These Are the Most Beautiful Small Cities in Romania (You Never Heard about)

Creating a list of the most beautiful cities in Romania is not an easy task, let me say that! I strongly believe that every city here has its own charm and even though some are better than others, it’s still difficult to choose just a few.

At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to just list ALL the cities in Romania to make them all justice. So… I have to decide and select only a few that fit these two requirements:

  1. Are really beautiful cities (or towns) that you should visit
  2. Are a bit off the beaten track – like diamonds in the rough, hidden gems or whatever you want to call them

Because each country has its superstars. In Romania’s case, you’ve probably heard about the beauty of the larger cities: from Cluj Napoca to Brasov, from Sibiu to Bucharest… and maybe a few others.

But Romania is a huge country and the smaller cities have a ton of charm as well. And this is what we’re going to focus on in this article: an article where I’ll share the most beautiful small cities in Romania. And you probably never heard about most of them.

Sure, if you are living in Romania for a while now, chances are that these won’t be complete strangers. But hopefully today’s list will still help you find a new hidden gem or two and you’ll put these cities on the list when you next visit the country.

Most beautiful small cities in Romania

This list of the best small cities in the country in here to show you that you have options. I won’t go into too many details about these cities, but I guarantee that they’re great to visit.

They might not be the best choices for long term living mostly due to their size – although different people want different things, so you never know.

However, if you’re looking for a (somewhat subjective) list of the best overall cities in Romania, ranked based on the air quality, safety, entertainment options and more, we have that list here as well.

But enough talking! Let’s just get straight to business and check out the most beautiful small cities in Romania that you have never heard about!

1. Sighisoara

Probably the best known small town in Romania, Sighisoara is one of the best preserved inhabited citadels in Europe. This is one of the reasons why it’s on UNESCO’s prestigious list and a complete eye candy.

During the summer, there’s even a famous medieval festival taking place in the town – usually the last week of July – and it’s a must see if you’re in Romania during the time.

But even during a regular day, Sighisoara is a great place to visit and makes you feel like you’ve taken a trip back to the medieval times. I have an entire article dedicated to Sighisoara – make sure to check it out!

2. Suceava

Photo via Wikipedia

Once the capital of Moldavia, Suceava still has that medieval flavor, despite constant growth over the centuries.

In the city itself you have the Set Fortress of Suceava, the Princely Court of Suceava, and the Scheia Fortress, but a walk through the charming streets in the old city center are just as rewarding.

Even more, if you’re planning to visit the Bucovina area and all of its wonders – like some amazing monasteries, Suceava is the perfect spot for setting up your base.

3. Piatra Neamt

Image via Wikipedia

In my opinion, this is one of the most picturesque cities in Romania and a well hidden gem. I’ve already included it on my list of the top cities to visit in Romania, but having in on just one list is not enough.

With tons of green spaces and parks and absolutely breathtaking views thanks to its geographical position (surrounded by beautiful hills and mountains), Piatra Neamt is indeed one of a kind.

The biggest problem is that it’s not really on any of the the main train, car or plane routes of the country, which makes it a bit difficult to get to easily, but this also means that it’s less touristy and more genuine.

4. Sinaia

Although this small town falls in the shadow of the better known Peles, it comes as an added bonus to those who decide to visit the well known fairy tale castle in Romania.

The town itself has grown tremendously in the past several years and visiting it now makes you think instantly about a beautiful Austrian mountain resort.

Fancy, new buildings with a lot of charm and lots of great places for spending your free time in, Sinaia is beautiful year-long, so you don’t have to be a winter sports fanatic to really enjoy its beauty.

5. Busteni

This was, during my high school days, one of the most popular spots for spending your summer vacation: cheap and wild, it had a few buildings and a lot of nature.

Things have changed a bit over the years and Busteni (which basically translates as “tree logs”) grew up nicely.

The small town itself has seen some intense development and more buildings have appeared, but its overall natural beauty – mostly given by the surrounding areas – haven’t been destroyed.

And, despite the fact that it’s up there on the Prahova Valley with the winter touristic destinations, Busteni remains a bit of a hidden gem, at least for foreign tourists. So definitely give it a try!

6. Curtea de Arges

The capital city of Wallachia in the 14th century, this charming city should definitely pop up a lot more often on tourists’ radars.

The main reason is the fact that it’s home for the country’s best preserved church, but everything else about the city is waiting to impress.

I don’t really consider a city a good place to visit if it only has one main structure or two that make the visit worthwhile.

If you can’t simply stroll down the streets and enjoy them, it’s not worth it in my opinion. And Curtea de Arges is really worth it – and it’s totally walkable, too.

As a bonus, you can take a bus ride to the real Dracula’s Castle: the Poienari Citadel, where Vlad Tepes aka Vlad Dracul ruled. He is believed to have served as inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (and the Romanian Vampires).

Yes, in reality Vlad Tepes never set foot in the Bran Castle, which is known as Dracula’s castle – it’s just a common misconception fueled by the media and the touristic boards to draw in more people to Dracula’s castle.

The truth is that the Poienari Citadel is not as impressive as Bran (and in a much worse shape), while Bran Castle itself fits better the description of Stoker’s castle.

So… it was chosen to be accepted as Vald Tepes’ home, even though he was never in the area. Pretty much like the red Santa Claus that Coca Cola created

7. Oradea

I wrote recently about Oradea, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It’s one of the most beautiful too in terms of street walking, so definitely read my detailed guide if you want to find out more about it. Or simply take my word and just go there!

I know that Oradea is far from a small city – it’s actually the 10th largest in Romania – but it’s one that really has to be visited and I am including it on any list I can.

8. Targu Jiu

This is another city that’s pretty difficult to get to, but one that’s totally worth the trouble.

It offers some great, natural views thanks to its proximity to the Carpathian mountains and the Jiu river that goes through the city.

It is also home of some of the best known attractions in Romania – like the Endless Column – all created by one of Romania’s greatest sculptors, Constantin Brancusi.

Although not as vibrant as other cities on this list, I still consider it a hidden gem you should definitely check out if you have the chance. I also wrote about a recent visit to Targu Jiu – make sure to check out the article if you’d like to see more of it.

9. Turda

Just a stone’s throw away from Cluj, Turda is indeed known mostly for its truly spectacular saltworks.

And although it’s true that there’s not a lot to do in the city apart from visiting the main attraction, I still consider it a charming, well preserved small town, with beautiful houses in the city center. It’s basically a miniature Cluj at half the price.

10. Medias

Photo via Wikipedia

Another magical city in Romania – one that you probably haven’t heard of. This small city has one of the most beautiful historical centers in the country, in my opinion – something similar to the aforementioned Sighisoara.

Its main attraction is the tower built in the 13th Century, but I believe that you’ll love getting “lost” on the small streets in the city center, exploring every nook and cranny and always discovering something new and charming.

11. Gura Humorului

Image via Wikipedia

Just 40 kilometers away from Suceava, you can find this gem of a town which is best known for the nearby Voronet Monastery, one of the best known, most beautiful monasteries in the country (also known as the Sistine Chapel of the East).

But apart from that and despite its small size, Gura Humorului is a beautiful city. With freshly renovated buildings (at least in the central areas) and absolutely stunning views on all sides thanks to the nearby hills, it delivers real eye candy. Beautiful indeed!

12. Alba Iulia

This is one of the most important cities for the country’s history, as it is the place where the documents that gave birth to the modern day Romania were signed back in 1918. Of course, this is not the real reason why you’d love visiting or living in Alba Iulia.

The city has also seen major improvements over the past several years, with many areas renovated and a modern feel infused into its roots.

The main attraction is the Citadel you can find smack dab in the city center, but also the charming streets in the central area of the huge park with its beautiful kinetic fountain.

Probably the city wouldn’t have made it on the list a few years ago since it wasn’t in such a good shape, but it improved tremendously recently and it’s definitely worth at least a visti.

13. Targu Mures

Photo via Wikipedia

Close to many of the smaller cities on this list, as well as other important cities in the country – Cluj Napoca, Turda, Medias, Sighisoara and even Brasov or Alba Iulia, Targu Mures is a new discovery of mine.

Even though it looks fairly unimpressive if you check out its attractions (which are very limited in numbers), I still consider the city that lies on the Mures river a beautiful one and a true hidden gem.

What I like about it is that it’s a walkable city despite being larger than most on this list, with intertwining streets and houses with beautiful architecture. It’s quiet and tranquil… but sometimes that’s exactly what you need!

I also have an article about the top attractions in Targu Mures – make sure to check it out if you fancy this city.

14. Gura Portitei

This is definitely the most touristy place on the list and not one where you would be able to live long term since it’s basically a resort in the Danube’s Delta.

It’s a beautiful place where the Danube meets the Black Sea, offering beautiful sandy beaches right next to the lush vegetation of the Delta.

It’s a unique place in Europe and, despite the fact that it’s entirely created for tourists, it’s a beautiful one to check out.

Just look at the video below to see just how beautiful this is:

Wrapping up

And this would be it for today in terms of amazing beautiful cities you should keep on your radar.

Hopefully I managed to reveal some places in Romania that you haven’t heard of before but which will, now that they’re on your radar, become must see places in the country.

If you know of other great but lesser known beautiful cities and towns in Romania, don’t hesitate to share them with the world in the comment section below!

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12 thoughts on “These Are the Most Beautiful Small Cities in Romania (You Never Heard about)”

  1. Great list! Throwing in my 2 Bani worth here, I have to say that I loved Alba Iulia. Apparently the city’s recent changes, at least to me, have really paid off. This city made me want to rent a bike and ride all over it’s gorgeous and relaxed tourist area. On the other hand, I think my wife is obsessed with the mountains and natural beauty of Busteni. Every time we pass through she has to take pictures. Her Facebook page is littered with photographic documentation of the seasonal changes in that community. One (of I’m sure many) that isn’t on the list is Iasi. My observation is that it’s like a small, cleaner, more relaxed Bucharest. Plenty of art and history while displaying the sophisticated feel of a university town. My kind of place!

    Reply
  2. Hello Calin;
    Very interesting places off the beaten path, as it were.
    Have you taken a vacay in Gura Portitei? Looks like
    a nice, low-key getaway vs. the big resorts on the
    Black Sea.
    Hope your family will have a great Christmas and New Years! I know
    little Erich will enjoy it. As one gets older, it loses it’s luster,
    but as a kid, it can’t be beat!
    ~Teil (USA)

    Reply
    • Hello Teil,

      We haven’t been to Gura Portitei, but our Godparents were and they were absolutely delighted. It’s a bit more expensive than you’d anticipate, but they said it’s totally worth it.

      Thanks for your wishes. Indeed, the biggest joy for Christmas now is to see our little fellow happy 🙂 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You too, Teil!

      Reply
  3. Love all these little gems. I would live to visit Sighisoara for sure, it just looks amazing and it was great seeing a bit of Sinaia with you 😊. I look forward to seeing more if Romania. Gosh, I wish my list wasn’t so long!

    Reply
    • Haha, yes – maybe it was better a few decades ago when there was no internet and you didn’t know so much beauty exists everywhere… :)) But at least we have photos and probably it won’t be long before Street View gets a Virtual Reality feature that will allow us to “walk” the streets we wouldn’t walk otherwise 🙂

      Reply
  4. there are a lot beautiful towns in Romania. I have been Brasov, Sibiu, etc this year. hope to rent a car to some small towns next time.

    Reply
    • These are indeed the better known cities, Ben and I hope you enjoyed checking them out. The smaller ones have their charm as well, so if you do have the possibility, definitely consider visiting them next time.

      Reply
  5. Can’t wait to go back an visit some of these. I just got home and was only able to be in Romania for 4 days but at least i was there for part of winter which was a first for me. i hope to take my 14 year old son this summer, after all it is the land of his ancestors.

    Reply

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