When you say “trip to Romania”, what comes to your mind for the first time? Do you think of idyllic landscapes, fairytale castles, or urban areas? And when you say Romanian cities, do you already imagine gray blocks of flats and crowded streets or rather beautiful buildings, neat parks, and interesting museums?
When you want to explore this country you will include in your itinerary mountains and natural places, but to have a full image, you should visit also the biggest cities in Romania. It is important to know that there are many beautiful towns in Romania and many of them have developed harmoniously so as to receive their guests in the best conditions.
Which cities are worth visiting you may wonder. Here is a list of the best cities to visit in Romania and the reason why they are included in this top.
The most beautiful cities in Romania
The biggest city in Romania: Bucharest
Bucharest, the capital of Romania, lags behind when compared to other cities in the country. But if you come with an open mind, you will see that it also has a special beauty that can attract visitors. And once you start exploring it and overlooking its flaws, you discover a modern city with a romantic heritage from the royal period (Bucharest was called “little Paris” at the time and a walk on its central boulevards will show you why it received this name).
The capital attracts with its delicious and varied restaurants, with the contrast between its communist neighborhoods and those with villas from the interwar period, and with some unique tourist attractions in Romania. Of these, it is worth stopping at:
The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest
One of the largest buildings in the world and the heaviest if you consider the materials used to build it is the Parliament Palace, the seat of the Romanian Parliament. There are several tours available inside (here you will find the details) and it is better to schedule your visit by phone the day before.
Bucharest old town
The oldest part of the capital, the old center is known today, especially for its nightlife, restaurants, and pubs. Among all these are scattered old buildings, real architectural jewels. Some of them have adapted to the current landscape of the area, and others are true oases of history in the middle of the Bucharest tumult.
When you are walking around here, I recommend you to stop at Carousel, a beautiful bookstore that has probably become the most photographed building in the city. You can also make a stop at Manuc’s Inn for a traditional Romanian lunch. Carousel and Manuc’s Inn are two excellent examples of how old buildings take on a new breath. Among the oases preserved over time is the Stavropoleos Monastery.
The old center of Bucharest hides a lot of mysteries. I invite you to discover them by yourself during a treasure hunt that we have prepared both for those who do not know the center of Bucharest at all and for those who come here frequently.
Check out this cool treasure hunt in the old town of Bucharest
A boulevard that can bring the capital the nickname of a beautiful city in Romania is Calea Victoriei. Almost the entire architectural heritage of Bucharest can be admired here and the whole history of Romania is represented by at least one building.
Starting from Victoriei Square you will meet the Cantacuzino Palace, today the George Enescu Museum, the Romanian Athenaeum, and the Royal Palace In Bucharest (National Museum of Art), the Revolution Square, the National Military Circle currently under renovation, the CEC Palace and the National Museum of History. Some of the most important museums in Bucharest are on Calea Victoriei.
Parks in Bucharest
Although less neat than in other cities, the parks in Bucharest manage to attract both locals in search of nature, as well as external visitors who want to discover the city beyond its museums. There are several such green places in Bucharest that also hide historical places. Cismigiu Park Bucharest and Carol Park are home to pieces of history that most of their visitors do not know much about.
If anyone would make a list of Romanian cities, Bucharest would fail to enter the top 3 most beautiful ones. But it is the largest city in Romania and has enough tourist attractions to be worth a visit for a few days!
Constanta, the largest city in Dobrogea
The largest port in Romania, Constanta, is a very popular destination during the summer due to its location on the Black Sea coast. Once there, you realize that the city means more than this, and the fact that it is located that way only increases the charm it had anyway.
In the center, you can visit the old part of the city (Ovidiu Square and the area around it), a mixture of different cultures that have been gathered here over the years (Romans, Muslims, etc.) and Roman influences, because the city hosts Roman ruins.
The symbol of Constanta is the old casino, a beautiful building from the 20th century, overlooking the Black Sea. After wandering the crowded streets and admiring the port, you can enjoy the sun on the long beach in Mamaia, one of the best beaches in Romania, or even on the beach of Constanta.
You can visit Constanta during the Dobrogea and Danube Delta 4-days tour
Sinaia – one of the most beautiful small towns in Romania
Although Sinaia is considered rather a mountain resort by the vast majority of people, it is actually a town, a small town that is true. Her great luck was that King Carol I fell in love with the landscape here and decided to build his summer residence in the middle of the forest.
This is how Peles Castle appeared. It only took this happy event for most of the important people of that time to want to have a holiday home next to the king. And so the beautiful villas in Sinaia appeared, the park developed and the Casino in Sinaia was built.
Everything has been preserved to this day and the fact that this architectural marvel is framed by the high peaks of the Bucegi Mountains makes you understand why even today so many people want to go to Sinaia – it is one of the best resorts in Romania!
Discover Sinaia with during a day trip to Peles Castle and Bran castle
Iasi, the largest city in Moldova
Iasi is one of the large cities in Romania, but it is often overlooked when it comes to holidays. I have rarely heard anyone go to Iasi just for the sake of the city and it is a great pity. It is the biggest city in Moldova and an important religious center.
It is enough to search for attractions to visit in Iasi to immediately discover a lot of churches recommended. The Cathedral in the Center becomes a place of pilgrimage for Saint Paraschiva, but there are other monasteries and churches in the area where you can stop.
The city has hosted some important writers in Romanian literature and you can visit here places that inspired them. The house of Ion Creanga in Ticau is the place where the writer began to write his childhood memories. And in Copou Park, in a quiet walk on the alleys, you will meet Eminescu’s linden tree, the tree that is often mentioned in his poems.
But perhaps the most impressive place to visit in Iasi is the Palace of Culture, a beautiful newly renovated building that houses several museums related to the history of Moldova. The Palace of Culture in Iasi is open to the public today.
The most beautiful cities in Transylvania Romania
If we do not take into account Bucharest, which has the advantage of having a well-connected airport, Brasov is one of the most visited cities in Romania when it comes to foreign tourists. Some arrive here by chance coming to Bran Castle in search of Dracula, but there are also many who know about Brasov and come especially to discover its well-preserved medieval beauty.
Brasov boasts the lively Piata a Sfatului, its defense towers preserved from ancient times, the houses that have remained standing for centuries, and the Black Church, the Gothic building that gained its name after the fire that darkened its walls.
Discover Brasov on a 7-day Transylvania road trip
Sibiu, the most beautiful city in Romania
Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Romania and my favorite, Sibiu has a certain charm that you will not find elsewhere. Its cobble-stone alleys, the Large Square (Piata Mare) surrounded by colorful old houses, and the Bridge of Lies decorated with red geraniums are just three elements that make any visitor want to discover more.
Besides its well-known attractions, it has other less-visited places. Two days are enough to explore it, but after that, you can stay a few more days to discover the beautiful villages in Transylvania located around Sibiu Romania. You will definitely come back here!
Explore Sibiu during our Best of Transylvania tour
Sighisoara, the beautiful medieval fortress in Transylvania
Listed in the UNESCO patrimony, the medieval fortress Sighisoara is today one of the most beautiful places in Romania for foreign visitors, but also for Romanians. The defense towers belonging to the various guilds that lived in the city (Tailors Guild, Shoemakers, etc.), the stone wall that surrounds it, and the access gates so well preserved are the ones that keep the medieval charm that surrounds you once you pass the Clock Tower.
In the fortress, you will discover only alleys paved with cubic stone, renovated old Saxon houses, but keeping their old characteristics and very few cars.
You can also visit the covered staircase on which you have to go up to the Church on the hill and to its evangelical cemetery. If you are interested to explore some medieval towns in Romania, Sighisoara occupies the leading position in that top.
Medieval Transylvania tour in 3 days will show you the Sighisoara fortress
Targu Mures struggles in the shadow of his star brothers from Transylvania: Brasov, Cluj Napoca, and Sibiu. After a visit here, you will come to the conclusion that it is worth including it a longer holiday in Transylvania.
Targu Mures has a medieval fortress restored just a few years ago, with one of the most beautiful evangelical churches in Romania. It also has a city center decorated with interesting buildings, imposing churches, and a zoo. If you decide to stop for several days, you will find hotels and guesthouses for all tastes and pockets.
Art nouveau in Romania: Oradea
Known as the Art Nouveau city of Romania, Oradea has flourished in recent years and it’s now one of the best towns to visit in Romania. Today, the buildings surrounding Piata Unirii have taken on a new look and it is a pleasure to walk its large streets admiring famous palaces and churches.
Among the places to visit in Oradea, you should include the Black Eagle Palace, a construction known for the inner glass passage, and which takes its name from the eagle emblem that guards the entrances to this passage. In the center, the landscape is complete with cafes and restaurants where you can relax.
Oradea also has a medieval history marked by the fortress that gives the city its name, a fortress completed in the 11th century. Today, its remains can be explored, and inside it is housed the Faculty of Visual Arts.
If you arrive in the area, you can spend a few relaxing days without getting bored. Nearby, the thermal water resort Baile Felix boasts large swimming pools and spas ready to satisfy any lover of this type of vacation. Here you will find some of the best spa hotels in Romania.
Cluj Napoca, the largest city in Transylvania
Cluj Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania and the most modern one. It offers even better living conditions and jobs than in Bucharest sometimes and that is why it is considered the best city to live in Romania. Cluj Napoca also has some interesting attractions for tourists.
Starting from Piata Unirii you can easily reach almost all important tourist attractions by walking. The first would be St. Michael’s Cathedral located right in the square. And if you want to gain strength before you start exploring the city you can stop to eat or enjoy a dessert in one of the restaurants and pubs open on the sides of the square.
From Unirii Square, you can continue to Matei Corvin’s House and then to the Museum Square, a place where it seems like a holiday forever due to the brightly colored terraces and the animation here. The Museum Square is surrounded by the Franciscan Church and the History Museum of Transylvania.
Also in the center, you can visit the Metropolitan Cathedral guarded by the statue of Avram Iancu in front. Those with a good physical condition can admire Cluj from above climbing the Cetatuia hill. Cetatuia took its name from a fortification built here in the 18th century, of which only a few ruins remain today.
A little further from the center you can visit the Botanical Garden and, right on the outskirts of the city, the most haunted forest in the world: Hoia-Baciu forest.
Explore Cluj Napoca during our Romania Grand tour in 10 days
This top 10 most beautiful cities in Romania is subjective, but it offers you an idea about what cities to visit in Romania. We can design a great itinerary for your next trip so you can enjoy the best of Romania and offer you a tour that will make you fall in love with this country. If you want to travel on your own, you can find here other suggestions for places to visit.