Top Cities to Visit in Romania

Source: Flickr

No matter if you’re planning to visit Romania for a vacation or you’re planning to relocate here, there are quite a few cities in Romania that you should visit and I have decided to create a list of those that I consider “must see” in our country: the best cities to visit in Romania. And, of course, I’m sharing it with you!

Unfortunately, the communist spell that Romania was under until 1989 has left most of our cities with completely unspectacular concrete blocks that look horrendous, a relatively poor infrastructure and few more modern attractions, even though things have improved dramatically since Romania joined the European Union.

What I am trying to say is that if you come to Romania hoping to be impressed by the architecture and the cities themselves, you will most likely be disappointed – unless you really like looking at apartment buildings from the communist times. On the other hand, if you come with lower expectations, you might actually be pleasantly surprised.

The truth is that most of the larger cities have that “old town” – the city center actually, where you can still find a bit of charm and things are getting even better lately, with renovations turning nearly derelict buildings into eye candy. And if you you want to know for sure if you’ll like them or not, there’s just one way to do it: come visit the country!

If you still don’t know exactly where to start your adventure or which are the most famous cities in Romanian that you should visit, I’m here to help. Here are the best cities to visit in this country:


Source: grialbastrui
Source: grialbastrui

I won’t write too much about Bucharest, as there are quite a few article about it on this blog, including the complete overview of the city – so you should check it out if you want even more details.

I will say that Bucharest is the capital city of Romania and one of the most developed cities in Romania, as well as the largest. You can see there the famous Casa Poporului, explore the Old Town with its charming streets and great restaurants or simply stroll around trying to find a hidden gem that’s off the beaten path.

The architecture itself is not very impressive but you will surely never get bored here, especially since recent and pretty much chaotic development over the recent years offers some amazing views, like an ultra modern high tech building with a German-inspired, beautiful old building to one side and a completely ignored, almost ruined house to the other.

We can say that Bucharest is a city of contrasts, one where anybody can find something to love or hate.

Cluj Napoca

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

Many people consider Cluj Napoca to be the most charming city in the country (fighting a close battle with my next recommendation). Hosting Romania’s arts and cultural centers, the tallest church in the country and, especially in the central area, some amazing buildings and nice attractions, Cluj is really a city worth visiting if you ever come to Romania.

The people living there are considered to be more laid back than those in the rest of the country, more educated and with a more “western” mentality (not as in Cowboys, but Western Europe).

Plus, the food there is absolutely delicious thanks to its Hungarian influences and recent developments have really improved the already vast offering in all areas.

Elegant and romantic, with fortified churches, castles and art museums, Cluj is that type of city that you risk falling in love with! I wrote more about it here, so make sure to check that article as well to get a better understanding of Romania’s gem.


You can also see the famous "eye rooftops" in this photo. Source: Flickr
You can also see the famous “eye rooftops” in this photo. Source: Flickr

After being elected the Cultural Capital of Europe back in 2007, Sibiu grew in popularity among Romanians and foreigners and fortunately it managed to improve a lot as a city too.

With Gothic architecture and a cosy feeling (even though it’s a large city), Sibiu offers some impressive attractions like the Brukenthal Palace – one of the oldest museums in the world.

It still has a bit of that medieval feeling alive and kicking in the areas that haven’t been touched by the communists and it is considered by many the most beautiful city in Romania (probably those who don’t consider Cluj to be the one). Either way, it’s definitely worth visiting so make sure to put it on your list.


Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

One of our readers moved to Brasov recently and himself, as well as his family, loved the city so it’s guaranteed that you’ll love it too!

The central area, home of the Black Church, is absolutely amazing, while the surroundings are even better: you have mountains on the sides offering breathtaking views. There’s also the famous Poiana Brasov just a stone’s throw away, a resort that turns into a real winter wonderland and comes as an added bonus when visiting the city.

You can also find the Rope Street in Brasov – the narrowest street in the country (considered by many the narrowest in Europe / the world) – as well as many other attractions and great places to taste delicious food and/or enjoy your time.


Photo from Flickr
Photo from Flickr

Although the city itself is not insanely spectacular, it still has a lot to offer thanks to its close proximity to the sea.

Actually, it’s right by the Black Sea, within walking distance to the country’s most popular resort, Mamaia and close to every other resort and village by the Black Sea (as well as our Bulgarian neighbors with their set of beaches and attractions).

The city managed to grow a lot in the past few years and looks a lot better than it did in the past, so you should definitely visit it during the summer – and make sure you make a day trip to Mamaia and enjoy the beaches, even though it’s the most crowded time of the year.

Piatra Neamt

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

It’s time to start looking at cities that are not usually recommended by guides or other people, but places that are definitely worth a visit since they are indeed truly spectacular. Piatra Neamt is one of the hidden gems of the country, situated in the Moldavia region.

A smaller city (around 80,000 people live there), Piatra Neamt is surrounded by beautiful hills and forests, also offering a breathtaking gondola lift to the nearby Cozla hill, where you can ski during the winter.

The city itself is one of the greenest in the city (“green” as in parks and green spaces) and it’s also close by to the Ceahlau and Vanatori national parks, the charming Neamt monastery and basically opens up the road for visiting some of the greatest monasteries in Romania. It’s not one of the easiest cities in Romania to get to by train or car, but it’s certainly worth all the trouble of getting there!

Alba Iulia

Photo source: Flickr
Photo source: Flickr

Just a few years ago, I would’ve said that Alba Iulia is one of the ugliest cities in the country, but fortunately things have changed a lot after its entire central area and surrounding citadel ruins have been modernized with EU funding.

Now it’s a real joy to visit the city and there’s a lot to please the eye! And it’s not just the renovated central area and the beautiful ruins nearby the city, but also an impressive natural park (spread over 20 hectares) where you can admire over 1,000 different species of plants and trees, enjoy the nature and realize that Romania’s not bad at all.

Drobeta Turnu Severin

best cities to visit in romania 08

I am, of course, a bit biased with this recommendation, as it is my home city, but it’s definitely worth a visit for a weekend at least. You’ll see everything there is to see about this city in one afternoon, but you’ll be impressed: we’re talking about a city that’s clean, never crowded and quite beautiful, situated right by the Danube river.

It’s also really close to Orsova – a small town that you have to visit if you get here, especially for the ride on the Danube and then go even further (just a bit) either to Baile Herculane for some refreshing thermal baths or visit the world-known Bigar waterfall.


Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

We complete the list of the best cities to visit in Romania with the medieval town of Sighisoara, which is considered one of the best preserved medieval cities/towns in Europe! The town’s center is considered an UNESCO heritage site and that’s the place where the famous medieval festival takes place every year at the end of July (the last weekend of the month).

Again, unless you go there for the festival, you won’t have many things to do, but you should definitely visit it for the blast from the past – and if you’re planning a visit, make sure it’s during the festival when everything is ten times more awesome and you really think that you’ve made a trip back in time!


Most of the lists available online, as well as suggestions that you might get from people living in Romania, will usually stick to the biggest cities in the country: Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Timisoara, Constanta, most likely followed by high rising (in popularity) Brasov and Sibiu.

The truth is, as you saw above, that there’s a lot more that Romania has to offer and sometimes, staying away from the beaten track might come with some pleasant surprises. So even though I perfectly agree with visiting the larger cities first as that’s where the action is (and usually these are the most improved in recent years), you should still consider some other options.


  1. Hi Calin:
    I was beginning to wonder where you’d gotten to. Glad we’ve finally left the beach behind–ha, ha!
    I am glad you included Piatra Neamt. My only concern there is the risk of earthquakes, whereas your city isn’t so seismically active.
    I have some questions regarding the current terrorist events in Europe. Romania seems to be immune. Are there no ISIS wannabees leaving the Romania and going to battle? Are there no Muslim “ghetto” areas where Muslims are marginalized, and feel they have no choice but to go and fight against the “infidels”? I ask this after learning about the situation in Brussels, where the Muslims are not really fully integrated into the society.
    I have trouble understanding how anyone would better off fighting with ISIS. It’s sickening what they do to innocent people.
    So I presume there is no real heightened security in major cities, airports, and train stations. If you travelled to say, Bucharest, you don’t feel nervous? Hopefully all is well in Romania, and will remain so.
    Sorry to go off-track, but I am interested in your opinion.
    Thanks for your new post, and I trust all is well with you and your family!
    ~Teil (USA)
    p.s. KemKem Kum back–ha, ha;-)

    • Hello Teil,

      Piatra Neamt is not seismically active – the Vrancea region is known as the most active in Romania, but that’s pretty far away. Romania is pretty safe earthquake-wise, even though many voices in the past few years keep warning that a “big one” is coming.

      Regarding the other question, there are not a lot of people who believe that there’s any threat here. There is no Muslim ghetto, there are no areas where you find mostly Muslims in the country… actually there are very few Muslims overall in Romania, and those living here are regular people like everybody else. Plus, nobody would feel important harming a country like Romania – they’re focusing on the big, important ones to prove their point. So the only reasons why I feel nervous when traveling to Bucharest is that my train will once again have a big delay or that I’ll once again waste half of the day waiting for and traveling with public transportation 🙂

  2. Great to hear from you again! Yes, Romania has so many beautiful cities to offer. I think Timisoara also deserves to be on the list, but that’s just my opinion. I love even very small towns in Romania, especially the ones built by the Saxons like Biertan. Maybe it’s not your area of expertise, but I think Romania has so much to offer in the arts and in literature. I just read a book by Zamfirescu called “Viata la Tara.” It was tough going, I had to look up just about every second word in my dictionary, but it was well worth the effort. Now I’m plowing through Ibraileanu’s “Adela” which I think Nabokov ripped off for his “Lolita.” Well, sorry to get off tangent. If you or your wife know of some Romanian literary gems or want to tell us about your favorite artists and writers, don’t hesitate! I have found a site which has downloadable Romanian eBooks that are free (they are so old, the copyrights have expired). Last comment back on topic, I thoroughly enjoy walking the streets of Romania through Google Earth Streetview. Unlike Germany, which seems very paranoid, Romania has give Google free rein to put all Romanian cities and towns in Streetview. I highly recommend it.

    • Hello Stuart, I too believe that smaller towns deserve to be visited as there is a lot of hidden charm here and there. I have never been (virtually or otherwise) to Biertan, but I will surely check it out!

      Regarding the Romanian literature, I could say that I am not a huge fan of it as I am not a huge fan of classical literature. However, I can recommend – based on what friends and family consider great Romanian literature and what you enjoyed, the following: Morometii by Marin Preda, Maitrey – Mircea Eliade, Descult – Zaharia Stancu and Camil Petrescu’s books.

      PS: I also love to explore cities with Streetview. I consider it one of the best things technology can offer.

  3. Keep telling us more. Your insight is invaluable. I will only be in Bucharest and Timisoara this spring but this is good information for future trips and virtual exploration!!

  4. I already knew l would like Bucharest and Brasov, but now l have to add Cluj and Sibiu to it. They look great from the images. There are no flights from Seville to Romania, but l recently discovered that Wizz Air flies there from Malaga, so it has come back on my radar, even though it looks like we are filled up once again till October, but we will get there at some point.. :-). Great post.

    • I’m happy to hear that I managed to add some more cities to your list and I can only hope that you will enjoy them if you manage to get here. I personally believe that the best time to visit Romania is during the summer (if we don’t have the green grass and trees, then all the grey concrete buildings make everything look more sad)… but then again there are surely better places to visit during the summer :))

      I know that there are no direct planes to Seville, but Malaga is indeed an option and there are other cities in Spain that offer flights to Bucharest, so you could surely find something!

  5. Hey Calin,

    I will be in Drobeta Turnu-Severin this Sunday 24th April until the following weekend.

    Could you point me in the right direction, please, for seeing Baia Herculane and Orsova (I’m up for a boat ride!)? Also is the waterfall near Drobeta or near Baia Herculane?

    As well, do you know anything about gyms I could use for either a weekly membership or a pay as you go basis? Or failing that, any hotels that have a gym available with weights, etc.?

    Looking forward to seeing your part of Romania!



    • Hello, Mark! Seems that Chiajna gave you the perfect opportunity with their schedule to stay for one week here 🙂 This weekend is the city’s celebration so if you arrive early in the morning, you might still catch a bit of that as well.

      Regarding the nearby towns, I am not 100% sure that there are any tours to them from Drobeta, but both are a very short bus/train ride away. I know for sure that Herculane has tours in Orsova, including surroundings and boat trip (if not, it’s still very easy to set up a boat trip visit when you get there, as there are people waiting for customers). The Bigar waterfall is relatively close to Orsova.

      There are a few gyms available here so it all depends on where you will be staying. If it’s OK with you, we can talk via email – either send me one using the Contact Me page that’s on the light blue bar at the top of the website, or I can send you an e-mail – just let me know if that would be OK.

      • Hi Calin, yes, and it falls during my 2-week holiday from work which is perfect. So I’ll see the great Chiajna play both in Timisoara and Craiova and also get to see Pandurii vs. Dinamo for good measure!

        Sounds like the easiest thing to do is go to Orsova and organise all the fun from there…..

        Yes you can email me, please do!

        I will be staying at the Hotel Continental for one day and then at the Traian for 4 days, though I may change my booking if it is easiest to use a hotel gym at one of the other hotels.

  6. Calin:
    Greetings! Isn’t it time to dust off the keyboard and provide your pining public with the next installment of “The Life and Times of C, Wife, and Little Son Romanian”? We all await with bated breath!;-)
    So, the missile defense system located in your country is officially “open for business.” I know “Vladey the P” and his pals in Russia are none too happy.
    What do the Romanians think about this? Are they nervous, or happy, or what?
    I suspect since your country seems so “chill” and “laid-back,” there’s not too much controversy. (Certainly a welcome counter to the US, where absolutely everything and everything is subject to strong opinions! Witness the “bathroom issue.” I mean we are making a major to-do out of whether Caitlyn Jenner, or Chaz Bono must use the men’s room and ladies’ room, respectively (as their birth gender reflects) or vice versa as is their gender identity. [I believe they should be allowed to use the restroom of the sex they identify as.]).
    And, we have Trump running as the “Celebrity Apprentice-in-Chief” of the United States. (Will Kanye and Kim run in 2020???) Personally, I prefer “Bernie” to shake things up here. Hillary and her “Billygoat” make me retch. They both reek of the stench of the cesspool of the corrupt political morass they’ve wallowed in for so many years!
    I don’t blame your “Brasov buddies” from beating feet the hell out of the USA!
    Well, I hope all is well with you. Seriously, I do hope you won’t let your blog go moribund. There’s too much of Romania left to share.
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil,

      It’s been some time since I last updated this blog and I should write a bit more about the cities here indeed, but I am in a kind of a writer’s block regarding new things to write about 🙂 And we’re also preparing for a month-long stay in Budapest at the end of May and we’ve been a little busy preparing for it.

      Regarding the defense system, I honestly had no idea that it just went live, hahaha. I am no longer watching TV for a while now (unless it’s cartoons) but I am sure that most Romanians didn’t put this high on their important things list. There were discussions when this was first announced, but it all burned off since. Facebook friends shared no opinions or news, so I believe that the people here no longer care that much about the potential effects on the country.

      • Hi Calin;
        I remember you said you were impressed by Budapest, when you vacationed there last year.
        It was on my short list where to retire, but trying to learn Hungarian just seems so daunting. Still, cost of living-wise it’s in the same area as Romania–isn’t it?
        A whole month–that should be quite an experience! Will you let your apartment out to rent to earn some Lei do defray your vacation costs?
        Maybe you’ll move to Hungary, and become “C the Hungarian”?
        I hope you’ll enjoy your time in Hungary!
        ~Teil (USA)

        • Hello Teil,

          Yes, I think that Hungarian is about the same as Romania in terms of cost of living. We won’t be renting the apartment for the month mostly because we wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving all our belongings there and I also doubt I will become C the Hungarian mostly because of the language. But yes, Budapest was really nice and hopefully after this month it will rank high on my list as well.

        • Hi Calin,

          I hope you are enjoying your time in Budapest! Although you had been there before, it’s a bit different than what you’re used to eh? I have a question about Alba Iulia…I was glad to see that you mentioned it here as another city to check out, and found it interesting that you used to think it was one of the ugliest towns, so imagine my surprise to think it now as one of the most beautiful..especially for a relatively small city. Wow, it must have been through a lot of changes! Can you offer any more information about it specifically? Beyond just visiting, would this place be worth considering for an expat to retire to? Any insights would be appreciated. So far Romania is my first choice as a country, and Brasov is my top choice as a city to live. Again, hope you and your family are enjoying your time in Budapest and you are having success there as a digital nomad!Regards, JC

  7. Thank you, JC! I will make sure to put Alba Iulia on the shortlist and write about it soon. But to answer your question – yes, I believe it would be a great city to retire to as well.

  8. …thanks so much Calin!…I really appreciate it! It appears to be about 4 hours by car or bus/train from Brasov, so checking it out when I get there shouldn’t be a problem. I also look forward to hearing all about Budapest, but even though I think it’s too big a city for me to want to live in, visiting is definitely something I’d like to do! Thanks again! Best Regards, JC

  9. For when we visit in Romania, how can a traveler from the US use their cell phones? I have an old Iphone 4 that we can take. But we have monthly contract phones in the US as they are much cheaper to use. Not sure how all of this would work in Romania. Please help.

    • I am sure you could easily use your US cell phones, although Roaming fees might be high (you should check this with your carrier). Alternately, you could buy a sim card here in Romania which would cost as low as 3 Euros and use it instead. Finally, you could take advantage of the high speed internet and numerous free WiFi locales and call back home via the Internet using Skype, Facetime or anything like that. If you’re planning to move here – so not just a visit – then you should know that a decent monthly contract for mobile phones would be as low as 6 Euros per month for unlimited minutes and text messages and 500 MBs of internet – that’s surely cheaper than in the US!

  10. Hi Calin,
    Good points, but beyond just buying a sim card in Romania, how do the actual phone prices compare for something comparable to a Samsung Galaxy or iphone 6 in Romania ? If I can get a comparable price there to the U.S., then instead of upgrading here, I’ll just hold onto mine until I leave and give mine to my cousin, and just get a new one when I get over there. Thanks!

  11. Hi Calin,

    Thank you very, very much for your website. My husband and I found your site because we’re thinking of moving to Romania. We’ve now read every article you’ve written here. Your site is by far the most useful resource that exists for understanding life in Romania as a resident. Realistic, honest, broad in focus and thorough in depth… really, this site is a goldmine of information. Thank you.

    We’d like to ask you – and your readers – for a suggestion of a city/town. We plan to live in Romania for 4 months, May through September. I feel sheepish to ask for personal suggestions of a great location, particularly as your site has wonderful pages about well-known cities as well as lesser known towns, but we’ve spent a lot of time researching so far and haven’t managed to find a good place on our own.

    What we’d like:

    1. Warm weather from June to September. For us, that means daytime highs above 25 (C) and nighttime lows no lower than 14. That eliminates some great mountain places like Piatra Neamt, for example.

    2. A really pretty place. “Eye candy”, as you write on your site :). Could be great architecture: cobblestone streets, medieval buildings. Maybe amazing views of a mountain, river, or forest. Or in the best of all worlds, architecture plus nature!

    3. Walkable. Easy to live life without cars or public transportation. Pleasant atmosphere, not having to walk along large highways to go to the store, etc.

    4. Possibility to actually live in a pretty part of the city. What I mean is this: We’ve found several Romanian cities which have a pretty, historical area. But in the cities we looked at, it seems that the center area is very small, and the rest of the city isn’t so pretty. Unfortunately, most furnished apartments/houses for rent we’ve found in these cities aren’t in the historical center; instead, they’re in the non-descript, characterless neighbourhoods.

    We’re flexible on everything else. Any size: small towns up to cities. Any location in the country.

    We don’t care about restaurants, nightlife, museums.

    Our budget for rent and housing expenses is 700 eur/month.

    About us: we’re an older couple, very active, very healthy.

    Regarding language, we’ve been studying Romanian for several months. We speak several other Romance languages fluently, so after the initial hurdle at Romanian’s (many!) dissimilarities, it’s not been so bad. We won’t be fluent when we arrive, but will speak more than enough for communication. And hopefully when we leave, we’ll speak passably!

    Any ideas?

    And finally, thank you again for such an informative site. It truly is the best resource that exists about living in Romania.

    – Angela

    • Hello Angela,

      Thank you for your message. I might not have the perfect answer for you, but I will share my two cents here and hopefully you’ll be able to make a decision.

      Most places in Romania are hot during June – September, but the climate is changing and we had some freak cold streaks and wind during the month of June and extremely hot days in September (when it’s usually colder and rainier). Of course, the places near the mountains are colder, but I still believe that most cities in Romania would meet your temperature criteria.

      You are also correct about the cities. Most of them have charming areas around the city center and not much else in the rest of the city. Your best bet, in my opinion, is to find a larger city and stay as close to the center as possible. That would make it walkable (as you’ll have no reason to visit the streets filled with nothing but apartment buildings) and charming. But cobblestone streets… these are getting more and more difficult to be found here 🙂

      I would suggest you to look at some cities and see which one meets most of your demands: Oradea would be probably closest to what you’re looking for (look for the Olosig area), Cluj Napoca, Iasi, Sighisoara (probably too small for 4 months) or maybe even Abla Iulia.

      The problem with Romania is that the architecture is not its greatest asset and as you said, the architectural beauty and heart of the city is usually in the center, with little else happening in other areas.

      You could also try AirBnb to find accommodation – that’s usually a bit more expensive than regular listings, but in better condition and areas and on AirBnbs you have all fees included (rent and expenses for water, electricty etc). You could also consider spending two months in a city and two in another to increase the chances of finding something you like.

      If our readers have some recommendations of more off the beaten path cities, I’m sure they will share them with you but I honestly don’t think that we have a city to tick all your boxes.

  12. Hi Calin,

    Thank you for your kind response. It was very helpful for us.

    – Thank you for your suggestion of the Olosig area of Oradea. We had already explored Oradea after reading your informative November, 2018 article about the city, but we hadn’t examined the Olosig neighbourhood in detail. After (virtually) exploring that area more, it seems quite pleasant. Very Hungarian. We still find that the nicer areas aren’t so expansive. But your advice on staying close to the center is quite good: if we could get lucky to find accommodation in exactly the right location, it seems we could build a life within a charming bubble of this city.

    – Your message that most places should meet our temperature criteria made me think I was missing something and spurred me to investigate more about the weather of Piatra Neamt. It turns out there are several very conflicting reports about the average climate there. For example, this site ( shows that July has highs of 16 and lows of 8, which would be far too cold for us and why I ruled it out. But now, with more research, I’ve found several sites which show significantly higher average temperatures for July: 25/14 ( and 26/15 (, which is an enormous difference and would make us very interested.

    I haven’t been able to find any official Romanian data source about weather to verify the accuracy of these reports.

    So, as basic as it is, we’d be very appreciative if you or anyone might have information about how exactly is the weather generally in Piatra Neamt from May to September.

    – Alba Iulia. Very pretty renovated area in the center, but we had categorized it as a city that’d be nice to visit but hard to live in. We couldn’t find any charming neighbourhoods for living. All the neighbourhoods with apartments/houses which we found in our (virtual) search are fairly non-descript areas that look difficult for walkability. The virtual street views we’re using might be dated, so at least what we see shows that the reform is limited to the historical centre. Would you have any suggestions on areas for living in the city which might be more charming?

    – We’ve used Airbnb in several other countries and had good experiences. In Romania, there isn’t so much offered on Airbnb outside the big cities compared to the massive supply in Western European cities (an issue which is increasingly controversial in many places, as you know). But browsing the Romanian listings on Airbnb has definitely been useful for us to get a feeling for what is available and where, at least in the higher-end of the tourist-oriented market.

    – We’re ok with small places. We’re academics, so we have our own projects to keep us busy during the summer, which is why we’d also be quite content with any small place that is just sweet and charming, even if it is doesn’t offer much of restaurants or cultural events. Any smaller cities/towns occur to you or any of your readers here, let’s say 15-40,000, that are charming?

    • Hella Angela,

      The July highs of 16 degrees Celsius are surely wrong for Piatra Neamt. I think that it’s warmer that that even in the higher-placed cities like Brasov. I found this in Romanian for yearly averages: but you can also check out where they show you historic averages for the upcoming months. So highs of 26 degrees and lows of 15 would be more accurate for July, with lower temperatures (but only on rare, exceptional occasions around 16 for your dates).

      Unfortunately, though, I don’t think you can find the charm you are looking for in a smaller city and just in limited areas of the larger ones. This is one of the reasons why I always said that Hungary looks much better. 🙂 Hopefully fellow readers will prove me wrong, although they are mostly people looking to visit and not those with a lot of experience actually living here…

      However, I will love to hear what’s your decision and, once this is all over, how it all was for you.

  13. Hi Cailin,

    Thanks for your great ideas about cities in Romania. I waited to respond until I had more info. So now, here we go: weather info to give to you, and city/town questions to ask you.

    About weather:
    The discrepancies between published data about Romanian weather was making our decision difficult, so I had a month-long correspondence with the ANM (Administraţia Naţională de Meteorologie). The summary:

    – The ANM doesn’t publish weather data. It’s only for sale. The basic weather data I’d like, which is freely available on the national weather sites of other countries, would cost thousands of euros from the ANM. Even averages aren’t freely available for each station. Quite a pity.

    – If you consider ANM data to be correct, then many international websites have somewhat inaccurate data for Romanian weather. I don’t know the details, but it seems that many of the websites get their data from sources other than the ANM, hence the discrepancies from one website to another as well as the inaccuracies compared to the ANM data.

    – ANM can’t give me the detailed info I’d like to understand the year-to-year variability in many areas. But they were kind enough to give me the average min/max by month over the last 30 years for a few cities. In the summer months of June, July, Aug, it is:

    Brasov: 24/11, 26/12, 26/12
    Sibiu: 25/12, 27/14, 27/13
    Piatra Neamt: 25/14, 27/16, 26/15

    Year-to-year variability could make a big difference, but this is the best data we’ll have. So based on our goal of warm summer weather with nighttime lows above 14, then Brasov is too cold even in the summer, Sibiu is on the border, and Piatra Neamt is ok.

    About cities, now that I understand weather better, we’ve focused to a few places. I wanted to ask your opinion of some specific places:

    Piatra Neamt – As you write in your page about beautiful lesser-known cities, Piatra Neamt’s natural setting really seems beautiful because of the geography. So we understand why it’d be considered so great, and we were quite excited about it. But at least from the pictures, the city itself doesn’t seem to have charm: it seems like a beautiful nature surrounding a fairly plain, nondescript city. Are we missing something? What’s your opinion of the city from the perspective of charm: pretty, cute architecture and walkability?

    Gura Humorului, Suceava:
    These cities seem intriguing. Gura Humorului, the geography is beautiful, but the city itself seems plain, without charm. Suceava, from photos it seems not so charming, not so pleasant for walking. What’s your view?

    Medias – Our impression from photos is that Medias seems to have charming architecture with great walkability, at least in the center. Although it does seem fairly touristic in the center, not so many residents? But perhaps in Romania the charming places are mainly just the touristy areas. Outside the center, not so nice. What do you think of Medias?

    Best wishes to you!

    • During the communist regime, especially under Ceausescu’s rule (over 2 decades), most buildings were destroyed and the ugly apartment buildings still standing today were built. Very few managed to escape, and this is the main reason why in most parts of Romania, it will be difficult to still find the charming architecture you are looking for. Also, this is the reason why most city centers are better than the outskirts, since he fortunately started his projects from the outside and didn’t have time to ruin everything.

      Romania doesn’t have a going out, eating out mentality and except for some specific areas (usually the center), you won’t have much to do and see except for many apartment buildings. This is the case of all cities in the country.

      It’s also the natural beauty that attracts people, and that is mostly the case of Piatra Neamt or Suceava / Gura Humorului (the latter is way too small for you in my opinion). Medias also has most of its charm in the central area. So in the end, it looks like you will have to compromise a bit and either choose a larger city with larger central areas and things to see, or trade away the eye candy for a smaller city.

      If warm weather is what you’re looking for, it’s worth mentioning that the warmest city in the country is Drobeta Turnu Severin – again, a city that lacks in terms of beautiful architecture, but scores on cost of living, proximity to the Danube and warmth 🙂

  14. Thanks for the great tips, Calin!

    I hadn’t realized that cities were ruined from the outside under Ceausescu. Wow.

    The architecture and development of Romania definitely seems to have evolved in different ways in the 20th century than in Hungary, Czech, and Slovakia, and the results seen today seem quite stark. We’re now understanding your point well.

    You’re right about compromise. With your insight, we realized that it’s not so easy to get a feel for a city in Romania as it might be in other countries. So we decided that the most prudent course is to take some time to see for ourselves several of our top places, and then settle down in our favourite.

    We’re desk-bound older academics, so for us, this is our big adventure of the year. I’ll write again at the end of the summer to let you know how it goes on our adventure. Perhaps what we learn might be useful for others of your readers, and at the very least, it might be interesting for you to hear more stories of foreigners living in your fascinating country.

    Thanks and best wishes,

    – Angela


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