Top Places to See in Romania in 2016

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

If you’d like to take a private tour of Romania, check our offers on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

Romania is a country of many and diverse travel destinations, and one vacation is definitely not enough for all the great places to see in Romania. Our top destinations for 2016 highlights some of the best-known attractions, but also more local and off the beaten track places from all over Romania, including three national parks hikers will just love.

Calimani National Park

One of the wildest mountain areas in the Eastern Carpathians, Calimani National Park is the place to go for multi-day hikes with few other people in sight. Best-known for having one the largest inactive volcanic areas in Europe, a caldera about 10 km large and 800 meters deep, and for the geological formations of the 12 Apostles, this national park is easily reached from Vatra Dornei or Toplita.

The maxim altitude is 2,100 meters, and hikers can choose from many trails that start from Gura Haitii, Neagra Sarului, Toplita, or Borsec. Horseback riding is another option to explore these mountains, using the services provided by the national park administration.

Calimani National Park

Calimani National Park

More details on www.calimani.ro

Alma Vii

A top of the best places to see in Romania this year just wouldn’t be complete without a Saxon village and its fortified church. Spectacular examples of the Saxon heritage and important historical monuments, these fortified churches are a must if you’re heading to Transylvania.

One of the oldest monuments of this type from the region is the fortified church from Alma Vii, a small village located in an idyllic landscape of forested hills, haystacks, horse carts, colored houses, and orchards.

The village itself is a wonderful travel destination that shouldn’t be missed if you’re planning to spend more days visiting medieval landmarks like the UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Sighisoara, Biertan, or Viscri. You can take many day trips, including using the cycling routes that link the Saxon villages, and you can stay overnight in the traditional houses managed by the Foundation Mihai Eminescu Trust.

More details on www.almavii.ro

Alba Iulia Citadel

We never get tired of promoting Alba Iulia. The ‘other capital’ and the largest citadel in Romania, Alba Iulia is one of the best places to visit in Romania if you want to see how history evolved starting some 2,000 years ago. The restored citadel has various walking routes that combine the main points of interest: the impressive gates, the ruins from the Roman time, and major monuments like the Coronation Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral. You can easily spend a full day just visiting the citadel and a second and a third one taking day trips to Apuseni and Trascaului Mountains.

Travel Ideas Romania

Gata in Alba Iulia Citadel

More details on www.visitalbaiulia.com

The Catholic church from Orsova

If you’re heading to Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park or the Iron Gates, be sure to stop in Orsova, a small city from the Danube shore where you’ll find the most original Catholic church in Romania. A masterpiece of the 20th century and a unique monument in Europe, this unconventional religious space is the only Catholic church built during the communist regime.

Catholic church

The Catholic church, Orsova

Besides its bold architecture, the edifice is most famous for its interior paintings that illustrate from a contemporary art perspective the Biblical theme ‘The Way of the Cross’. Major Biblical characters like Jesus are painted alongside Soviet leader Lenin, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and Beatle’s legendary John Lennon.

Cozia National Park

The second hiking destination from our top 10 places to see in Romania this year is Cozia National Park. Easily reached from Sibiu, this national park has modest altitudes but compensates through some of the most panoramic images from the Carpathians.

Cozia National Park

Cozia National Park

Even more, ancient ruins from the time of the Roman conquest are found here, as well as centuries-old monasteries. Nine hiking trails cross the national park. Some are short and easy, but some are intense and require good physical training. Our advice is to depart from Turnu on the red line switching to the blue line until the chalet Cozia where you’ll spend the night and return to Turnu on the blue line on the second day.

More details on www.cozia.ro

Vadu

The Romanian Black Sea Coast is not the best place if you’re looking for a relaxing seaside vacation with empty beaches, clear waters, and a lot of tranquility. If you’re looking to spend a few days by the Black Sea and actually hear the waves splashing at the shore instead of loud music even underwater, go to Vadu.

Vadu

Vadu Beach

Not as off the beaten track as it once was, Vadu is located north of Navodari and is part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. This makes it a sensitive natural area that needs our constant protection. Remember to camp only in specially designated places and leave only footprints behind.

The Country of Fagaras

The regions of Romania were centuries ago divided into smaller and more homogeneous areas called ‘countries’. Some of them preserved their particularity over time, and are excellent vacation options if you’re planning to spend more time in a single area. Our suggestion for 2016 is the country of Fagaras, a short drive from Sibiu and Brasov.

Tara Fagarasului

Sambata de Sus Monastery

The attractions vary from the tall and abrupt Fagaras Mountains, old churches like the one from Sambata de Sus or the cave church from Sinca Veche, traditional villages and installations, and ethnographic museums like Badea Cartan from Cartisoara. Key attractions are also Fagaras Fortress, the 12th-century Evangelical church from Halmeag, and the Cistercian Abbey from Carta.

If you start your trip from Bucharest, one of the best options is to drive the Transfagarasan road. Just be sure to check if it’s open and avoid the weekends when it gets too crowded.

Macin National Park

The place to go for families and first-time hikers, Macin National Park has the oldest mountains in Romania. Located in the northern part of Dobrogea, very close to the Black Sea and the Danube Delta, this national park has low altitudes but important biodiversity areas. One of them is the unique Dobrogean beech forest. In fact, six of the eight groups of European ecosystems are found in this protected area, making it one of the most diverse in Romania.

Macin National Park

Macin National Park

Photo credits bereta

You can choose from several itineraries, including thematic hiking trails, cycling, and equestrian routes. Besides the natural attractions, the area of the park has many archaeological sites that trace the first human signs to the Stone Age.

Visiting the vineyards around the national park and taking short trips to see the ruins from Enisala, Jurilovca, and Histria are also great options if you’re spending more time in Macinului Mountains.

More details on www.parcmacin.ro

The Inn on Balaban

We end our top places to visit in Romania with a recommendation for your next accommodation in Romania: the Inn on Balaban.

inn-on-balaban-romania

Located in the Bran Valley, close to major attractions like Bran Castle and Brasov but also close to Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains, the Inn on Balaban is one of the best examples of restoring and using traditional architecture to create a memorable experience for tourists looking for authenticity and high-quality services.

If you’d like to take a private tour of Romania, check our offers on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

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