Cultural riches and beautiful landscapes make Romania a fantastic travel destination, a real delight for both mind and soul. This lesser known destination in Eastern Europe is packed with unique and impressive places to visit and since there’s little information out there few travelers know where to start.
That’s why we prepared a small list with suggestions on the best places to visit in Romania – so check it out:
Turda Salt Mine
To be able to admire the first attraction on this list, you’ll need to get a jacket and go underground. Thousands of years old, the Turda Salt Mine near Cluj-Napoca is now more full of energy and glow than ever. Since its renovation in 1998, the place has been visited by 2.7 million people from all over the world.
The Salt Mine is a harmonious blend between natural components such as the huge grottos and corridors carved in salt and minimalist but modern design elements such as light installations that give the entire place a magical feeling. The wood balconies which unfold under the ceiling offer an extraordinary perspective on the entire mine. As a modern touch, there are elevators going up and down to make certain areas more accessible, but nothing compares to climbing the big, salty stairs in order to really understand the energy of the place.
Besides its fascinating views, impressive history, and the well-known therapeutic wonders, Turda Salt Mine is also fitted with an underground amusement park. Here you can have fun while also taking your health dose: discover new sights while going on a ride on the Ferris wheel, play mini-golf, bowling, billiard or ping pong, or even explore the underground lake by boat rides.
Charming city of Sibiu
Just one and a half hour away from Turda Salt Mine, Sibiu is a hard-to-forget city you should visit while in Romania and a great base from where you can do many tours in Transylvania. Ranked 8th among the most beautiful locations in Europe in a top published by FORBES and known for its architectural beauty, rich history and cultural scene, Sibiu surpassed even Rome, the capital city of Italy, in the US magazine’s ranking. Only by visiting you will be able to decide if there is any truth to this bold comparison.
The first documented mention of the city was in 1191, when it was registered as Cibinium (also the name of the river crossing it). The city was colonized during the 12th century by Saxons settlers coming from the Rheine-Moselle area in Germany. Basically, the story of Sibiu can easily start with Once upon a time …and there is no better expression for a city which looks and feels like it’s from a fairytale.
Sibiu has the largest medieval urban ensemble in Romania. High walls and ancient defense towers, large open squares and impressive residential or public buildings: they are all part of Romania’s medieval heritage.
The city is also home to the oldest museum in Romania. During 1777-1778, a Baroque palace was built as home for a wealthy merchant and patron of arts, Baron Samuel von Brukenthal. After his death his home was transformed into the first Romanian museum in the area which can be also be visited today. However, the symbol of the city is definitely the Bridge of Lies which you can find in Small Square. Be warned – the bridge is the kind of tourist attraction that persuades you to visit a place just by looking at a picture!
The fairy-tale Clay Castle
The third destination on this list looks as if someone took it straight out of a child’s story, as belongs in the realm of Fairytale Valley. Just 40 kilometers from Sibiu at the base of Fagaras Mountains, you will find a castle made of clay which promises to take you back to a world where anything is possible.
From the outside, the castle looks as if it was built with bare hands. The walls are made of a mixture of clay, sand and hay and are plastered with a special material which allows them to breathe. The creativity of five renowned architects was needed in order to achieve this vision, but in the end the effort was worth it. In the future the castle will open its doors as a guesthouse but until then visitors can admire its exterior and walk its peaceful grounds.
The fourth attraction was publicly praised as the most beautiful driving road in the world by Top Gear. Transfagarasan is a road that connects the South of Romania with Transylvania going straight across the Fagaras Mountains through five different tunnels.
The landscape is stunning, and the differences in level pose a challenge for both cars and drivers. Due to weather conditions and safety measures, Transfagarasan is only open for a few months a year starting in July and ending October. Other tourist attractions that can be visited on the road are Vidraru Lake and Dam, one of the largest in Europe, Poenari Fortress (built during the time of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula), Balea Glacier Lake and Balea Waterfall.
The Danube Delta
What better way to end your journey through Romania than by visiting a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site? The Danube Delta is also described as a birds’ paradise, being one of the most vast wetlands in the world. The Danube River plays the role of the main actor by creating a natural home for nearly 5.500 species of flora and fauna.
This unique place is great for birdwatching as more than 300 species of migratory and resident birds, including egretes, eagles, vultures, geese, cranes, ibises, cormorants, pelicans and swans can be spotted. Located on the 45th parallel, the Danube Delta makes for a perfect stopping-off point between the Equator and the North Pole for millions of migratory birds. Going on boat rides and visiting traditional fishermen villages are other popular activities you should consider.