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Peles castle, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in Sinaia, Transylvania

Things to do in  Romania

Europe’s Gothic wonderland

Encircled by the dense pine forests of the Carpathian Mountains, Romania emanates mist-shrouded majesty. In the countryside you’ll find glacier lakes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the Gothic cliff top castles of Transylvania—where legends of vampires and hauntings permeate the air. Among the rich cultural tapestry of Bucharest, you’ll discover an often overlooked European capital filled with culture and architectural charm. In Romania, the sixth-largest country in Europe, things to do include visiting top-class museums, getting lost among grandiose architecture wonders, and exploring picture-perfect parks.

Top 15 attractions in Romania

Palace of Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului)

If you’re in Bucharest, it’s impossible to miss the massive Palace of Parliament which dominates the city center and contains more than 1,000 rooms. Built under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu, this opulent edifice is now one of Bucharest’s most popular tourist attractions and home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art and more.More

Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman)

Built between 1886 and 1888, the Romanian Athenaeum is one of Bucharest’s preeminent cultural venues. Classical concerts are held in its 800-seat auditorium, which is renowned for its excellent acoustics, though the concert hall is as much worth a visit for its elegant architecture and interiors as it is for its musical offerings.More

Black Church (Biserica Neagra)

Brasov’s most famous landmark, the monumental Black Church (Biserica Neagra) towers over Council Square (Piata Sfatului) and Brasov Old Town. Dating from the late 14th century, the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul got its name from the 1689 Great Fire, which damaged the church and much of the town.More

Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph)

Like its Parisian namesake, this triumphal arch sits at one of the city’s busiest intersections and is surrounded by a constant whirl of traffic. The 85-foot (27-meter monument, designed by influential Romanian architect Petre Antonescu, was inaugurated in 1936 to celebrate the unification of Romania and victory in World War I.More

Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii)

Sheer limestone cliffs featuring caves and rock towers rise up on either side of this 1.8-mile (3-kilometer canyon, which forms a split in what was once a single mountain. The dramatic karst formations, carved over millennia by a rushing river, are now part of a protected nature reserve popular with hikers and climbers.More

Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei)

Formally known as Palace Square, Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției earned its current title for its role in the Romanian Revolution of 1989 when then-leader Nicolae Ceaușescu made a final disastrous public appearance here to a booing and jeering crowd. At the center of the square sits a memorial commemorating victims of the revolution.More

National Museum of Art of Romania (Muzeul National de Arta al Romaniei)

Set within the 19th-century Royal Palace, the National Museum of Art of Romania holds an impressive array of artworks. The collection is divided into two parts: Romanian art, with a particular emphasis on medieval and modern pieces; and European art, which includes works attributed to celebrated artists such as El Greco and Rembrandt.More

Catherine’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei)

Catherine’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei) is technically Brașov’s last-remaining medieval structure, though the central tower is the only original feature. Built by Saxon settlers in 1559, then used as storage space during the 19th and 20th centuries, the gate provides insight into Romania’s complex history and today serves as an important symbol of the city.More

Holocaust Memorial

This memorial serves as a poignant and sobering reminder of the many Romanian Jews and Roma people murdered during World War II. The memorial, which was inaugurated in 2009, was seen as a symbolic step by Romanian leaders, with previous post-war governments having denied the role Romania’s Nazi-allied government played in the genocide.More

Stavropoleos Monastery (Manastirea Stavropoleos)

Located in central Bucharest, Stavropoleos Church (Biserica Stavropoleos, also known as Stavropoleos Monastery, is one of the oldest churches in the city. Built in the 18th century, this small, ornately-decorated church is considered one of the most beautiful in the city, and offers an oasis of peace in the heart of Old Town Bucharest.More

Victoriei Street (Calea Victoriei)

Extending from Piaţa Victoriei in the north of Bucharest down to the Dâmbovița River, the 1.8-mile (3-kilometer long Victoriei Street (Calea Victoriei is the city’s main artery. The wide road is lined with landmarks, from communist-era blocks to museums and historic houses, churches, and monuments.More

Balea Lake (Lacul Balea)

Bâlea Lake (Lacul Bâlea)is a glacial lake in Romania’s Fagaras Mountains. Sitting at more than 2,000 meters high, it is one of the most popular lakes in Romania. Most visitors are drawn to the lake for the landscape and superb views on the drive there; the water is typically too cold for swimming. Two chalets are open near the lake all year round, but it is most easily accessed in the summer months. In the winter, visitors must ride the cable car from the chalet near the Balea waterfall to get there. In 2006, the first ice hotel in eastern Europe was built nearby using blocks of ice pulled from the frozen lake.More

National Village Museum (Muzeul Satului)

Step back in time and discover life in rural Romania at the Village Museum (Muzeul Satalui. Located on the shores of Herastrau Lake, this fascinating open-air museum features a large collection of reconstructed buildings gathered from different parts of the country, as well as exhibits and demonstrations of traditional skills and crafts.More

Council Square (Piata Sfatului)

Located in the heart of old Brasov, Council Square*(Piata Sfatului)* is lined with beautiful Gothic, baroque, and Renaissance buildings. Home to a number of key landmarks, Brasov’s main square has been a focal point of life in the city since medieval times. It’s a popular gathering place and a great spot to soak up the scenery.More

Clock Tower

Sighișoara’s Clock Tower—the former town council meeting place—was among several towers built between the 13th and 16th centuries to defend the medieval citadel. Shimmering scale-like tiles cover the roof and painted wooden figurines emerge from a niche beside the clock. Inside, there is a small museum and a 360-degree viewing platform.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Romania

Dracula Castle, Peles Castle and Brasov Small Group Tour from Bucharest
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Dracula's Castle, Peles Castle and Brasov Day Trip from Bucharest
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Dracula's Castle, Peles Castle and old town Brasov from Bucharest
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The Real tour of Communism

The Real tour of Communism

Small-Group Brown Bear-Watching Experience from Brasov
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Day Trip to Ruse, Bulgaria from Bucharest
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Castles Tours from Brasov
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Castles Tours from Brasov

Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Tour from Brasov with Optional Peles Castle Visit
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Top Destinations

Top Destinations

All about Romania

When to visit

The best time to explore Romania is from April through June, when the weather is pleasant and clear skies make for stunning vistas. This period is also before the European summer holidays, so you may get better deals on accommodations. Though the country is strongly associated with stories of the supernatural, Halloween isn’t a widespread celebration in Romania; however, Bran Castle hosts an annual All Hallows’ Eve party at the end of October, which draws ghouls from across the globe.

Getting around

It’s easy and economical to explore Romania by train—most of the country’s intercity trains are operated by a company called CFR and connect major cities and towns such as Bucharest, Sibiu, Brasov, and more. One driving route not to miss is the Transfagarasan Mountain Road, often hailed as one of Europe’s most scenic stretches of road. Opt for a tour that includes round-trip transportation so you can keep your eyes on the scenery rather than the road.

Traveler tips

Most travelers head straight to famous Transylvanian fortresses such as Bran Castle (often known as Dracula’s Castle) and Peles Castle. However, Corvin Castle fights for the title of the region’s most spellbinding structure—even with its unlikely location among an industrial landscape of steel mills. Expect terra-cotta turrets, a drawbridge, a Gothic hall filled with knight’s armor, and a chilling Bear Pit, all shrouded in grisly legend.

People Also Ask

What is Romania known for?

Romania is best known for Transyvlvania, a mist-shrouded region of cliff top castles and Gothic churches associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s also famous for natural highlights such as the Danube Delta and the Carpathian Mountains, and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Sighisoara Citadel and the Churches of Moldavia.

What are the most visited attractions in Romania?

Bran Castle and Peles Castle in Transylvania both top the list of Romania’s most visited attractions, closely followed by the sprawling Palace of Parliament in the capital city of Bucharest and by the Merry Cemetery in the small village of Săpânța, where tombstones are hand-carved and painted in bright colors.

How many UNESCO World Heritage sites does Romania have?

Romania boasts a whopping nine UNESCO World Heritage sites—two are natural wonders and seven are cultural. Some of the most famous include the Sighisoara Citadel and Saxon village of Biertan in Transylvania; the Danube Delta, the second largest and best preserved river delta in Europe; and the 17th-century Horezu Monastery.

How many days is enough for Romania?

Allow five to seven days to experience the spectrum of Romania’s culture, nature, and history. You can delve into the communist history and grand architecture of Bucharest, explore the cliff top castles of Transylvania, go hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, and venture underground to the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda).

What kind of food can you eat in Romania?

Romanian cuisine is simple and hearty, and it provides the ideal fuel for hiking in the mountains. Local specialities include tripe soup (ciorba de burta), cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat (sarmale), and pretzels rolled in salt and sesame seeds. Gogosi are a popular sweet treat similar to sugar-dusted doughnuts.

Why is Transylvania known for vampires?

Bram Stoker’s groundbreaking Gothic novel, Dracula, is the reason Transylvania has such strong associations with vampires. A portion of the novel is set in the Romanian region, which is depicted as the titular vampire’s place of residence. Because of this, Transylvania’s Bran Castle is often called “Dracula’s Castle.”


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