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24 epic places to visit in Romania (with map + many bonus ideas!!)

Are you looking for the supreme Romanian adventure?

Yet, your head is spinning with a huge number of questions?

Where to start? What to visit? What are the best places to visit in Romania? How many days? Is the country safe? And the list can continue…

I can feel your turmoil; I’ve been there several times. For those of you who don’t want to rush headlong into Romania travel planning, here’s this comprehensive post on the most representative places to visit. I am a native, so that gives an extra edge on the best places to visit in Romania.

I had all the time to explore, discover and inhale this staggeringly beautiful corner, named Romania.

Worried about safety in Romania, or means of transportation? Check here my crash course with lots of relevant info. Want to visit Transylvania, but you don’t know where to start? This is Transylvania must-see and check the complete guide before visiting to know what to expect.

Sibiu and the Bridge of Lies
Sibiu and the Bridge of Lies; photo: Bogdan Mustatea

Travel to Romania! Land of natural beauty and history, remote villages and vibrant nightlife, spectacular castles and traditional monasteries, Romania is a destination rich in stunning objectives. Famous for the stillness of time illusion, as well as trekking in the Carpathians, the East-European country has a bit of everything for the picky traveller.

Romania tastes like the last virgin forests of Europe, untamed landscape and free wild animals. It tastes like hearty home-made food and garlic. It tastes like former communism, traditions and lust for life.

Feel the true spirit when exploring the best places to visit in Romania! It comes alive with every Danube delta sunrise, sculpted Maramures gate, shot of palinca or music and traditions. But you will also feel Romania’s heart in the hospitality of the simple people.

So, here are the best places to visit in Romania. At the end, you will find some Romanian itinerary suggestions and a map to be your lighthouse.  

Tradition is still kept in Maramures area
Tradition is still kept in Maramures area

Show contents

Useful facts for your Romanian itinerary
Best places to visit in Romania
1. Bucharest
2. Brasov
3. Bran Castle
4. Peles Castle, Sinaia
5. Hărman Fortified Church
6. Rucăr – Bran area
7. The Danube Delta
8. Transfăgărășan Highway
9. Cistercian Abbey of Cârța
10. Sibiu
11. Sighișoara
12. Viscri
13. Biertan

14. Turda Salt Mine
15. Rimetea village
16. Oradea
17. Maramureș

18. The Merry Cemetery of Săpânța, Maramureș
19. Bucovina region
20. Iași

21. Mohoș Peat Bog
22. Corvin Castle

23. Timișoara
24. Retezat Mountains
Romanian itinerary ideas
Interactive map

Useful facts for your Romanian itinerary

If you’re hungry to solve your Romanian trip, I am here to provide useful information before even asking:

  • Is Romania safe? Romania is considered a safe country. And it is. No need to worry. Still, risks exist, so beware of petty theft, mugging, and scams. Try to be vigilant especially on crowded means of transportation.

  • Romania has 4 seasons. You can visit anytime depending on your availability. Of course, summer is the most claimed season. In winter you have the opportunity to practice winter sports, while spring and autumn are maybe the best to consider.

  • The Romanian currency is called leu (plural lei) and you can find it abbreviated as ron.
    1 euro = 5 lei
    1 USD = 4.60 lei

  • For your Romanian itinerary, it’s good to know the airports to fly in. Of course, Bucharest, the capital has the largest flight palette and is a good start for exploration. But you should also consider the following cities: Iași (eastern Romania), Cluj (heart of the country) and Timișoara (western Romania).

  • Renting a car allows you to be independent and run on your own schedule. Romania has all the international major companies. You have to be at least 21 to rent a car and need to have had your license for at least one year prior. The maximum age for rentals is 70.

  • If you don’t want to bother with driving, take the train. The main train company is called CFR, they are reliable and offer many options, but are not famous for speed. Besides this state-owned company, there are other private options worth checkingRegio CalatoriAstra CarpaticTransferoviar Calatori or Softrans

  • Sometimes, taking the bus/shuttle is a better option as it can take you to places the train doesn’t. But watch out! Oftentimes buses leave from bus terminals that can be situated next to a railway station, but not always!

  • Food budget/person
    Cheap lunch: 40-50 lei
    Dinner in a restaurant (1 main course + 1 desert): 80-100 lei
    Main course in a top restaurant + a glass of wine: 100+
    However, if you prefer to save money, you can cook for yourself or simply grab a snack, you can go shopping at discount supermarkets like Lidl, Kaufland or Profi. On average, you may spend around 40 lei/day.

  • Accommodation budget
    Here are the tariffs/person/night updated 2024.
    Budget: hostel 80 lei – 150 lei/ budget hotel 120 – 170 lei
    Mid-range 160-250
    Splurge 300+
    For private tours, opt for ViatorGetYourGuide, or TripAdvisor. Take a free city guide from Guruwalk, always incredible!

Check my ultimate guide to Romania trip planning with lots of relevant info!

Read my crash course on Romania for a quick introduction.

 Best places to visit in Romania

1. Bucharest

Bucharest, the capital, is a combination of old and new and one of the best places to visit in Romania. It is a patchwork of French elegance, hints of communist shadow and contemporary modernist buildings. And today’s Bucharest bears all these fingerprints with style. The pulsating city tempts the visitor also by its many eateries and nice atmosphere of the historic Old Town, or by its hipster coffee culture.

Bucharest is a European capital, mostly. Sometimes rough at the edges, but exciting. As contemporary Bucharest is shedding skin, it puts on street art, festivals or going out as a prerogative to equality with other important capitals.

Read more about Bucharest:

Top experiences

There are some milestones in terms of downtown architecture: CEC Palace, The Athenaeum, Hotel Marmorosch, Stavropoleos Church, Mita Biciclista House, Carusel Carturesti bookstore. Then there’s the main communist one: The Palace of Parliament (second largest building in the world). As museums, try George Enescu Museum and Cotroceni National Museum, while Cișmigiu and Herăstrău are fine parks.

How many days in Bucharest / Accommodation tips

If you consider Bucharest as your starting point, you can wrap up your visit in one day. But ideally, consider three days to explore and get a taste of culture.

In terms of accommodation, Novotel Hotel City Centre has a flawless location and a reasonable price-quality rapport. You could also try the excellent Moxy Bucharest Old Town. Looking for budget accommodation? Try First Hostel or Hostel JAZ.

The Athenaeum is spectacular
The Athenaeum is one of the most spectacular buildings on the inside; photo: Iulian Iancu
The Palace of Parliament, considered by some one of the best places to visit in Romania
The colossal Palace of Parliament

2. Brașov

Brașov is one of the top places to visit in Romania. Placed in the middle of the country, Brasov is close to the mountains and not far from Bucharest, boasts great architecture, rich past and medieval charm. It is a really photogenic destination and a chic city with a lively atmosphere! Besides, Brasov is closely surrounded by Bran Castle, Poiana Brasov (fanciest winter resort in the country) or lots of hiking opportunities!

LEARN MORE: Brasov – Top things to do for first-time visitor

Top experiences

Don’t miss out on the Council Square, The Black Church, the Hollywood sign on Tampa hill, the Black and White Towers or the very narrow Rope street! Take your time for a drink on a pretty terrace!

How much time do you need in Brasov / Accommodation tips

Brasov is compact enough to be explored in one day. However, it can be a great base for Bran Castle, Peles Castle, Rucar-Bran pass, or some fortified churches in the area (Harman, Prejmer).

Robi Studio has an unbeatable location, while Zozo is a friendly hostel.

Brasov is a fabulous city
Brasov is a town you must visit
Colours of Brasov
Colours of Brasov

3. Bran Castle

Bran Castle is to many, synonym with Dracula and one of the best places to visit in Romania. However, if you come to Transylvania thinking you will shake hands with Dracula or meet werewolves, you are mistaken. After all, it is just a legend created by Bram Stoker, who never visited Transylvania. The kernel of truth starts from Vlad the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia, famous for his merciless and cruel ways of punishing people. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle has a medieval look. Initially, it served economic and strategic reasons due to its good position over Bran gorges. The castle is positioned in an area often surrounded by fog that perfectly matches Stoker’s description.

READ Bran “Dracula” Castle, between legend and history for more info.

Top experiences

Visit the Royal apartments of Queen Marie of Romania and her husband, King Ferdinand, the Royal Dining Room, or the Saxon Chamber (it is a fortress-style castle). Experience the exhibition of dreaded Romanian mythical creatures and the Time Tunnel (a multimedia experience).

How much time do you need for Bran Castle / Accommodation tips

A few hours are enough to visit the Castle. But it would be very wise to book tickets online, especially in high season. Another option would be to set your basecamp in Brasov and take a half-day trip to Bran.

Opt for Transylvania Mountain Exclusive or Transylvania Mountain View CDI in Bran.

Bran Castle is one of Romania's main attractions
Bran Castle is on top; photo: Vlad Costache
Bran Castle
Bran Castle: view of the castle and inner yard

4. Peles Castle, Sinaia

Another fabulous place in Romania is Peleș Castle, in Sinaia. This castle should be on every Romanian itinerary, as it is one of the best places to visit in Romania. Former summer residence of King Carol I in the second half of the 19th century, Peleș is the embodiment of beauty and luxury. It doesn’t have a history of sieges, nor does it look like a fortress, but this elegant building shows the cultivated and art-lover Romanian royals. The sumptuous castle with 160 rooms and 30 bathrooms made a title of glory for having ahead of its time an elevator, a mobile glass ceiling of the Hall of Honour, or being the first electrified castle in Europe.

LEARN MORE: Visit Peles, Romania’ s most beautiful castle

Top experiences

The fabulous Hall of Honour, the Royal Library, the Weapons’ Room, the Theater Hall, the Imperial Apartment (decorated especially for emperor Franz Joseph), the Music Room, the Moorish and Turkish rooms. Unmissable!

Insider tip:! If time (and physical condition) permits, take the cable car that takes you up to 2000 m altitude and hike to Babele and Sfinxul (well-known huge rocky forms in the shape of old ladies and a sphynx), or to the Caraiman Cross and Omu Peak.

How many days to spend in Sinaia / Accommodation tips

The castle itself takes about 2-2.5 hours to visit. If you stick to the castle alone, you may opt for a half-day trip from Brasov, or a day-trip to see Peles and Bran Castle.

Spending the night in the area? Vila Norbe from Busteni or Casa Hera from Sinaia are good accommodation options, the latter offers free bikes to roam around the area. Aiming for something fancier? Try Hotel Sinaia or Alexandrion Experience, both superb!

Peles Castle is one of the top places to visit in Romania
The magnificent Peles Castle
King Carol, founder of Peles Castle, Sinaia
Statue of King Carol, the founder of the Castle

5. Hărman fortified church

One of the typical places and best places to visit in Romania are fortified churches. These architectural marvels date back to the medieval times, mainly from 13th to 16th centuries. They were built by the Saxons, former inhabitants of Transylvanian lands.

To find out more information on the topic, read Best guide to villages with fortified churches in Transylvania.

Harman fortified church is a lesson of humanity. As each building with the same purpose, this one also served as place of worship, community centre and defensive structure. However, it is on this must-visit list for the degree of preservation, its rare pre-Reformation paintings, or area of natural beauty.

Expect to find a church that meant village life and community in its purest sense. And beautiful surroundings.

Top experiences

The two concentrical walls, the small chapel and the firing chambers. Observe the impressive size of the fortification: it was designed to shelter the entire village, more precisely 800 locals! Go up the stairs for the Saxon ethnographic museum.

How much time in Hărman / Accommodation tips

Insider tip!: Exploring the church takes no more than two hours at the most. You can design a fortified church visiting day: Prejmer, Harman or Viscri, and the Emerald Lake from Racos.

Harman is very close to Brasov (12 km away), that is why getting a hotel in Brasov comes in handy. Pinehouse Luxury Apartment or KOA Aparthotel offer great stays in Brasov. However, The Good House and Gastehaus Honigberg are two very good options in Harman.

Harman fortified church
Harman fortified church is amazing

6. Rucăr-Bran area

Rucăr-Bran area is famous for beautiful landscapes. Besides, Rucar-Bran pass is a 23 km corridor with majestic views at every step. And if you are a true explorer, wander off the beaten path to the east or west to experience authentic village life! I fell in love with the area after seeing some pictures featuring simple life: scattered villages, instagrammable landscapes or proud haystacks.

READ MORE: Rucar Bran area: top landscapes in a fairy-tale location

Top experiences

Inhale the beauty of nature! Pin on your map some villages to explore: Fundata, Fundățica or Șirnea-Ciocanu! Go for Bran Castle (the so-called Dracula Castle described above), Amfiteatrul Transilvania or Grădiștei Gorges… and taste some delicious cheese from the last true shepherds!

How much time do you need in Rucar-Bran area / Accommodation

Truth be told, having a car in the area definitely works as an asset! If you are in a hurry, you can just scan the whole Rucar-Bran pass in under a day, but it would be a pity not to stop and fill yourself with the majesty of nature. I’d recommend around two days in the area.

Pensiunea Malina from Moieciu de Sus offers decent accommodation for the money, while Casa Muntelui in Fundata is truly welcoming.

Majestic nature is one of the top experiences
Majestic nature
Sunset in a picturesque village of Rucar Bran area
Sunset in a picturesque village of Rucar Bran area

7. The Danube Delta

The Danube Delta is the second largest delta in Europe, but the best preserved one. It is the last wild place in Europe, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Romania. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for the third largest biodiversity in the world. Water paradise, the delta contains 5500 square kilometers of rivers, canals, marshes, islands, and lakes. It features diverse flora and fauna, boasting many various species of birds (over 300) and fishes. It contains three arms that correspond to the three ports, the main inhabited places of the Danube Delta, where you can also find accommodation and meals based on fish, obviously.

Get rid of the car and use the boat extensively.

Curious about the Delta? Learn more: Reasons to Visit the Danube Delta Romania.

Top experiences

Sulina (only town in the Delta with wide sandy beaches), Letea forest and village (a special place which combines forest and desert, where you may see wild horses), Mila 23 village, Sacalin island, Gura Portitei (a resort-village) or Crisan village. Take one of the day tours offered in the area: boat tour, fishing tour, kayak, birdwatching or photo tour.

How many days / Accommodation in the delta

The delta is a destination in itself and one of the top places to visit in Romania. A thorough exploration and relaxation in the Danube delta can take up to several days.

Insider tip:! Since you arranged a trip to this unique place, why not indulge a few days at some of the Black Sea resorts? Try Mamaia, Neptun-Olimp, or Vama Veche, the place of the free thinkers.

Hotel Sunrise si Satul pescaresc in Crisan is a pleasant accommodation option, as well as Cherhana Resort.

The Danube Delta is one of the best places to visit in Romania
The delta is about biodiversity …
The Danube Delta is one of a kind
and fauna

8. Transfăgărășan Highway

The Transfăgărășan is the most majestic highway in Romania that winds its way through the Carpathians. It is a concrete ribbon that connects Transylvania to Wallachia on a beautiful adventure that comprises both spectacular driving and guaranteed magnificent landscape or hiking possibilities. Built at Ceausescu’s orders, originally, the highway had a strategic purpose by enabling soldiers to cross the mountains. The numbers and costs connected to the Transfagarasan (officially called DN7C) are huge not only in terms of finance, but also in the deaths resulted from the gruelling construction process.

Be aware that Transfagarasan is open from May to October, weather permitting.

Insider tip!: This is one of the few places where you need a car (or motorbike). But don’t worry, there’s always possibility to book a guided tour made by Viator, GetYourGuide or toursbylocals.com. It would just be a pity to miss!

READ MORE: Transfagarasan road trip – all you need to know
Poenari Fortress – Vlad the Impaler’s secondary residence

Top experiences

Bears roaming around are one of the top experiences on Transfagarasan. From one end to the other you shouldn’t miss: Poienari fortress (the fortress of Vlad the Impaler), Vidraru Dam and Storage lake, Balea Lake, and at least one hiking trail. Not to mention hairpins, of course.

How many days / Accommodation on Transfagarasan

If you have the time, two days would be ideal. However, it can be done in one day by focusing mainly to the road and landscape!

The classic accommodation hotel is Balea Lac (here, an ice hotel is available throughout winter), right at the top, but make sure to reserve ahead as in summer it is often fully booked. Another good option is Vila Balea.

View over Transfagarasan
The famous highway and some of its hairpins
Balea Lake is one of the best places to visit in Romania
Balea Lake is on top of Transfagarasan

9. Cistercian Abbey of Cârța

Cârța is a unique monastery created by the order of the Cistercians as far as 1202. The Cistercians are Catholic monks that originated from France in 1098 and were – what we would call today – vegan sustainable monks. They got many privileges and soon became very rich. In architecture, this is the time when early Gothic appears. In Romania, this monastery is the only ruin remaining from the Cistercians, and has a special peace and atmosphere.

LEARN MORE: The Cistercian Abbey of Cârța: Transylvanian Gothic and horror

Top experiences

The garden and its peace seem unreal, even spooky sometimes. Everything has a story to tell: the Evangelical church, the parish house, the watermill with three hammers. You should also know that the place served as set for the horror movie, The Nun.

How much time / Accommodation around Cârța

Insider tip!: The village of Cârța is within reach from the Transfagarasan (the Sibiu end), but if you look for cozy accommodation with homemade food with a touch of sophistication, spend the night at Cincsor Guesthouse!

We did spend the night at Cincsor and it only takes some minutes to the abbey. However, if you come from Sibiu, you should consider around 40 minutes driving time.

The Cistercian Abbey of Carta in ruins
The ruins of the abbey; photo: Sorin Onisor

10. Sibiu

Sibiu is not just a landmark of Transylvania, but also one of the best places to visit in Romania. Former European Capital of Culture (2007), the city of Sibiu blows the trumpet as being one of the seven fortified citadels built by the Saxons back in the Middle Ages. The city is a symbol of multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism. Moreover, some of the city’s fortifications are kept in an excellent state. One of the best Romanian destinations, Sibiu features lots of tourist attractions that will charm you, but this city is also famous for its vivid cultural life along with the tourist profile.

LEARN MORE: Visit Sibiu, Romania: top 10 attractions (+ bonus)

Insider tip!: Marginimea Sibiului is a genuine land of Romanian traditions and customs preserved. The many awards it got (let’s just mention European Destination of Excellence for Tourism and Gastronomy) stand as testimony for its beauty, authenticity and outstanding cheese and smoked produce.

Insider tip!: Not far from Avrig, you have the opportunity to see the Clay Castle in the Valley of the Fairies, a castle that the owners built thinking of Snow White.

Fairy Castle
Clay Castle in the Valley of the Fairies; photo: facebook/casteluldelut

Top experiences

You cannot miss in Sibiu the Great and the Small Squares, the Bridge of Lies, the Council Tower (climb to the top), or Brukenthal Museum. The ASTRA Museum is truly interesting if you have the time, it is a huge open air museum that preserves authentic and traditional values.

How many days to spend in Sibiu / Accommodation tips

Like other larger cities, Sibiu is also relevant not only as a visit, but also as a basecamp for nearby destinations. You can easily spend 2-3 nights here and explore the city and surroundings, or spend around one day to form an idea.

There are plenty of accommodation possibilities according to everyone’s whim: Maison ElyseeVendi Grand Square Residence or B13 Hostel in Sibiu.

For a travel back in time and connection to customs, I recommend  La Mama Anica in Porumbacu de Sus, Casa Lopo just around the corner from Sibiu,  or Richis 22 (especially if you get to visit Biertan).

Sibiu is charming and one of the best places to visit in Romania
Sibiu by night; photo: @magictransylvania

11. Sighisoara

Sighisoara sounds familiar to Transylvania lovers and is considered one of the best places to visit in Romania. Everyone who’s ever been to Romania will tell you that Sighisoara, this charming small town situated in the middle of the country is a must. Even nowadays Sighisoara looks like a medieval burg, being the only inhabited fortress in south-eastern Europe and one of the best preserved settlements from the Middle Ages. Medieval, knights, colors or narrow cobbled-alleys are the highlights of this place, whose historic centre is a UNESCO site.

Insider tip:! Go to Mesendorf, the Transylvanian village which manufactures cheese delicacies.

Insider tip:! Transylvania Bike Trails Race (a bike trail that passes through Transylvania and connects within the 100 km of trails 10 Saxon villages) is an attraction that combines movement in the open air with attractions of the area. The yearly Haferland Festival, one of the most important festivals dedicated to Saxon culture in Transylvania is another milestone of the region.

LEARN MORE: Visit Sighisoara – true Transylvanian medieval gem

Top experiences

Stroll along the winding cobbled lanes, climb your way up to the Clock Tower for a great view (a landmark today that used to be a cell for prisoners sentenced to death), test your physical condition on the Scholars’ Stairs, or say a prayer in the Evangelical Church! Enjoy your time buying souvenirs, or prepare to land in time for the already famous Medieval Festival!

How many days in Sighisoara / Accommodation tips

Sighisoara is small and compact, so it can be visited in half a day. It has however very good vibes. Make Sighisoara your base camp for the area, or visit it on its own.

You can find good accommodation in Sighisoara at Casa Cositorarului, or Casa Georgius Krauss.

Sighisoara and the Clock Tower are some of the best places to visit in Romania
Sighisoara and the Clock Tower
Sighisoara is colorful
Sighisoara is colorful

12. Viscri

In Viscri time stood still, civilization is remote, produce is fully organic and the landscape magical… Life is simple, while communion between man and animal is still strong. The tiny white church placed atop a hill seems to watch over the handful of inhabitants left. Its fame is of course fuelled by UK’s King Charles passion for the land and his guesthouse in Viscri.

LEARN MORE: Viscri – the authentic Saxon village

Top experiences

Visit the Lutheran fortified church with traditional Saxon objects and climb up to the tower, stroll around the village, enjoy delicious slow food at Viscri 32 barn and watch the clouds pass … just relax!

How much time in Viscri / Accommodation in Viscri

Viscri is just a village, therefore you can see all of it in around half a day. However, if you want to embrace peace and calm, you may wanna spend the night there.

Being rather touristy, accommodation is not the cheapest. You can choose Viscri 32 – White Barn and Blue House, a great renovated place that encapsulates authenticity, or opt for accommodation in Sighisoara. The closest airport is in Targu Mures, 100 km away.

Viscri and nature
Viscri and nature

13. Biertan

Biertan is another masterpiece in terms of Saxon fortification. One of the best things about Transylvania is its uniqueness in diversity. Although there are several fortified churches, you won’t get bored as most of them look so different!

This UNESCO site has some aces up its sleeve, making it one of the best places to visit in Romania. The Lutheran church of Biertan lies majestically on top of a hill and watches quietly over the village. If it could speak, it would have plenty to tell, such as the old supremacy of Biertan over the neighboring places or boast being invaded only once in 500 years.

Find out more: Biertan Fortified Church – UNESCO Heritage

Top experiences

The attraction is the Lutheran fortified church. Observe the church altar, the special door (with a clever mechanism with 15 bolts that can be simultaneously activated by a key), the famous Marriage Prison Tower (the ancient way of doing couple therapy), or the three massive fortification walls, as well as the Lard Tower.

How much time / Accommodation around Biertan

Being a small and somehow remote village, Biertan is best approached as part of a fortified-church exploration tour (Viscri, Meșendorf, Mălâncrav or Alma Vii in the area). Personally I loved this place, it is so quiet and serene!

Opt for Hotel Amel Rooms or Mercure Medias Binderbubi, the latter with spa included, both in Medias, 11 km from Biertan. Or, take a day trip from Sighisoara or Sibiu.

Biertan fortified church
Biertan: photo: @anamariamnc

14. Turda Salt Mine

Although not the only salt mine in the country, it is by far the biggest and most spectacular. This underground gem is known for its curative properties, being an important treatment destination. It has several objectives, such as galleries, mines or chambers, and due to its extensive process of modernization, even the pickiest visitor can find something interesting, as it houses a huge amusement park.

Insider tip!: As a suggestion, don’t miss out the nearby restaurant Sarea in bucate and Issa vinery where you can taste delicious wines!

READ MORE: Turda Salt Mine – the healthy and fun underground gem of Transylvania

Top experiences

Observe the grandeur of the salt mine – it is home to 38 million tons of salt! Try the Ferris Wheel inside the mine, play table tennis and roam around in a boat. Explore Rudolf mine and change landscape when going 13 floors down.

How much time / Accommodation in and around Turda

If you choose to spend the night in Turda, accommodate at Salina Gymnasium, or choose an accommodation in Cluj, just half an hour away!

Turda Salt Mine is a fun place
Turda Salt Mine is a fun place

15. Rimetea

Rimetea is the Romanian village that looks so … not Romanian! This is a bold statement: somehow it is very Romanian, while at the same time it looks as if from Switzerland! Rimetea boasts well-groomed houses with green wooden windows, perfectly aligned. There are lots that keep the tradition of 19th century architecture, and attract many tourists from abroad.

The place has become touristic lately, and despite an impressive number of guesthouses, you need to book in advance to enjoy the beautiful landscape, the hospitality of the inhabitants, and obviously, a bucket of relaxation. The population is 90% of Hungarian ethnicity and in spite of growing tourism, inhabitants are genuinely surprised that visitors go to visit their humble village.

Insider tip!: Since you are here, book dinner at Conacul Secuiesc restaurant! So traditional and delicious!

MORE: Rimetea – magic sunrise and traditional food

Top experiences

Take a walk in the village to discover a peaceful and neat area! At no. 48 go check the water mill. If you love nature, climb the Szekler’s Rock (2,000 m) or go to Trascaului fortress, just 5 km away! Don’t miss Conacul Secuiesc, another splendid spot both for nature and food!

How much time / Accommodation in Rimetea

Rimetea is obviously small and you can quickly make an impression. However, you can spend more time here considering the beauty of nature and hospitality.

Casa Botar or Kristaly Vendghaz are good choices in Rimetea. Conacul Secuiesc is also a typical guesthouse.

Detail from a typical house in Rimetea
Detail from a typical house: photo@captureit.ro

16. Oradea

Oradea is, for many, a gate to Transylvania if you come from Hungary. From this perspective, this western city doesn’t get the well-deserved attention. But the truth is, Oradea is a destination in itself and one of the best places in Romania, and still, partially, a hidden gem. Part of the European Art Nouveau network, Oradea gets a lot of attention coming from architecture.  Full of palaces and a famous pedestrian street, the city’s legacy stands proud. Peaceful, beautiful and romantic are the words to describe this city crossed by Crisul Repede river.

Insider tip!: Feel like relaxing? Try Baile Felix resort, just 8 km from the city, a tourist attraction famous for its thermal waters. Or, go hiking in the Apuseni Mountains to enjoy breathtaking scenery, caves, waterfalls or lakes.

MORE INFO:

Oradea, mon amour! – Top things to do in this charming city
Darvas – La Roche House, the first Art Nouveau Museum in Romania

Top experiences

The Art Nouveau buildings from Oradea are just stunning. Keep your gaze up to observe the Black Eagle Palace as well as the tens of buildings downtown. Plan a visit to Darvas-La Roche House, marvel at the blue ceiling of the Zion Neolog Synagogue, take a stroll in the old fortress or enjoy an ice-cream at a terrace!

How many days in Oradea / Accommodation tips

Often overlooked, Oradea has a lot of potential. Spend at least one day here, or plan a trip to the mountains. If you’re looking for accommodation, try Ramada Hotel that offers beauty treatments based on vinotherapy or Liberte Apartments.

The Black Eagle Palace
The Black Eagle Palace
The Miksa Moskovits Palace is a work of art and one of the best places to visit in Romania
The Miksa Moskovits Palace is a work of art

17. Maramures

Maramures is a unique etnographic area and one of the best places to visit in Romania. The villages of Maramures are a true landmark displaying beautiful rustic houses and wooden churches which stretch across Eastern Europe, but reach their peak in Maramures. Like many parts of the country, Maramures takes pride in traditions, amazing nature and numerous wooden churches.

Top experiences

The specificities of the region: traditions, wooden gates, the popular costume or the last remaining craftsmen! Visit the famous wooden churches in Desesti and Budesti-Joseni, the splendid Barsana monastery with its heavenly garden. The Mocanita Steam Train is another must that will take you around the area and offer a unique experience. The Memorial of the Communism Victims is a one-of-a-kind museum situated in the former political prison. Breb is highly appreciated as an authentic village. Besides, Maramures offers lots of nature and hiking trails.

How many days / Accommodation in Maramures

If you plan an extensive visit to Maramures region, it’ll take at least three days… and a car would come in handy. If you only have one day, pick two-three objectives that are nearby.

For accommodation, the offer is plentiful. We suggest Casa Ralucai from Moisei, halfway between Viseu and Borsa, Poiana Creasta Cocosului in Breb for traditional accommodation, Casa Chira for excellence and quiet, or Valea Vinului Dome, a glamping experience.

Barsana Monastery is simply stunning
Barsana Monastery
Mocanita steam train guarantees an interesting ride and is one of the best places in Romania
Mocanita steam train: photo: facebook/discover maramures

18. The merry cemetery of Săpânța, Maramures

In Săpânța Maramures, death is seen under a luminous facet, where the dark gravestones have been replaced by colorful poems that highlight life’s beauty. Even if some crosses seem to contain insensitive messages, their goal is to describe life with good and bad moments, as it truly is. The idea belonged to a local artist who initiated the naïve pictures on the blue crosses. Written in the first person, the short poems give the feeling of conversation with the other side.

Insider tip!: All poems are in Romanian; it would be useful to have a translating app.

Insider tip!: Close to the monastery, for a fee you can visit the house of the local artist who had the idea and initiative of the cemetery.

Top experiences

The cemetery itself. In the middle, there’s a wonderfully painted church; it is astonishing both on the inside and outside. In Sapanta you can also visit the Peri-Sapanta monastery, the tallest of its kind in Europe.

Accommodation in Maramures

Check out Casa Susani, an oasis of beauty.

Church and the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, one of the top places for a Romanian itinerary
Church and the Merry Cemetery

19. Bucovina region

This area, meaning beech land, is situated in the northern part of the region of Moldova, bordering with Ukraine. Bucovina is one of the best places to visit in Romania and has proudly preserved its traditions and customs. Time seems to have stood still; locals use horse drawn carriages, pay an utmost importance to the culinary process and are always happy to receive visitors. It is in this harmonious atmosphere that you will find the painted churches, 8 of them UNESCO heritage sites that have been standing for about 5 centuries. Voronet monastery is famous for its shade of blue and is named “the Sistine Chapel of the east”. But Bucovina is so much more than these religious sites; it has two national parks, high hills, lakes, volcanic and fabulous landscape, but also boasts fabulous Gorges.

Suceava is the only city in Bucovina; visitors appreciate the castle circled by the defensive ditch and the medieval festival held every summer that rivals the one from Sighisoara. You have the opportunity to try the longest zip line in Romania here, called La Palma.

LEARN MORE: 15 interesting things to do in Bucovina, Romania

Top experiences

Visit Voronet and Putna monasteries, Daniil the Hermit’s cave, Marginea’s Pottery and Suceava fortress. Or explore the area by the steam-powered railway Hutulca from Moldovita.  The Museum of Decorated Eggs is an interesting visit with over 3,000 painted eggs from all over the world. If you love nature, go hiking, as the options are plentiful.

How many days in Bucovina / Accommodation tips

For a circuit of Bucovina, I would recommend at least three days. If you can only allot one day, opt for a tour of the monasteries or a hiking day.

Casa Lucretia is situated near Suceava and offers a decent price-quality rapport. If you’re looking for genuine  accommodation, choose La Roata from Gura Humorului, or Casa Poveste, two guesthouses where traditions are alive. Don’t be shy to taste their homemade food as well!

Monasteries in Bucovina are a must of any Romanian itinerary and a Romanian attraction
Moldovita Monastery; photo: Alex Moise
Bucovina is one of the best places to visit in Romania
Bucovina; photo: Sorin Onisor

20. Iași

Iași, Moldova region’s capital, is one of Romania’s largest cities and is not scrooge on tourist attractions. You will definitely be amazed by the Palace of Culture, a Neo-Gothic masterpiece from the early 20th century and the absolute landmark of Iasi, having a privileged position.

Iași, whose attractions range from cultural and architectural to religious ones, is today a major university centre in Romania, boasting a splendid library to the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University. It is undobtedly one of the best places to visit in Romania.

Insider tip!: If time permits, adventure yourself to Sturdza Miclauseni Castle (one-hour drive), a Neo-Gothic jewellery, almost unknown, yet very beautiful.

Insider tip!: Although situated at a considerable distance from Iasi (around 3 h drive), Bicaz Gorges are a nature’s splendor, so don’t miss out if you are around.

READ MORE: The best things to do in Iasi – Romania’s eastern beauty

Top experiences

Visit the iconic Palace of Culture, the churches Three Holy Hierarchs and Saint Nicholas, take a stroll in Copou Park, one of the first public gardens in Romania or the Unirii Square. Relax in the Botanical Gardens and enjoy a prosecco at one of the many terraces in Iasi!

How many days in Iasi / Accommodation in Iasi

Set aside one day for the main tourist attractions in Iasi. You can find cosy accommodation at Velvet Guesthouse, Boutique Hotel Elena Doamna or CityLife Apartments. Are you looking for a hostel? Check out Hostel Andrei!

The Palace of Culture: Iasi
The Palace of Culture: photo: palatulculturii.ro
Asachi Library is one of the most beautiful ones
Image of Gheorghe Asachi Library; photo: digi24.ro

21. Mohoș Peat Bog

If 30 years ago, Saint Ana Lake was a must-see, Mohos Peat Bog slowly made room into a popular destination, more interesting than a pretty lake. A bog is a wetland that accumulates peat as a deposit of dead plant materials. They occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients and is typical for cooler northern climates. Mohos Bog is very close to Tusnad, in the heart of Romania, in a beautiful mountainous area, just half an hour walk from the volcanic lake St Ana.

The vegetation is composed only by a few floral species that have adapted to the extremely poor environment. Botanists consider some species as the remnant of the ice age of the peat. It is supplied with water exclusively from the precipitation. All these elements make the bog one of the best places to visit in Romania.

Insider tip!: The tour of the Mohos peat bog can be done in an organized tour with a guide. You can find information about the periodically organized group visits at the information point, situated next to the road.

Top experiences

The bog itself is fantastic, the reflections in the water, the rare vegetation typical of the tundra. Something unique.

How much time / Accommodation in Tusnad

It only takes around one hour to visit the bog, but if you plan a visit to both objectives (bog + Saint Ana Lake), you should set aside half a day.

Casa Karola offers you everything you need in Tusnad. Besides, it is not far away from Hanul Secuiesc that provides both accommodation and eating options. We only tested dinner in the latter and it was truly heartwarming!

Mohos Peat Bog has an interesting past and a unique present
Mohos Peat Bog has an interesting past and a unique present

22. Corvin Castle

The castle is located in Hunedoara, central-western Romania. One of Romania’s seven wonders, Corvin Castle (or Huniazilor Castle) boasts medieval history intertwined with Gothic mystery, haunted spots or fairy-tale legends. Not to forget the impressive architecture that covers all of the above elements. It was initially designed as a fortress and prison, then, underwent some transformations and additions for military and aesthetic purposes. Considered by many one of the best places to visit in Romania, the fortress-architecture castle surprises the visitor by its impressive dimensions (largest in Transylvania).

READ MORE: The Gothic Mystery of Corvin Castle (+ Gardens of Zoe)

Top experiences

You’ll be impressed by the outer architecture of the castle, the Knight’s Hall and the Diet Hall. Don’t miss the large kitchen, the bedroom, the torture chambers and the well in the court. Enjoy the yard, find out more about the legends behind the Castle and if time permits, visit the Guilds’ House, a wonderful exhibition on ancient craftsmanship for kids and adults alike!

How much time / Accommodation in Hunedoara

A visit to the castle lasts around 2 hours. You can combine it with an exploration from Timisoara (2 – 2.5 hours drive)

Curtea Veche is not just great, but has an amazing position, close enough for a walk to the castle! Casa Mora is another option, in Deva, 20 km from the castle!

Corvin Castle
Corvin Castle
Inner yard at Corvin Castle
Inner yard at Corvin Castle

23. Timișoara

One of the best places to visit in Romania, Timișoara is a multicutural city in the western part of the country. Compared to some parts of the country, Timisoara is often overlooked. Still, it got dressed in the best clothes for European Capital of Culture in 2023 and shone its light. And, yes, there must be a reason for Timisoara to win this title! It is the city that started the Revolution in 1989 that led to the fall of communism. 

Timisoara has good vibes and is lively, also due to the great number of students it attracts every year. It is not the type of city that suffocates the visitor with lots of museums, but there are a few. However, Timisoara has many festivals throughout the warm season especially that you will enjoy. It is a city of relaxation with many squares filled with bars and cafés situated in pedestrian areas.

READ MORE: Top 20 attractions in Timisoara – Multiculturalism in Romania

Top experiences

Take a walk and enjoy the beautiful buildings of the city. Explore the Unirii Square, Libertatii and Operei Squares or the Cathedral, while enjoying a delicious lunch on a terrace. Dive into the funny Museum of the Communist Consumer or the Village Museum. Gulp lots of cheap beer produced right here, at the first beer factory in the country.

Insider tip!: Wine amateurs and nature lovers have the opportunity to visit Recas Vineyards, around 25 km from the city, where some of the top Romanian wines are produced. In the area, there’s also Petrovaselo or Aramic.

Insider tip!:  The Oravita-Anina railway has a long history, being the first mountain railway in south-eastern Europe. It is 34 km long and the entire trip is a display of scenic beauty.

How many days to stay / Accommodation tips

Timisoara can be explored in one day, but it also makes a good basecamp. You can explore nature at Cheile Nerei Beusnita Natural Park, for instance!

For Timisoara accommodation, the price range varies from hostels, like Hostel Cornel to hotels, such as the classic Hotel Silva or Rox Central Apartments. 

Aerial view of Timisoara, one of the best places in Timisoara
Aerial view of Timisoara; photo: aleks_lunev
Union Square, Timisoara
Unirii Square, Timisoara

24. Retezat Mountains

Romania is crossed by the Carpathians, and Retezat Mountains are some of the best mountains in the country. Why is this? The typical landscape of Retezat is awesome: there are lots of glacial lakes, the mountains are covered in pristine forests and several peaks reach over 2500 m. Besides, the vegetation is spectacular in early summer with pink rhododendrons and cute fluffy marmots! Of course, let’s not forget a wide range of animals: wolves, chamois, brown bears or lynx! So, if you are a mountain lover, this is one of the best places to visit in Romania!

FIND OUT MORE: Tips for hiking – A weekend in Retezat National Park

Top experiences

Hiking, camping, sunset over Bucura Lake, sunrise over Taul Portii Lake, climbing up Peleaga Peak, watch for cute marmots and black goats (if you are lucky) and have a wonderful time in nature!

Accommodation in Retezat

The best accommodation possible is worth a million stars as it is under the starry sky in tent. Watch out to dress accordingly as temperatures can drop to negatives even in summer!

Sunset over Retezat Mountains
Sunset over Retezat mountains; photo: Adrian Petrisor
Cute marmot
Cute marmot

Romanian itinerary ideas

Here are some itineraries that link together the best places to visit in Romania. All of them are entirely customizable according to your time and interests, that’s why some destinations are between brackets. Most of them include both cities and nature (oftentimes traditions as well) to get a true idea of what Romania is really like.

Enjoy!

1.”A BIT OF IT ALL” ITINERARY (7-10 days): Bucharest (1-3 days) – Brasov (1 day and overnight basecamp) – Peles Castle + Bran Castle (1 day) – Harman fortified church + Rucar-Bran pass (1 day) – Transfagarasan ( Curtea de Arges to Cartisoara; 1-2 days) + Cistercian Abbey of Carta (optional) – Sibiu (1 day) – return to Bucharest.

2. “NATURE, CULTURE AND TRADITIONS” ITINERARY (7-10 days): Bucharest (1-3 days) – Brasov (1 day) – St Ana Lake + Mohos Peat Bog (1 day)- Bicaz Gorges and The Red Lake (1 day) – Suceava (1 day) – Bucovina (painted monasteries + vintage steam train ride) (1 day) – Iasi (1 day).

3. “HIGHLIGHTS OF OLD AND NEW” ITINERARY (5-6 days): Bucharest (1 day)- Brasov (1 day) – (Peles Castle + Bran Castle; 1 day) – Sighisoara + Biertan (1 day)- Sibiu (1 day) – Transfagarasan (direction Cartisoara to Curtea de Arges) (1 day) – return to Bucharest

4. “TRANSYLVANIA: CASTLES AND CULTURE” ITINERARY (7-10 days): Bucharest (1-3 days) – Brasov (1 day) – Peles Castle + Bran Castle (1 day) – Sighisoara + Biertan (1 day) – Sibiu + Corvin Castle (1 day) – (Retezat Mountains/Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park) (1 day) – Timisoara (1 day) – Oradea (1 day).

5. “TRADITIONS AND ARCHITECTURE” ITINERARY (6-7 days): Iasi (1 day)- Suceava (1 day) – Bucovina (painted monasteries + vintage steam train ride) (1 day) – Maramures (1-2 days) – Oradea (1 day)- Timisoara (1 day)

6. “TO THE POINT” ITINERARY (5 days): Bucharest (1 day) – Peles Castle (1 day) – Brasov (1 day) – Sighisoara + Sibiu (1.5 days) – return to Bucharest.

7. “TRANSYLVANIA MEETS BUCOVINA” ITINERARY (5-6 days): Bucharest (1 day) – Suceava (1 day) – Sighisoara (1 day) – Brasov (1 day) – Sinaia (1 day)- return to Bucharest 

8. “WESTERN ROMANIA” ITINERARY (4-8 days): Cluj (1.5 days)- Turda (0.5 days)- Oradea (1 day) – (Apuseni Mountains) (1 day) – Maramures (1-3 days).

9. “SHORT TRANSYLVANIA” ITINERARY (4-5 days): Cluj (1 day) – Sighisoara (1 day) – Brasov (1 day) – Sibiu (1 day) – return to Cluj Napoca.

10. “DISCOVER TRANSYLVANIA AND MARAMURES” ITINERARY (4-8 days): Timisoara (1 day) – (Retezat Mountains/Cheile Nerei Beusnita National Park) (1 day) – Corvin Castle (0.5/1 day) – Sibiu (1 day) – Turda Salt Mine (0.5 days) – Oradea (1 day) – Maramures (1-3 days).

11. “DANUBE DELTA AND BLACK SEA” ITINERARY (3-7 days): Bucharest (1 day) – the Danube Delta (1 -3 days) – The Black Sea (1-3 days).

Interactive map

I have included my list with the best places to visit in Romania. The red markers represent the 24 main attractions; the blue markers are general attractions, the green markers represent nature and hikes, while the yellow ones are religious sites and fortified churches.

Have you been to Romania before? How did you like it? Do you have any further visiting tips or suggestions? I look forward to reading your experiences!

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