When it comes to places to visit in Romania, the most famous attraction for foreign tourists would be Bran Castle, widely popularized by Bram Stokers" Count Dracula" as Dracula's Castle. At the same time in Romania's top attraction, we may include the Peles Castle, Corvin Castle, the Wooden Churches of Maramures and the Painted Churches of Bukovina, as well as the medieval towns of Sibiu and Sighisoara.
If you are looking for more than a day trip to Romania, getting around the country will let you discover places like Transfăgărășan Road and Transalpina, Rasnov Fortress, Alba-Carolina Fortress (the majestic fortification of Alba Iulia), Turda Salt Mine, The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, the Viscri Village - a paragon of genuine rural life with a beautiful white fortified church (UNESCO world heritage site), and many more.
For more practical information about Romania's tourism, check our article Romania Travel Guide.
Built-in Alba Iulia between 1715 and 1738, the Alba Carolina Citadel is the largest in Romania. The fortress has a heptagonal shape, and it is surrounded by 12 kilometers of walls and guarded by a bastion at each corner. Alba Carolina Fortress was successively a Roman fort, a fortress during the Middle Ages, and later built in the Vauban style.
Aerial view of Alba Carolina Citadel, photo by viziteazaalbaiulia.ro
Ever since 2009, the Citadel is home to a Change of Guards ceremony, which throughout the years, became a symbol of the city. During the touristic season, when the weather in Romania is quite pleasant (May - September), the ceremony takes place daily, and sometimes even twice a day during weekends.
The Palace is home to the Arad City Hall, and it is one of the most significant works of eclectic architecture in the city. The central tower of the building measures 54 meters in height, and at the top, it houses a clock with a bell.
Arad Administrative Palace
Curtea de Argeș served as the first capital of Wallachia, and the construction of its cathedral gave birth to one of the most famous legends in Romania, the legend of Manole.
Curtea de Arges Monastery
The cathedral was built between 1512 and 1517, but two fires partly destroyed it in 1866 and 1867. During his rule, King Carol I decided to restore the cathedral and to turn it into the necropolis of the Romanian Royal Family.
Slanic Moldova Casino
Accidentally discovered by a local in 1975, the Bear's Cave is today one of the best-known caves in Romania. It gets its name from the numerous cave bear fossils found throughout its galleries, the main attraction being an intact skeleton more than 15,000 years old.
Bear skeleton in the Bears' Cave. Photo by Zátonyi Sándor
Located in Northern Romania, the Rodna National Park neighbors the historical regions of Bukovina and Maramures, spreading over an area of more than 46,000 hectares.
Rodna National Park
The park is home to a large variety of flora and fauna species, some of which are protected by law. In Rodna, you will also find the highest mountain peak in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains - Pietrosu Mare, reaching an altitude of 2,303 meters. Besides the high peaks, the Rodna National Park is a great destination to explore some genuinely amazing caves (such as Grota Zanelor or Jgheabul lui Zalion, the most difficult to cross cave in Romania) or some of the glacial lakes (such as Lala Mare or Lala Mica).
Botosani Old Town
Botosani city center is home to 60 monument-buildings that perfectly combine history with modern architecture. The area was built in the late 18th century, but a massive fire damaged many of its buildings in 1887. Nonetheless, the city center remained one of the most stunning in Romania, and it was partially restored between 2009 and 2011.
Probably one of the most famous landmarks in Romania is Bran Castle. And for a good reason. This medieval castle was built in 1377 by the Saxons of Transylvania, and today is widely famous for its alleged connections with Bram Stoker's Dracula. Each year here is probably the biggest Halloween party in the world.
*While in Brasov, you may also want to consider visiting Rasnov Fortress, one of the best-preserved fortification built in middle ages.
There are many other activities and locations that you can try and visit in Brasov. For example, Poiana Brașov, that is famous as a winter sports destination. Furthermore, even Brasov as a beautifully preserved medieval city is a great spot to visit. You have here the narrowest street in Romania (Strada Sforii).
Initially, the Maria Filotti theatre was designed to be an inn, but the property was destroyed by a fire in 1859. Known at that time under the name of the Rally Theatre, it was reconstructed and finalized in 1864, and throughout the 19th century, it housed the performances of numerous esteemed personalities from all over Europe.
Maria Filotti Theatre
This colossal building has a height of 84 meters and an area of 365,000 square meters, making it one of the largest buildings in the world. The Palace of the Parliament is so massive that it sinks by 6 mm each year.
Palace of the Parliament
The Palace was built as a part of Nicolae Ceausescu's restoration project for Bucharest, and today it is home to the Romanian Parliament and three museums, being composed of 23 sections. Not far is the Bucharest old town that is concentrated in the historic center and the place included in any Bucharest tour.
Located less than one hour away from Bucharest, the Mud Volcanoes are by far the most famous attraction in Buzau County. Wandering around the area makes you feel like you reached another planet, but be wary - the land is very slippery, and you wouldn't want to find yourself covered in mud.
The Iron Gates Natural Park is the largest natural park in Romania, stretching over an area of 115,655 hectares. It includes part of the Danube River and of the Iron Gates gorge, which forms the boundary between Serbia and Romania.
This stunning park is the perfect destination for a weekend hike, and you can wander around its thick forests, admiring its natural landscapes and even visit the rock sculpture of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia.
The History Museum of Silistra was built between 1923 and 1924, and it houses numerous unique monuments of the Romanian and Bulgarian culture. There are two main exhibitions - the ethnographic and the archeologic - and it shelters over 41,000 unique items from the pre-historic, antique, and medieval eras.
The Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) was mentioned for the first time in 1075 when the salt was mined manually using pickaxes, hammers, chisels, and steel wedges.
Turda Salt Mine
But today, the Salt Mine serves as one of the coolest underground amusement parks in the world. Inside this UFO-shaped mine, you will find a Ferris wheel, an underground lake, a mini-golf course, and numerous ping-pong tables. And not to mention that it makes up for the perfect location for a family picnic, especially during the hot summer days.
Stretching from the Danube Delta down to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, the Romanian Black Sea resorts cover approximately 275 kilometers of coastline.
The most popular resort from the Romanian seaside is by far Mamaia, which is famous both amongst Romanians and tourists alike. In total, there are 12 resorts, but we recommend visiting Neptun or Saturn for a fantastic family holiday.
And if you're looking for a destination filled with youth and energy, you can't go wrong with Costinesti or Vama Veche.
This spa resort is one of the numerous hydrothermal and volcanic featured in the area, and it is located only 10 kilometers away from Lake Sfânta Ana. Even though at first glance, it might seem abandoned, the resort is a destination that promises peace and relaxation. The area is filled with countless trekking routes, and there are at least three beautiful nearby caves that you can explore.
Târgoviște served as the princely residence between 1396 and 1714, and during that period, it was the most important economic, political, military, artistic, and cultural center in Wallachia.
Targoviste Royal Court
The Princely Court was moved to Târgoviște during the reign of Vlad Țepeș, also known as Vlad the Impaler, and visiting it will help you discover some of the legends and stories of the infamous voivode.
Nicolae Romanescu Park was built between 1901 and 1903, and it is a great place where you can relax in the afternoon. The park features a suspended bridge, a castle, a hippodrome, a lake, and one of the oldest zoos in Romania.
Nicolae Romanescu Park
The Danube Seafront is one of the most representative areas of Galati, and it is a great place to enjoy a relaxing walk, especially during autumn.
The whole area is oftentimes considered an open-air museum, with numerous pieces of art being placed between the alleys. The Danube Seafront is also the perfect place to have a cold beer and a fish meal near the Danube River.
Danube Seafront in Galati
Taraf de Haidouks are a Romani-Romanian musical group of lăutari (traditional musicians), with their first album having been released in 1991.
Their music incorporates violins, double drums, accordions, flutes, as well as some wind instruments, and they even managed to conquer the heart of Johnny Depp, who considers himself one of their biggest fans.
Taraf de Haidouks
The Parâng Mountains are the second-largest mountains in the Romanian Carpathians, with the highest peak reaching 2,519 meters (Parângu Mare).
They are an excellent destination for hiking and trekking, and the abundant flora and fauna can help you create some fantastic memories in the wilderness. We recommend you to arrive in Targu Jiu first, where you can admire the open-air art pieces designed by Constantin Brancusi.
Lake Sfânta Ana is the only Crater Lake in Romania, and it is located inside the volcanic crater of Ciomatu Mare.
The oxygen concentration around the lake is deficient, which makes it impossible for animals to survive around it, and swimming in the lake is prohibited except for sporting events.
Santa Ana Lake
Located in the Hunedoara county, The Corvin Castle is the largest medieval castle in Romania. It was constructed during the 15th century at the order of John Hunyadi, the King of Hungary. This beautiful castle is split into three large areas, and it was initially designed as a defense fortress and a prison.
One legend claims that this is the place where Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned for several years, although there is no official source to support it.
Not far from Corvin castle are Sarmizegetusa Regia and Ulpia Trajana, the historical landmarks representative for the historic sites and the ancient ruins of the capital of the Dacian Kingdom.
Lake Amara is a protected area which houses numerous important bird species, and it is widely renowned for its sapropelic mud and its therapeutic waters.
Known as "The Cultural Capital of Romania," Iasi is the second-largest city in Romania, after Bucharest, and by travel, experts considered one of the most beautiful Romanian cities.
It is a true symbol of Romanian history, and here you will find the oldest Romanian university and the first Romanian engineering school. The city features historical monuments, churches, and monasteries that are more than 500 years old, as well as modern buildings that feature contemporary architecture.
The landmark of the city is by far the Palace of Culture, which houses the Moldavia National Museum Complex and the Cultural Heritage Conservation-Restoration Center.
Its construction started in 1906, and its architecture includes numerous representations of the gothic bestiary, such as two-headed eagles, dragons, griffons, and lions. The Palace of Culture has a total of 298 rooms; it features a Clock Tower with a beautiful legend. This iconic monument was inaugurated in 1925, and it is the highest expression of Neo-gothic architecture. The building features 298 rooms, and it is home to four museums, with countless historical artifacts and several art galleries.
Besides the Palace of Culture, Iasi has numerous other landmarks that can make for an amazing experience, such as the Botanical Garden, the "Vasile Alecsandri" National Theatre, and the "Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University Library.
Palace of Culture
Situated approximately 10 kilometers from Bucharest, the Palace was created in a Brâncovenesc style by Constantin Brâncoveanu between 1698 and 1702.
The Palace is surrounded by a beautiful garden, which makes it the perfect destination for relaxation and meditation. Oh, and did we mention that you can take horseback riding lessons?
Located in the village of Săpânța, the Merry Cemetery is famous for its colorful tombstones and funny epitaphs that depict the lives of the people buried here.
The cemetery was founded by Stan Ioan Pătraș, a local artist who sculpted the first tombstone crosses, with the first epitaph having been carved in 1935.
It is believed that this place has Dacian origins, mainly because in Dacian culture, death was considered a moment of joy because a person's soul will enjoy a better and eternal life.
Trajan's Bridge, or the Bridge of Apollodorus over the Danube, was one of the greatest achievements of Roman architecture. Despite being functional for only a few decades, the bridge was built before the Second Dacian War to allow Roman troops to cross the Danube River.
The ruins of Trajan's Bridge
After conquering Dacia, the wooden structure of the bridge was dismantled by Hadrian, but the remains of the bridge can still be seen to this day.
The history of the city that we know today begins in the 12th century when the King of Hungary invited German craftsmen and merchants to settle in Transylvania and to help defend the borders of the realm.
The settlement quickly became one of the most important strategic and commercial centers at the edges of Central Europe, with the German artisans and craftsmen dominating the urban economy and fortifying the city constantly. Estimates say that during the 16th and 17th centuries, Sighisoara had as many as 15 guilds and 20 handicraft branches.
After World War I ended, Sighisoara passed together with the rest of Transylvania to the Kingdom of Romania.
A city famous for its colorful houses and cobblestone streets, Sighișoara is perhaps one of the most remarkable cities in Romania. The city is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, and its Historical Center was inscribed in the UNESCO Patrimony in 1999.
Street performers in Sighisoara
*While in the Mureș you may also want to consider visiting the Targu Mures Medieval fortress in Târgu Mureș.
The Vânători-Neamț Natural Park is a great destination for a short family trip. The natural reservation is filled with wildlife such as deer, pheasants, and peacocks, but the highlight of the park is, by far, the European bison. Even if it is not on the tourist beaten path, the natural park is the European equivalent of Yellowstone Park.
You can as well take your time and sightsee the amazing natural landscapes that the city Piatra Neamț has to offer.
Neamt Bison Reservation
The Constantin Poroineanu Park was built similar to the Cișmigiu Park in Bucharest, and it is the most beautiful park in Olt County.
The park covers an area of 25 hectares, and it is filled with beautiful flora, numerous alleys and art monuments, a lake, a football stadium, and several handball fields.
Constantin Poroineanu Statue
Peleș Castle was constructed between 1873 and 1914 following the instructions of King Carol I, and it served as the summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family.
Today, the castle serves as a National Museum, and it can only be visited within guided tours. Some of the most remarkable rooms are The Grand Armory, which houses 1,600 of the 4,000 pieces of weaponry and armor, The Imperial Suite, The Turkish Parlor, and The Moorish Room.
Țara Oașului is one of the oldest regions on the territory of Romania, and it is renowned for its traditions that were preserved almost intact for hundreds of years.
The largest city in the area is Negrești, where you can visit the Țara Oașului Museum. Here, you will be able to observe hundreds of exhibits of ceramics, traditional clothing, household objects, and woodworking.
Locals in Tara Oasului
The botanical garden was founded in 1968 by Professor Vasile Fati, and it became the foundation of the study of biology. The garden is organized in several sectors, such as a research center, a zoo, a Japanese garden, and an aquarium.
Vasile Fati Botanical Garden
Founded by the Saxons of Transylvania in the 15th century, Biertan is, together with the surrounding village, part of the UNESCO monument known as the Transylvanian Villages with Fortified Churches.
The church has three rows of exterior fortifications, linked with gate towers and protected by various defense towers.
Biertan Fortified Church
*Take your time and visit the city of Sibiu too. Sibiu is a European Region of Gastronomy where you may find some amazing dishes besides the beautiful architecture. All cultural tours include Sibiu as a must-see destination.
*The informal European Council brought together the European Union heads of state or government in Sibiu, Romania, on 9 May 2019.
The 8 Painted Churches were built between 1487 and 1583, and they have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site ever since 1993.
The first person to start building some of the stunning monasteries that we find today in the region of Bukovina is Stephen the Great. Throughout his life, he built an approximate number of 40 churches, and many of them were built to celebrate his victories against the Ottoman Empire.
Yet the one who thought about painting the monasteries wasn't Stephen the Great, but his son, Petru Rares.
The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina are deemed true masterpieces of the Byzantine art and the center of Romanian orthodox life.
The most beautiful of the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina is, by far, Voronet.
Often referred to as "The Sistine Chapel of the East," the Voronet Monastery was established in 1488 by Stephen the Great, and it was constructed over a period of 3 months and three weeks in order to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Vaslui.
One of the most astounding things about Voronet is the fact that its murals were painted in a unique shade of blue. Known in Romania as "Voronet blue," the composition of the color was lost, and nobody managed to reproduce the exact shade so far.
The Moldovita Monastery is not so famous, but the exterior frescoes, especially those from the south wall, are well preserved and represent the Assiege of Constantinople.
The Troianu Forest one of the few natural landmarks in the south of Romania. The natural park spreads over an area of 71 hectares, and it is renowned for its numerous Romanian peonies, which is an endangered species of flower. The forest is also known for being home to numerous species of Oak trees.
The local administration organized several touristic routes that you can take to explore the beautiful forest and enjoy this unspoiled corner of the world.
The Timișoara Orthodox Cathedral was built between 1936 and 1941 in a Neo-Moldavian style, with late Renaissance, Ottoman, and Byzantine elements.
The church features 11 towers, and it is home to numerous historical and artistic religious objects, including many vintage Romanian icon paintings.
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral
The Danube Delta is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is part of the Man and the Biosphere Program. It is the largest and best-preserved delta in Europe, and it forms a natural border between Romania and Hungary.
From a tourist point of view, the place is very popular, and it provides countless opportunities for exploration and sightseeing. Bird watchers would definitely enjoy admiring the majestic paradise of beautiful birds. There are over 300 species of migratory and local birds, including geese, cranes, egrets, vultures, pelicans, and graceful swans.
Danube Delta Wildlife
And besides the rich wildlife, the Danube Delta is also a place filled with cultural and historical heritage, which can be observed in the local way of living.
The Copou Park in Vaslui is by far one of the most beautiful public gardens in Romania. Well designed and carefully maintained, the park is a great place to spend an evening with your friends or family and to break away from the crowded streets and the urban noise.
Copou Park, Vaslui
The Cozia Monastery is one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania. It was erected in 1388 by Mircea the Elder, a famous Voivode of Wallachia, and today it serves as his final resting place.
Even though the monastery was painted between 1390 and 1391, some of the original frescoes are still well preserved.
This memorial site contains the remains of 5,073 Romanian soldiers and officers who died during World War I at the Battle of Marasesti, and it was unveiled on 18 September 1938 by King Carol II.
Mausoleum of Marasesti
Winter in Romania can get pretty cold, depending on the zone that you plan to visit. However, if you are seeking to find best-frozen landscapes and take some fantastic photographs, Romania in the winter is definitely your answer! The advantage of Romania's tourism in winter is that you can find very good deals compared with the summertime. Here is a list of 5 iconic Romanian landmarks.
Known for its natural rural landscapes, Maramures is renowned for keeping unchanged so many traditions and landmarks, as well as traditional day to day life. To enjoy some spectacular winter landscapes in North Romania, a trip with the steam train Mocanita is guaranteed to leave you amazed. Mocanita departs from Viseu de Sus and reaches Paltin station. The steam train has a special winter program, so make sure to check their website.
Maramures Transylvania is also well known for keeping its old Christmas traditions and customs. Therefore, if you plan your trip to Maramures for the Christmas break, be ready to see spectacular views as the villages are decorated in bright colors for the holidays. Not only you can admire the traditional clothes, on top of that there are unique costumes that people wear.
Bucovina that is famous for its painted monasteries is also a winter destination. Not only you can admire some breathtaking mountain views, but on top of that, you have ski facilities and, most of the locals offer horse sleigh ride if there is snow. In the winter, if there is no snow, you can have a horse carriage ride. However, it is, the trip to Bukovina offers unforgettable memories with winter landscapes.
Vatra Dornei is a wonderful location in winter to visit or have a good rest or have fun and practice a winter sport. The station has mineral springs, ski resorts, and good geographical positioning, as you can even admire the splendid beauty of rural landscapes from there.
Brasov, with his colorful Saxon architecture and mountainside vibe, becomes in the winter a picturesque frozen destination. Being a well preserved medieval town, all the landscapes in the winter won't cease to amaze you. All Transylvania tours should include Brasov with at least one night stop and a visit to the Black Church, the gothic cathedral built in the 15th century. Around Brasov are many other scenic destinations, such as Viscri and Bran Village. Brasov, with its old medieval atmosphere given by its architecture and cobbled streets, is a lovely place to visit at snowfall.
If you want to see Romania in winter, the Hotel of Ice offers an unforgettable memory. Being built entirely from snow and ice blocks extracted from Balea Lake, the hotel offers from 2005 unique experiences and is one of the fewest hotels of this kind in Eastern Europe. Around Balea Lake, you can also admire the Fagaras Mountains with its frozen landscapes.
Sinaia, the heart of Prahova Valley, is a beautiful destination for skiing and in the winter, can offer amazing landscapes with its Bucegi Mountains. In the area, you can also see the Sphinx, a natural rock formation. The name comes from the resemblance of the monument with the human face. Situated at an altitude of 2216 m, the 8-meter statue takes a new white resemblance in the winter.
In the winter, Sibiu is under cover of a sparkling lights. To its natural medieval allure, the snow and the Christmas lights add a new kind of charm to the city. A multicolored market is set in the middle of the town in Piata Mare. At the market, you can find a range of products and merchandise that will surely not leave you disappointed.
A good time to visit the market and the city in the wintertime is at nighttime when all the Christmas lights are sparkling, creating a fantastic winter atmosphere that you can enjoy.
If you are already in Bucharest and you are thinking of a few places to go, our article can inspire you.
Spring is one of the best seasons of all time, and Romania is one of the lucky places to still have the four seasons. It is the season when everything comes back to life, blooms, and gets ready for a new year.
Spring months bring, besides emotion and warmth, many customs and traditions meant to mark a new beginning, hope, and the rebirth of nature.
If you are planning your trip to Romania in April-May here is a list of spots you should not miss:
Photo source: Wikipedia
If you are in Brasov in May, you should definitely consider a day trip to Vad, a small village in Fagaras, to admire this beautiful protected area. The 'Dumbrava Vadului' Natural Reservation, also known as Poiana Narciselor, is the largest in Europe, and it's the only place in Romania where you can admire millions of bloomed daffodils. A walk in this beautiful smelling glade will be like a dream!
Tip: While in Fagaras, don't miss the Fagaras Fortress!
Photo source: Wikipedia
Situated 30 km away from Bucharest, Balta Comana is the third wetland in the country after the Small Balta of the Braila and the Danube Delta. For those who reach Comana and want to enjoy the water, they can admire the beauty of nature by a boat or kayak ride.
If you are a lover of the forest, you can walk alleys that wind up through the forest and enjoy the tranquility and greenery. There is also a reservation of thorns, located at the northern limit of the natural spreading area, and a Romanian peony reservation, which can be admired only during spring.
Tip: Visit Comana Monastery, built during Radu Serban (1588) on the ruins of a monastery founded by the famous Vlad Ţepes!
Photo source: Wikipedia
The parade is one of the most famous events taking place annually in Brasov, the first Sunday after the Orthodox Easter also called Sunday of Tomah. Each time, thousands of locals and tourists are attracted to Brasov to admire and learn more about the tradition inspired by the Dacians.
Originally, the fest signifies the resurrection of nature, the overcoming of winter and the beginning of a new life. This habit is, in fact, a military initiation of the "Juni," meaning "young, unmarried men."
Tip: If you want to admire the full parade, make sure you are in the old town at 10:00 AM!
The Bicaz Gorge is part of Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas National Park, and it is located in the Neamt and Harghita counties. The gorge was created by the waters of the Bicaz River, which for thousands of years, carved into the mountain to create the path that exists today. It now serves as a passageway between the historic regions of Moldova and Transylvania.
The 8-kilometer road makes for one of the most spectacular drives in Romania, and it is often in serpentines, with mountain walls on both sides of the road.
The area is widely popular for rock climbing, hiking, and trekking, and during the summer season, thousands of tourists visit the area. Inside the Bicaz Gorges, you will also find Lacul Rosu (Red Lake), situated at an altitude of 980 meters. Bicaz can be considered one of the natural wonders of Romania.
Just like Bukovina has its Painted Monasteries, Maramures has its Wooden Churches. These amazing wooden constructions perfectly represent the craftsmanship and dedication of the Romanian people. They were built and narrow, with slim clocks at the western side of the building.
There are 8 Wooden Churches included in the UNESCO Patrimony, and their construction began in the 17th century and lasted until the late 19th century. They were built as a reaction to the prohibition against the erection of stone Orthodox churches by the Catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities.
One of the best known wooden church is Barsana, officially named the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. It was built in 1720, and it features some of the most representative Baroque murals in Maramures.
If you plan to visit Romania in another period of the year, we recommend an article about the most important thin