Top Ten Autumn Destinations in Romania for 2014

Together with Mira Kaliani from Calatorii la Singular

Read the Romanian version

Autumn is a great time if not the best to visit Romania. Temperatures are still warm and the days are still long and even the most popular attractions are free of crowds. Not to mention the prices are accessible and early bookings are no longer necessary. From the extreme North, to the Black Sea and the multicultural Banat in the South, here is our guide to 10 of the top autumn destinations to visit in Romania.

Poenari Fortress

Location: Arefu commune, 25 km from Curtea de Arges

Autumn is no doubt the perfect season to visit the old Poenari Fortress. Located on a plateau that opens to the scenic Transfagarasan Road, this medieval fortress is strategically placed at an altitude of 850 meters. Very much associated with the name of the legendary Vlad the Impaler who strengthened it during his time as prince of the Southern Romanian country and further used it for defensive purposes, the fortress goes back to the early 14th century.

Poenari fortress

A dense beech forest shades the 1,480 steps you’ll have to climb to get to the top, but this intense walk will be fully rewarded once you get to explore the narrow corridors of the fortress.

Nearby attractions: Curtea de Arges, Transfagarasan

Sarata Monteoru

Location: Merei commune, 23 km from Buzau

Once owned by one of the richest business men of the 19th century, Sarata Monteoru is today a small spa resort located just some 20 km from Buzau. Surrounded by green rolling hills and placed in the extreme South-East of the Curvature Carpathians, the resort is a more of an off the beaten track destination during autumn and therefore a great place if you want to enjoy a day or two away from the crowds.

Besides its salty mineral waters and overwhelming small city charm, Sarata Monteoru tempts with two main attractions: the archaeological discoveries that go back to the prehistoric Bronze Age and the first and only oil mine in Europe.

Nearby attractions: Berca Mud Volcanoes, the cave monasteries from Alunis, the vineyards from Dealu Mare

Sibiu

Location: Sibiu County

It’s hard not to include Sibiu in a top of the best autumn destinations in Romania. Romantic and photogenic, this medieval-themed city is a great choice for a memorable weekend break. Less crowded than during the summers and definitely more welcoming than during the harsh winters, Sibiu is hard to resist in autumn.

Sibiu

With a history that goes back to the medieval settling of the Transylvanian Saxons, Sibiu is by far one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in Romania. Enjoy the colorful autumn days to discover its many historical monuments and traditional surrounding villages.

Nearby attractions: Cindrel Natural Park, Fagaras Mountains, Ocna Sibiului and Paltinis Resorts, Transfagarasan Road

The Black Sea

Location: Dobrogea, South-Eastern Romania

The highlight of all summer attractions in Romania, the Black Sea is often wrongfully ignored outside the hot season. Nonetheless, for us the best time to explore the shore of the Romanian coast is early autumn when temperatures are still warm, but the beaches are all clear of noise and people.

From the most Nordic point, in Jurilovca, where the Black Sea meets the Danube Delta to the resorts that extend up to the Southern border with Bulgaria, the sea unwinds its most particular features, easily visible and enchanting in the absence of its popular summer attraction image. Take one or two weekends to enjoy the Black Sea in autumn.

Nearby attractions: Constanta, antic Greek ruins (Histria, Argamum), the Danube Delta

Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park

Location: Caras-Severin County

Romania has great natural attractions and one of the most awe-inspiring of all is definitely the National Park Cheile Nerei-Beusnita. Located in a region of rich multicultural heritage and unmissable beauty, this protected area extends on 36,758 hectares and is a must-see destination for all nature enthusiasts.

Its main attractions include the world-famous Bigar Waterfall, named by World Geography the most impressive waterfall in the world in 2013, the wild gorges of the Nera River and the blue lakes Ochiului Beiului and Lacul Dracului. The national park offers plenty of hiking, cycling and even water rafting and cave exploration opportunities. Just be sure to respect the rules, keeping to the marked trails and protecting nature at all times.

Nearby attractions: Sasca Montana, the train ride Oravita-Anina, the Danube Gorges, the Iron Gates Natural Park, the water mills from Eftimie Murgu

Hartibaciu

Location: Sibiu County

Secluded by rolling hills, scenic valleys and tall mountain peaks, the valley of Hartibaciu is one of Transylvania’s unmissable autumn attractions. Scattered along the river Hartibaciu, the Saxon villages and their centuries old fortified churches linger in the mild autumn days when long memorable sunsets are a daily spectacle.

Just be sure to stay at least one weekend to fully embrace what this iconic valley has to offer: traditional villages, delicious home-made dishes based on fresh ingredients from local gardens, cycling tours and endless nature walking opportunities.

Nearby attractions: Sibiu, Fagaras Mountains, Transfagarasan, Carta

Casa de Piatra

Location: Apuseni Mountains Natural Park, Alba County

A lost mountain village with only few houses might just be what you need in case you’re looking to let go of any kind of urban stress. Hidden in the Apuseni Mountains, famous for their breathtaking landscapes, hundreds of caves and almost surreal traditional villages, Casa de Piatra is a must in autumn.

Apuseni-Mountains-Romania

Located inside the natural park, a few kilometers from Garda de Sus, this village is the perfect place to explore in your own pace the wonders nature created in this corner of the country. Just be sure to have your camera with you and your batteries fully charged. We guarantee some great pictures.

Nearby attractions: Izbucul Tauz, the glacier from Vartop, the caves Coiba Mare and Coiba Mica

Lepsa

Location: Lepsa commune, Vrancea County

In fewer places is autumn more vibrant than in the countryside. It looks, it feels and it smells different than anywhere else, especially when that very village is renowned for having the cleanest air in the country. This would be Lepsa, a charming and tranquil village, located at the footsteps of the Natural Park Putna Vrancea. Its location offers great natural surroundings and the possibility of day trips on the park’s mountain trails or relaxing walks in its surrounding forests.

Lepsa-romania

Don’t forget to take your camera, there are some autumn sights you might want to remember for a really long time.

Nearby attractions: the monastery of Lepsa, the Natural Park Putna Vrancea

Sacaramb

Location: Hunedoara County

Completely off the beaten track, Sacaramb is a more unconventional tourist destination. Located just some few km from Deva, isolated by mountains and forests, Sacaramb was once known as the gold village given its rich gold mine that hired virtually all the village’s inhabitants.

Years have passed since the mine was closed and Sacaramb is today secluded and apparently lost in an endless transition process of replacing mining as a main activity and income source. Its overwhelming natural beauty might just be the right answer. We strongly encourage you to visit Sacaramb.

Location: Hunedoara County

Nearby attractions: the fortress of Deva, the Magna Curia Castle, the Corvinilor Castle

Maramures

Location: Maramures County

Spectacular in any season, Maramures is a sure try in autumn when its many forests change colors, adding an extra touch to its already idyllic valleys. From Baia Mare to Mogosa and its great views over the Gutai Mountains and its romantic Bodi Lake or to its ultra-popular Merry Cemetery from Sapanta, all of Maramures’ attractions are inviting you to stay at least a few autumn days.

Merry Cemetery Sapanta

Not to mention that during this time you can visit its World UNESCO Heritage wooden churches or get the hang of traditional rural autumn activities.

Nearby attractions: Baia Mare, Sighetu Marmatiei, the Memorial for the Victims of Communism, the wooden churches from the World UNESCO Heritage List

We hope you enjoyed our autumn travel destinations and that you’ll have a great time exploring one or more while you visit Romania.

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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