Five Day Trips from Iasi You Should Take

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The biggest city in Moldavia, eastern Romania, Iasi is the perfect base to explore this off the beaten track region of the country, unfairly underestimated as a travel destination, often ignored in favor of the world-famous and fascinating Transylvania.

Still, Moldavia has plenty to offer when it comes to culture, spirituality and nature. Our top five day trips from Iasi will show you the best options to uncover this traditional land of churches, vineyards, old villages and breathtaking mountains. These day trips from Iasi can easily become a weekend break as you’ll find many more places to visit along the way.

The painted churches of Bucovina

Bucovina or the ‘land of beech forest’ is undoubtedly in the top cultural day trips from Iasi you should take. Part of Moldavia until the late 18th century when it became a province of the Habsburg Empire, Bucovina preserves the unique painted churches from the medieval centuries, part today of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The prime examples of the Moldavian style of architecture that appeared and developed in the 15th and 16th centuries, these churches are rare and precious examples of Byzantine art.

day trips from Iasi

External paintings, Moldovita Monastery

Religious calendars, saints’ sacrifice, key scenes from the Old and New Testament are all immortalized in the frescoes that cover the walls of the churches, including even dramatic historical events of the time like the siege of Constantinople.

A day trip from Iasi will give you enough time to see the four most spectacular of the painted churches: Sucevita, Moldovita, Humor and Voronet.

These monuments are included in our Painted Monasteries of Bucovina Tour. More tours on

Old aristocratic residences

Until the communist regime changed forever the architectural landscape of Romania, Iasi was a historical city with luxurious palaces and an old aristocracy that gave entire generations of local princes. Most of these noble and rich families had vast properties in the countryside, the backbone of their fortunes, and their rural residences were often designed and decorated by important architects who built around Iasi spectacular monuments.

Most of them were unfortunately destroyed by the communist authorities, but you can still visit or at least see what remained of the vast aristocratic properties.

Ruginoasa Palace

Ruginoasa Palace

Don’t miss Cuza Palace from Ruginoasa, Sturdza Castle from Miclauseni, Carp Mansion from Tibanesti, Cantacuzino-Pascanu Mansion from Popesti, Polizu Mansion from Maxut or Sturdza Palace from Miroslava.

Medieval attractions

Moldavia was often in the first line in front of the Ottoman expansion from the medieval centuries. Strong fortresses and military systems enforced the borders of the region, protecting it from the attacks of its powerful neighbors.

Almost all the medieval fortresses were destroyed after Moldavia accepted the Ottoman suzerainty, but one of the most solid survived almost miraculously in Targu Neamt. This 14th-century fortress is today one of the top historical monuments from Romania, a faithful representation of the defensive architecture of the time.

day trips from iasi

Neamt Fortress

Don’t miss the nearby monastery of Neamt, its church dating from the 15th century, and the monasteries of Agapia and Varatec, two of the most visited religious monuments in the country.

Gorges, lakes and mountain peaks

Iasi is only three hours away from some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in Romania: Bicaz Gorges, Red Lake, Bicaz Lake, Cuejdel Lake and Ceahlau Mountain, all located in the mountainous Neamt County.

While on a day trip from Iasi you can easily admire the gorges of Bicaz, the natural dam Red Lake and the biggest man-made lake in Romania, Bicaz or Izvorul Muntelui, we suggest staying an extra day for a hike to the top of Ceahlau Mountain. It’s an easy and scenic hike, with panoramic views over Bicaz Lake, a must-do for hikers and nature photographers.

day trips from iasi

The Red Lake

Old and new vineyards

If you have a passion for wine, you’re definitely in the right place as Moldavia’s vineyard tradition is documented since the 15th century when the wine of Cotnari was first mentioned. This is still the most famous wine in the region, produced from the large vineyards located just 70 km from Iasi. The wine cellars and the wine museum from Bucium, just a couple of minutes driving from Iasi, are a good start for your day trip to Cotnari.

But don’t stop here. A bit further away, in Vrancea and Vaslui Counties, you can visit the vineyards Ochean, Averesti and Girboiu to add even more taste to your time in Moldavia. Just be sure to plan your visit ahead as some of the vineyards don’t have a daily visiting schedule.

day trips from Iasi

Grapes from Crama Girboiu

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We hope our guide to the top day trips from Iasi has inspired and convinced you to add another day or two to your time in Moldavia, a destination worth seeing at least once in your travels around Romania.

You can discover Eastern Romania with our private tours. More details on

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
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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