Years ago, not many Romanians would have used Alba Iulia in the same sentence with ‘city break’. But of late, the historic city’s profile has risen and so has the number of visitors. Poised to become Romania‘s first smart city, Alba Iulia has plenty of things to see and do. Here is our top 10!
Visit the 18th-century Vauban-type Alba Carolina fortress, by entering one of its seven majestic gates. It takes around two hours to walk from one end to the other, and discover at leisure the many hidden paths and corridors, ponds with golden fish and elevated areas offering panoramic views. For a colourful experience, make sure to arrive before noon, in order to witness the spectacular change of guard. Located in the middle of the citadel, Framm’s cafe offers a great selection of drinks and doubles as a gallery, attracting locals and tourists alike with a great art selection.
Alba Iulia is the place where the union of Transylvania with Romania was voted on December 1, 1918, today Romania’s national day. The room where the voting took place, the Union Hall, is a popular attraction, especially as the centenary of the Great Union is approaching.
In Alba Iulia, everyone loves a good costume. So when visiting, do as the locals do and make sure to join when possible, the many re-enactments of old historic happenings. Choose from the popular Dacian and Roman confrontations, the times of the peasant revolutions or the time when Romania was ruled by kings and queens.
The prison cells of Horea and Crișan
Pay your respects to peasant revolutionaries Horea and Crișan, a symbol of resilience for many Romanians. The cell where Horea was kept is located inside the Alba Carolina fortress, inside gate three. Crișan’s cell was included in an obelisk dedicated to the three revolutionaries, Horea, Cloșca and Crișan.
A city with a rich historic past, Alba Iulia also hosts the cathedral where King Ferdinand and Queen Marie were sworn in as monarchs of Greater Romania, in 1922.
St. Michael’s Cathedral
The Catholic cathedral is located on the opposite side from the Coronation Cathedral. Built in 1009, it is the oldest and longest Roman Catholic cathedral in the country. The tomb of statesman Iancu de Hunedoara, who died in 1456, is located here.
Make friends with the statues
The fortress is full of bronze cast inhabitants, caught in different instances of their long lives so for lasting memories, snap away.
Visit on December 1
One of the best times to visit Alba Iulia is on December 1, when local authorities as well as the public are celebrating the Great Union with ceremonies, music and of course, street food.
Stop by in 2018
Those visiting in 2018, will enjoy the benefits of being in a smart city. By 2018, the pilot project that will see Alba Iulia become the first smart city in Romania is expected to be completed.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.