Top places to see in Romania
Georgina Willcox | 24 May 2021
With stunning landscapes, medieval towns, rich history and culture, there are so many reasons to visit Romania and yet this diverse country is often overlooked. Perhaps Transylvania, the biggest and most famous region of Romania, gives the impression that all there is to the country are scary castles and stories of blood sucking vampires; but there is so much more to see in this wonderful region. Discover our recommendations of some of the best places to see in Romania.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Romania without seeing its most iconic sight, Dracula’s Castle. Situated on the edge of Bran Gorge, Bran Castle, as it’s also known, is a medieval fortress on the Transylvanian border, dating back to the 13th century. It’s believed that Bram Stoker, who wrote the famous novel ‘Dracula’, was inspired by the violent exploits of the Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler. Although there is no evidence that Stoker knew anything about Bran Castle, it’s still a fascinating medieval fortress. Today the castle is open to the public and houses a display of art and furniture collected by Queen Marie during the fortress’s time as a royal residence between 1920 and 1948.
Surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains and overlooked by Mount Tâmpa, the picturesque medieval city of Brasov is one of the most visited places in Romania. Linked to the legend of the Pied Piper, the town certainly has a storybook quality, with its cobbled streets and pointed turrets. Highlights of Brasov include the Black Church, Nicholas Church, the oldest Romanian Orthodox church in the country and Piața Sfatului, the old town square. With a relaxed vibe and great café culture, it is the perfect spot from which to explore the surrounding countryside. To get a fantastic view of Brasov, we recommend taking the cable car up to the Tampa Mountains.
There is so much to discover in Romania’s capital, from walking along the historic Calea Victoriei avenue to relaxing in its charming gardens and parks. The historic Centru Vechi or Old Town of Bucharest is the district of artisans and merchants that emerged around the Princely Court back in the 16th century. Since the Romanian Revolution in 1989, it has evolved into a lively entertainment district, full of bars, pubs & restaurants, making it the perfect area to explore, day or night; which is why the city is known as ‘Little Paris.’ One of the most interesting things to do in Bucharest is to visit The Parliament House, the second largest government building in the world and was commissioned by Romania’s infamous dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. You will need to book ahead to get a guided tour, but it’s worth visiting to see this legacy of Ceaușescu’s decadence and dictatorship.
A colourful corner of Romania, Sighișoara is famous for being the birthplace of “Dracula”, Vlad Tepes and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Founded by German merchants and craftsmen, the UNESCO town is a wonderful place to explore with its cobbled streets and vibrant buildings. Some of the top sights to see in Sighișoara include the Citadel, clock tower and Piața Cetății (Citadel Square).
The town of Sinaia, the “Pearl of the Carpathians”, is surrounded by magnificent mountainscapes. Visit the Monastery and the enchanting Peleș Castle, which was used as a summer palace by King Carol I.
Transylvania isn’t just for Halloween! Whether you want to explore the vibrant city of Bucharest, Dracula's castle, or appreciate this country's beautiful countryside and historic towns, a holiday to Romania is sure to win you over with its many charms.
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