When it comes to places to visit in Romania, the most famous attraction foreign tourists would be Bran Castle, popularized by Bram Stokers as Dracula's Castle. Of course, 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 for getting around Romania you will discover places like Transfăgărășan Road and Transalpina, Rasnov Fortress, Alba-Carolina Fortress (the majestic fortification of Alba Iulia), Turda Salt Mine, the Viscri Village - a paragon of genuine rural life with a beautiful white fortified church (UNESCO world heritage site), and many more.
Built in Alba Iulia between 1715 and 1738, the Alba Carolina Citadel is the largest citadel 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.
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 (May - September) the ceremony takes place on a daily basis, 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 1517 and 1517, but it was partly destroyed by two fires 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.
Located in the foothills of the Nemira Mountains, the Slănic-Moldova Resort is renowned for its thermal and mineral waters. Despite being discovered in 1801, the first spa facilities were installed in 1877, and over the years, the quality of the water was rewarded with various medals at international exhibitions in Paris, Vienna, and Frankfurt.
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 Carpathians - Pietrosu Mare, reaching an altitude of 2,303 meters. Besides the high peaks, the Rodna National Park is a great destination to explore some truly 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).
Located on the Northern side of Moldavia, Botosani is a city which boasts a rich cultural life, having produced major scientific and cultural personalities such as Mihai Eminescu or Nicolae Iorga.
Botosani Old Town
The city center of Botosani is home to 60 monument-buildings that perfectly combine history with modern architecture. The area was built in the late 18th century, but many of its buildings were damaged by a large fire in 1887. Nonetheless, the city center remained one of the most stunning in Romania, and it was partially restored between 2009 and 2011.
Probably the most famous landmark in Romania is Bran Castle. And for 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.
*While in Brasov you may also want to consider visiting Rasnov Fortress, one of the best-preserved fortification built in middle ages.
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 part of Nicolae Ceausescu's restoration project for Bucharest, and today it is home to the Romanian Parliament and to 3 museums, being composed of 23 sections.
Located less than 1 hour away from Bucharest, the Mud Volcanoes are by far the most famous attraction in the 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 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 2 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 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 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 an amazing 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 which promises peace and relaxation. The area is filled with countless trekking routes, and there are at least 3 beautiful nearby caves which 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.
The 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 often times 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 a great destination for hiking and trekking, and the abundant flora and fauna can help you create some amazing memories in the wilderness.
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 very low, which makes it impossible for animals to survive around it, and swimming in the lake is prohibited except for sporting events.
Santa Ana Lake
The Corvin Castle is oftentimes called "one of the seven wonders of Romania", and for good reason. It is one of the largest castles in Europe, and a legend claims that this is where Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned for 7 years by John Hunyadi.
Lake Amara is a protected area which houses numerous important bird species, and it is widely renowned for its sapropelic mud and for its therapeutic waters.
Iasi is one of the major cities of Romania, and its symbol is the Palace of Culture. This iconic monument was inaugurated in 1925, and it is the greatest expression of Neogothic architecture. The building features 298 rooms and it is home to four museums, with countless historical artifacts and several art galleries.
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.
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 remains of the bridge can still be seen to this day.
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 Historic Center was inscribed in the UNESCO Patrimony in 1999.
Today, Sighișoara is the last inhabited medieval fortress in Europe, and a walking tour through the city will charm you with its medieval buildings, street performers, and numerous craftsmen.
Street performers in Sighisoara
*While in 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.
Neamt Bison Reservation
The Constantin Poroineanu Park was built similar to the Cișmigiu Park in Bucharest, and it is the most beautiful park in the 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.
*The informal European Council brought together the European Union heads of state or government in Sibiu, Romania on 9 May 2019.
Built between the late 15th century and the late 16th century, these 8 churches are deemed true masterpieces of the Byzantine art.
The Troianu Forest 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 which 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 historic and artistic religious objects, including many vintage Romanian icon paintings.
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral
The Danube Delta is one of Romania's top tourist attractions, and for good reason. The delta is a home to countless species of birds, fish, and amphibians, with over 320 species of birds making this area their home during summer.
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 September 18, 1938, by King Carol II.
Mausoleum of Marasesti