12 Best Places To Visit In Romania
As one of the most beautiful countries in Eastern Europe, Romania attracts millions of tourists each year with its scenic landscapes, unique culture and historically significant landmarks. there are so many beautiful reasons to visit Romania. Whether you’re looking for soaring mountains to climb, warm waters to bathe in, forests to explore or plains to run across, Romania has it all.
Furthermore, since this country is rich in history, Romania boasts some of the most amazing castles and forts that were built hundreds of years ago. We will now present a list containing 12 of the most incredible places to visit in Romania. All you have to do is pick the ones that you like best and head over to this wonderful and picturesque country.
12 Best Places To Visit in Romania
1. Peles Castle
The Peles Castle is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional tourist attractions in Romania, boasting a fabulous architecture and a rich heritage. The castle can be found near Sinaia in Prahova County, nestled within the majestic Carpathian Mountains. This fantastic landmark was built by King Carol I of Romania between 1839 and 1914, and it was meant to serve as the monarch’s summer retreat. The cost for this incredible undertaking was quite enormous, since the construction project required approximately $120 million in today’s currency. Nowadays, the Peles Castle is a very important museum that houses a vast collection of arms, armor and art pieces. Some of the most notable rooms in the castle are called The Honor Hall, The Imperial Suite,
The Arsenal, The Playhouse and the Florentine Room, each housing its own unique treasures. The Arsenal, for example, displays 1,600 examples of armor and weapons, including a 15th century German decapitation broadsword and a full Maximilian armor for rider and horse. The Florentine room features a more artful approach, boasting Italian Renaissance elements such as a Grand Marble Fireplace by Paunazio and massive solid bronze doors made in Rome. One of the most interesting places when you visit Romania. When you visit Romania, at Peles Castle you are greeted upon entry by a beautiful statue of King Carol I that was made by Raffaello Romanelli. There are also numerous other statues scattered across the surrounding terrace gardens, most of them being attributed to Romanelli as well.
The castle can be explored only via a guided tour. There are 3 tours available, the first being limited to the ground floor only, while the last offers a complete exploration of the landmark. There is an admission charge as well as an extra charge for those that wish to bring their cameras along. The Peles Castle can be visited all year round except for November, when it is closed for maintenance.
2. Bran Castle
Also known as Dracula’s Castle, the Bran Castle can be found in Bran, in close proximity to the important city of Brasov. This majestic structure is commonly regarded as the home of the famous Dracula character brought to life by Bram Stoker, but its history is much more comprehensive than that. Actually, the first written mentioning of Bran Castle dates all the way back to 1377, when Louis I of Hungary allowed the Saxons of Brasov to build their own stone keep. In 1920, the Bran Castle was an official royal residence and ended up being the favorite retreat of Queen Marie.
Nowadays, the Bran Castle operates as a museum that houses a large collection of art pieces and furniture that used to belong to Queen Marie. Visitors can choose to explore the halls themselves or under the guidance of a professional.
When you visit Romania, Bran Castle is a must-see. To get there is a short train or bus ride from the capital, Bucharest. It is located in the beautiful city of Brasov.
3. Corvin Castle
The beautiful Corvin Castle can be found in Hunedoara, in the Transylvania region of Romania. This Gothic-Renaissance masterpiece was commissioned by John Hunyadi in 1446, and it was meant to replace an already existing keep that was built by Charles I of Hungary on the same site. The original Corvin Castle was built in the Gothic style, but it did feature a few Renaissance design elements as well. The building served as John Hunyadi’s home but was also used extensively for defensive purposes, which is why it gradually received multiple towers and extra fortifications.
Some of the towers were meant to be used as prisons, especially the Deserted Tower and the Capistrano Tower, while defensive towers such as the Buzdugan Tower featured large openings that would house imposing weapons. Notable improvements were made during the 17th century, including the addition of a new Large Palace and the construction of 2 towers named the Artillery Tower and the White Tower. Sadly, the building fell into ruin after numerous years of neglect, and it even caught fire at some point, which caused extensive damage. The present version of the Corvin Castle is actually the result of a successful restoration. Due to its incredible history and long lifespan, this majestic building is still shrouded in mystery and legend to this day. One of the most popular Places To Visit In Romania.
4. Neamt Citadel
The Neamt Citadel is perhaps one of the most impressive citadels in Romania, and it can be found in the northeastern part of the Country, in close proximity to Targu Neamt in Neamt County. This imposing yet elegant structure was built in Moldavia in the 14th century, when Petru I of Moldavia was in charge. The first mentioning of the Neamt Citadel was on February 2, 1935, when Sigismund of Luxembourg led an expedition to Moldavia. The structure was constructed using river stone and quarry stone, and it features a defensive ditch that separates it from the rest of the plateau.
The middle of the fort features a large interior courtyard that is surrounded by different buildings, each with its own specific purpose. The east side featured the storage room, kitchen, prison and money room, while the west side had the armory, a judgment room and a passing hall.
The citadel was built as a fortified outpost that would protect the western border of Moldavia against the expansion of the Hungarian Kingdom. In 1935, Sigismund brought his armies to Moldavia with expansion in mind, but he was defeated by Stephen I at Hindau, just 7.2 miles south of Targu Neamt.
With the passing of time, the citadel fell into decay, but it was restored between 2007 and 2009 using European funds from the Phare program.
5. Palace of the Parliament
The Palace of the Parliament is a record-breaking building that can be found in Romania’s capital – Bucharest. This massive structure was designed by Anca Petrescu and flaunts 12 stories, 4 underground levels as well as a total floor surface of 3,7 million square feet. Finished in 1997, the Palace of the Parliament is a fine example of neoclassic architecture, but it does feature multiple design elements borrowed from other sources.
The construction costs for this massive landmark soared to $4.1 billion, and so the palace currently holds the record for the “most expensive administrative building ” while other records include “heaviest building” and the “largest civilian building with an administrative function”, all 3 titles being acknowledged by the World Records Academy. During his days as Romania’s leader, Nicolae Ceausescu named the building “The People’s House”, which is why the Palace of the Parliament is more commonly known in English as the “Palace of the People”.
See at the end of the article for my recommendations for the best hotels in Bucharest!
The Transfagarasan is one of Romania’s most exceptional roads, and it can be found in the Southern Carpathians, between the cities of Sibiu and Pitesti. The road stretches for 60 miles from north to south, and it runs through some of the highest peaks in the country, including Moldoveanu and Negoiu.
Built between 1970 and 1974 by Nicolae Ceausescu, the road was meant to provide quick and easy army access across the mountains in the event of a Soviet Union invasion. This means that the road was constructed using a military workforce, and it is estimated that its building process claimed the lives of 40 men. This worrying death toll was probably the result of the massive use of dynamite, (13,337 pounds), which was necessary in order to forge a path through the unwelcoming mountain terrain.
Due to its impressive elevation, the Transfagarasan is usually closed off each year from October to June because of heavy snow. Moreover, if weather conditions are unfavorable, the road can be closed in other times of the year as well. The Transfagarasan is known for its numerous hairpin turns and steep descents, which is why it can prove relatively difficult to traverse, especially for inexperienced drivers or bikers. Breathtaking panoramas and unique experiences are all in reach for those that get a chance to travel across this magnificent road. One of the most beautiful Places To Visit In Romania.
The Transalpina is a road that can be found in the Parang Mountains in Romania, and it is currently the highest road in the country. The road connects the Novaci city and the Sebes city, and it runs across 4 counties as it traverses the mountains from south to north. Since it is an alpine road, the Transalpina is closed off during the cold season. There are numerous hypotheses regarding the origins of the road, each being quite controversial in its own way.
Some say that the road was first build by the Roman legions during their wars with the Dacians, while other sources state that the road was paved by the Germans during World War I. What we know for sure is that the road was once called “Devil’s Pathway”, and that it was initially used by shepherds. In 1934, King Carol II wanted a modern pathway that would ensure easy access across the mountains for his armed forces. The pathway was completed in 1939 and was named The King’s Road. The Transalpina was restored to some degree during World War 2, but it wasn’t until 2012 that it was fully paved from Novaci to Sebes.
8. Palace of Culture
The Palace of Culture is an extraordinary palace that can be found in the city of Iasi in Romania. As one of the most exquisite examples of neo-Gothic architecture in the country, the Palace of Culture occupies a total area of 390,000 square feet and boasts no less than 298 massive rooms.
The construction process of this fantastic landmark started in 1906, and it replaced the ruins of the old Royal Court of Moldavia, which was built in 1434. Even though the construction process started off nicely in 1906, the process had to be halted during World War I because of scarce resources. It wasn’t until October 11, 1925 that the Palace of Culture was finally completed and opened by King Ferdinand of Romania himself.
During our modern times, the palace is home to 4 important museums. These are called The Museum of Science and Technology, The Museum of Ethnography, The Museum of Art and The Museum of History. During their visit, guests are able to admire numerous historically significant objects related to many fields, including decorative art, archaeology or documentation.
Due to its rich heritage and incredible significance, the Palace of Culture hosts a great number of important events and exhibitions, and it is currently a part of Romania’s National Register of Historic Monuments.
9. Turda Saltworks
The Turda Saltworks represents a very important tourist attraction in Turda, Romania. This place was a very important salt source ever since the times of the Roman Empire, but salt mining was particularly popular between the 15th and 17th century, especially during the Hungarian occupation of Turda. In 1932, the Turda Saltworks officially went out of business, mainly because of obsolete technologies and low salt yield, but also because of increasing competition. In 1992, the Turda Saltworks was opened once again as a tourist destination, and it can currently be visited all year round.
Attractions include the old Rudolf, Tereza and Iosif salt mines as well as a great deal of perfectly preserved medieval tools. In 2009, the Turda Saltworks was the subject of a massive restoration project that was completed in January 2010. Nowadays, this place flaunts its own amphitheatre, treatment rooms and a fantastic salty lake that has extraordinary curative properties.
10. Danube Delta
The Danube Delta is located in Tulcea County, in the Dobrogea region of Romania, and it is one of the largest and most well preserved deltas in Europe. The Danube Delta includes numerous ecosystems, 23 to be precise, which house a significant number of flora and fauna. The delta was formed around the 3 primary channels of the Danube River, and it comprises a complex network of waterways and large bodies of water.
As far as tourism is concerned, this place is hugely popular, since it offers endless opportunities for exploration and sightseeing. Bird watchers would definitely enjoy admiring the majestic beauty of over 300 species of migratory and local birds, including geese, cranes, egrets, vultures, pelicans and graceful swans. Fishermen can also test their skill against the delta’s 160 species of salt-water and fresh fish such as pike, carp and catfish.
If you do decide to visit the Danube Delta anytime soon, we advise you to go during the spring season, especially if you don’t want to be bothered by mosquitoes. If fishing is your favorite past time, however, then you should probably schedule a visit during fall in order to enjoy larger catches. Accommodations include the Delta Miraj Pension or the more luxurious Pension Perla, but tourists can also opt to sleep at local private homes, which are a lot cheaper and offer a much more authentic experience.
11. Ice Hotel at Balea
The Ice Hotel at Balea can be found in the Fagaras Mountains of Romania, and it is definitely one of the most original and appreciated holiday destinations in the country. The Ice Hotel is open for business exclusively during the cold season for obvious reasons, and it features a different theme every year. The hotel itself is being rebuilt each year using locally sourced materials such as giant ice blocks taken from the nearby Balea Lake. Spending some time at this fantastic hotel is a truly unique experience. Guests start off by ascending to the hotel site in a cable car while admiring fantastic mountain panoramas before checking into their own icy room.
Spending a night at this hotel is a cozy and comfortable experience, since all beds feature comfortable pillows, linens and animal furs. This could be the coldest of places to visit in Romania! Moreover, guests also receive sleeping bags for some extra insulation. Activities at the Ice Hotel are varied and entertaining, whether we’re talking about snowmobiling, sledging, trekking or ice sculpting. Nightly rates start at approximately $123 for a double room, while a more private igloo-type room would set you back $185 per night.
12. Bucegi Mountains
The Bucegi Mountains can be found in the central part of Romania, just south of the city of Brasov. Apart from their immense natural beauty and high peaks, the Bucegi Mountains are also the home of 2 of the most famous natural landmarks of Romania – the Babele and the Sphinx. Making it one of the coolest places to visit in Romania.
The Babele are rocky formations placed in close proximity to the Baba Mare peak, which boasts an elevation of 7,519 feet. The stones were shaped by erosion over vast amounts of time, and they now feature a distinct mushroom-like shape. The origins of the rocky formations are still subject to controversy, especially since no scientific evidence can fully explain the phenomenon. The nearby Babele Cabin is definitely the most popular in the region accommodation-wise, since it provides a perfect base for visiting these fantastic landmarks as well as the famous Sphinx.
The Bucegi Sphinx was also formed by erosion, and it can be found just 10 minutes away from Babele. This important landmark was photographed for the first time during the 1900s, but the picture was taken from the front rather than from the side. Consequently, it wasn’t until 1936 that the rocky formation got its Sphinx name, since its distinct silhouette can only be observed clearly if it is viewed from a specific angle.