Things to Do in Romania That Will Blow You Away!

June 8, 2023


Is Romania Europe’s prettiest country? It just might be.  Enchanting town plazas that date back to medieval times, Parisian-like capital city, rolling hills as far as the eye can see, castles cloaked in the mystery of Count Dracula, craggy mountain vistas, and a seemingly infinite array of fortresses and churches. There are so many places to see and things to do in Romania!

Don’t forget the Transfăgărășan – arguably the most spectacular road in the world.

Romania’s natural beauty and rich culture will surprise you. It is the most biogeographically diverse country in the European Union. Bordering the Black Sea in Southeastern Europe, the country’s assets also include the Danube River and the Carpathian Mountains.  There are so many Instagrammable places in Romania!

Romania is one of the safest countries in Europe. Its crime rate is low, and I had a very stress-free adventure in this gorgeous country.

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Brief History

Romania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, but it’s the post-WWII history as a communist-bloc nation under the iron fist and excesses of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu that is more widely known. In December 1989, a national uprising led to the overthrow and execution of Ceausescu who had been charged and found guilty of genocide. In 1991, Romania became a republic with a multiparty system, market economy, and individual rights of free speech, religion and private ownership.


Romania – particularly Transylvania – is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns.



Nicknamed “Little Paris,” Bucharest is Romania’s largest city and capital, and home to Ceausescu’s Spring Palace and the world’s largest parliament building.  But it’s the labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and architecture of times gone by of Bucharest’s old town that attracts visitors in droves to linger in the antique shops, cafes, and galleries.



Visiting Sibiu was one of my favorite things to do in Romania.

Built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons, Sibiu’s pristine old town has retained its grandeur and is not just one of the prettiest towns in Romania, but perhaps in all Europe.


It’s a pedestrian city, with an imposing medieval wall, well-preserved towers, narrow streets, gabled 17th-century buildings, the infamous Liar’s Bridge, and two church-dominated squares – Great Square and Little Square. FITS, Sibiu International Theater Festival complete with parades, live music and performances, fireworks, and free prosecco is hosted by Sibiu every June.

Here are more things to do in Sibu.



The Romanian countryside village of Saschiz may be tiny but the views are spectacular! Its15th-century church is part of the World Heritage Site’s villages of fortified churches in Transylvania,



Sighisoara is widely considered one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.  The impeccably unspoiled 16th-century mix of hilly cobbled streets, turrets, towers, burgher houses (homes of the wealthy bourgeoisie), town squares and ornate churches has been compared to the magical ambiance of Old Prague or Vienna. Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, although the two are unrelated as one is factual historical figure while the other is fiction.



This tiny village is special in that it is possible for visitors to visit a local family.  At the Bunica Eugenia farm, we learned how to make thick, baked cheese polenta and sampled their homemade blueberry brandy and apple pastries. It’s the ultimate farm-to-table experience.



Framed by the Carpathian Mountains, and one of the most visited cities in Romania, there are so many great things to do in Brasov.  Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211, it’s a mix of colorful gothic, baroque, and renaissance architecture, with a cobbled old town square and lively cafes.




Located near the border with Serbia, Timisoara dates back to the 13th century and over the years the Romans, Turks, and Serbs, and Austrians have laid claim to the place. During Austria-Hungary rule many of the impressive art-nouveau buildings were built, influencing the look of the city. Timisoara is also one of the most important places in the current Romanian history as that’s where the 1989 revolution has started that eventually led to the fall of communism in the country.

Today this is a vibrant city and the main cultural center in western Romania. One of the city’s nicknames is “Little Vienna,” because of the year-round music festivals, theater, art exhibitions, and museums.

Most of the attractions are located in the center focused around three squares: Victoriei, Libertății, and Unirii.


cluj napoca

Modern Cluj-Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania and unofficial capital of Transylvania’s historical region. The city dates back to the which pre-dates the Roman colonization, is filled with historic sights from the Baroque architecture to the 14th-century Gothic St Michael’s Church (tallest church tower in the country), which contains the country’s tallest church tower. It also contains beautiful architecture from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Cluj-Napoca isthe film capital of Romania and each May the Transylvania International Film Festival is held here.

To get the best view, head to Cetăuia Park from where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view the city and beyond.



The 15th-century picturesque fortified church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The late-gothic architecture stands in the middle of the appealing village surrounded by farms, vineyards, and cobblestone streets.


Bran Castle


Perched high on a craggy 200-foot rock, with medieval towers, turrets, underground passages, and winding staircases, is the most notorious of Romania’s bastions: Bran Castle. The castle is shrouded in myth and mystery, horror and intrigue – some factual, some fiction.  Dating from 1212, the castle has come to be associated with Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracul and often confused with Bram Stoker’s fictional character Count Dracula. Vlad the Impaler, while not immortal, was pretty scary and nasty in his own right, known for his cruel and intimidating method of torturing his enemies.

Click here for more about the Dracula Castle.



The Rupea citadel is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania, dating back to the Paleolithic period, 5500 BC.  The panoramic views of the city from the crumbling walls are stunning.



Built in 1495, the gothic-style Evangelical church stands on the site of a 13th-century Roman basilica. The biggest (and quirkiest) attraction here is one of the fortress towers, called the Bacon Tower, which currently houses row upon row of…yes…drying meat.



Rasnov Fortress is located on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, 650 ft. above the amiable village of the same name.

Peleș Castle


Peleș Castle is a 160-room Neo-Renaissance chateau nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the picturesque town of Sinaia.  Completed in 1883, the elaborately adorned castle served as the summer residence of King Carol’s royal family until 1947.  It was the first European castle to adopt electricity, and host to Romania’s first movie projection in 1906 in its own dedicated theater room.



Viscri is a stunning fortified village that boasts an incredible walled castle and historical church. Visitors can climb to the top of the castle to take in the beautiful views of the valley below.

Note: Visitors aren’t allowed to park near the church, so be prepared for a lovely 5-10 minute countryside walk.

After visiting the walled village, you’ll want to take a stroll around the charming town and perhaps enjoy a bite of local cuisine.

Corvin Castle

corvin castle

Located atop a rock in the heart of Transylvania, Gothic Corvin Castle was built in the 14th century by John Hunyadi on the site of an old fortress and is among the largest castles in Europe.

Situated in the outskirts of industrial Hunedoara, the contrasting fairytale castle is a study of stunning architecture with pointed turrets, drawbridge, creepy gargoyles, splendid courtyards, fountains.

Corvin Castle is so picturesque that it’s often chosen to host special events, weddings, and other photoshoots.

Painted Monasteries


Among the most picturesque are the UNESCO medieval Painted Monasteries of Bucovina in northeastern Romania. Their exterior and interior walls are painted with colorful and elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes depicting saints, prophets, Jesus, angels, demons, and scenes from heaven and hell. The best-preserved are the monasteries of Voronet, Humor, Moldovita, Patrauti, Probota, Suceava, Sucevita. Each monastery has information panels so you can learn more about the monastery’s history and the different paintings.

Alba Iulia Citadel

things to do in romania

The Alba Iulia Citadel, while not a highly visited tourist site, is worth a visit. You can explore the star-shaped citadel and see the restored city gates, the massive city walls, the museums, and the beautiful cathedrals. The citadel is built on the site of the largest city in Roman Dacia, Apulum, where the XIII Gemina Legion was stationed and was also the place where the Romanian Union was agreed upon in 1918.




Named “the world’s best road trip” by Top Gear, the Transfăgărășan winds through the Fagaras mountain range in a shocking series of white-knuckle hairpin turns and sharp descents. The 56-mile path climbs to an altitude 6,699 feet, slinking past gorgeous views of Vidaru and Balea (glacial) lakes and waterfalls

Carpathian Mountains


Europe’s Carpathian Mountains stretch nearly 1000 miles with more than half of the range in Romania. The spruce forests, streams, canyons, and waterfalls are some of the reasons why hiking Carpathian Mountains is so popular. The mountains are also home to brown bears, wolves, and lynxes.

Cimitriul Vesel

things to do in romania

It seems odd that a graveyard would be a tourist attraction, but the Cimitriul Vesel (aka Merry Cemetery) in the small village of Săpânța is different.  However, that’s not the case of the Merry Cemetery. Here the elaborated and colorful tombstones have a sense of cheerfulness, telling the story of the deceased person’s life and how they died. Instead of typical austere, the epitaphs are written as a short poem, using comical and whimsical (and sometimes irreverent!) wording.

Cimitriul Vesel is one of the country’s most prized treasures. It’s a shining example of the Romanian sense of humor

Vama Veche

vama veche

(WT-en) Kathryn at English Wikivoyage, via Wikimedia Commons

Once a quiet fishing village on the border with Bulgaria, in the late 20th century,Vama Veche grew into one of Romania’s premier seaside beach-party towns, drawing in lots of alternative lifestyles.

The coast is filled with clubs located right on the beach and a number of stalls selling handcrafted goods, watersports, and diving gear.

For less party-type experiences, visitors can take a walk down to 2 Mai, a neighboring village with slightly different vibes, or head to the border of Bulgaria to experience the Bulgarian shore (take your passport!).

Bâlea Lake

lake balec

At the highest point of the Transfagarsan Highway is the spectacular Balea Lake, a glacial lake with the clearest and coldest water in Romania. This glacial lake situated 6,673 feet high in central Romania’s Făgăraș Mountains is known for its two chalets (open year-round)

In addition to the memorable views, visitors will also find a restaurant and street vendors selling traditional Romanian crafts and food.

Vidraru Dam

things to do in romania

Built in 1966 on the bank of the Argeş River, this massive, arched dam created Lake Vidraru, a body of water over six miles long. . At the time when it was finished, in 1966, this was the 8th highest dam in Europe. There’s also an epic statue of Prometheus nearby.

things to do in romania

Beautiful Lake Vidraru was created by the dam, gathering water from several rivers around.



things to do in romania

Romanian wine ranks 10th among the world’s top wine producers by volume.  Cramele Halewood winery exclusively produces its own delicious sparkling brut wine in Romania’s oldest sparkling wine cellar using the traditional method.  The countryside grounds provide a lovely backdrop for wine pairings and tastings.

Romania is a study in contrasts. Whether you go for the culture, the castles, or the countryside, just go.

Pretty Romania…originally published by the Huffington Post.

Click on the image to PIN so you can find things to do in Romania again!

pin romania

Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of JayWay Travel during her stay in Romania, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.


Bucharest for Boomers: Guide to Romania’s “Little Paris

The Transfagarasan: The World’s Best Road Trip

About the Author

Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.


  1. Comment by Anda

    Anda Reply September 8, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Hi Patty,
    I’m glad you are so enchanted with my country of origin. Romania is undeniable beautiful, but it’s definitely not the prettiest country in Europe for sure. If it was I’d still live there (lol!) Just kidding. It is however one of the least expensive countries to visit, so it’s a good time to visit it. Food and lodging are good and inexpensive, people are nice and the landscape is very picturesque. Great pictures, by the way.

  2. Comment by Cadu

    Cadu Reply September 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The first photo is a fairy tale!
    How beautiful is that country!
    I love those picturesque cities where you can spend a lovely time walking, discovering new habits, food, drinks.
    Nice post!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply September 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      I love doing those things, too! Many of Romania’s old towns looked like a fairy tale. 🙂

  3. Comment by Adventographer Travel Blog

    Adventographer Travel Blog Reply November 11, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Wow! Amazing photos! Romania is a gorgeous country, somewhere I haven’t given much thought to until now! I’ll definitely put it on the list for my next visit to Europe!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply November 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Yes, put Romania on your list! So beautiful and so much to do, see and eat!

  4. Pingback: Romania and Moldova Blogger Trip Roundup

  5. Pingback: Transfagarasan: The World’s Best Road Trip | Luggage and Lipstick

  6. Comment by Siobhan

    Siobhan Reply April 2, 2019 at 4:30 am

    “Is Romania Europe’s prettiest city?”
    No, but its definitely it’s prettiest country!

  7. Comment by Satta King

    Satta King Reply June 16, 2019 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for the nice post, it is really good.

  8. Comment by Ras Bahadur Rai

    Ras Bahadur Rai Reply June 27, 2023 at 3:43 am

    Wow, this travel blog has opened my eyes to the beauty and adventure that awaits us around the world! The vivid descriptions and stunning photographs make me want to pack my bags and embark on a journey of a lifetime. Keep sharing these amazing travel experiences!

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