We celebrate 100 years of Romania the best way we know. By inviting you to discover beautiful and authentic Romania, beyond tourist traps and mass tourism destinations. This time, we prepared a series of four parts featuring 100 places to see in Romania.
We grouped our favorite places to see in Romania based on historical provinces. Part 1 features Banat, Bucovina, Crisana and Dobrogea.
Photo by www.oradeainimagini.ro
The two historical regions of Western Romania, Banat in the south and Crisana in the north, enjoy the multicultural legacy and iconic architecture from their time as provinces of the Habsburg Empire.
Multicultural and cosmopolitan for hundreds of years, Oradea has a rich history and a magnificent Old Town with impressive Baroque-style monuments, Art Nouveau palaces, a must-see Citadel and state of the art churches. With direct flights from Bucharest and European countries, Oradea is the perfect weekend break destination.
Photo via pixabay.com
The largest city in Western Romania, Timisoara will be the European Capital of Culture in 2021. It was also the first city free of communism in Romania, on December 20, 1989.
Photo by Ferran
With an eventful history, marked by the centuries when Banat was part of the Habsburg Empire, Timisoara offers many attractions: Baroque, Art Nouveau and Secessionist architecture in its main squares, the Museum of the Revolution of 1989, cathedrals, synagogues and many old streets where you can still admire sumptuous residences from the old days.
From Oradea you can take great day trips to discover the natural wonders of Apuseni Nature Park and Bihor Mountains: the Bears’ Cave, the Wind Cave, Focul Viu Cave, the Padis Plateau with its scenic hiking trails, Bohodei Waterfall or the Crystal Cave from Farcu Mine. Don’t be surprised if you’ll find even more caves to visit, Bihor County has about 8% of the 20,000 caves in Romania.
Photo by www.bihorinimagini.ro
Stunning gorges, lakes and waterfalls like the world-famous Bigar are the top nature attractions of Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park from Aninei Mountains. Take at least three days to explore this wonderful protect area, preferably in early autumn or spring.
The landscape of the Danube Gorges is one of the most breathtaking in Romania, well worth the drive from anywhere in the country. Part of the Iron Gates Nature Park, the gorges are the longest and narrowest segment created by the Danube in Europe.
Taking a boat tour is the best way to observe the dramatic landscape of the mountains, but also the ancient rock inscription Tabula Traiana and the stone carved portrait of ancient Dacian king Decebal.
The largest beech virgin forest in Europe, around 300 caves, eight nature reserves, lakes and gorges are the highlights of this off the beaten track national park from Caras-Severin County. Easily reached from Resita, the park extends on over 36,000 hectares. To visit the park, you can choose from nine trails with a total length of 102 km.
Don’t leave Banat before you walk along Rudaria Gorges, in Almajului Mountains, to admire the old watermills used for centuries by the locals of Eftimie Murgu. Over 20 watermills still exist today here, the first ones being mentioned since the 13th century.
Few other places in Romania will make you feel as humble as the isolated villages from Cernei Mountains. Set in an idyllic landscape and surrounded by virgin forests listed as UNESCO Heritage Sites, but almost completely cut off from what we call civilization, these hamlets and their few locals offer an incredible life lesson.
Grab your hiking boots and head to Dobraia, Prisacina, Inelet, Cracu Mare, Tatu, Scarisoara. Help locals by buying their cheese, honey and home-made products.
Part of the historical region of Moldavia until the end of the 18th century when it was conquered by the Habsburg Empire, Bucovina united with Romania in 1918. It’s splendid Byzantine-style painted churches and idyllic landscapes make it a favorite destination in Romania.
The most famous attraction of the region, the painted churches of Bucovina are art, history, culture and spirituality. You definitely don’t have to be religious to be amazed by the centuries-old Byzantine paintings with their detailed representations of saints, sins, Adam and Eve, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, plus important medieval moments like the battle of Constantinople.
Painting Easter eggs is a true art in Bucovina. Based on hundreds of years old traditions, using symbols and colors typical to each village, painting eggs is a gift passed from generation to generation. The Painted Eggs Museum from Vama and Lucia Condrea Museum from Moldovita are must-see attractions if you want to take a closer look at these fragile and stylish creations.
The capital of Moldavia until the mid-16th century, Suceava still conserves the old fortified court of the Moldavian princes. Dating from the late 14th century, this is one of the few medieval fortifications of the region that survived the Ottoman ordered demolitions.
Photo by Bucovina Museum
Virgin forests are almost extinct in Europe, but Romania is lucky enough to still have some of these amazing pieces of untouched nature. Listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2017, together with other secular forests from Romania and 12 more European states, the forest of Slatioara is a rare attraction in Bucovina.
One of the most off the beaten track national parks in Romania, Calimani also bears the scars of a major human-caused ecological disaster that destroyed one of its highest peaks.
Calimani Mountains are a great choice if you enjoy long wilderness hikes. Plan your hike in detail, most trails are long with few water sources and camping sites.
Dominated by the Lady’s Rocks, Rarau Mountains are one of the nature symbols of Bucovina. This mountainous areas is also a very popular destination – especially the trail to the Lady’s Rocks – and if you’re looking for solitude it’s best to plan your vacation in autumn or spring. Giumalau Mountain is an excellent alternative all year round.
The most favored summer destination in Romania, the Black Sea coast has more to offer than crowded beaches. We recommend you skip those, at least for one or two days, to uncover the ancient and fascinating land of Dobrogea.
A rare paradise for hundreds of bird species, the Danube Delta is one of the highest biodiversity areas in the world. A labyrinth of canals, willows, reed, fishermen villages and lakes, the Danube Delta is a unique destination in Romania.
Enjoy it like a responsible traveler, booking locally owned accommodation and local guides.
Romania’s most important port, Constanta traces its history back to the 7th century BC when the Greeks from Milet founded here the ancient city of Tomis. Later conquered by the Romans, the city was part of the Byzantine Empire and of the Ottoman Empire starting with the 15th century. All that history left a lot of interesting vestiges you can discover if you’ll step inside the city’s museums.
Don’t miss the History and Archaeology Museum, the Roman Edifice with Mosaic, the Mosque, a walk in Ovidiu Square or one to the Casino and the Genovese Lighthouse.
The arid landscape of Dobrogea was once a promised land for ancient Greek and Roman colonists, but also for Genovese merchants in the medieval centuries. Their old cities and fortresses survive only in ruins by the Black Sea shore. Don’t miss Histria, Argamum and Enisala, Capidava, Halmyris or Tropaeum Traiani from Adamclisi.
The lowest mountains in Romania, with a maximum altitude of only 467 meters, Macin Mountains are also the oldest in the country as some of the rocks found here date before the era of the dinosaurs. Ten thematic itineraries, including one for horseback riding and one for cycling, cover the area of this national park that protects over 3,400 species of flora and fauna.
Photo by bereta
Don’t forget to visit Uncover Romania again as Part 2 of the 100 Places to See in Romania will feature incredible Transylvania. If you think we missed any great destinations, let us know in the comments section below.