Romania is a fantastic country that offers something for every type of traveller.
It’s bursting with culture, history, and castles.
The people are friendly, the mountains are fresh, and you might even see a bear on your travels!
We road tripped Romania in our campervan for almost 3 weeks during the winter of 2021 and it was epic.
So we thought it would be a great idea to showcase all the best places to visit in Romania.
Along with a few added travel tips and tricks to help make the most of your time here.
Let’s get stuck in …
Not only is Bucharest Romania’s capital, but it’s also the largest city in the country and studies have suggested it’s going to become Europe’s richest city by 2050.
Situated on the Dâmbovița River, Bucharest is a scenic city that offers plenty to tourists.
Some of the most popular places to visit in Bucharest include exploring the city’s old town, the National Museum of Romanian History and the Romanian Athenaeum which is the city’s most prestigious concert hall.
Before WWII, the capitals’ nickname was ‘Paris of the East’ due to its similar architecture and Art Nouveau palaces.
If you want to get a feel of this part of the city, then head to the Arc de Triomphe, the beautiful gardens or the quaint streets lined with restaurants.
The Palace of Parliament is also found within the city centre and is the world's largest Parliament building. The building consists of over 1,000 rooms and guided tours are available.
If you are planning to visit Bucharest, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Romania and should be at the top of your itinerary.
Bran Castle is a landmark and National Monument in Transylvania and is known as Dracula’s Castle.
The castle is often linked with Bram Stokers ‘Count Dracula’ although the author never actually visited Transylvania. However, he depicts the scenes in his book so well, that you would never realise.
The surrounding villages believe in the existence of evil spirits, ghosts or ‘strigoi’, and until half a century ago thought these individuals were living among them.
A strigoi is someone that leads a normal life in the day, until their souls leave their bodies at night and they come out to hunt their prey.
Today, the castle is a museum that has been dedicated to displaying furniture and art pieces collected by Queen Maria, who was the castle's previous royal resident.
Along with her exhibitions, and her husband King Ferdinand's room, the castle also has exhibits about Romanian vampire lore, Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker.
Bran Castle is one of the most popular Romanian tourist attractions and is a must-visit.
Peles Castle is located in the charming town of Sinaia, nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains.
It’s a Neo-Renaissance castle with intricate and wonderful architecture and is recognised by many as one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Peles Castle was commissioned by King Carol I in 1873, and after it was built served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947.
The king spared no expense, and Peles was the first castle in Europe to have electricity.
It even had its own power plant, along with 160 rooms which are full of European art, crystal chandeliers and German stained glass windows.
During communist Romania, the castle became national property and many of the items were transferred to the National Arts Museum in Bucharest.
Peles Castle is one of the most beautiful places in Romania, due to its scenic surroundings and its stunning interior.
If you are heading out on a road trip in Romania, then driving the Transfăgărășan Highway is a must.
This is regarded as one of the best road trips in the world!
The highway was built in the early 1970s as a strategic route to cross the Fagara Mountains if Romania were to be invaded by the USSR.
Transfăgărășan highway is over 150km in length, and its highest point is at 2,042m so as you can imagine the views are spectacular.
Thanks to its appearance on BBC’s Top Gear, the highway has now become one of the most popular attractions in Romania.
However, it’s only fully open from June to October as the road is dangerous during the winter conditions due to ice and snow.
Although a spectacular road, this drive isn’t for the faint-hearted.
With large sections of road without barriers and sheer drop-offs of over 1,000 ft, this isn’t a journey you want to do if you aren’t a confident driver.
Poenari Citadel (or Poenari Castle) is one of the most well-known places in Romania, as it was home to the famous Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad the Impaler was an important prince of Wallachia and is recognised as a national hero of Romania.
However, he was best known for his cruelty and wickedness when it came to punishing his enemies.
Poenari is located high on a cliff edge near the Făgăraş Mountains, and in its day was one of the most impenetrable fortresses in the country.
In 1888 a landslide brought down part of the citadel, but otherwise, Poenari is quite well maintained and is one of the best places to visit in Romania.
Climbing up to the top of Poenari Citadel is no easy feat with 1480 steps to climb, but the views are worth it.
If you are planning to drive the Transfăgărășan highway, then you can combine the two sites as the citadel is located at the start of the mountain road.
Râșnov is located in the Carpathian Mountains, within the region of Transylvania. It’s thought to have been built in the Thracian-Roman times although it’s most famous for its fortress.
Râşnov Fortress is found on a rocky hilltop 650ft above the town and was built by the Saxons to protect the town from invaders.
There is a legend attached to the fortress about two captured Turkish soldiers. As the citizens were concerned about the availability of drinking water, the soldiers were set to work digging a well.
They were assured of their freedom if they were to complete the task, and according to local legends, it took them 17 years to finish.
However, even after being promised their freedom, the soldiers were killed anyway and the famous well is still found within Râșnov Fortress.
Currently, the fortress is undergoing restoration works, so unfortunately entrance inside isn’t permitted, but people can still access the grounds and view the fortress from outside.
Other popular attractions in Râșnov include the old Saxon houses, the old Evangelical Church and the old Orthodox Church.
The Liberty Bear Sanctuary is one of the best places to visit in Romania if you love animals.
In the 1990s it was common to see bears sitting in small cages outside of restaurants.
They were used to attract customers, and unfortunately, it was a frequent sight throughout Romania.
However, one woman named Christina Lapis wanted to rescue these distressed animals and change the public's attitude towards these beautiful creatures. She wanted to stop this cruel and illegal exploitation and give these bears a new life.
Today her dream has come true, with the Liberty Bear Sanctuary now being home to over 100 bears enjoying their freedom over 69 hectares of land.
Most of the bears here were found in tiny cages up and down the country where they had been used as pets or public attractions. However, Betsy was the first bear to be transported overseas from the United States after spending her life as a circus bear.
The bears were all caught from the wild as cubs and had lived their whole life in a cage. However, today these bears have the chance to climb trees, swim in the pools and explore to their heart's content.
Brașov is often known as the gateway into Transylvania and is located about 166 km (103 miles) from the capital of Bucharest.
It’s one of the most visited cities in Romania and that's due to its picturesque location, beautiful architecture and relaxing atmosphere.
Some of the most popular places to visit in Brașov include the Piața Sfatului (the council square), the Biserica Negara and Catherine's Tower.
Make sure you also wander down Strada Republicii which is the city's lively main street.
However, one of the most popular things to do is to take the cable car or hike up to Mount Tâmpa.
The most famous hiking route up is the ‘the Knight's Road’ which dates back to the days of the citadel making it the oldest route to the summit.
Not only is there a Hollywood-like ‘BRASOV’ sign at the top, but Mount Tâmpa is also home to golden eagles, grey wolves, brown bears and Eurasian lynxes.
It’s thought that Cetatea Făgărașului began as a wooden fortification in the 12th century, until it was destroyed.
Then throughout the 15th century, Cetatea Făgărașului took on the form of a walled fortress to protect from invaders.
The fortress's position was incredibly strategic, as it was located halfway along the trade route between Sibiu and Braşov, and also within the vicinity of Wallachia.
It has also had several uses over the years varying from a garrison for the Romanian army, a camp for white Russians and a prison for political prisoners.
Today, Cetatea Făgărașului is a museum that houses interesting exhibitions, and various artefacts including roman items, folk art and medieval weapons. It’s a great spot to visit if you are interested in learning about Romania's history.
Viscri is a very well preserved Saxon village located in the centre of Transylvania.
Some of the popular things to do in Viscri include eating traditional dishes, staying in an old Saxon house and making the most of the cycling trails that run around the village.
However, the most famous attraction in the village is the Viscri Fortified Church.
The church forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is named ‘villages with fortified churches in Transylvania’.
The church is the most popular attraction in the village, with plenty of iconic areas to see.
While visiting Viscri Church, make sure you head to the Holy Font, the Church Museum and the Tower which gives an amazing view of the village.
If you are wondering where to go in Romania, then make sure Viscri is on your list.
Sighişoara Citadel is the only inhabited medieval fortress in Southeast Europe, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘the Historic centre of Sighişoara’.
It’s one of only seven Saxon walled cities in Romania, which were all built at a similar time during the 12th century.
There is a lot of history located within this spot, as the citadel has experienced many tragic moments throughout time. This includes the Mongal invasion, various fires, rebellions, witch trials and executions.
Today, however, Sighişoara Citadel is a place full of charm, colour and beauty. Once you step through the gates and wander down the cobbled streets you will be transported back in time.
There are plenty of incredible sights to see here including the famous clock tower, the Scholars Stairs, the torture museum and the ‘alleged’ birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.
Sighişoara is one of the best places in Romania to visit and is a must whilst travelling through the country.
Salina Turda is the world’s most spectacular underground formation that has been shaped by people. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania, and upon entering it isn’t hard to see why.
It’s thought that salt was first extracted here during the Middle Ages from 1075 to the early 20th century.
However, one of the most interesting facts about this place? It’s estimated that salt from the turda salt mine could cover the salt required for the entire planet for the next 60 years!
After opening to the public in 1992, Salina Turda now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year for a very unique reason.
There is an underground funfair located within the salt mine, that has mini golf, ping pong tables and a bowling alley.
It’s also possible to hire a boat to go round the underground lake, sit on a ferris wheel or visit the amphitheatre.
Due to its unique geographical setting, the beautiful salt formations and clean, purified air, it’s no wonder so many people love this site.
When it comes to hidden beautiful places in Romania, Salina Turda is right at the top of the list.
Scărişoara Ice Cave is home to the biggest underground glacier in Romania and the second biggest in Southeastern Europe.
It’s considered to be one of the natural wonders in Romania and was first mentioned in 1863 by Austrian Geographer Arnold Schmidl.
The Scărişoara Ice Cave is estimated to have formed around 3,500 years ago when this area was covered by glaciers.
What’s even more interesting is that although the cave was first mentioned in 1863, the exact date when the cave was first discovered by humans is unknown meaning it could have been discovered centuries before.
Only certain parts of the cave are open to tourists and that includes the Big Hall, the Church and the entrance shaft. Access to the other chambers is reserved for scientists only.
Bánffy Castle has many architectural features including Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Gothic styles. The castle has undergone many different construction phases and is owned by the Banffy family.
Between the years 1437 and 1543, the Banffy family built this castle and lived here up until 1944. At this point, they were evacuated by the Germans who turned it into a military hospital.
Towards the end of the war, the castle was burned by retreating German troops, and then suffered neglect after the war when it was looted for building materials, and vandalised.
However, Bánffy Castle has been included on the World Monuments Watch and it’s expected that the castle complex will be completely restored by 2026.
In 2012, the Transylvania Trust established the Electric Castle Music Festival, where some of the revenue helps to support the conservation work.
The city of Sibiu dates back to the 12th century and is nicknamed ‘the city of eyes’, due to the roofs here which look like they have multiple eyes.
There looks to be a clear division in Sibiu, and that is down to the Saxon history of the city. The Saxons made a division between the lower town and the upper town, based on the citizens class.
The upper town would be for more affluent citizens and the elite, while the lower town would be for merchants and peasants.
Connecting the two are a labyrinth of stairways, passages and alleys.
Some of the most popular attractions in Sibiu include the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilisation, the Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral and the Catholica Basilica.
Simply wandering around this magical city is a must. Allow yourself to get lost in its picturesque streets and narrow alleyways.
Romania is a great country to visit, no matter which time you choose to visit. However, the climate varies throughout the year and the best time to visit will depend on what you're hoping to do in the country.
In springtime, the temperatures start to warm up, although May is notorious for having lots of rainfall so it’s important to be well prepared.
The summer months of June, July and August attract plenty of crowds as temperatures can reach up to 29ºC.
However, the popular tourist spots can get incredibly busy during this period.
Autumn in Romania is beautiful with bright fall colours, warm temperatures and fewer crowds.
The winter season in Romania can be incredibly chilly depending on which area you visit. Some regions can experience temperatures of around -6ºC, and plenty of snow. This is of course perfect if you want to get involved with winter sports.
In general, the best time to visit Romania is between September and October.
This is when the crowds are thinner, temperatures are milder but still warm and the fall colours are beautiful at this time of year.
Getting around Romania is incredibly simple due to their extensive and reliable public transport network.
Travelling by train is one of the most popular options as every major city or town in Romania has a train station.
The trains travel long distances across the country, and there is the option of taking overnight sleeper trains depending on your destination.
Buses are a great choice if you are travelling within cities, but a lot of routes don’t cover inter-city travel. This is where Maxi-taxis come in. They are small bus-like vehicles that are independently operated and are used to travel outside of the city and to other areas.
Whilst exploring Bucharest, you will also have the pleasure of taking the metro. It makes getting around the city very easy and is extremely cheap.
In our opinion, if you want to make the most of travelling to this beautiful country, then we would recommend hiring a campervan.
OR convert your own like we did and travel around in it!
There are plenty of campsites to choose from across Romania but something even better?
Wild camping and standing free with a motorhome are legal, which will save you plenty of money on the road and you'll be able to stay in some amazing locations.
There are so many incredible places in Romania to visit, that we would recommend a minimum of 10 days.
However, the country is incredibly large and even 10 days would mean rushing your time.
If you want to see the best this country has to offer, we would recommend spending between 2 to 3 weeks exploring Romania.
That allows you to visit a variety of destinations, whilst also being able to take your time in each place.
If you are planning to visit Romania, you won’t be disappointed.
There are so many incredible things to do in this country like visiting 12th century Saxon villages, driving the Transfăgărășan Highway and exploring Bran Stoker's famous Dracula's Castle.
If you aren’t sure of the best way to get around, we always recommend hiring a campervan if that’s possible for you.
It’s one of the best and cheapest ways to see a country, and you aren’t restricted to public transport timetables.
It means you truly get to see the best of Romania.
If you're interested in seeing more areas of Eastern Europe, then check out Montenegro for some more amazing sites.