucharest and it’s noticeable when walking around. It’s not the most appealing city to look at but in fact, this is one of the appeals of Bucharest as amongst the boring apartment blocks is colourful murals and cafes.
The charming city of Brasov can be a great base to explore nearby attractions. Brasov is located within Transylvania and is one of the must-see cities in Romania. If you visit in the winter, you will get to enjoy the snow-capped rooftops as well as some snow sports on the mountain above. If you visit in summer, then the city is as charming, so it doesn’t matter when you visit!
Whilst in Brasov be sure to check out the main square. You can also catch a cable car up the mountain for an epic view of the city and the surrounding area or you can walk to the top using the hiking track.
Nearby you will find the small city of Rasnov which is also worth a look as Rasnov castle was one of the greatest castles in Romania. Most people go to Dracula’s castle (bran castle) instead but that’s a mistake! Rasnov castle is ¼ of the price and is much more interesting. It’s also not full of tourists.
Brasov is one of my favourite cities in Romania!
The beautiful city of Timisoara isn’t the most popular place to visit in Romania but in the future, it is sure to be one. Timisoara is a mix of art nouveau architecture, vibrant cafes and old history all carved into one interesting and indescribable destination.
You can easily see everything within a couple of days, but I recommend at least 3 so you can enjoy the vibe of the city. A great way to explore Timisoara is by hiring a bike.
In 2021 Timisoara will be the European Capital of culture. It’s so exciting to see the city being recognized as something so special. You may have also heard the city is called ‘Little Vienna’. Being compared to such a beautiful city is fantastic for Timisoara’s tourism!
7. Cluj Napoca
Cluj Napoca is a university city which means a few things, there’s an abundance of great bars, cheap eateries and an electric young vibe throughout the city! It’s is located to the north-west of Romania. They have great transport links so you can get here by plane, bus and train from the surrounding countries easily. I travelled from Budapest to Cluj Napoca and it was super easy and very affordable.
In 2015 Cluj was named the European youth capital due to its abundance of amazing events and festivals. You can always guarantee there’s something to do in the city when you visit.
The city has an abundance of interesting history too which is why it’s made it to the list of best cities in Romania. The city is over 2000 years old so there’s a lot to learn about in this old city. Try doing a guided tour to get the most out of your trip to Cluj.
Situated on the black sea, Constanta is a gateway to explore the Black sea coast of Romania. But the city is not only popular for its seaside views but also history. The city is over 2500 years old and founded by the Greeks.
Constanta city is lovely with many great restaurants, beaches and cafes to check out. Make sure you take a visit to the abandoned casino on the boardwalk. Another must-do is to visit the old part of the city. There are many beautiful churches and cathedrals as well as beautiful architecture and a fascinating folk art museum.
Oradea is not one of the most popular cities in Romania to visit but it is one of the most beautiful! The city has a river called The Crișul Repede which runs right through the city as well as lots of beautiful, colourful and unique architecture around.
Make sure you take a visit to union square. Whilst there you should marvel at black eagle palace. This is certainly a great example of unique and bizarre architecture.
Another great thing to do at union square is to visit the church of the moon. It’s called that because the moon mechanism which you can see at the face of the church moves according to the moon. The axis completes its full rotation every 28 days so that it tells you current moon phase.
10. Târgu Mureș
Târgu Mureș is only a day trip away from the likes of Brasov and Cluj Napoca. This charming city is not one you will on top travel lists, but this Romanian city shouldn’t be missed, let me tell you why!
This city has two descendants. Some locals come from Romania descent and some locals come from Hungarian descent. Unfortunately, in March 1990 the two groups clashed and ended having a nasty conflict. That particular time is referred to as black march. But these days you don’t have to worry about the conflict. The people live peacefully together now.
One of the most iconic things to see here is the palace of culture which was built between 1911-1913. The place offers the chance to check out some amazing Romanian and Hungarian art but also, it’s an incredibly beautiful example of the architecture here.
Târgu Mureș is also home to one of the oldest libraries in Transylvania dating back between 1799 and 1804. Another must do is check out the citadel (castle) which was the city’s first fortification, built in 1492. Inside there’s an archaeological and history museum so it’s a fantastic place to learn more about the history!
If you want to visit something unique you could take a trip to Praid salt mine which is around an hour drive. Not only can you learn about the history of the salt mine and enjoy the health benefits of visiting, but you can also play ping pong, watch movies, play on the adventure park and visit the chapel. Okay, so it’s very random but an experience to be had if you’re in the area!
Tell me below which cities in Romania appeal to you the most!
Other articles you will love:
- Incredible Things to do in Sighisoara, Romania
- Sibiu travel guide: Things to do in Sibiu, Romania
- 16 Balkan Tips You Need to Know!
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