Best Things To Do In Romania

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 04.01.2023

It’s not possible to see everything Romania has to offer in one trip – and we don’t suggest you try. What follows, in no particular order, is a selective and subjective taste of the best things to do in Romania: outstanding architecture, natural wonders, spectacular hikes and unforgettable festivals.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Romania, your essential guide for visiting Romania.

1. Take a tour of Peleş Castle in Sinaia

Once a refuge for Ceauşescu and visiting dignitaries, Peleş remains the country’s most opulent palace. Set in a large English style park, the castle outwardly resembles a Bavarian Schloss and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Romania.

Built in 1875–83 for Carol I, and largely decorated by his eccentric wife Elisabeta (better known as the popular novelist Carmen Sylva), it contains 160 rooms. These rooms are richly done out in ebony, mother of pearl, walnut and leather – all totally alien to traditional styles of Romanian art.

Visit Romania's most beautiful castle, Peleș Castle, and learn about its amazing history. Explore the beautiful grounds and admire the Carpathian Mountains, sitting high just behind the castle on the Castle Tour with An Expert Guide.

    Where to stay in Sinaia:

  • Best for location: Forest Apartments features mountain views, free WiFi and free private parking, set in Sinaia, less than 1 km from Stirbey Castle.
  • Best for spa: Hotel Sinaia. The centrally-located Hotel Sinaia is right next to the Dimitrie Ghica Park, on the main shopping street. The emblematic hotel offers spa services and features free access to the indoor pool, a sauna and fitness facilities.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Sinaia


Peleş castle, Romania © cge2010/Shutterstock

2. Immerse yourself in Romanian capital life in Bucharest

Romania’s noisy, chaotic capital boasts a number of terrific museums, remarkable architecture and arguably the best nightlife in the Balkans. The first point of arrival for many visitors is the capital, Bucharest.

While not an easy city to love – its wide nineteenth-century Parisian-style boulevards are choked with traffic, once-grand fin de siècle buildings crumbling and the suburbs dominated by grim apartment blocks – its cultural institutions, abundant greenery and lively Old Town nightlife reward patience.

In recent years, the gastronomic scene has improved beyond recognition, while a wave of artisan coffee joints has revitalized the city’s café culture.

Explore more things to do in Romanian capital with our guide to the Coffee, cocktails and communism in Bucharest.

    Where to stay in Bucharest:

  • Best for comfort: Crystal Palace Hotel. Renovated in 2018, Crystal Palace Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance from Promenada Mall and 10 minutes by car from Otopeni International Airport and downtown Bucharest.
  • Best for old town location: Europa Royale Bucharest. Located in a 19th-century building in the very heart of Bucharest’s centre, Europa Royale Bucharest offers air-conditioned rooms and an on-site restaurant serving international menus.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Bucharest

Bucharest © Shutterstock

Revolution Square, Victoria Avenue in Bucharest, Romania © Augustin Lazaroiu/Shutterstock

3. Floating down the Danube Delta - one of the exciting things to do in Romania

This remote and beautiful landscape is teeming with fabulous wildlife, and promises some of the finest birdwatching in Europe. The Danube Delta is a paradise for wildlife, and after years of environmental neglect culminating in Ceauşescu’s plan to drain the Delta for agricultural use, it was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1990, with over 500 square kilometres strictly protected, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site the following year.

The area is particularly important for birds, which pass through during the spring and autumn migrations, or come from Siberia to winter here or from Africa to breed in summer.

Spend 2 days discovering the wonderful Danube Delta. In addition to experiencing this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll visit the ancient port city of Tulcea and the old Roman territory Constanta. Enjoy a boating trip to fish or watch the bird life on the 2-Day Tour from Bucharest.

Find accommodation options to stay in the Danube Delta region

Pelican colony Danube delta, Romania © Calin Stan/Shutterstock

Pelican colony Danube delta, Romania © Calin Stan/Shutterstock

4. Lounge in the sunshine on the Black Sea coast

Strewn with lively resorts and sandy beaches, the Black Sea coast offers everything from wakeboarding to kayaking, while Constanţa is a cultural hub with a fine restaurant scene. Romania’s Black Sea coast holds the promise of white beaches, dazzling water and an average of ten to twelve hours of sunshine a day between May and October.

Travelling from Bucharest or the Delta, your first stop on the coast will almost certainly be Constanța, a relaxed seaport-cum-riviera town, dotted with Turkish, Byzantine and Roman remains, which has always seemed to keep a discreet distance from the surrounding resorts.

Spend the day at the coastal city of Constanta and get amazing views of the Black Sea. Learn more about traditional life in Romania and top up your tan at the seaside resort of Mamaia on the Constanta and Mamaia Day Trip.

    Where to stay in Constanţa:

  • Best for view: Maritimo Luxury ApartHotel. Located 200 m from Modern Beach and 800 m from Aloha Beach, Maritimo Luxury ApartHotel in Constanţa provides air-conditioned accommodation with views of the sea and free WiFi.
  • Best for sauna: JMR Royal. Situated in Constanţa and with Aloha Beach reachable within 1.7 km, JMR Royal features a bar, allergy-free rooms, free WiFi throughout the property and a garden. Boasting room service, this property also provides guests with a children's playground. The hotel has family rooms.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Constanţa


Relaxing at the Black sea beach is one of the best things to do in Romania © mandritoiu/Shutterstock

5. Take a sightseeing tour of Romanian fortified churches

Scattered among the lush hills of southern Transylvania are dozens of marvellous fortified Saxon churches. Prejmer (Tartlau), 7km east of Hărman has the most comprehensively fortified and perhaps the most spectacular of all the region’s churches – now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Access is through a 30m-long vaulted gallery with a sliding portcullis in the middle. Built by 1225, the cross-shaped church was taken over by the Cistercians in 1240 and enlarged in their Burgundian early Gothic style. The nave has late Gothic vaulting, and there’s a fine Passion altarpiece (1450–60). There is also a small museum, boasting fine examples of Saxon costume.

Discover two of Eastern Europe’s best preserved fortified churches on a half-day guided tour from Brasov. With your guide, learn about and explore the history-rich Harman and Prejmer churches which date back to the fascinating Saxon era.

Aerial view of Prejmer fortified Church. UNESCO world heritage site, Romania ©  Iulius Agency/Shutterstock

Aerial view of Prejmer fortified Church. UNESCO world heritage site, Romania © Iulius Agency/Shutterstock

6. Enjoy the architectural monuments created by Constantin Brâncuşi

Romania’s greatest sculptor has bequeathed an impressive legacy of striking works of art, such as the Endless Column in Târgu Jiu. The most iconic of Brâncuşi’s works is the stunning Coloană Infinita (Endless Column), a vast 30m-high totem pole of seventeen (fifteen whole) smooth rhomboidal blocks, cast in iron and threaded onto a carbon steel post embedded into the ground.

The column’s rippling form is echoed in many of the verandas of the old wooden houses throughout the region. Brâncuşi actually began working on variations of the column in 1918 (the original, oak, one is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York), though this structure wasn’t installed until 1938, following a request from the local authorities to create a memorial for those killed during World War I.

It is, without question, one of the most striking – and recognizable – pieces of architecture not just in Romania, but anywhere in Europe.


The Endless column in Targu Jiu, Romania© Radu Bercan/Shutterstock

7. Go skiing in Poiana Braşov

Hit the slopes in Poiana Braşov, or at one of the country’s other popular, good-value centres. Poiana Braşov sits at an altitude of 1000m on a shoulder of the spectacular Mount Postăvaru, 12km south of Braşov. Coming by car, it’s worth stopping at some great viewpoints over the city at km 4.5.

This is Romania’s premier ski resort, and while it’s a great place to learn, with lots of English-speaking instructors, experienced skiers may soon be bored (although some slopes are steep and often icy). It’s crowded at weekends, and it’s no longer cheap, but there has been considerable investment in lifts and new pistes, as well as snow-making and grooming equipment so that the season can extend into late April.

Ski gear can be rented at hotels and the cable car and gondola terminals.

    Where to stay around Poiana Braşov:

  • Best for families: Aurelius Imparatul Romanilor. Picturesquely located on the shore of Miorita Lake, in the mountain resort Poiana Brasov, the 4-star Aurelius Imparatul Romanilor hotel offers stylish accommodation. Free WiFi is offered.
  • Best for relaxing: Hotel Escalade. Only 100 m away from the ski slopes and a skating rink in Poiana Brasov, Hotel Escalade offers a spa including an indoor pool and sauna.
Red cable car moving down in Poiana Brasov © Novie Charleen Magne/Shutterstock

Poiana Brasov famous ski resort in Romania © Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock

8. Stay at Sibiu

Beautiful architecture, terrific museums and fabulous festivals make the once great Saxon town of Sibiu one of the alluring things to do in Romania.

Nowadays, the city is surrounded by high-rise suburbs and virtually abandoned by the Saxons themselves, but the Old Town’s brightly painted houses, with “eye” windows to ventilate their attic grain stores, are still startling. Sibiu has many fine old churches and some of Romania’s best museums, as well as the remains of the bastions and fortifications.

Get a perfect introduction to the recently renovated old town of Sibiu and discover one of the cultural capitals of Romania on this Sibiu Sightseeing Tour.

    Where to stay in Sibiu:

  • Best for design: Hotel Anastasia. Situated in Sibiu, within 1.5 km of Union Square and 2.3 km of The Stairs Passage, Hotel Anastasia features accommodation with a bar and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and room service. The hotel has family rooms.
  • Best for families: Harteneck Apartment. Apartments Inn Sibiu-The Old Town offers accommodation in Sibiu, offering an apartment with free WiFi and a well-equipped kitchenette. Great Square is 200 m away and the Bridge of Lies is 450 m away.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Sibiu

Cityscape with old house of historical center of Sibiu town Transylvania, Romania ©  Chursina Viktoriia/Shutterstock

Cityscape with old house of historical center of Sibiu town Transylvania, Romania © Chursina Viktoriia/Shutterstock

9. Take a walk in Bucovina hills

Cloaked in beech, fir and pine, the gorgeous rolling Bucovina hills are a walker’s paradise. The painted monasteries of Southern Bucovina, in the northwest corner of Moldavia, are rightfully acclaimed as masterpieces of art and architecture, steeped in history and perfectly in harmony with their surroundings.

The monasteries are scattered across a region divided by rolling hills – the obcine or “crests” which branch off the Carpathians – and by the legacy of history. Although settlers from Maramureş arrived here in the mid-fourteenth century, the area remained barely populated for two centuries until Huţul shepherds moved south from the Ukrainian mountains.

They lived in scattered houses in the hills, and the region was a sort of free republic until the Habsburgs annexed northern Moldavia in 1774, calling it Bucovina, a Romanianized version of their description of this beech-covered land (Büchenwald).

Visit five of the most beautiful and representative painted churches in Bucovina on this Private 2-Day Bucovina Monasteries Tour.

Find accommodation options to stay in Bucovina region

Mountain landscape with fog and a haystack, Bukovina, Romania ©  Seqoya/Shutterstock

Mountain landscape with fog and a haystack, Bukovina, Romania © Seqoya/Shutterstock

10. Visit Braşov

Shadowed by mountains and boasting a fine Baroque centre, this erstwhile Saxon settlement is one of Transylvania’s most appealing cities. The town’s proximity to a host of attractions – such as the Piatra Craiului mountain range, the alpine resort of Poiana Braşov, the fortified Saxon churches of Hărman and Prejmer, and “Dracula’s Castle” at Bran – makes it an excellent base.

Most visitors make a beeline for the largely Baroque Old Town, around Piaţa Sfatului, a strikingly handsome, quintessentially Germanic square dominated by the Black Church. Nearby, all coiled beneath Mount Tâmpa, are museums, medieval ramparts and the Schei quarter.

In this full-day tour from Brasov, you will discover 3 of the most beautiful and important touristic sights that Romania has to offer. You will encounter Peles Castle, Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle), and the Rasnov Fortress.

    Where to stay in Braşov:

  • Best for charming vibes: Casa Mandl is set in the centre of Brasov, in the historic Council Square, and offers stylish accommodation with views of the Black Church and the Tampa Mountain, free WiFi, and public parking 200 m from the building.
  • Best for panoramic view: Belfort Hotel. Located at the foot of Tâmpa mountain, Belfort Hotel enjoys a central location in a tranquil area of Brasov, just a 5-minute walk from the main pedestrian street.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Braşov

Brasov, Romania © emperorcosar/Shutterstock

Brasov, Romania © emperorcosar/Shutterstock

11. Take a train ride in Vişeu de Sus

Add to your list of things to do in Romania a ride up the picturesque Vaser valley by early-morning logging train. Just east of Vişeu de Jos is Vişeu de Sus, a logging town that’s growing into a tourist town thanks to the popularity of the steam train from here up the steep Vaser valley.

The narrow-gauge railway up the wild Vaser valley, towards the Ukrainian border, is still used by diesel-hauled logging trains; in addition, tourist trains run as far as Paltin, 21km up the valley. These are hauled by small steam locomotives – known as mocăniţa, meaning “little mountain shepherd” – which have been restored by enthusiasts, the oldest dating from 1910.

There’s a pleasant café in a typical wooden house at the departure point, with a small exhibition on the town’s vanished Jewish community. There are also three preserved steam locomotives here, including a huge standard-gauge beast near the train-hotel.

Enjoy a guided day trip to Maramures Mocanita train from Cluj-Napoca and discover Europe’s last historic forest railway. Learn its history, and admire this spectacular 20th-century working train.

Find accommodation options to stay in Vişeu de Sus


Steam train, Romania © Andreica Ioan Daniel/Shutterstock

12. Go bear-watching

Spend a day trailing Romania’s largest carnivores – if you’re lucky, you may see one of these magnificent creatures up close.

The Piatra Craiului National Park is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, from observing animals in the wild to guided walks and sporting activities such as climbing and caving. These are organized by various local agencies, mostly members of the Association of Ecotourism in Romania dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable tourism development.

The most popular is bear-watching, which is now offered by dozens of companies, as well as some accommodation providers, though the following come highly recommended: Carpathian Nature Tours or Discover Romania. You’ll typically be taken up to a forest hide at dusk, and although patience is key (which is why it’s unsuitable for young children), there’s about an eighty percent chance of seeing a brown bear in its natural habitat.

Discover the Romanian Carpathian where over 5500 bears roam, on a wildlife watching adventure. Admire species like lynx, wolves, and bear from a special observation hide.

Carpathian brown bear in the wilderness © Angyalosi Beata/Shutterstock

Carpathian brown bear in the wilderness © Angyalosi Beata/Shutterstock

13. Attend the Measurement of the Milk Festival

At this enjoyable and unusual spectacle, Transylvanian shepherds vie to see who has the most productive animals.

The practice of shepherds spending summer in the high pastures protecting the flocks from bears and wolves while making cheese gave rise to Measurement of the Milk Festivals (Măşurisul Laptelui). At dawn on the first or second Sunday in May, the flocks are brought to a glade outside the village, where the “measurement” takes place.

The nanny goats are milked by women and the ewes by shepherds – the yield of each family’s animals is measured to determine the share of cheese that they will receive that season. The ritual is followed by much feasting and dancing.


Buckets of milk, Romania © eugenegurkov/Shutterstock

14. Walk around the Merry Cemetery in Săpânţa

The Merry Cemetery (Cimitir Vesel) is a forest of beautifully worked, colourfully painted wooden grave markers carved with portraits of the deceased or scenes from their lives, inscribed with witty doggerel (in Romanian).

Some are terse – “who sought money to amass, could not Death escape, alas!”. While a surprising number recall violent deaths, like that of the villager killed by a “bloody Hungarian” during World War II. Or a mother’s final message to her son: “Griga, may you pardoned be, even though you did stab me”.


Merry Cemetery, Romania © Niall O'Donoghue/Shutterstock

15. Try a rural retreat in the local villages

Romania is home to several wonderful rural retreats offering cheap, friendly and relaxing accommodations, and great home-cooked food. Staying in these homestays is one of the best things to do in Romania.

Village homestays (agroturism) – rural farmhousestyle accommodation – offer visitors the opportunity to spend some time with a Romanian family (most of whom won’t speak English) in often lovely surrounds. The downside is that many places are in fairly remote locations, and are therefore difficult to reach without your own transport.

This excellent website lists a number of homestays throughout the country. The official nationwide body for homestays is ANTREC.

The church from Magura village, near Zarnesti city, Brasov county, Transylvania, Romania ©  Iulius Agency/Shutterstock

The church from Magura village, near Zarnesti city, Brasov county, Transylvania, Romania © Iulius Agency/Shutterstock

16. Appreciate the cultural heritage of wooden churches of Maramureş

The beguiling landscape of this isolated region is dominated by marvellous wooden churches.

A swathe of wooden churches stretches across Eastern Europe, from northern Russia to the Adriatic, but in terms of both quality and quantity the richest examples are in Maramureş. From 1278, the Orthodox Romanians were forbidden by their Catholic Hungarian overlords to build churches in stone, and so used wood to ape Gothic developments.

It was long thought that most were rebuilt after the last Tatar raid in 1717, acquiring large porches and tall towers, often with four corner-pinnacles, mimicking the masonry architecture of the Transylvanian cities. However in 1997 a tree-ring study showed that the wood used in many churches – notably those of Corneşti, Breb and Onceşti.

A tour to Rural Romania bringing you to the rural region of Maramureş, a place with beautiful natural landscapes where traditions such as wood carving have been maintained for generations.

Find accommodation options to stay in Maramureş region

Barsana Wooden Monasteries, Maramures, Romania ©  Mikadun/Shutterstock

Barsana Wooden Monasteries, Maramures, Romania © Mikadun/Shutterstock

17. Discover the beauty of Timişoara

The crucible of the 1989 revolution, this most cosmopolitan of Romanian cities promises handsome architecture, fine parks and a vibrant arts scene. The engaging city of Timişoara has long been the most prosperous and advanced of the Banat’s cities. It is the first place in Romania to have a public water supply, the first in Europe to have electric streetlighting and one of the first in the world to have horse-drawn trams. It still boasts Romania’s premier technical university.

Close to the borders with Serbia and Hungary, and with flights from all over Europe and Romania, Timişoara is also a major transport hub. The city’s sights are clustered around the two large main squares, Piața Victoriei and Piața Unirii.

    Where to stay in Timişoara:

  • Best for deluxe stays: Old Town Hotel. Featuring a bar, shared lounge and views of city, Old Town Hotel is located in Timişoara, 400 m from St. George's Cathedral Timișoara.
  • Best for modern stays: Mercure Timisoara. This 4-star hotel has city views, and guests can enjoy access to a shared lounge and to a terrace.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Timişoara

View of one part at Union Square in Timisoara, Romania, with old buildings and mineral fountain ©  Martina Pellecchia/Shutterstock

View of one part at Union Square in Timisoara, Romania, with old buildings and mineral fountain © Martina Pellecchia/Shutterstock

18. Try sheep’s cheese

Fresh from the highland pastures, a sample of tasty sheep’s cheese is a must. Romanian cheese (brânză) is mainly handmade from sheep’s milk by shepherds who spend the summers in the hills with their flocks. The standard hard cheese is known as caşcaval, while caş is a less salty version of feta, and telemea is a soft and creamy white cheese matured in brine.


Sheep cheese, Romania © Maryna Kovalchuk/Shutterstock

19. Explore the street of Sighişoara

Sighişoara is an atmospheric medieval town with a brooding skyline of ramparts, towers and spires. A forbidding silhouette of battlements and needle spires looms over Sighişoara (Schässburg to Germans and Segesvár to Hungarians); as the sun descends behind the hills of the Târnava Mare valley it seems a fitting birthplace for Vlad Ţepeş, “The Impaler” – the man known to so many as Dracula.

Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Sighişoara makes the perfect introduction to Transylvania. The Old Town or citadel is unmissable, dominating the newer quarters from a rocky massif whose slopes support a jumble of ancient, leaning houses, overlooking the steps leading up from Piaţa Hermann Oberth to the main gateway.

Explore the narrow streets of the only inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and enjoy the history of this UNESCO heritage site as you listen to the stories about the most famous vampire in the world, Dracula on the Sighişoara Tour of Dracula's Home Town.

    Where to stay in Sighişoara:

  • Best for unique stays: Casa Savri. Located in a historic building, Casa Savri welcomes its guests with a blend of modern amenities and traditional Transylvanian Saxon architecture and décors. You will find yourselves right next to the inhabited Medieval citadel of Sighişoara.
  • Best for food: Pensiunea Gasthaus Alte Post is located in the historic centre of Sighişoara, just 300 m from the Clock Tower, and offers a restaurant serving local Transylvanian cuisine. Free WiFi access is available in all public areas.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Sighişoara


Sighişoara, Romania © Cristian Balate/Shutterstock

20. Hiking the Făgăraş mountain - one of the breathtaking things to do in Romania

The spectacular peaks of the Făgăraş provide access to some rewarding hikes. The Făgăraş range, composed mainly of crystalline schists with occasional limestone outcrops, is a series of pyramidal crests, linked by narrow ridges harbouring a score of lakes at heights of 1800 to 2250m. Up to about 2000m the slopes are covered with spruce forests sheltering deer, bears, chamois and other wildlife.

Most hiking routes are well marked and easy to follow with Dimap’s 1:60,000 Munţii Făgăraşului map, which can be bought in Braşov, Bran, Făgăraş or Sibiu, or in the mountain cabanas. It’s useful, but rarely essential, to reserve accommodation. Always carry ample food and water, waterproofs and good boots – the weather is very changeable on the ridge.

 Transfagarasan highway, the most beautiful road in Europe, Romania (Transfagarash), Ridge Fagaras ©  Yevhenii Chulovskyi/Shutterstock

Transfagarasan highway, the most beautiful road in Europe, Romania (Transfagarash), Ridge Fagaras © Yevhenii Chulovskyi/Shutterstock

21. Immerse yourself in the mysterious legends of Dracula

The Princely Court at Târgovişte is just one of many sites linked to the Dracula legend. Truth, legends and fiction swirl around the figure of Dracula like a cloak, and perceptions of him differ sharply.

In Romania he is renowned as a patriot and a champion of order in lawless times, while the outside world knows him as the vampire count of a thousand cinematic fantasies derived from Bram Stoker’s novel of 1897 – a spoof-figure or a ghoul.

Although the tourist industry focuses on Bran castle in Transylvania, which has almost no connection to the Dracula myth (aside from the fact that he may have attacked it on occasion),Cetatea Poienari (Poienari Castle, aka Dracula’s Castle) was once Vlad the Impaler’s residence, and its location in the foothills of the Făgăraş mountains makes for a wonderfully dramatic setting.

Discover some of the medieval castles of Transylvania on a full-day tour from Bucharest and visit the castle most associated with the legend of Count Dracula. Visit Peleș Castle and take a walking tour of Brașov.

Read more detailed information about one of Romania's symbols in our guide: Visiting Vlad the Impaler.

Bran castle in autumn, Romania ©  Zamfiroiu Dragos Marian/Shutterstock

Bran castle in autumn, Romania © Zamfiroiu Dragos Marian/Shutterstock

22. Visit painted monasteries

The monasteries of southern Bucovina and Moldavia are renowned for their magnificent exterior frescoes. Given that almost everyone comes to Southern Bucovina to visit the painted monasteries but public transport to them is limited, it’s not surprising that many visitors opt for organized tours, which can be arranged either in Suceava or Gura Humorului. .

However, by making the trip independently, you’ll be able to spend more time at each monastery and stay in Bucovina’s charming pensions, many of which serve terrific home-cooked, organic meals. There’s not much choice at Moldoviţa, but plenty at and around the other monasteries.

The Moldovita Monastery, Romania. One of Romanian Orthodox monasteries in southern Bucovina ©  emperorcosar/Shutterstock

The Moldovita Monastery, Romania. One of Romanian Orthodox monasteries in southern Bucovina © emperorcosar/Shutterstock

23. Listen to folk and Romani music

Don’t miss the fantastic, irrepressible sounds of Romanian folk and Romani music. In recent years Romani music has shown an extraordinary growth in popularity — particularly outside of Romania.

Some 40km southwest of Bucharest is the small village of Clejani, which is renowned throughout the region as a centre for Romani music. This area was home to members of world-famous bands such as Taraf de Haidouks and Mahala Rai Banda. It is also the home of many other talented Romani musicians.


Romani violin musician © Aleksandar Kamasi/Shutterstock

24. Explore the vast surroundings of the Carpathian range

One of Europe’s least spoiled mountain ranges, full of wildlife and first-class hiking trails. Crisscrossed by an intricate nexus of forestry tracks and waymarked paths, the beautiful and unspoiled Romanian countryside offers some of the most enjoyable hiking anywhere in Europe, with trails to suit all abilities.

Cutting across the country are the sinuous Carpathian mountains – a continuation of the Alps – whose best-known range is the Făgăraş, between Braşov and Sibiu in the south of Transylvania, harbouring more than seventy lakes and Romania’s most elevated peaks, the highest of which is Moldoveanu (2544m).

A beautiful mountain landscape in Carpathian mountains, Romania © Romija/Shutterstock

A beautiful mountain landscape in Carpathian mountains, Romania © Romija/Shutterstock

25. Climb towers of Corvin Castle

Hunedoara (Vajdahunyad/Eisenmarkt), 16km south of Deva, would be dismissed as an ugly, run-down industrial town were it not also the site of Corvin Castle, Romania’s greatest fortress. Patrick Leigh Fermor found its appearance “so fantastic and theatrical that, at first glance, it looks totally unreal”.

The castle is an extravaganza of galleries, spiral stairways and Gothic vaulting, most impressively the Knights’ Hall (immediately to the right), with its rose-marble pillars, a display of weaponry and a statue of Iancu. To the southwest a long gallery bridge leads to the isolated Neboisa Tower (from the Serbian nje boisia or “be not afraid”), built by Iancu in 1446–56.

To the east the Council Hall is similar to the Knights Hall, divided by a row of columns. To the north, the Mátyás wing, which sports a fine Renaissance loggia, houses a display of costumes and sixteenth-century Florentine cassone chests. Viewpoints outside the fortifications give views of the fifteenth-century rhomboid pattern on the exterior of the Painted Tower, and of the steeple added in 1873, with a bronze knight on top.

Find accommodation options to stay near the Corvin Castle

Corvin castle, Romania © RossHelen/Shutterstock

Corvin castle, Romania © RossHelen/Shutterstock

26. See the chambers of Turda Salt Mine

The Salina Turda (Turda Salt Mine), the Turda’s main attraction, is on its northern edge in Valea Sărată, where a new entrance allows access by modern panoramic lifts, instead of rickety wooden staircases. Gradually excavated over 240 years, the mine consists of several huge hangar-like chambers, the most impressive being the cavernous Rudolf Mine, some 80m long, 42m high and 50m wide.

It is now a glitzy underground theme park, with a Ferris wheel, bowling, minigolf and table tennis among the many activities, though all of these do cost a little extra. You’ll also pass through the Joseph Mine, known for its twenty or so echoes, and another with an altar sculpted from salt, allowing religious services and prayers before miners began their shifts.

Discover Turda Salt Mine and Corvin Castle, the largest gothic structure in Romania on this day trip from Timisoara. Climb towers, see chambers and descend 120 meters below ground.

Find accommodation options to stay near Turda Salt Mine

Turda salt mine in Romania © FrimuFilms/Shutterstock

Turda salt mine in Romania © FrimuFilms/Shutterstock

27. Have a taste of traditional Romanian food

Romanian cuisine tends to be filling and wholesome, with menus dominated by meat, in common with the rest of the Balkans.

Perhaps the most authentic Romanian dish is sarmale – cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, meat and herbs, usually served (or sometimes baked) with sour cream or horseradish; they are sometimes also made with vine leaves (sărmălute in foi de viţă).

Stews (tocane) and other dishes often feature a combination of meat and dairy products Muşchi ciobanesc (shepherd’s sirloin) is pork stuffed with ham, covered in cheese and served with mayonnaise, cucumber and herbs, while muşchi poiana (meadow sirloin) is beef stuffed with mushrooms, bacon, pepper and paprika, served in a vegetable purée and tomato sauce.

From the heart of the city to the tastes of the country, this tour takes you on a historical, architectural, and culinary adventure through the many faces (and tastes) of Bucharest!

Meat rolls sarmale in clay bowl, Romanian food © Shutterstock

Sarmale in clay bowl, Romanian food © Shutterstock

28. Marvel at the one-of-a-kind Mud Volcanoes in Buzau County

Pākelele Marie and Pākelele Michi mud volcanoes are located in the Buzau county of Podkarpackie. These are the only miniature mud volcanoes in Europe whose existence is determined by the eruption of gas from beneath the ground. You can see a real mud volcano erupting in this area.

Among the locals they are known as "pacla" (Romanian for "fog") and their similarity to real volcanoes is remarkable. Although the processes involved in these small volcanoes are similar to their majestic counterparts, what sets them apart is what they spew to the surface. Instead of bubbling lava, these little gurgles bring mud and water to the surface.

Explore the largest salt mine in Europe, Slanic Prahova, and the botanical reservation of the Berca Muddy Volcanoes. Enjoy a private and guided tour from Bucharest.

Find accommodation options to stay in Buzau County

Erupting mud volcanoes in Buzau, Romania © Shutterstock

Erupting mud volcanoes in Buzau, Romania © Shutterstock

29. Visit the National Museum of Natural History in Bucharest

One squarely for the kids, the Muzeul de Istorie Naturală Grigore Antipa (Natural History Museum) is named after the noted conservationist and founder of Romanian ichthyology. Indeed, Antipa (1867–1944) was the museum’s director for more than half a century.

The museum’s centrepiece is Deinotherium gigantissimus, a 4.5m-high fossil elephant from the late Miocene period unearthed in Vaslui County, Moldavia, in 1890 and believed to be the largest of its kind in the world.

The basement covers Romania’s wonderfully diverse geographical regions, from the Delta and Black Sea Coast to the Carpathians, while the ground floor is devoted to world fauna; among the obligatory selection of stuffed animals, keep your eyes peeled for some rather gruesome-looking reptilia, like the hellbender salamander and the saw-scaled viper.

Choose the best option to travel on a budget among the various destinations in Europe with our guide to 20 best places to visit in Europe on a budget.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Romania without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

Ready for a trip to Romania? Check out the snapshot The Rough Guide to Romania. If you travel further in Romania, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in the country. For inspiration use the itineraries from The Rough Guide to Romania and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

We may earn commission from some of the external websites linked in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 04.01.2023

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