22 Remarkable And Unique Things To Do In Romania

Romania is such a large and diverse country with so many different things to see and do, that no list would actually do it proper justice. Therefore we have selected only the most remarkable and unique things you can do to make your visit to Romania truly unforgettable.

1. Go Hiking In The Breathtaking Carpathian Mountains

With an incredible diversity in scenery, hiking is a real treat in Romania and the Carpathian Mountains offer a large number of trailes from short and easy to longer and more challenging routes for the more adventurous hikers. The mountains are also the home of a wide variety of animal species, so it’s also great for wildlife spotting.

2. Visit The Fortified Churches Of Transylvania

Romania has a total of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and part of this list are seven villages with fortified churches in Transylvania. Biertan, Câlnic, Dârjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor, and Viscri each have a fortified church that was built by the Transylvanian Saxons during the Middle Ages. The area was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, but the ongoing threat from Ottoman invasions called for the need to fortify each settlement. In total there are over 150 of those fortifications, but only 7 of them made it to the UNESCO list.

3. Take A Drive Over The Transfăgărășan – The Best Road In The World

When you look at this road from above, you might rather think of a rollercoaster ride, but the Transfăgărășan has actually been named the best road in the world by the famous Brittish tv show Top Gear. In fact it is the second highest paved road in Romania as it crosses through the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains, between the Moldoveanu and Negoiu, the highest peaks in the country. The views are absolutely breathtaking, which is why the road is very popular among visitors and car fanatics. However, the road initially served a military purpose as a quick passthrough of troops in case of a Soviet invasion during the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

4. Take A Tour In The Palace Of The Parliament – The Largest Building In Europe

Another piece of heritage from the communist era is the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, which was also built by the order of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The enormous palace is the heaviest and most expensive building in the world, and the second largest administrative building after the Pentagon. The building currently housese both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, as well as three museums and a conference center. Do we need to say more why you should pay a visit?

5. Watch The Mysterious Living Fires Of Lopătari

In Buzău you can experience a real natural wonder: the Living Fires of Lopătari. Gases flow to the surface through cracks of the earth’s crust and are ignited by the sun. The constant flow of gas keeps the fires burning eternally, so you can watch the fires also at night, when the phenomenon is most spectacular.

6. Visit Dracula’s Castle – The Most Famous Castle

Bran Castle is definitely one of the most famous and popular attractions in Romania among international travelers, due to its link with Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Although the castle was in fact the home of Queen Mary, most people consider the castle and the Walachian ruler Vlad the Impaler as important sources of inspiration for Bram Stoker to develop his main character Dracula. This is why Bran Castle is widely known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’.

7. Visit Peleș Castle – The Most Beautiful Castle

Despite its popularity, there are actually more beautiful castles than Bran Castle, and on top of our list is definitely Peleș Castle. While Bran Castle is medieval and more rough, Peleș Castle is more sophisticated and breathes the royal history of Romania. Located in Sinaia, the castle was built in the 19th century as a summer residence for the royal family and is a real peace of art from both the outside and the inside. The castle has been well preserved and you can visit all three floors where you can still find most of the original furniture and art pieces to get a real impression of the 19th century royal life.

8. Explore The Danube Delta – A World Heritage Site

The Danube Delta is where the second longest river in Europe, after the Volga, mouths into the Black Sea. The total area spans over 4,152 square kilometers, of which 3,446 is in Romania and the other part in Ukraine. It’s not only the scenery of lagoons, islands and waterways that is appealing, but the area also has a very diverse biosphere with 23 different ecosystems. It is the home of many animal species and around 320 species of birds. The area is well-preserved and has been declared a natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A visit should be top of your list if you enjoy birdwatching or simply want to enjoy the natural environment on a boat ride.

9. Take A Ride In The Underground Theme Park At The Turda Salt Mine

Salina Turda used to be a salt mine as early as the antiquity and was operational throughout the middle ages and beyond, but has no longer been in use as such for a long time. The mine now calls itself a ‘halotherapy center’ and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cluj County. You can visit the mines and discover the history of salt mining, but the complex also hosts the deepest underground theme park at 120 meters, including a spa, bowling alley, ferris wheel, and you can swim or take a boat ride.

10. Have A Communist Tour Of Bucharest

The communist era has greatly impacted the modern history of Romania, which is still visible today. To learn more about communist Romania, you can take a guided communist tour of Bucharest. While visiting important landmarks and sights, like the Palace of the Parliament and Ceaușescu’s house, you will hear more about the communist past and how the leaders transformed Bucharest, and how the communist regime fell during the 1989 revolution.

11. Have A Lough At The Merry Cemetery Of Săpânţa

Loughing at a cemetary? Yes, you heard that right! The Merry Cemetery proves that you don’t always have to be in a graveyard mood when grieving for the death. In line with the local Dacian culture, at the remotely located Merry Cemetery colorful paintings and dark humor can be found on gravestones. The cultural philosophy is that death is not something indelibly solemn, but rather a moment of joy as one expects a better life for the immortal soul. The unusual place has made Săpânța village famous and the Merry Cemetery a popular open-air museum.

12. Stay At The Hotel Of Ice

Have you ever dreamed about sleeping in an iglo? Then you don’t have to go all the way to the north pole, as you can just book a night in the Hotel of Ice in the Făgăraș Mountains of Transylvania. Every year the hotel is rebuilt with a new design by local craftsmen, using bricks of ice from the nearby Balea Lake. The Hotel of Ice also has a restaurant and a magical church made of ice. The hotel stands at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level and can only be reached by a cable car.

13. Enjoy The Nightlife Of Bucharest’s Old Town

For the best nightlife, head to the Old Town of Bucharest, where you’ll find streets full of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It’s the most vibrant area with both locals and tourists hopping around from bar to bar. Romanians love to dress up and go out in style, so even if you don’t like partying or clubbing it’s worth strolling around the Old Town at night to absorbe the vibe. The area is also where you can find some of the best traditional restaurants and taste some of the best local craft beers and wines.

14. Visit The Berca Mud Volcanoes

The Berca Mud Volcanoes are a natural and geological phenomenon in Buzău County, about 2.5 hours outside Bucharest. Gases erupt from 3,000 meters deep through layers of clay and water, pushing up salty water and mud towards the surface. Bubbles pop up when the gas emerges and the mud dries up, creating the volcano-shaped structures of a few meters high. The mud and salty soil make vegetation around the volcanoes scarce and cause a strange and unique lunar landscape.

15. Visit A Vineyard For A Wine Tasting

Although many people don’t know, Romania is actually among the largest wine producing countries in the world. During communism wine production focused more on quantity than quality, which didn’t help Romania’s reputation when it comes to wine exports. A transition back to private hands and a growing know-how has considerably changed wine-making since the 2000s, and the entrance of Romania to the EU has also attracted more investments into modernizing the production facilities and a higher quality standard.

So if you love a glass of wine, you should definitely have a taste of some of the quality wines available. And what better way to do this than by visiting a vineyard or going on a wine tour?

16. Visit The Painted Churches Of Bucovina

In Suceava County in the historic Bucovina region, there are 8 churches that together form one of the Romanian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These orthodox churches were built in the 15th and 16th centuries and have earned their UNESCO listing for their unique style and unique external fresco paintings that refer to different religious themes.

17. Go Underground In The Scărișoara Ice Cave

The Scărișoara Ice Cave is the world’s largest underground glacier and has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Romania. The ice cave was formed 3,500 years ago and is located at an altitude of 1,150 meters above sea level in the Apuseni Mountains. Inside the cave you can see several rooms, over 100 stalagmites, and a frozen pool.

18. Go Back Memory Lane On A Steam Train Ride

Train enthusiast will be very happy in Romania as there are many beautiful tracks, but in the end nothing beats a ride on a real historic steam train. There are still a few steam train rides left in Romania, but the most famous one is the Mocăniță of Vișeu de Sus, in Maramureș County. The last forestry narrow gauge steam railway in Europe takes you on a 2-hour ride through the forests of the Vaser Valley and into the Carpathian Mountains. An unforgettable experience you can’t find anywhere else!

19. Indulge Yourself With Traditional Romanian Cuisine

Romanian cuisine has historically been strongly influenced by other countries like Turkey, Hungary and other Balkan countries, but most dishes have been strongly modified by using local herbs and spices. This has made the traditional Romanian food into a delicious blend of its own and any trip should include a taste of the mostly harty and comforting dishes.

Also read: 15 Traditional Romanian Foods To Try

20. Climb The Stairs Of The Seven Ladder Canyon

In the Piatra Mare Mountains, close to Brașov, a canyon has been carved in Jurassic limestone. A beautiful hike through the canyon will bring you along 7 waterfalls, with the tallest being around 35 meters high. The total trail takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete, with several metal stairs and platforms leading you along beautiful view points.

21. Visit The Volcanic Crater Lake Of Saint Ann

The mud volcanoes are not the only volcanic heritage you can find in Romania. In Harghita County in the Eastern Carpathians, you can find the extinct Ciomatu Mare volcano. Its crater has filled up with water and now forms Lake Saint Ann, the only crater lake in Romania. The purity of the water is extremely high, since its only supply is from precipitation. In the winter, the lake is covered with a thick layer of ice.

22. Watch Brown Bears In Europe’s Last Wilderness Reserve

Romania is definitely one of the best countries for wildlife watching as it has many vast and wild areas which are home to a wide variety of wildlife species. The animals can roam around freely in their natural habitat, which is why Romania is called Europe’s last wilderness reserve. The Capathian Mountains host around 6,000 brown bears, the largest population in Europe.

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