Have you ever considered a city-break in Romania? I bet you haven’t, although the Eastern European country prides itself with a couple of exciting destinations to choose from, whether you’re looking for fun, rich culture, vibrant nightlife, leisure or a romantic weekend.
When it comes to city breaks most travelers are heading for famous cities such a Rome, Paris, Prague, London or Amsterdam, never taking into account other delightful corners of Europe. Even with the latest development of tourism in the former Soviet Bloc, Romania has remained among those few less-visited destinations.
And if however the scenic Carpathian Mountains with their lovely resorts, breathtaking views and ski slopes manage to bring some overseas visitors in Romania during the winter, and the Black Sea Coast greets them with plenty of sunshine and beach parties throughout the hot summer months, not many know that Romania has a great potential of delivering some very interesting city breaks as well.
Let’s take a look at Romania’s major and most beautiful cities and find out together which one of them suits you the best:
Located in western Romania in the Banat region, Timisoara is a cosmopolitan metropolis, an architectural splendor, the symbol of Romania’s democracy and one of the most beloved cities in the country.
The best kept secret in Romania, maybe in Europe, Timisoara’s cultural and architectural richness can be easily compared with those of Prague, Paris or Vienna, so I don’t think it will take too long before tourists will actually burst inside.
These being said, Timisoara is the place where various cultures blend together nicely, where the relatively young inhabitants appreciate equally a pleasant afternoon at the museum and a crazy night out, and where most of Romania’s festivals take place.
A city-break in Timisoara will surprise its visitors with its sophisticated society, elegant appearance, vibrant character and world-class nightlife.
Located in the charming Transylvania, the medieval Sibiu with its small town feel in a big-city format is the Gothic fairy tale of Romania. After enjoying a year in the spotlight in 2007 when it was elected the cultural capital of Europe, Sibiu’s fame has been celebrated with great fanfare all over the country.
The city’s cultural heritage doesn’t need any presentation, nor do its famous squares and the windy streets crossing the Old Town, but the lovely Christmas Market taking place here in the winter, the medieval festivals in the fall, the blooming trees’ fragrance shrouding Sibiu in the spring or the lovely summertime over this ancient settlement are some delightful experiences that need to be witnessed and relished by any traveler to Romania.
The second largest city in Romania, Cluj-Napoca or simply Cluj is an ancient metropolis with a young soul located in the heart of Transylvania. With a rich history, plenty of medieval castles, fortified churches, museums and a highly artistic sense, it’s no wonder Cluj is the poetic city of Romania, a very elegant and romantic one.
Nicknamed “The Treasure City”, Cluj boasts an impressive baroque and neoclassical architecture and a remarkable cultural life due to the 11 universities that enliven its spirit each year with tones of exultant students.
The city lies in the province of Ardeal, one of the most picturesque, traditional and genuine corners of Romania, a place where locals, honest and peaceful, love their land more than anything, where deep-rooted traditions are still alive and where the food has a special taste.
The city’s historic character makes it an ideal city-break destination for romantics, for culture devotees, for gourmets and for travelers aiming to discover Romania as it is – charming and distinctive.
Brasov is another medieval chapter of the charming Transylvania, an excellent European city ideally located in the mountains.
Featuring the narrowest street in Europe (Rope Street), a plethora of towers, bastions and cathedrals, a first-class architectural spectacle, an animated lifestyle and the most beautiful landscapes in the country, Brasov is a big stylish city with something for everyone.
Famous for its sparkling nightlife, the lovely medieval design and its perfect setting near Romania’s finest alpine resorts, Brasov is the best choice for mountain enthusiasts, party haunters, culture aficionados and everything in between.
Bucharest is that city that most people, including artists, mistake it for Budapest. In fact, Bucharest is the capital of Romania and it has nothing to do with the Hungarian city of Budapest. This being cleared, let’s see what Bucharest has to offer to its visitors.
We used to call it “Little Paris” once, then it became the city of malls, but the eclectic Romanian capital is definitely much more than that. Just think about it: vibrant nightlife, striking architecture, plenty of parks, gardens, galleries, museums and a charming Old Town lined-up with stylish cafes, all waiting to be explored and discovered.
While in Bucharest, make sure you won’t miss the breathtaking historical center or the outdoor Village Museum, a charming sanctuary representing the history of Romania’s rural architecture.
Besides the fast-growing process of modernization, the city still keeps the elegance of the past decades, which gives it a truly unique atmosphere. Therefore, Bucharest is a great city-break destination for those in love with history, architecture, shopping, social activities and …nightlife.
Part of UNESCO list, Sighisoara is one of the prettiest and best preserved inhabited citadels in Europe. Home to the notorious Vlad the Impaler, the character who inspired Bram Stocker’ Dracula, the city depicts a mythical bygone world, with locals carrying their lives through an indefinite time, a story frame with surreal candy houses and legends entwined between its towers, ramparts and cobblestone alleys.
I would recommend Sighisoara to anyone in search of an authentic experience, no matter your cultural or artistic preferences, no matter your age or your style.
In the beautiful city of Iasi every stone, museum, monastery, park or memorial house talks about the past. Located in northeastern Romania as the former capital of Moldavia, Iasi stretches over seven rolling hills just like Rome, offering visitors a charming landscape and a valuable lesson of history.
Iasi is also the city that gave birth to some of the most important Romanian writers, and the place that is praised most often in their works, that is why I always link this city to my country’s literary value.
From a royal court which wrote some glorious pages in the history of Romania, Iasi became a multicultural city where the past and the present, the ancient inns and the funky lounges cohabit remarkably.
I don’t know about others, but for us, Romanians, Iasi is a national treasure, a place that urges us to dream and to contemplate about life, it has the power of transforming us into philosophers and poets, and I guess this is the main reason why we love it so much.
If you want to learn about Romania’s history and to experience a relaxing, but memorable city-break, I recommend you to visit the beautiful Iasi.
Constanta is situated in southeastern Romania on the Black Sea shoreline as the largest port and coastal city in the country. Founded under the name of Tomis by the Greek colonists from Miletus in the VII century BC, Constanta, with its Roman, Greek and Turkish influences features some of the most valuable archaeological sites existing on the Romanian territory.
After experiencing a miraculous evolution, the port city became a cosmopolitan center and an ideal place to spend the summer. A city break in Constanta will offer you all the advantages of a big city plus the opportunity to explore the sundry Black Sea coast from its rural, off the beaten paths destinations to the charming fishing villages, hippie towns, luxury resorts and world-famous beaches.