What comes to mind when you think of Romania? Wellness might not be top of the list, but between the country’s wealth of mineral hot springs, mountain-fresh air, dense forests and a sprawling Thermae spa complex in Bucharest, this country has developed something of a reputation for holistic travel. Whether you’re looking for steamy sauna sessions, elaborate spa rituals or just some time in nature, check out these – the best wellness retreats in Romania – to get some serious pampering.
Perched on the Sulina branch of the Danube, just inland from where Romania butts up against the Black Sea, Lebada is only accessible by boat – making it feel enticingly remote and coddled by nature. Home to over 300 species of bird, the idyllic, Unesco-protected landscapes of the Danube Delta are enough to make your shoulders unclench – and that’s before you even enter Lebada’s spa. Sauna, pool gym and detox programmes are available on-demand, along with exercise classes and tranquil outdoor activities such as kayaking.
Not far from Bucharest on the shores of Lake Snagov, this medi-spa has more to offer than just relaxing massages. Expert-designed nutrition plans, personalised therapy programmes and unique treatments – ranging from hydrotherapy to psychotherapy – aim to get you feeling your best and learning how to stay that way. Don’t think it’s sterile though – bedrooms, restaurants and public spaces have a relaxed, homely feel with classically upmarket furnishings.
If your idea of wellness is a day at the beach, look no further than Arena Regia, perched by creamy sands mere steps from the Black Sea. Catch rays, then cool off in one of the pools – a small outdoor one lined in loungers, or a larger indoor number with Romanesque columns – before making for the spa. Skin-softening hammams; synchronised four hands massages and contouring Elemis facials leave you feeling refreshed, ready for another big day at the beach.
Nestled in northern Romania – a region better known as Transylvania – among forested hills, this regal resort feels miles from big-city living (and yet, the charming city of Cluj-Napoca is just a 30-minute drive away). SunGarden is as big on activities – including tennis, football, cycling, fishing and golf – as it is spa time, making this place ideal for busy couples who can’t sit still. With an array of pools, hammams and saunas, the thermal spa has enough to occupy a full afternoon of relaxation, perfect following a long day’s hiking.
Just an hour south of medieval Brasov – a Transylvanian city with rainbow-painted buildings and cobbled alleyways – Lux Garden brings a dose of the modern spa lifestyle to this historic region. A ski lodge atmosphere prevails, which is appropriate given Lux Garden’s location adjacent to the slopes. The wealth of spa treatments and pools, as well as a modern fitness centre, make this a luxurious place to spend a few days. Rooms are classic in feel, dressed in burgundy and green, and a piano bar is on hand for an indulgent evening nightcap before hitting the sheets.
Home to wolves, brown bears and wild boars, the wild vistas of the Carpathian mountains – specifically, the rugged Rodnei Mountains National Park – are at your fingertips when you check into Nord Hotel. Spend your days breathing in the fresh air and unwinding in the epic natural surrounds, hiking past glacial lakes or horseback riding on spectacular trails. Return to lap around the pool, sweat it out in the steam room or relax in a salt chamber.
With moody lighting, furry throws and panelled wood floors, the bedrooms at Balvanyos have a cosy, glamorous lodge vibe, making this resort feel just as lovely under a blanket of snow as it does in high summer. With four-bedroom apartments on offer, it’s a great pick for families or groups of friends looking to take advantage of the 2,000sqm (21,500sqft) spa – complete with hydromassage pools, salt room and relaxation areas (plus a dedicated kids pool).
This place takes its greenery seriously. Not only is Forest Retreat & spa set amid the Romanian countryside, four hours west of Bucharest, but it fetches the outdoors inside with a garden relaxation area, complete with living wall and forest aromas. The rest of the spa is just as epic, with pools, thermal suites and reiki energy healing, while the bedrooms, designed for couples, feature their own spin on the great outdoors with lime-hued throw pillows and blankets.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Roxana Coman.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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.