Romania is located along the curves of the Transylvanian Alps of the scenic Carpathian Mountains. In the Southern and Eastern side of the mountains, the land drops down to plains that form large areas of fertile farmland. The Southern area is called Walachia and the region the east is called the Moldovia. Vacation resorts have grown up along the sandy beaches of Romania’s Black Sea coast. Inland, the marshes of the Danube delta form a major habitat for many birds and fish.
Come visit and discover the top ten don’t miss places in Romania.
The Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman) was built on February 26, 1888 by Architect Albert Galleron (French) and Constantin Baicoianu (Romanian). The building was built only from donations and is one of the oldest buildings in Bucharest. For the construction of the building an initiative and appeal were directed to the people of Romania “Dati Un Leu Pentru Ateneu” (Donate a leu for the Athenaeum). The initiative achieved great success.
In the neoclassical building of the Athenaeum, international concerts or the live performances of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra usually takes place. World famous conductors shared their talents on this stage namely; George Enescu, Dinu Lipatti, Maurice Revel, David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin and many others. The building is worth seeing and has a clear acoustics. Then there are the spiral staircases in the room and of course the foyer. In front of the building there is a small garden where the bronze statue of the greatest Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu stands.
The Stavropoleos Church (Biserica Stavrapoleos) is one of the charming churches in Bucharest. It is easy to reach because it is centrally located in the old town near the Leipziger Strasse. Built in 1724, the church is one of the most ancient churches of the Romanian Orthodox. Inside, the murals are painted with scenes from the Old and New Testament of the Bible. A small monastery is connected with a very pretty courtyard with carved ornaments and red geraniums. The renovation of the Monastery of Stavropoleos has been carried out carefully and you can see the splendor of the ancient frescoes. Even the courtyard at the side of the church is worth seeing (cloister) and a place of rest in the urban noise of the capital city.
The Tampa Mountain can be reached in two ways; by cable car (a 90 minute ride) or a hike along the guided trails. Upon arrival at the top, take a 10 minute walk to the observation platform (next to the sign Brasov) and you will come to a pitch from which you can admire the impressive view of the whole city of Brasov. You can clearly see the old city that has retained some of its walls, and the new city that continues to grow. In fine weather, you can see far enough.
Ski slopes and wooded scenery attract tourists to the Transylvanian region. These dense forests are also famous as the source of vampire legends. At the Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle), you learn many things about the character of the vampire Count Dracula whose story is said to have been based on a prince from the Middle Ages called Vlad “The Impaler”. The castle attracts a lot of people by the legend of Count Dracula. With a good guide you can learn the history of territorial disputes that have always involved the region of Transylvania and the heirs of the castle. It was built around 1200 but is still well maintained.
Upon entrance you will not have any hint about the prince at all as the decorations have recently been provided with modern ones. The castle itself requires a good climb along its stairs with narrow aisles, but much information is still available about the Count to its visitors.
At the Botanical Gardens in Cluj Napoca visitors can see more than 10,000 varieties of flowers, plants, shrubs, berries, cacti, orchids, exotic plants and trees. It is well thought out along with the bust and statues of famous Romanians.
There are various paths inside where you can find tropical greenhouses, Japanese garden, Roman garden, pond with water lilies and a small forest crossed by paths and passages. It is a corner of paradise that is just a few meters from the main center. If you want to spend half a day of relaxation surrounded by nature this is the place to check out.
The Unirii Square is one of the few attractions of the city that is surrounded by architectural buildings and churches that are all successfully restored. It is dotted with bars and restaurants that is open until late at night and offers plenty of benches and chairs to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the environment. The night turns on the magic of this square in Timisoara which has become the center of a myriad of spaces. The German-style square offers one of the most idyllic views of the city and continues to be a must visit attraction when in Timisoara.
The Theatre and Opera House is located right in the center of Timisoara and offers great programs of the classical concerts, arias and ballet musicals for a surprisingly inexpensive entrance fees. Like almost all the countries of Eastern Europe, in Timisoara music and culture in play an important role in the life of every Romanian. After the show, visitors can enjoy fine dining at the restaurant and purchase souvenirs at the small shop that can also be found inside the Opera House.
The Astra National Museum Complex is an outdoor museum where visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll through the alleys looking over preserved buildings, houses, barns and products of the Romanian peasant history. There are mills, typical houses, and even churches. All these in a very nice park that is adjacent to the zoo in Sibiu where you can also take a leisurely boat trip. Periodically, these two parks sponsor national events, contests and showcase of typical Romanian food products. The houses are all furnished and the artifacts and the cloakrooms of the area are still well preserved and neat.
The Balea Glacier Lake is a small glacial valley at the base of the tallest peaks of Romania, in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania. To get there you take a hike to one of the mountain roads of Europe, the Transfagaras. It is an impressive road built by the military during the Ceausescu regime for strategic military purposes. The road climbs up to Balea Lake among dozens of cliffs and then enters a short tunnel designed for crossing the Carpathian Mountain down to the south side.
Beware of the road, it is pretty good uphill but a disaster in the descent towards the south and closed during the winter months. Just before you get to the lake there is the Balea Cascada station where you can leave your car and ride the cable car. At Balea Cascada you can do a short trek of about 1 hour to get to the waterfall. Once on top, you will come to a valley where the small lake is located and surrounded by dense forest mountains.
The best highlight of a visit to the city of Constanta is a quick tour of the Archaeology Museum. There is so much to learn about the culture and history of Romania at this museum. Every visitor can admire the remains of the Roman presence, jewelry, costumes, accessories and vestments. The museum has a rich resource of historical reference materials (archaeological artifacts, history books, magazines, news clippings, etc.) that represent the brave steps towards achieving the independence of Romania in the old times. The building is not very large at first glance, but it has three floors that collect a little history of Constanta and Romania. The best treasure can all be seen on the ground floor.
The Mosque of Constanta – Minaret is the largest mosque in Romania and built on the model of the Mosque of Konya in Turkey. The mosque is a twentieth century work and fully made of concrete. The interior is dedicated to prayer and draws tourist in to witness the solemnity of the Islam faith. The best thing about the mosque is the minaret. The stairs to the tower is only for the agile ones as it is very narrow and has so many steps that only one person is allowed to climb all the way to the top. Visitors can climb the 160 ft. lookout tower and see the calming views of the Black Sea.
Although the Palace of Culture is being reconstructed and is filled with scaffolding in some areas, it is arguably the most impressive building in this city. The building that is currently under renovation is visible from a distance from many parts of the city. Bars and restaurants built on the ground floor of the building have views of the gardens and a pleasant view of its surroundings.
Beside the palace stands the biggest shopping center in Romania called the Palas Iasi. The structural and ceiling work pays great attention to every detail. Inside the Palas you find yourself in a magical garden of fountains, green meadows, flowers, plants and the classic carousel with horses. The interior has a multitude of shops and eateries that are suitable for any age. The food/dining area offers a wide selection of international menus from Arabic, Chinese, Romanian, European and many good things to be heartily enjoyed by the tummy.
Nestled in the snow with its surrounding greens and cool streams the imposing presence of the Peles Castle looks fabulous from all points of the city. The castle was built to become the official summer residence of King Charles I. You can see the nearby Carpathians on a medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia. You can take guided tours to see and admire all 3 floors (more than 150 rooms) of exhibitions. Taking photographs is restricted inside the palace. Inside you can see various architectures and finishes ranging from Gothic to Renaissance.
With its more than 100 years of existence and in addition to the charm and splendor of the place, it has incorporated many technological innovations, such as the elevator, centralized heating induction, electric doors, and computerized operation. In short it is a mix of old and modern in one place. Outside the palace, along the way back, there are many possibilities to take home some souvenirs at a reasonable price from hawkers and shops within its vicinity.
If you want to see the best frescoes and painted monasteries of Bucovina go and visit the Sucevita Monastery. The monastery is large, allowing you to see it from all sides at different angles. You will have a nice view of the city of Sucevita from a distance. Across the road there is a large paved area where you can leave the car. It is definitely the best of the 4 other monasteries (Moldovita, Putna, Rasaca, and Dragomirma) found in the city of Suceava. It is also the largest and best preserved. The surrounding walls are impressive while the gardens and houses of the nuns are very nice and well kept with lots of flowers and good paintings in this predominantly green background attraction.
The Moldovita Monastery stands as a unique building filled with well preserved paintings that are well worth a visit. It sits on a charming environment with architecture typical of the area. It’s worth taking a stroll and if you like the crafts there are typical embroidery shop where you can purchase the work of the nuns.
The ride on the cable car of the Telegondola din Mamaia is a worthwhile experience. It’s cheap, fast and safe with no long queues on its ticket booth. The cabins are colorful and during the ride from above you can see the lovely views of the beach, the lake, and the city of Mamaia.
You can buy the ticket one way or round-trip and you can enjoy this attraction with kids, your friends and family.