If you’re planning to visit Romania during the winter, I’m here to help by sharing the best destination for a perfect vacation here. Romania has plenty of cities and regions that may seem very attractive, but are they really the best choice for the winter season?
Most of them are, but today we’re going to talk about the best of the best.
Let me give you an example. Mountains are great in winter, but they are best for skiing – or other winter sports.
For climbing, well… it doesn’t matter how mesmerizing landscapes Retezat mountains may have in the summer, most of the trails are closed during winter so it’s useless to visit.
Same applies to the seaside – resorts are full of life and colors and fun during summer but almost dead during the winter, so it would make little sense to visit.
Another example would be towns that might look beautiful and interesting, but don’t offer anything special during the winter, as opposed to the summer.
What I want to say is that the best summer destinations in Romania will not be the same as the best ones for the cold season. And you need a bit of a local’s perspective to know exactly what to visit for a perfect stay during the winter. So let’s get this started!
What are the best winter destinations in Romania?
In my definition, a winter holiday destination in Romania is one of the best if, besides stunning sights or fun activities, it offers a special, unique experience that you could never find during the summer season.
It may be a winter sport, it may be a better sight or it may be a special Christmas fair in the country. But I don’t want to give you all the spoilers already, so I’m not divulgating anymore further.
If I made you curious, then find below the top places that I recommend as best winter holiday destinations in Romania. In my opinion, this is the “crème de la crème” of the country during the winter season!
Sibiu is a beautiful town in general. It’s clean, it’s organized, it has wonderful architecture and rich history.
But in winter, it’s a whole different story. If you’re lucky enough to get in Sibiu right after it snows, everything will be white around you, and luckily there are plenty of ways to enjoy the snow here.
Firstly, there is the Sub Arini Park, which is stunning anyway, but enhanced with a little snow, it looks even better.
And secondly, there’s the Astra Complex: an open-air village museum. It’s huge, it takes up to 4-6 hours to explore it all around by food, and it’s full with historical information about old Romanian villages.
And here comes the special part: did you know that you can explore Astra Museum on a sleigh?
Yup! During summer, there’s a carriage available, drawn by a horse; but in the winter, if there’s snow, sleighs are available – also drawn by the horse.
Just imagine sliding among the open-air museum, on the narrow alleys, exploring the local culture and old villages just like in a real-life slideshow!
If you want even more ideas about things to do in Sibiu all year-long, check out my article on its top attractions.
Not far from Sibiu, there’s the first skiing destination I’m recommending from Romania. Paltinis is a ski resort situated at one hour’s drive from Sibiu, and the winter season is when it’s mostly alive.
The entire area is very active, and there are plenty of ski slopes to choose from. Amongst the winter sports you can practice here, the first is, of course, skiing. But there are also sleighs available for rent and climbing activities are allowed as well.
You can check out more great ski resorts in Romania here.
And, if you don’t want any of these, you can just make a trip of few hours to enjoy the mesmerizing landscape of snow-covered pine trees and mountain peaks, before entering a warm local to savor a delicious hot chocolate or a traditional dish. Or enjoy a chairlift tour that will bring you closer to the snow-covered peaks.
Regular courses are organized with a local bus from Sibiu to Paltinis and back. And that, for a very low fee – as everything is cheap in Romania.
Plus, no need to worry about the weather! If natural snow doesn’t show up, they will use special devices to create artificial snow and still provide the possibility to practice winter sports and have lots of fun.
Moving on to the legendary part of Romania, Brasov is probably one of the most memorable winter destinations you can find in Romania. There are enough things to do and see in Brasov for an entire week.
From exploring the city to making trips to the mountains around, the place is very beautiful and enjoyable.
And, during winter, it gets a whole new vibe and legendary atmosphere. You can also visit the zoological garden of Brasov, which is literally huge, and the same story applies as in Sibiu: animals are a lot more active and playful during this season, so it’s a pleasure to visit them!
I strongly suggest you to go to Poiana Brasov – it’s easy to get there, and the entire area is dedicated to winter sports during the cold season.
Here you’ll find the skiing resort with plenty of trails and slopes to choose from, but there’s also an ice rink where you can enjoy skating.
Two other things you will find in Poiana Brasov are the covered leisure center and the sports complex. In the latter, you’ll find both tubing slopes and special trails for sleighing. Practically, it’s the heavenly space of the winter sports lovers!
And, since you’re already in Brasov, don’t skip Bran. It’s a small resort, not far from Brasov town, but it has one of Romania’s most impressive and famous castles.
Also known as Dracula’s Castle, Bran castle is by far the main attraction of Bran and a symbol for the Transylvanian region of Romania.
The landscape is stunning during winter, surrounding the place with fairytale vibes and a legendary aura. This medieval trip will certainly make your vacation more memorable!
This is another one of the most popular and fun ski resorts in Romania. Sinaia is beautiful all year round, but in winter it becomes an even more luxuriant and entertaining destination.
Cable cars and chairlifts are available to get you to the highest peaks from where you can start skiing, but also admire wonderful, romantic landscapes covered in snow.
Plus, Sinaia also has two major touristic attractions, open to visit in winter: Peles Castle and Pelisor.
Some may even go that far that they affirm that these two are the most beautiful and impressive castles from Romania.
It’s best to visit Sighisoara in winter from two main reasons: first, it’s very crowded during summer and difficult to enjoy it to the maximum; and second, the citadel gets surrounded by an aura of legendary vibration and magical colors during the winter season.
So the overall experience will be a lot more unique if you decide to visit in winter.
This time, it’s not about winter sports, but about silent, relaxing, meditative exploration of a medieval town. It’s a place of art, of beautiful architecture, a place that tells a story without a word.
All houses are extremely colorful, each building says a story here; and during winter, there’s an impressive contrast between the intensity of those colors and the white snow.
6. Alba Iulia
Last but not least, I strongly recommend visiting Alba-Iulia if you’re in Romania in December.
I’ve talked about winter destinations, winter sports and snow along this entire article, but winter doesn’t only refer to snow, does it? In fact, it doesn’t even snow in all winters in Romania.
But the 1st of December is still winter, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Romania at that time, trust me, Alba Iulia is where you’ll want to be.
Because we’re talking about the National Day of the country, and Alba-Iulia had an essential historical role in this context, the most beautiful national parade is organized here.
More complex equipment, larger parades and more entertaining or impressive shows may be performed in the capital, Bucharest, at the same date; but no matter what, no place will have the story and the intensity of the feelings that you’ll get at a parade in Alba Iulia.
Alba Carolina Citadel keeps alive the heart and the spirit of the event, and after the parade is completed, most delicious and diverse traditional dishes will be served amongst the medieval alleys of the large fortress.
So if you’re in Romania at the very beginning of the winter season, don’t hesitate to stay in Alba-Iulia for an authentic Romanian experience!
To sum it all up, Romania is an amazing country and there are plenty of destinations that you can choose from, for a memorable vacation.
But these six places I recommended are, in my opinion, the most special to discover and explore during the winter season (if you want a bit more than just skiing, of course).
I hope that my recommendations will help you pick up the most amazing destination for your winter vacation in Romania and I wish that you spend some of the most beautiful and memorable days of your winter escapade in those places. Enjoy your experience!