The 42 Most Beautiful Spots in Romania

| © Sorin Colac / Alamy Stock Photo
Courtney Stanley

Romania is a country packed with well-preserved history. The culture, iconic landmarks and beautiful landscapes make it a fantastic travel destination. Here are the best spots to go.

1. Danube Delta


Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, Romania | © salajean/Shutterstock
| © salajean/Shutterstock

Due to its outstanding biodiversity and complex history, the Danube Delta is nothing short of a world treasure. Home to over 300 bird species, the waterway is the largest continuous marshland in Europe and features the greatest stretch of reed beds in the world. Lying on the Black Sea coast in Tulcea County in eastern Romania, it stretches between the rivers Chilia, Sulina and Sfântu Gheorghe, as well as the Razelm-Sinoie system of lakes. It is the second largest delta on the continent, hosting 12 types of habitats. A true paradise for nature lovers, the Danube Delta is home to charming villages like Sfântul Gheorghe (home of a famous film festival and a culinary hotspot). Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

2. The Sphinx and Babele

Natural Feature

Located in the Bucegi Mountains, the Sphinx and Babele are two regularly visited natural rock formations. Created by wind and rain, the formations are located about a 10-minute walk from one another at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters. The Sphinx was discovered around 1900. However, it acquired its name, which refers to the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt, in 1936 when it was first recognised as a lookalike from a certain angle. Babele, which translates to ‘the old woman’, is the name for the mushroom-shaped formations. The Sphinx and Babele can be reached by cable car from Busteni, by car, or by foot.

3. Painted churches of Moldavia

Architectural Landmark

Unesco-listed, the painted churches of Moldavia, in northern Romania, are considered unique masterpieces of Byzantine art. Their interior and exterior walls are covered in exquisite, brightly coloured frescos dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Depicting biblical scenes, such as portraits of saints, the life of Jesus and the final judgement, the paintings were meant to make the teachings of the bible more accessible to the village people, who did not have access to the bible. Also, due to the fact that the churches were too small to accommodate the large number of worshippers, patrons would congregate along the outer walls, and the paintings would keep them connected to the religious ceremony taking place inside.

All eight painted churches, Arbore, Moldovița, Humor, Pătrăuți, Probota, Suceava, Voroneț and Sucevița, are open to visitors. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe.

4. Peles Castle

Architectural Landmark

Photo by Majkl Velner on Unsplash

This exceptional example of Neo-Renaissance architecture is one of the top attractions in the country. Decorated with ornate stonework, sculpted wood, and stained-glass windows, the castle is at once charming and intimidating from its spot against the panoramic views of the Carpathian Mountains. King Carol I constructed this castle at the end of the 19th century as a summer home. Today, the fabulous structure serves as a museum, showing off a collection of artwork, armor, and weaponry. Explore the 160 rooms and the terrace gardens on a guided tour through the castle.

5. Cluj-Napoca

Church, Museum, University

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash
Cluj-Napoca is a young and modern city located in Transylvania. The second-largest city in Romania is also home to the country’s largest student population, and it is the unofficial capital of Transylvania’s historical region. It is home to Romanian arts and cultural centers and houses The National Museum of Art. This museum holds a large collection of Romanian artwork. The city, which dates back to the country’s 2nd century CE Dacian settlement, is filled with historic sights. There is a large range of sights, from the Baroque architecture to the 14th-century Gothic St Michael’s Church, which contains the country’s tallest church tower.

6. Palace of Culture, Iași

Architectural Landmark

Visit the city of Iasi to find the beautiful Neo-Gothic building that houses Romania’s Palace of Culture. With 298 rooms throughout its 390,000 square feet, the building houses four museums. These museums are the Science and Technology Museum, the Ethnography Museum of Moldavia, the Art Museum, and the Moldavia’s History Museum. The Palace of Culture was built between 1906 and 1925 to replace the ruins of the old Royal Court of Moldavia, which dated back to 1434. Before the museums moved in, the building served as the Administrative and Justice Palace. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments.

7. Bran Castle

Archaeological site, Building, Museum, Historical Landmark

Photo by Nomadic Julien on Unsplash
The strong but elegant Bran Castle, which dates back to 1377, is one of Romania’s top destinations. This is mainly because of its associations with a certain vampire – the medieval hilltop castle has been marketed as Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula’s castle. Unfortunately, the claim to fame may be misleading because several other castles in the country have linked themselves to Stoker’s famous vampire. The castle sits on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia and is open as a museum showing art and furniture collected by Queen Marie, who called the castle home in 1920.

8. Transalpina

Architectural Landmark

Photo by Adelin Grigorescu on Unsplash

Take a scenic drive on the Transalpina, or the DN67C, a curvy alpine road that cuts through the Parâng Mountains in Romania’s Southern Carpathians. It is one of the highest roads in the country, and locals have called it the King’s Road or Devil’s Pathway. Urdele Pass is the highest point on the road, with an elevation of 2,145 meters above sea level. The road travels between Novaci and Sebes, running through four counties. Stunning mountain views are guaranteed along the Transalpina.

9. The Red Ravine

Natural Feature

Photo by Tudor's Artistic on Unsplash

The Red Ravine, or Râpa Rosie, is a breathtaking geological reserve in the southwest of the Secaselor Plateau, near the city of Sebes. Erosion runoff has caused the distinct sharp appearance of the mountainside, and the 800-meter-long wall is almost completely vertical, reaching heights between 50 and 125 meters. The area’s red quality comes from the formation of gravel, quartz sands, and sandstones. During the rainy season, deep ravines form and the Râpa Rosie River flows nearby.

10. Sarmizegetusa Regia

Natural Feature

Photo by Theo Onic on Unsplash
Unesco-listed, the six Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains, located in Transylvania’s Hunedoara and Alba counties, were once the nucleus of the Dacian Kingdom. Built between the first century BC and first century AD, they formed a defensive ring around the Dacian capital, Sarmizegetusa Regia. Exhibiting an original mix of religious and military building techniques, they show a picture of a rich, vigorous and advanced civilisation that enjoyed a surprisingly high standard of living. For instance, despite living on a mountain plateau at an elevation of 1,200 metres (3,900 feet), the inhabitants of Sarmizegetusa Regia used a water distribution system built with ceramic pipes. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

11. Sighisoara

Architectural Landmark

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Located in Mures County in the historic area of Transylvania, Sighisoara is a well-preserved medieval walled town. During the 12th century, it was founded by German craftsmen and merchants. The Unesco World Heritage site is filled with narrow cobbled streets, colorful houses, and soaring towers. The most prominent of which is the 64-meter-high Clock Tower that was built in 1556. The city is also known as the birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler, who served as the inspiration for the fictional character Count Dracula. The best time to visit is during the annual medieval festival in July.

12. Sibiu

Historical Landmark

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

In 2007, Sibiu was named the European Capital of Culture, and it won’t disappoint. The Brukenthal Art Museum has a fantastic display of Romanian artwork, and the ASTRA Museum of Folk Civilisation is an open-air museum with more than 300 historically designed wooden houses, churches, and workshops. The city also has three theatres, a philharmonic orchestra, and hosts an annual festival of performing arts. Sibiu is filled with parks, galleries, and beautiful churches. The city won the title of ‘Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live’ by Forbes in 2008.

13. Wooden Churches of Maramureș

Architectural Landmark

With their elegant tall towers and massive roofs, the wooden churches of Maramureș stand out among neighbouring buildings and embody an architectural style that has long since passed. Built between the 17th and 19th centuries, they were a solution for the followers of the Christian Orthodox faith, who were prohibited from building stone churches, a rule imposed by the Catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities. The churches’ interiors are now adorned with beautiful biblical scenes painted by local artists, while the walls and windows highlight the craftsmanship of woodcarvers. Out of the approximately 100 churches still standing, eight were included on the world heritage list in 1999 and are open to visitors: They are Bârsana, Desești, Plopiș, Budești, Ieud, Rogoz, Poienile Izei and Șurdești. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

14. Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians

Natural Feature, Park

Romania’s second natural site that received world heritage status is a shared one. Spanning over 12 European countries, the site celebrates the important natural heritage of the European beech tree, which spread across the continent in a matter of a few thousand years. The site is located in the Carpathians and includes 10 massifs (compact groups of mountains) that start from the Rakhiv Mountains in Ukraine and end in the Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia. In addition, the primeval beech sites in Germany are located in five different places throughout the country. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

15. Horezu Monastery

Architectural Landmark

One of the most important religious sites in Romania, Horezu Monastery was built in 1690 in Vâlcea County by Prince of Wallachia Constantin Brâncoveanu. Brâncoveanu is considered an important historical figure and is remembered for the rich cultural relics he left behind, such as religious and laic (non-clerical) buildings. Featuring an original combination of local Neo-Byzantine architectural styles with influences of the Italian Renaissance, the monasteries are seen today as representatives of the Brâncovenesc style. The Horezu Monastery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993, due to the intricate craftsmanship of its works of art and sculptures, as well as the outstanding treatment of its religious compositions. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

16. Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania


Photo by virgil maierean on Unsplash
Another major symbol of the Saxon cultural heritage in Transylvania, the villages with fortified churches were a unique result of very particular historic circumstances. Today they are an open-air medieval museum to teach visitors about architecture built between the 13th and 16th centuries by the Saxon community. At the time, the Saxons had a privileged status within the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Because they were built on various migration routes, the villages were constantly exposed to invaders searching for grains and other valuable goods. In response, the locals fortified the churches, usually built in the middle of the villages, with protective walls and dedicated chambers that would host a large number of villagers and their goods. Out of Unesco’s seven villages with fortified churches, the most spectacular ones are in Biertan, Viscri, Prejmer and Valea Viilor. But the others in Câlnic, Dârjiu and Saschiz are equally worthy of a visit. Recommended by Georgeta Gheorghe

The Most Romantic Places in Romania

17. Brukenthal Palace

Boutique Hotel

Transylvania’s ‘Garden of Eden’, Brukenthal Palace in Avrig is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic ambience in an 18th-century décor. Former summer residence of the Brukenthal baron, Bruckenthal Palace boasts the only Baroque Park in Transylvania and a marvellous Orangery, today a glamorous guesthouse. The location features a garden café and a restaurant where romantic candlelight dinners can be organized. Spoil yourself with gorgeous dishes, in a seductive location. Recommended by Roxana Coman

18. Brașov

Architectural Landmark

Photo by Zoltan Rakottyai on Unsplash

Brașov is a city of wonders and stunning views. In Brasov, the city meets the nature, creating amazing sceneries. Settled in the foothills of the Tâmpa Hill, the city surprises with its centuries-old Remparts, its small streets decorated with libraries, restaurants, cafes and museums and its extraordinary Gothic Church. Nevertheless, the panoramic views are unrivalled. Take the cable car to Tâmpa Hill and be ready to be fascinated. Don’t miss either the picturesque Rope Street and the lovely Rope Street Museum, its tasty cupcakes and handmade souvenirs. Recommended by Roxana Coman

19. Târgu Jiu

Architectural Landmark

Lying in the foothills of the Carpathians, Târgu Jiu is a beautiful city from Oltenia region, housing some masterpieces of the modern sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. In the Constantin Brâncuși park, just next to the Jiu River, couples stop under the Kiss Gate to mark their love. On the gate’s columns, two half circles stand as a symbol of the kiss, of the two halves that form one soul. If you visit with your lover, don’t pass under without kissing each other. Recommended by Roxana Coman

20. Cantacuzino Castle

Archaeological site, Historical Landmark

One of the hidden gems of Romania, the Cantacuzino Castle located in Bușteni is an elegant place, where romance is mixed with history and classy events. The 20th-century building was erected by Gheorghe Cantacuzino, former prime minister of Romania. Today, the castle and its gardens house a restaurant, a souvenir shop, art galleries and a majestic ballroom hall, creating a romantic atmosphere through its exquisite decorations. Whether you choose just to visit, to take part in one of the classical music events, or to celebrate your marriage day inside, the Cantacuzino Castle will entrance you. Recommended by Roxana Coman

21. Oradea

Architectural Landmark

One of Romania’s most beautiful cities, Oradea’s Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture will surely catch your eye. The majestic buildings invite to be discovered on an evening walk when small lights give a romantic note to the atmosphere. Near the city, you can spoil yourself in the luxurious spas. The area is well known for its thermal waters, recognized internationally for their therapeutical effects. You can spend your day in the swimming pool, getting a relaxing massage and enjoying a laidback time. Recommended by Roxana Coman

22. Viscri

Natural Feature

Photo by Lucas Sandor on Unsplash
A small village in southern Transylvania,Viscri is an authentic destination, a unique mix of Saxon heritage, beautiful houses, warm people and a royal touch. The bucolic setting is ideal for those who want to spend some quality time in a century-old village adorned with quaint houses. Recommended by Roxana Coman

23. Gura Portiței


The sandy beaches of the Black Sea could not be left off a list of Romania’s romantic places. Its seaside resorts offer everything, from fancy beaches to hipster resorts to the Black Sea’s biggest port. But in Gura Portitei you will discover a true treasure of the seaside. White sandy beaches, a crystalline water and a calming ambience. Either you choose a rustic guesthouse, a modern hotel or just camping on the beach, it’s the perfect seashore retreat. Recommended by Roxana Coman

24. Cheile Nerei

Natural Feature

Part of a natural reservation, Nerei Gorges exhibits a wholesome nature. More than 600 species of plants and trees create a natural shelter, a place to get lost in the wondrous forests, to admire its blue lakes and the awe-inspiring Bigăr Waterfall. A place to explore, to capture the beauty of the mountains and to let yourself be surprised by nature’s wonders. Recommended by Roxana Coman

Underrated Destinations in Romania

25. Arad

Architectural Landmark

Situated in the west of Romania, Arad is a picturesque city boasting impressive Art Nouveau and eclectic architecture, left over from the Austrian-Hungarian occupation period. Not as popular as Timișoara and yet a big city in western Romania, Arad is certainly worth a visit. Not to mention the outstanding 250 year-old star-shaped Vauban citadel, surrounded by the Mures River, which still shelters a military garrison. Recommended by Roxana Coman

26. Piatra Neamț

Architectural Landmark

While Iași is the cultural capital of the Moldova region, Piatra Neamț is a much less touristy city, despite its attractiveness. Nevertheless, Piatra Neamț is a beautiful city, bound in the west by the Carpathian Mountains. Wherever you look, astounding scenery opens before your eyes. Still, there’s no better place to capture the surroundings than the Princely Court’s belfry, where you can catch breathtaking views of Iași and Bistrita Valley. Recommended by Roxana Coman

27. Craiova

Architectural Landmark

One of Romania’s underrated cities, Craiova is not among the first cities one would visit in Romania. Yet, the city centre boasts an array of superb buildings erected in Brâncovenesc style, the only national architectural style. Some fine examples are the Madona Dudu Church, the Mântuleasca Church and the building housing the Ethnography Museum of Oltenia. Recommended by Roxana Coman

28. Hoghilag

Architectural Landmark

A charming Saxon village, Hoghilag is the land of tuberoses. Grown by the villagers for centuries, the tuberoses are not only enchanting with their scent and beauty, but they also lure visitors during the Tuberose Festival. Used for perfumes or for particular recipes, the tuberoses are nowadays a symbol of Hoghilag. As in every Saxon village, the houses are aligned along the main road, while the Gothic fortified church dominates the village’s centre. Recommended by Roxana Coman

29. Măgura

Architectural Landmark

An unspoiled village in the Piatra Craiului Mountains, Măgura village is situated at 1,000 meters (3,280 ft.) high, untouched by modern technologies. Filled with marvellous landscapes and a restful stillness, the village is perfect if you want to discover the traditional way of life, wander in nature or bike ride. And if you plan to stay longer, you can get a room in one of the villager’s guesthouses. Recommended by Roxana Coman

30. Mălâncrav

Architectural Landmark

Boasting the largest Saxon population in Transylvania, Mălâncrav is a picturesque remote village with a long-lasting Saxon heritage. The village’s fortified church exhibits the largest Gothic fresco that survived the religious reform, showcasing 53 scenes from the Old and the New Testament. Next to it stands the old mansion that belonged to the noble Apafi family, today transformed into a vintage guesthouse. Recommended by Roxana Coman

31. Săvârșin

Architectural Landmark

A small traditional village, Săvârșin is surrounded by beautiful views of the Metaliferi Mountains. The picturesque village shelters a charming little castle belonging to Romania’s royal family, where they spend every Christmas holiday. Nowadays, it can be visited when the royal family is not present. Recommended by Roxana Coman

32. Ciucaș Mountains

Natural Feature

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

Much smaller in surface than other mountains of Romania, the Ciucaș Mountains exhibit amazing views and are one of Romania’s underrated gems. The wild landscapes and curious rock formations like the Babele la Sfat (Old Ladies’s Council), Mâna Dracului (Devil’s Hand), Turnul lui Goliat (Goliat’s Tower) create unique landscapes, sprinkled with pristine forests and a great diversity of protected fauna and flora. Recommended by Roxana Coman

33. Ceahlău Mountains

Natural Feature

Photo by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

While the locals love to hike in the Ceahlău Mountains, the more touristic Făgăraș, Retezat or Apuseni mountains remain the favourite spots of foreign travellers. But if you like going off the beaten path, Ceahlău Mountains are a great destination, mainly for hikers. Sprinkled with thick forests, rare plants like the bog rosemary or the Edelweiss, amazing landscapes and quaint attractions like the ‘Polița cu Crini’ Natural reserve, the Duruitoarea Waterfall or the Ocolașul Mare peak, standing at 1,907 meters (6,256 ft) high, the Ceahlău Mountains are the ideal destination for nature-lovers. Recommended by Roxana Coman

34. Măcin Mountains

Natural Feature

Romania’s oldest and lowest mountains, the Măcin Mountains display a rich fauna and flora. Looking more like some hills, peaking at 467 meters (1,532 ft), the Măcin Mountains are great for hiking, cycling or horseback riding. If you go hiking, don’t miss the Pricopan Heights; and don’t be surprised if you encounter a turtle along the way. Recommended by Roxana Coman

Off-the-Beaten-Path Romanian Villages

35. Gărâna

Architectural Landmark

A small village in the Banat region, Gărâna is a village with German roots. Founded in 1828 by the German colonists who arrived in the Banat region, the village is the smallest one in the country. Yet, it is the host of the most enduring jazz festival in Central and Eastern Europe, Gărâna Jazz Festival, gathering thousands of people that go to enjoy live concerts in a bucolic setting. Recommended by Roxana Coman

36. Cireșoaia

Architectural Landmark

Cireșoaia is literally the village of cherries. Dating back to the 13th century, Cireșoaia belonged to one of the most powerful noble families in the region, the Apafi family. Since the 17th century, a Szekler community has settled in the village, and nowadays the majority of the population speaks Hungarian. In summer, the families in the area organize the Cherry Festival, where tens of local varieties can be tasted, coming straight from their cherry orchards. Recommended by Roxana Coman

37. Sic

Architectural Landmark

A remote village north of Cluj-Napoca, Sic is a picturesque village where you can wander around while enjoying its stillness. The village‘s Dance Museum features exhibitions of traditional clothes, musical instruments, furniture, and photos from the local celebrations. Right next to the village, you can explore the Transylvanian Delta, an area covered in floating reeds. Recommended by Roxana Coman

38. Enisala

Architectural Landmark

A traditional village in Dobrogea region, Enisala is scattered with white houses having reed-made roofs, small swamps, and surrounded by views of the sea and the nearby lakes. Thanks to its position, close to the Black Sea, the village was filled with Genovese merchants during the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, they built the Enisala citadel next to the village, which became a significant military, economic, and cultural center. Its ruins can be seen up to today. Recommended by Roxana Coman

39. Sârbi

Architectural Landmark

Located in the traditional region of Maramureș, Sârbi is a secluded village hiding some local gems. A place where modern technology hasn’t yet replaced the traditional crafts, Sârbi is the village where you can wash clothes in a vâltoare, an ancestor of the whirlpool, also used to thicken wool textiles, as well as a copper still for distilling the local brandy, horincă. Moreover, the village is sprinkled with the traditional wooden gates, welcoming people, and talented artisans. Recommended by Roxana Coman

40. Sâncraiu

Architectural Landmark

Located in the Călata Folk Region, Sâncraiu is a village where you can enjoy vivid traditional events and celebrations. Willing to promote their culture and traditions, the locals organize guided tours of the village and horseback riding tours in its surroundings. Moreover, cultural manifestations such as “Pine Bud Picking” in May, “International Kalotaszeg Folk Music and Dance Camp,” in July or the Grape Harvest Festival in October are organized all year long to promote the local heritage. Recommended by Roxana Coman

41. Charlotenburg

Architectural Landmark

A unique village in the Banat region, Charlottenburg is the only round village in Romania. Founded by Swabians in the 18th century, the off-the-beaten-track village displays houses, stables, and barns that form a perfect circle. Moreover, everything is symmetric: all the houses have the same height and the same distance in-between them. Recommended by Roxana Coman

42. Văratec

Architectural Landmark

A charming village in Moldova region, Văratec houses the largest convent in Romania. More than 400 nuns live in the village and inside its monastery. But what’s truly incredible about this monastic village is that all the magnificent houses were entirely built and maintained by the nuns. Recommended by Roxana Coman

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