Unmissable Things to do in Romania

Situated in the southeastern corner of Europe, on the shores of the Black Sea, Romania has so far largely missed out on the global tourism boom. Certainly! If you intend to travel to Romania, it's crucial to understand that you will need a Romanian visa for your trip.

Rural landscape with fog in Sirnea – Fundata village, Transylvania landmark, Romania

Tenuous associations with Bram Stoker’s fictional Dracula have long lured travelers to Transylvania, but much of the rest of the country, with its beautiful mountains and river valleys, rustic villages, and vibrant cities, has only recently begun to attract visitors. Before word gets out, here are seven exciting experiences awaiting you in Romania.

Gawk at immense Bran Castle

Bran Castle is often associated in the public eye with Dracula, but the only bloodthirsty nobleman who ever stayed here was probably Romania’s own Vlad ÈšepeÈ™ (aka Vlad the Impaler). Bran doesn’t need Dracula to induce awe. 

The castle’s enormous mass of turrets and castellations, all looking over a foggy, desolate mountain pass, pretty much recalls every horror film ever made.

Admire the painted monasteries

The Unesco-protected, 15th-century painted monasteries of Bucovina show off Romania’s enduring devotion to its Latin-flavored Orthodox tradition and superb artistry. 

Colorful facade mural painted fresco at Neamt Monastery, Romania

The frescoes illustrate everything from biblical stories to the 15th-century siege of Constantinople. The dizzying matrix of colors and intricate detail blend effortlessly with remote natural surroundings.

Step back in time in MaramureÈ™

A visit to MaramureÈ™ in far northern Romania is like a trip back to a simpler, more rustic, more rural past. 

Traditional Maramures wooden architecture of Barsana monastery, Romania at sunny spring day. Picturesque sky

Isolated villages, separated from one another by vast, rolling fields and forested hillsides, cluster around stark wooden churches with weather-beaten, Gothic-style steeples.

See the Saxon splendor of Transylvania

Around 800 years ago, Hungarian kings invited Saxon Germans to settle hilly Transylvania to protect it from the Ottoman Turks. 

That Saxon legacy lives on in beautifully preserved cities like BraÈ™ov, SighiÈ™oara, and Sibiu. Admire the architectural heritage at SighiÈ™oara’s Citadel fortress or BraÈ™ov’s Black Church.

Boat or bird-watch on the Danube Delta

The Danube Delta is a vast protected wetland of water lilies and reeds, home to various flora and fauna. 

Landscape photo of white pelicans in Danube Delta

Explore it on a boat tour, with chances to glimpse species like the white-tailed eagle, bee-eater, great white egret, and the roller.

Hike the Carpathians

The vast Carpathian mountain chain runs down the center of the country, separating the historic provinces of Transylvania and Moldavia.

Trekking is the best way to experience this riveting landscape of peaks, forests, and pastureland.

Be wowed by Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament

The Palace of Parliament is a testament to the folly of dictatorship. Its elaborate interiors showcase the quality of Romanian materials and workmanship. After touring the building, relax in one of Bucharest’s many cafes, bars, and restaurants.

17 Best Things to Do in Romania

Romania is a captivating destination known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and unique attractions. 

Whether you're a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Romania has something for everyone. Here are the 17 best things to do in Romania, each offering a memorable experience.

1. Bran Castle

Description: Bran Castle is arguably one of the most important landmarks and attractions in Romania. It is often referred to as Dracula's Castle, believed to be one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's novel. 

Dracula's Castle (Bran Castle), a famous castle of the Count Vlad Tepes, Bran, Romania

Highlights: Explore the castle's history, legends, and the beautiful surrounding area.

Why Visit: To delve into the mysteries and history associated with Dracula while enjoying the castle's stunning architecture.

2. Brașov Old Town

Description: Brașov is one of the most visited cities in Romania, known for its picturesque old town with winding stone alleys, colorful houses, and historic fortified churches.

The central square of the old town. Brasov. Transylvania

Highlights: Visit the Black Church, walk down Strada Sforii (narrowest street in Europe), and enjoy the city's charming atmosphere. 

Why Visit: To immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Transylvania in a beautiful setting.

3. Painted Monasteries

Description: The painted monasteries throughout Romania are pristine examples of Byzantine art, with colorful frescoes on their exteriors. 

Image of church of Sucevita Monastery on Bucovina in Romania

Highlights: Visit monasteries like Humor, Moldovita, Probota, and Suceava to see intricate frescoes depicting biblical stories and saints. 

Why Visit: To witness the unique blend of art and religion on these historic monasteries.

4. PeleÈ™ Castle (Sinaia)

Description: Situated on the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains, PeleÈ™ Castle is a striking Renaissance castle that was the summer residence of the royal family. 

Peles Castle in a cloudy day of winter, the most famous royal castle of Romania, Romanian landmark

Highlights: Explore over 160 rooms with different themes, including stained glass windows, crystal chandeliers, and colorful murals.

Why Visit: To experience the opulence and grandeur of this royal residence.

5. Turda Gorge

Description: The untouched Turda Gorge is a tranquil destination for hiking, with jagged limestone cliffs and diverse flora and fauna. 

Turda gorge Cheile Turzii is a natural reserve with marked trails for hikes on Hasdate River situated near Turda close to Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania, Europe

Highlights: Hike through the gorge, discover over 1,000 plant species, and spot rare wildlife like the rock eagle. 

To escape into nature and enjoy a serene hiking experience.

6. Transfagarasan Highway

Description: The Transfagarasan Highway offers breathtaking views of blue lakes, rolling hills, and ancient castles on a 56-mile road trip

Famous Transfagarasan mountain winding road, crossing Fagaras Mountaines in Romania

Highlights: Drive through steep hairpin turns and S curves, open in the summer months. 

Why Visit: For a thrilling road trip through stunning landscapes.

7. Fortified Churches

Description: Romania is home to over 150 fortified churches, showcasing the Saxon cultural heritage. 

Famous saxon fortified church in best Transylvanian touristic village near Sibiu, Biertan, Transylvania, Romania, Europe

Highlights: Visit meticulously preserved churches like Biertan, Harmam, Viscri, Calnic, and Prejmer. 

Why Visit: To explore the history and architecture of these unique churches.

8. Sibiu Big Square

Description: Sibiu, known as the "Little Vienna" of Romania, features a picturesque Big Square with charming Baroque houses and Gothic buildings. 

Tourist wondering in the panoramic The Big Square (Piata Mare) of Sibiu looking and the City hall

Highlights: Admire the statue of St. John Nepomuk and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. 

Why Visit: To experience the charm of Sibiu's historic square.

9. Danube Delta

Description: The Danube Delta, the second-largest river delta in Europe, offers wetlands teeming with diverse plant and animal life. 

Woman discovering Delta Dunarii by boat

Highlights: Take a boat tour to explore the delta's narrow canals and spot marine life and various bird species. 

Why Visit: To immerse yourself in a unique ecosystem and enjoy a tranquil boat ride.

10. Poiană Brașov

Description: Poiana BraÈ™ov is a mountainous resort offering a wide range of outdoor activities year-round. 

Architecture of Brasov at night. Brasov, Brasov County, Romania

Highlights: Ski, ice skate, tube in the winter, or hike, cycle, and horseback ride in the summer. 

Why Visit: For outdoor adventures and relaxation in a scenic mountain setting.

11. Merry Cemetery (SăpânÈ›a)

Description: The Merry Cemetery is a unique burial site featuring colorful tombstones with poems and illustrations depicting the life stories of the deceased. 

The graves in Famous Merry (Joy) Cemetery. Sapanta, Romania

Highlights: Explore the cemetery and admire the joyful and often humorous artwork. 

Why Visit: To witness a one-of-a-kind cemetery with a vibrant and positive atmosphere.

12. Sighișoara Citadel

Description: SighiÈ™oara Citadel is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Romania and is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. 

Beautiful view of colorful houses and Tower Clock Turnul cu ceas in Sighisoara citadel

Highlights: Wander through charming streets, visit the SighiÈ™oara Clock Tower, and immerse yourself in medieval history. 

Why Visit: To step back in time and experience the history and culture of Transylvanian Saxons.

13. Palace of Culture (Iași)

Description: The Palace of Culture in IaÈ™i is a monumental building housing four museums and offering panoramic views from its clock tower. 

The Palace of Culture edifice in Iasi . Fantastic evening scene summer cityscape of Iasi town, capital of Moldavia region, Romania, Europe

Highlights: Explore the History Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Science Museum, and Art Museum within the palace. 

Why Visit: To appreciate the art, history, and culture of Iași.

14. Sarmizegetusa Regia

Description: Sarmizegetusa Regia is an ancient capital built 2,000 years ago as a defense system of the Dacian Empire against Roman conquest. 

Rasnov Fortress with beautiful medieval stone houses and stone stairway, Brasov county, Romania. Panoramic view

Highlights: Explore the ruins, quadrilateral fortress, workshops, houses, and water pipe systems. 

Why Visit: To travel back in time and discover the fascinating history of the Dacians.

15. Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)

Description: The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is an imposing architectural achievement, showcasing Romanian materials and workmanship. 

View of Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania

Highlights: Take a guided tour of this massive building and marvel at its lavish interiors. 

Why Visit: To witness the grandeur and history of this iconic structure.

16. Statue of King Decebalus

Description: The Statue of King Decebalus is a unique 141-foot-high sculpture carved into a rock along the Danube River, honoring a historic king. 

landscape in the Danube Gorges. Cazanele Mari seen from the Romanian side

Highlights: Take a boat tour to see the impressive sculpture up close and learn about its historical significance. 

Why Visit: To witness this monumental work of art and history.

17. Corvin Castle

Description: Corvin Castle is a stellar example of traditional Transylvanian architecture with a rich history and legends surrounding it. 

Corvin Castle is on the green mountain in night of Romania

Highlights: Explore the castle's Gothic-Renaissance architecture, dungeons, and legends of Vlad the Impaler. 

Why Visit: To immerse yourself in medieval history and folklore.

Conclusion:

Romania offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences, from exploring medieval castles to hiking in pristine natural landscapes. Whether you're interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventures, Romania has something to satisfy every traveler's wanderlust.

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