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23 Things to Do in Romania in 2024: Popular, Cool and Unique!

23 Things to Do in Romania in 2024: Popular, Cool and Unique!

There are so many things to do in Romania and places to visit - but most tourists have no idea where to start! Most people come with low or no expectations about our country because it's still one of the lesser-known tourist destinations in Eastern Europe.

But they soon realize it’s a beautiful holiday destination with friendly people, lots of tourist attractions and cool things to do! So put Romania on your 2024 bucket list and use this article for inspiration!

What is Romania known for? In this article we'll look at:

  1. famous tourist cities such as Bucharest, Brasov or Sibiu
  2. popular attractions such as the Palace of Parliament, Bran Castle, Corvin Castle, Peleş Castle, Transfagarasan Highway and UNESCO World Heritage sites
  3. tourist regions known for their cultural heritage: Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina

But besides the usual touristy places to visit, we’re also going to tell you where to go and what to do so you have an authentic local experience of Romanian culture, for example:

  • how to experience the traditional rural life our country is famous for
  • why our wooden churches, painted monasteries and fortified churches are more than spiritual places
  • best places to try local cuisine
  • why a visiting a merry cemetery is a good idea

And, finally, there are some unique things to do in Romania such as:

  1. seeing wild animals and brown bears... in the wild!
  2. visiting a haunted forest filled with mysterious legends
  3. exploring the incredible Danube Delta

The list is long because our country is BIG with many things to do :) but if you're wondering - our personal favourites are 5, 8, 12, 14, 17 and 19.

Before we start, if you're looking for practical info check our guide on how to visit Romania for the first time or the best time to visit.

1. Visit Dracula's Castle aka Bran Castle

Of all the remarkable places to visit in Romania, Bran Castle remains the most popular with international tourists and by far one of the most famous castles in our country. Although this Transylvanian castle was an important medieval fortress and home to Romania's Queen Marie, it's far better known for one fictional resident: the vampire Count Dracula.

Honestly, nobody's sure how much Bram Stoker was inspired by Bran Castle or Vlad the Impaler who is one of the most famous people from Romania… but that hasn't stopped Hollywood movie fans and tourists renaming it to "Dracula's Castle."

This is the #1 tourist attraction in Romania so brace yourself for crowds of tourists... Bran Castle turned into a tacky place with cheap Dracula souvenirs, low-quality wines, chocolate and so on.

Lots of tours and non-Romanian travel guides will give you made-up Dracula stories too. But if you’re looking for the real history of the castle, Vlad the Impaler's life and even info about Poenari Castle - then our guides will do that.

Dating back to the 13th century, Bran Castle was built to protect the nearby city of Brașov and the Carpathian crossing into Transylvania from foreign invaders. There are four floors and 57 rooms tourists can explore. Each room is full of historic furniture, armour and clothing - so anyone passionate about medieval history will have a good time here!

2. Romania's most beautiful castle: Peleș Castle

If Bran Castle speaks of Romania's medieval heritage, then Peles Castle in Sinaia is a symbol of our short-lived royal family. It was built in the late 19th century at the orders of King Carol, the first Romanian king, to serve as summer residence for Romania's royal family.

The castle was built in neo-Renaissance architecture with beautiful stained glass windows and was considered an engineering masterpiece for its time. There are 160 rooms in total for guests to explore over 2 floors, with art works you'd find in art galleries, impressive crystal chandeliers and an armoury with pieces dating back to the 15h century.

During the communist regime (1947-1989) it was untouched which means it's well preserved - and worth adding to your plan. Be sure to check out Pelisor Castle nearby, the little brother.

A personal favorite of ours, Peleş castle is one of the best castles in Romania. A good guide can tell you how in the span of 100 years 3 distinct principalities under foreign domination united into a democratic, flourishing monarchy that was eventually overthrown by communist dictatorship in 1944.

3. A Gothic Masterpiece in Brasov: The Black Church

If you’re planning to visit Bran Castle - a stop in Brasov's Old Town is a must. The city is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Romania. It's famous for its charming, well-preserved medieval atmosphere surrounded by mountains.

The city’s iconic landmark is the Black Church which is also a great example of medieval German-Saxon architecture. This imposing Gothic church finished in 1477 is not just one of Romania's top attractions but it also serves as the largest place of worship for Lutherans.

The Black Church is hard to miss on a walking tour through the Old Town area of Brasov. Towering over the main square and imposing from afar, inside you'll find many impressive Romanian artifacts including a huge mechanical organ, a wide array of Oriental carpets, and an intricately carved pulpit dating back to the late 1600s.

There are lots of things to do in Brasov, arguably one of the most visited cities in Southeastern Europe and known as Romania's 'darling city'.

There are lots of things to do in Brasov county: medieval castles in Romania (Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress [currently closed for restoration], Peles Castle, Rupea Fortress, Sighisoara Citadel), go hiking or on wildlife trips. It’s a great city to use as a base for 3 days during your trip to Romania.

4. Discover the cultural heritage of Sibiu

One of the best things to do in Transylvania is to visit the famous city of Sibiu.

With significant Saxon influences, an aristocratic air to it and a vibrant cultural scene, Sibiu competes with Brasov as Romania's top tourist destination. Even if I've been in both many times, it's hard to pick my favorite :)

Sibiu's Old Town with its Lower Town and Upper Town is an architectural delight with many cultural sights, artisan shops and chic cafes. Make sure you have enough time to walk - or get lost - on its streets!

The Brukenthal National Museum is housed in an elegant building in the Large Square, the heart of its Old Town. Originally the residence of an 18th century aristocrat of Saxon descent (and rich art collector) named Samuel von Brukenthal who lived in Sibiu.

Brukenthal opened the doors to his home in the early 1800s to share his art collection with the community as he was a big fan of educating the masses. Today the Brukenthal National Museum in the city center is an important tourist attraction in Romania and cultural hotspot.

In contrast, the open-air museum Astra Traditional Folk and Civilisation Museum received 3 Michelin stars for the amazing cultural experience it offers as an ethnographic museum. Over 400 houses from all over Romania and "rural technology" will show you why the Romanian village is at the heart of our culture, literature and national spirit.

With an airport served by many low cost flights from all over Europe and conveniently located in the heart of the country, there are lots things to do in Sibiu. Popular attractions such as Corvin Castle, Sighisoara Citadel and the fortified churches of Transylvania, or Transfagarasan Highway are nearby so this is a perfect place for a city break in Romania.

Now, let's switch gears:

5. Go hiking in the wild Carpathian Mountains

55% of Romania's territory is occupied by the Carpathian Mountains starting from foothills of 800m high and reaching 2,554m at their highest point called Moldoveanu Peak. So our country is not only an amazing - and undiscovered - hiking destination but also a great place for mountaineering adventures, wildlife watching and all outdoor activities (MTB, via ferrata, enduro trails, camping, canyoning).

The Romanian Carpathians offer a wide variety of trails for everyone, from city folk looking to be out in nature, to amateur hikers and experienced mountaineers looking for a challenge.

Lots of natural attractions too: the Babele and Sphinx in Bucegi Mountains, Zarnesti Gorges, Turda Gorges, Fundatura Ponorului, 7 Stairs Canyon, as well as many waterfalls, glacial lakes and caves. And 12 peaks over 2,500m waiting to be summited :)

Best part? You'll discover untouched sceneries and traditional mountain villages untouched by civilization. You'll disconnect fully - which is why I think it's one of the best things to do in Romania and one of my favourites :)

But because Romania's Carpathian Mountains are so wild and undiscovered - tourist hiking infrastructure is severely underdeveloped and unfriendly even for locals! Check our guide for hiking in Romania to find out how to plan your trip, why you should hire a licensed mountain guide to stay safe and where to go.

6. Romania’s most famous natural site: the Danube Delta

OK - every country has castles, churches and Old Towns. But how many countries with a Delta do you know of?

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Danube Delta is an amazing place to see in Romania as long as you don't underestimate its logistics

The Delta formed where the Danube river flows into the Black Sea and it's the 2nd largest in Europe and has the 3rd largest biodiversity in the world exceeded only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador.

The Danube Delta is considered one of the largest and best preserved deltas worldwide. In addition to its picturesque canals, numerous lakes and soft marshes, it is home to over 3,450 animal species which includes over 300 species of birds, 1,700 of plants, many fish and animals, including wild horses in the sub-tropical Letea Forest.

A natural reserve unlike anything else in Europe

The Danube Delta is one of the best places to visit in Romania if you're into wild natural sceneries and have an interest in birdwatching and enjoy scenic boat trips. And the sunsets in the Delta offer breathtaking views - pure magic!

This combo makes it a perfect destination for those who appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature, photographers and, of course, wildlife conservation enthusiasts :)

If you want to visit the Romanian Delta then hiring a local tour guide to take you on a boat ride is a must because the region is impossible to navigate on your own without local knowledge and... a boat! There's no public transport in the Delta and few locals speak English.

So if you want to experience the best of the Delta and do birdwatching you'll need a knowledgeable guide with a specialized boat. Beware - speed boats scare animals! That's why we created an amazing 4-day itinerary and organise small group tours. You'll visit the Delta the right way while protecting nature and giving back to the community.

The Delta is a 4h drive from Bucharest and you'll need 2-3 days to actually see something in the region because of its complicated logistics.

Oh, and the Danube Delta is also known for its unique fish cuisine (hint: it's not grilled fish!) so this is a great spot to discover new recipes.

7. Discover how good Romanian wines are

You’ll be surprised to know that Romania is Europe’s 5th largest wine producer! With vast hills bathed in Sun and moderate weather, our country's geography is ideal for vineyards. And Romanians love to socialise over a glass, or two, or three... :)

In the last 15 years the quality and variety of our wines and the culture surrounding wine drinking has exploded. Besides popular large-scale producers who go for the whole spectrum of wines, there are many craft, artisan small wine makers who focus on 2-3 types which are exceptional. This will be a great souvenir from Romania to surprise those back home.

Just 1h away from Bucharest is the Dealu Mare region, famous for its vineyards and premium producers. Some are also in Transylvania though less accessible. Most of them are housed in aristocratic 18th century villas overlooking picturesque vineyards.

Oh, and the wines have amazing value(taste)-for-money, comparable to what you’ll find in France or Italy. So you know what this means, right? A wine tasting is one of the most underrated things to do in Romania!

ready to ride
Bike & Wine Tasting Trip in Bucharest Countryside

Start from: Dealu Mare wine area (or Bucharest)

See details

Unfortunately due to high demand and low capacity, most wineries organise wine tastings only for groups of 4 people or more. So if 2 people show up it’s unlikely they’ll take them. But luckily for you we developed strong partnerships with some premium wineries so if you want a Romanian wine tasting paired with local cheeses for two - we can arrange that!

8. Watch brown bears... in the wild!

Let’s go back to the mountains! One of the more unique things you to do in Romania is wildlife watching - especially brown bears of which we have the largest population in Europe!

As many areas in the Carpathian Mts. are untouched and wild, lots of animals roam these lands freely: bears, deer, lynx, bisons, boars, wolves and many more. Romania is known as Europe’s last wilderness reserve with two documentaries about this: Wild Carpathia and Untamed Romania.

And that's part of the reason why it may be dangerous for hikers to go on their own.

But if you want to see wild animals in their natural habitat while staying safe we have a selection of wildlife tours most of which take place in Brasov county. Our specialist wildlife guides will take you deep in the mountains.

85-100% chances of seeing bears on this tour:

60-80% chances of seeing bears and other animals on this tour:

70-100% chances of seeing animals on this unique trip in Romania's wildest area run by a conservation non-profit:

Please note - these tours are NOT regular hiking trip: you will go on unmarked trails or difficult terrain to high-altitude observation points. Difficulty is higher, logistics complex and prices reflect that.

Here's how animals have fun in Piatra Craiului National Park

Remember - Mother Nature can't be controlled or predicted, so seeing animals is not guaranteed. But our wildlife guides are experts with a good sense for animal movement. They will do their best to increase the chances of you seeing them and will give you a live lesson about tracking animals their natural habitat. So this is a great way way to learn about Mother Nature - especially for teenagers and young people!

Birdwatching can also be done in some forests close to Brasov where our specialist bird guides can take you on a private trip. Or in one of the many national parks in Romania.

Seeing wild animals is definitely a unique activity in Romania - but you can also see friendly animals such as sheep and cows during a hike in Piatra Craiului National Park (close to Brasov) or Apuseni Natural Park (close to Cluj-Napoca). You'll probably go hiking in traditional villages and try local specialty cheeses cold cuts and homegrown vegetables from the villagers.

9. Admire the 500 years old Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Ok - back to culture! There are many beautiful churches in Romania tourists can visit because spirituality plays an important role in our culture and life. But among them the Painted Monasteries of Bukovina definitely stand out.

Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, these monasteries are known for their impressive exterior frescoes which depict scenes from the bible and are incredibly well preserved despite their age - almost by miracle!

So vivid and unique these paintings are that they are part of World Heritage. There are 6 painted monasteries to visit each located in small villages in the Bucovina region: Voronet, Humor, Moldovita, Pataruti, Probota, Suceava, and Sucevita.

Each of the monasteries’ frescoes use different colours to depict saints, major Biblical scenes and local legends. The quality and style of these paintings is truly impressive considering how old they are. And because they're so well preserved with only minor works carried out over hundreds of years, religious people believe these churches have significant spiritual power and meaning.

A great place to start visiting the Romanian painted monasteries is the UNESCO world heritage site of Voronet which is the most famous among them for its unique 400-year old unchanged blue nuance that depicts Judgement Day in an impressive frescoe.

Even though the monasteries are among Romania's most famous tourist attractions, please keep in mind they are also active religious sites served by monks and nuns who live there. Romanians are very religious people so visiting these sights require that you be respectful of local customs and not use selfie sticks or act like an ignorant tourist.

Finally, the logistics of visiting the churches is a bit more complex too: you'll need at least 3 full days to travel to Bucovina region from Bucharest and have enough time to visit the monasteries and other attractions in the area, of which there are plenty. You may want to check our guide for public transport in Romania to understand why we keep saying logistics are complicated... :)

The Semering Oravita-Anina train in Timisoara

10. Go on a slow and picturesque steam train ride

The best way to enjoy Romania’s natural beauty is through slow travel. Hiking or going by car on countryside roads may be what comes to mind - but there’s a better alternative: old steam trains moving at 50 km/h through beautiful natural areas not accessible any other way! How cool is this?

The Mocanita Steam Train in the North-Western Maramures region is probably the most famous.

A 3-hour long ride (with multiple stops) through valleys, hills and woodlands will make you appreciate nature’s simple beauty - best enjoyed slow, of course! This narrow railway was originally used for forest exploitation activities and the Mocanita (name of the train) is the only one capable of navigating it.

A similar steam train ride can be found in the neighbouring region of Bucovina and is called Hutulca.

But my favourite train ride is lesser known – and more beautiful – the Oravita-Anina Semering train, South of Timisoara (pictured above). The Semering (name of the train) will take you on a route where picturesque scenery with mid-level mountains and open valleys dotted by traditional villages.

  • Pro tip: the best time I like to go on these train rides is during mid-September - late October when the autumn foliage offer spectacular views!

11. A famous UNESCO World Heritage Site: Sighișoara Citadel

Sighișoara is a small city in the heart of Transylvania where you'll find one of the most culturally significant and popular tourist places to visit in Romania: Sighisoara Citadel another UNESCO heritage site with a long history to tell.

Situated on a small hill overlooking the plains of Transylvania, this fortified citadel from the Middle Ages was built in the 12th century by German Saxon merchants to protect their trading routes. It's one of the best-preserved medieval citadels in Europe and once you see the Clock Tower you'll understand why.

One of the best things to do in Romania is to get lost on a walking tour of the cobbled streets in Sighisoara Citadel. Oh, I forgot to mention: in these medieval houses people still live! My favorite time to visit this place is during winter in Romania when the cold air, snow-covered streets and few tourists create a magical medieval atmosphere.

Besides the many photos you'll take, make sure to check the seven figurines of the Clock Tower the main attraction in Sighisoara Citadel, which represent the days of the week - but who are those figurines? Go with a guide, there is much history to learn here :)

Conveniently located in the heart of Transylvania, we have day trips that will take you on a guided tour to Sighisoara from every city.

12. Try traditional Romanian food & tasty vegetables

When people think of things to do in Romania they tend to think of castles (and vampires), communist architecture and... who knows what else! While the typical tourist attractions are undeniably awesome, what most travelers don’t know about is just how tasty Romanian food is. Why?

Because Romanian cuisine is a unique mix - a reflection of our agrarian roots and self-sustainable households at the intersection of Turkish/Balkan, Austro-Hungarian and Russian influences. Our traditional dishes have surprising, delicious flavours reminiscent of grandma's comfort food.

  • Pro tip: if you're a vegetarian or vegan - you're in luck! Thanks to the long Orthodox Lent (fasting) periods which some Romanians strictly observe, there are lots of recipes without meat or any animal products. just ask for mancare de post or religious fasting foods and you'll enjoy filling, nutritious and delicious recipes!

Romanian local food (especially outside major cities) is wildly appreciated by Western visitors who've had enough of processed and tasteless industrialised food. They are delighted by the delicious taste of simple, organic ingredients (a label that doesn't exist in the countryside!) like eggs, milk, veggies, honey or meat from household animals. Hand-to-mouth farming is widely practiced in traditional regions such as Transylvania, Maramures or Apuseni.

In simpler terms - if you want to know the real taste of an unsprinkled tomato or let your kids discover the flavours of freshly picked veggies or fruits from a farmer's garden - come to Romania!

Authentic Romanian dishes you should try include sarmale, mici and ciorba (sour vegetable broth), mamaliga (polenta) with shepherd's cheese and sour cream, or stuffed peppers. That is if our appetizers (vegan-friendly) such as eggplant salad, zacusca or baked beans paste won't already fill you up! And then you get to ciorba a vegetable sour broth, with or without meat, that's so filling and will warm you up on the inside!

And, like all agrarian people, there's a variety of cheese (white/fresh, aged or smoked), cured meats and sausages to discover, usually served with seasonal veggies! And leave room for desert: papanasi, sweet cheese pies or homemade sweet bread (cozonac) filled with nuts, poppy seeds or Turkish delight.

We've got food tours in all major cities where our guides will take you to farmer's markets where, besides the cultural shock, you'll also get to try authentic Romanian food. And if you're looking to experience more of Romanian cuisine - go in the countryside! Few restaurants in the cities can compete with that!

Our mission is to support responsible tourism in Romania and that's why most our trips include home-cooked meals which is, for me, arguably the most interesting thing I want to experience when visiting a country besides typical tourist sightseeing.

And to top it off -- since 2010 specialty coffee culture and consumption boomed in Romania. Check our list with the best coffee shops in Romania so you finish your meal in style - like Romanians do!

13. Visit Merry Cemetery... wait, what?

One of the more unusual things to do in Romania is to visit a cemetery with a happy and funny view on death: the Sapanta Merry Cemetery is like an open-air museum in the village of Săpânța, Maramures region. Unlike the usual sombre and grey cemeteries, the Merry Cemetery is filled with colorful tombstones where the story of the deceased is told in a humorous way - with life lessons that will make you think!

  • Pro tip: the stories are written in Romanian so without a local guide to translate there's really no point in visiting

Started in the 1960s the Merry Cemetery is a unique tourist attraction in Romania and Europe for its unorthodox approach despite being located in one of the most religious regions of Romania.

For context: on Sundays people in Maramures wear their best folk costumes to attend service in their UNESCO wooden churches.

There’s an interesting reason this 'happy' cemetery exits. And if you visit with our guide, a native of Maramures, he'll tell you what that is and also take you to the local artisan who makes these crosses. Though the merry cemetery is an interesting place for tourists to visit in Romania, don't forget that, well - you’re in a cemetery! - so be respectful of the dead.

14. Ride an underground Ferris wheel in Turda Salt Mine

40 minutes South of Cluj-Napoca in the city of Turda is one the most popular and interesting tourist attractions in Romania: Salina Turda as the locals call it, a salt mine dating from Roman times that now houses an insane, unexpected amusement park! So this day trip is one of the many things to do in Cluj you should put on your list!

In this huge underground complex you'll discover impressive caverns and corridors carved in salt where carefully-placed lighting installations create a magical feeling! In addition to its famed Ferris wheel, this underground amusement park has a bowling alley, a mini golf course and even an underground lake where you enjoy a unique boat trip... underground! So this is a perfect place to visit on a family holiday in Romania.

If this wasn’t enough to convince you to visit Turda Salt Mine, you should know that breathing salty air is good for your lungs and prescribed as treatment for people with any kind of respiratory issues. So spending 3 hours in this popular place will be one of the best things to do in Romania for your health!

Bonus: go on a boat trip in the underground like, a unique thing to do in Romania and in the world!

15. Visit Europe’s biggest building: Palace of Parliament in Bucharest

When travelers start searching for places to visit in Romania, images of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest inevitably show up. This national monument was the most ambitious and infamous megalomanic dream of communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu - that's why it's commonly referred to as Ceaușescu’s Palace or House of People.

An entire neighbourhood was razed and huge human, material and financial sacrifices were made over the course of 6 years in the 1980s to make space for it. And Romanians are still divided on the value and importance of this most famous attraction...

The building houses Romania’s democratically elected Parliament. With over 1,000 rooms, 4,500 chandeliers and 12 stories high - only the US Pentagon building has a larger on-the-ground footprint than the Palace of Parliament! And the inside is beyond impressive. Undoubtedly this is one of Romania's most famous tourist attraction, so it's a must see even if only from the outside.

Tours inside are led by official staff but they'll only tell you facts about the building - nothing about the communist regime or Ceausescu. So read our blog about communist Romania if you want to find out more historical facts, communist attractions to visit (e.g. Palace Square where the 1989 revolution started!) or go on our dedicated communist tour to get the 'real deal:'

Or visit this unique time-bubble communist apartment to feel what it was like to live in communist Romania:

And in case you're wondering is Bucharest worth visiting? the short answer is - YES. For the long one - read our city guide on the many things to do in Bucharest and decide for yourself.

The capital of Romania is by far the largest city and is worth visiting even if only to see go for a short walk in the city centre, for example in University Square and then on Calea Victoriei Boulevard to see some of the most beautiful buildings in Romania such as the Romanian Athenaeum. You can also visit the Village Museum - one of the best Romanian museums - in case you don't have enough time to go in the country.

16. A famous tourist attraction: Transfăgărășan Highway

The ultimate sightseeing – and driving – experience in Romania is a road trip on Transfăgărășan Highway - I know, a mouthful to pronounce! :)

3 hours drive from Bucharest or 1h30 from Sibiu or Brasov, this 150 km scenic road crossing Fagaras Mountains was built during communist years for military purposes using approx. 6,000 tons of dynamite - and much, much effort.

Transfagarasan highway is one of the main tourist places to visit in Romania thanks to an episode of the popular BBC show Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson named it the best road in the world! Driving enthusiasts will absolutely adore the many twists and turns of this incredible drive - even if someone else is driving! - and everyone will enjoy the jaw-dropping sights of Fagaras Mts. the wildest and tallest in Romania!

The road ends at the glacial Balea Lake reaching 2,200m altitudes and offers breathtaking views of Transylvania’s plains in the far distance - in contrast with the nearby peaks over 2,500m altitude. This is also the starting point for many hiking routes into Fagaras Mts. so it tends to get very crowded. Keep in mind the road is open for driving only from 1 July - 30 October. Outside this period it can be visited only coming from Sibiu or Brasov and taking a cable car over it - if weather permits - to the glacial lake Balea.

  • Local tip: less famous but equally spectacular are Transalpina and Transbucegi roads - two other high-altitude driving roads that offer more than just a driving experience!

17. Go out in Bucharest's Old Town

Another unique thing to do in Romania is to experience Bucharest's diverse and intense nightlife. The trendiest area with today's youth is (ironically!) the Old Town area in the city center.

On Lipscani Street you will see both locals and tourists hopping from bar to bar since there are over 50 in the area. Stag and bachelorette groups from all over Europe come here to party for good reason: Romanians love going out!

But even if you're not a big fan of clubbing - there are many beautiful restaurants, hip bars and cosy wine bars in Bucharest. And during Summer months most of them turn into beautiful urban gardens! And you'll probably go out for dinner anyway - so why not go for drinks after in a different place? You'll see Romanian local life at its best!

If the Old Town is for everyone and tourists - for a luxury clubbing head to the Northern part of Bucharest. In clubs such as Fratelli, Gaia or on the shores of Herestrau Lake, you’d better dress well to not feel out of place. Local tip: the real Bucharest nightlife starts after 11-12 pm - read our post on places to go out in Bucharest to find out more!

  • Pro tip: during Summer months Bucharest's nightlife scene moves to the Black Sea resorts! In Mamaia beach resort you'll find the posh clubs by the beach while in the hippie resort of Vama Veche people go just to party all day, night and weekend long!

18. See the Romanian Sphinx in Bucegi Mountains

The Sphinx is a mysterious natural rock formation located high up in Bucegi Mountains. It's accessible via cable car from the small town of Busteni or on our hiking tours.

Local legends claim the rock represents a god who was worshiped long ago by our ancestors the Dacians before the Romans conquered these lands. There are also stories that link the rock to aliens! In any case, many believe the location possesses a special energy and so there are always lots visitors to this unique attraction in Romania's mountains.

The Romanian Sphinx is also the subject of folklore and conspiracy theories that make it incredibly intriguing. So, if you are into paranormal activity or just want to see what all the fuss is about - this popular tourist attraction should be on your list of things to do in Romania!

Nearby are also the Babele rock formations and on a 4h hike (one way) you can reach Omu Peak the 7th highest in Romania at 2,505m altitude.

19. Experience authentic Romanian village life

You haven’t experienced authentic Romanian culture until you spend a couple of days in the countryside, a real life village museum. You'll disconnect from civilisation, slow down and reconnect with living in tune with nature's rhythm.

Villagers in some areas have preserved their ancestral way of life, customs and values - which is why the Romanian village represents the heart of our culture.

Believe it or not, life in the small traditional village is one of the things Romania is so famous for - even if it's not your typical popular tourist destination. It's not 'a place to go' - it's something to experience!

It's why King Charles owns 3 restored village houses Viscri, Breb and Valea Zalanului. Going into traditional regions such as Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina, or in the mountains in Apuseni (close to Cluj-Napoca), in Marginimea Sibiului (close to Sibiu) or the mountain villages of Magura, Pestera and Sirnea (in Brasov county) is a favorite holiday activity for locals. And it should be for you as well!

Some small villages in these areas are true time-capsule even if you have all the modern amenities: shepherds will greet you, roosters and cows will wake you up, and public transport is reduced to horse drawn carts with locals are happy to give you a ride. All this against a backdrop of fortified churches...

Fresh vegetables and fruits from people's gardens and 'in-house' animal products will create simple, delicious meals. And - best of all – this is the perfect place for you to slow down, relax and enjoy a quiet, peaceful life with beautiful scenery.

Rural regions of Romania may look poor or underdeveloped from the outside but that's part of their charm and - to your surprise - you'll see locals are much happier, welcoming and authentic than city folks. Untouched by consumerism or the business of our modern, tech-heavy society, their way of life is the purest example of resourcefulness and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

Local folklore, crafts and traditions handed down from one generation to another are well preserved especially in the regions of Maramures and Bucovina. If you're looking for authentic Romanian culture these are the best places to visit for this, especially around Easter or Christmas in Romania.

However, once again, there's no tourism infrastructure for non-locals: few people speak English, no public transport, cash is king and without a local guide with connections in local villages, it's harder to experience the beauty of these place. It's like going into the mountains of Morocco to see berber tribes, the remote villages or Vietnam or in the Amazonian jungles without a guide...

That's why we support inclusive tourism in Romania by including local services, meals and visits in our trips, so local communities benefit too while you have an authentic Romanian experience.

20. Visit Romania’s haunted forest - for real

Let’s close the list with one of the most unique places to visit in Romania: Hoia Baciu forest near Cluj-Napoca. The forest was named after a shepherd and his entire flock of sheep went missing without an explanation! In 1968 the forest gained even more popularity when a military technician claimed he saw a UFO flying over the forest. And there are plenty of other stories and myths in local folklore which our guide knows.

What also makes this place unique is the unusual shape of trees and weird natural layout you don't normally see in a forest. One of the strangest spots is a clearing, a perfectly round-shaped patch of land in the middle of the forest (!) where not a single ounce of vegetation grows - without any human intervention! Many locals are truly afraid to go into the forest and some have said voices and sounds can be heard at night. Hence the ‘haunted forest of Romania’ title.

To be honest the first time I heard about this "tourist attraction" I was skeptical. Until I went on a tour in the haunted forest of Romania with a "show me what you've got!" attitude with our guide who is truly passionate about this unique attraction in Romania.

It was unlike any other night-walk I've ever been on, with an eerie feeling to it. Besides hearing the stories about the Hoia Baciu forest and seeing trees like nowhere else, our guide will also give you special measurement equipment for paranormal activity - so you'll see for yourself! Whether you’re superstitious or not - this is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Romania!

21. Cantacuzino Castle of the richest Romanian family

Not too far from Peleș Castle is the lesser-known Cantacuzino Castle. It belonged to Prince George Cantacuzino considered to be the richest person in Romania in the late 19th century and part of a famous political dynasty.

He built Cantacuzino Castle in the unique Romanian architectural style known as Brancovenesc (or Wallachian Reinassance for connaisseurs). The castle has now become an international sensation thanks to another Hollywood hit: it was featured in the popular Netflix series Wednesday directed by Tim Burton.

22. Best among medieval castles: Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, stands as a striking example of Gothic-Renaissance architecture in South-Western Transylvania.

It belonged to John Hunyade, a military ruler of Transylvania and father of the king of Hungary whose statue you can admire in the city of Cluj-Napoca.

Corvin Castle is one of Europe's largest castles and best preserved, with a history filled with mysterious legends. Besides it being stunning, I think it's better than its famous rival from Brasov county, Bran Castle.

Visitors can explore the impressive structure and learn about its transformation from a military fortress to a noble residence. The castle's rich history, coupled with its stunning architecture, many rooms, tall columns and defense towers, makes it a must-visit attraction in Romania.

23. Poenari Castle - the real Dracula Castle

Perhaps lesser known among so many medieval castles, Poenari Castle is still famous thanks to its real connection with Vlad Tepes.

Perched atop a cliff on the road leading to Transfagarasan Highway, it offers a rich glimpse into Romania's medieval history. It was the stronghold of Vlad the Impaler which is why it's called the real Dracula's Castle.

The ruins of Poenari Castle offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes if you're ready to climb the 1480 steps there!


Whoa, that’s a long list!

And even if we haven’t mentioned other tourist attractions in Romania (like or , the Mud Volcanoes, Dacian Ruins) or great things to do for outdoor adventure fans: (rock-climbing, local craft workshops, caving, MTB or via ferrata).

I think this should be enough to get you started with planning your trip to Romania.

On our website you'll find lots of resources, articles and tours and if you need help with your itinerary send us a message – happy to help!

Your Romanian Friend


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