When we said that we were going on a trip to Romania, more than one of us asked what to see in Romania. We then gave an account of the ignorance that exists in Spain about the attractions of this country and especially what there is to see in Romania. It shares borders with Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia and Hungary. A part of its territory is bathed by the waters of the Black Sea. Romans, Slavs, Magyars and Ottomans among other peoples have passed through its territory. During the Second World War, they were allies of Hitler against the Soviets. They lived hard years under the communist regime and the dictatorship of Ceaucescu made the Romanian people live the horrible twenty-five years.
All this has left its mark in this country in the form of monuments dotted in the magnificent landscape of its mountains. Between a mountainous system and another, there are extensive plains. In them, you can also see attractive cities and amazing citadels. To all this, we must add the references here and there to one of the most famous novel characters in literature: Count Dracula.
If we put everything in a shaker and shake it, we will have as a result what is now Romania. A country that many say is like Spain 40 years ago, whose main livelihood is agriculture and from which many leave in search of a better or at least more prosperous life. There is a lot to do and a lot to see in Romania. It is not part of the list of large developed countries and surely it is part of its charm. Rural life, cities with a certain decadent air and superstitions are still part of Romania today, in the 21st century.
What to see in Romania
There are many attractions. From those impressive mountain landscapes to their castles or their monasteries. You just have to choose what each one is interested in, organize a route based on it and be encouraged to get to know Romania. We have done this and we have returned home delighted with our trip. Now I tell you that it is of all that we have seen what I think it is essential to see on any trip to Romanian lands. Let’s find out what to see in Romania.
For me, this is the most beautiful city to see in Romania. It is impossible to resist the charm of its citadel with only five streets. Its colorful houses, its towers and churches give the visitor a few hours in which a walk on its cobbled streets makes you go back in time. Vlad Tepes was born in this place in Transylvania. That character in which some seek the origin of Dracula. In the city, you can visit the restored house where you were born before going up to Torre del Reloj to enjoy beautiful views over Sighisoara. Do not miss the climb up the hill under that covered wooden staircase that leads to the old school.
Monasteries of Bucovina
The churches of these small monasteries in the north of the country are something to see in Romania. Many can say that seeing one is seeing all. But I assure you, after going through four of them, that each one has something that differentiates it from the rest. They are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and almost all Orthodox churches interior walls are decorated without leaving an empty space. But it is the paintings on its exterior that make these small monasteries of southern Bucovina exceptional. The state of conservation of these is not as good as could be desired. However, in each of the churches of these monasteries, there is some exceptional fresco that will be worth looking for when you get there.
Dominated by a Hollywood sign on Mount Tampa, Brasov is one of the most attractive cities in Romania. If you still do not know what to see in Romania this is the place you should visit. In the heart of the country, the Saxons built a wall in this city that protected their elaborate houses and churches. Many of them are still standing and can still be seen intramurally. Do not miss the lively Piata Sfatului or climb the funicular to Mount Tampa. From there the views of the city are beautiful and have little to do with those that are obtained from another viewpoint: the one next to the White Tower. Outside the wall is the district of Schei. That’s where the Romanians lived and where you can visit the first Romanian school.
It does not seem very coherent to call a cemetery cheerful. However, when you get to this Sapanta, very close to the border with Ukraine, one understands the reason of that name. Its origin goes back to 1935, when an artisan, Stan Patras, started carving crosses for the cemetery of the town. I paint them blue, the color of hope, and in each one they wrote different epitaphs that accompanied painted scenes that illustrated traditional life. Mothers with children, men in the field, barbers. The tradition has continued and this cheerful cemetery is such a tourist place that it is almost impossible to find in it that peace that is expected in a holy field.
The castle of Peles does not leave anyone indifferent and it is undoubtedly one of the places to see in Romania. It is located in the beautiful town of Sinaia, on a green hill where there is notice of the presence of bears. Its silhouette is cut between the blue of the sky and the green of the pastures. It took almost 40 years to build it and Carlos I, the king who had it built, died only a few months later. Of German neo-Renaissance style, the Castle of Peles was the first castle in Europe that had central heating and electricity. If its exterior turns out to be magical, it is worth joining one of the guided tours that go through the interior of the building and pass through Turkish, Moorish or Venetian mirrored halls.
Paso del Borgo
Those of you who have read “Dracula” will surely hear this place. It is for him where a black carriage takes Jonathan Harker to the castle of a vampire man. Paso del Borgo is the place for those who still wondering what to see in Romania. It may seem very sinister, but it is not at all. On the contrary, this mountain pass is one of the most beautiful to see in Romania. Surrounded by imposing pine forests so thick that it seems impossible for light to reach the ground, this place is to travel calmly trying to enjoy the breathtaking views. Today the place is called Paso de Tihuta, but it will undoubtedly be linked forever to the history of literature with its previous name. At the end of the port, you will find the appalling Hotel Castel Dracula. A building that undoubtedly belittles the beauty of the place.
We did not have much luck during the visit to Sibiu. The city was at parties and we found its Piata Huet occupied by a big tent and the Piata Mica with dozens of craft and food stalls. Undoubtedly those remained charmed to one of the most beautiful cities to see in Romania. Even so, we could enjoy its cobbled streets, its colorful houses and its attic with windows in the shape of eyes… Do not miss the views from the Torre del Concejo. Nor of course, try to lie about the Liars’ Bridge to see if it creaks. It is also worth walking to the walls that still surround part of the old town and where several towers are still standing.
In the plains of Transylvania, you can visit a good number of fortified churches. These places were not always like this. Initially, there was a church surrounded by houses. But with the continued siege of the Ottomans, back in the 15th century, they decided to fortify their churches by converting them into the center of small defensive citadels. In them, the Saxons took refuge knowing that they could hold inside. There were wells, rooms, food and even a school there. The towers of the churches served as watchtowers and the walls had small gaps from which to shoot the enemy. Today a handful of these fortified churches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among them are those of Biertan, Viscrior Prejmer.
Castle of the Corvino
Corvino Castle will be the answer for them who are looking for what to see in Romania. Somewhat far from the more conventional routes, the Corvino Castle, in Hunedoara, is undoubtedly one of the most impressive places to see in Romania. After years of abandonment after a fire, in 1974 the place was opened as a museum allowing travelers to tour the halls of this castle that lived Matías Corvino, King of Hungary. What was first a fortress later became a royal residence, and although the environment is not the most attractive today, the fact is that the castle, with its drawbridge and elegant ceremonial halls, is worth including in a tour of Romania.
Churches of Maramures
The origin of these wooden churches dates back to the 14th century. At that time the Orthodox Romanians were forbidden to build stone churches. But in a region like Maramures with so many trees, it was clear that this was not going to be an impediment to raising their own temples. They began to build wooden churches, some dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and are a World Heritage Site. The inclemencies of the time have been changing the color of the walls and towers turning them dark. All are surrounded by the cemeteries of the town where they are located, and there is no doubt that its tall bell towers are one of its most identifying elements.
For us, these are places we want to recommend for them who want to know what to see in Romania. We believe that all of them are worth visiting in Romania. There are others such as Targu Mures or Bran Castle that we also recommend. But since I wanted to choose the best ten places to see in Romania, I picked the ones I liked best.