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Winter in Romania: Things to do & travel tips

Winter in Romania

If you want to see how is the winter in Romania, it is important to know that the temperatures are low and you can catch not very friendly weather. On the other hand, if you are willing to face the cold and enjoy beautiful places even in the cold season, you can meet beautiful landscapes, covered with snow.

Here are some activities you can do in Romania during winter.

Things to do in Romania in winter

Discover Bucharest in winter

Bucharest Christmas market

In winter, Bucharest seems to have a different charm, and a different atmosphere. And each of us perceives the city differently in this season.

The parks in Bucharest become desirable attractions after the first snowfall. The oldest park in Bucharest, Cișmigiul, is also the most photographed. It is one of the main attractions of the city in winter, since the second half of the 19th century,  thanks to its landscapes, but also the ice rink.

The Christmas markets also attract many visitors eager to enjoy the atmosphere of the winter holidays. The Christmas market in Piata Constitutiei is the biggest. But the capital also has other such events through its markets.

read more about how is the winter in Bucharest.

Admire Transfagarasan under snow

Transfagarasan snow

Transfagarasan is the highest and most beautiful road in Romania. It was also voted the most beautiful road in the world. The road connects Muntenia (the southern part of Romania) to Transylvania crossing the Fagaras mountains, hence the name.

It is closed in winter to road traffic, from November until July. Depending on the weather conditions, you can drive from Bucharest to Vidraru dam and even further away, where you can enjoy the beauty of nature.

Another way to admire this road is coming from the other Transylvanian side, driving from Sibiu to Balea Cascada and going up by cable car. The cable car usually works all year long, but it can be suspended for short moments if the weather conditions are too dangerous for it.

And this is the only way to see Transfagarasan in winter and go to its highest point.

Spend a night in the Ice Hotel in Bâlea

balea lake winter

The Ice Hotel in Bâlea is built every winter in the Făgăraş Mountains. This hotel is unique in Southeast Europe and attracts thousands of curious tourists every year to see what a completely ice-sculpted hotel looks like.

Tourists who choose to spend the night at the Ice Hotel can choose to stay in a double room or in an igloo. The hotel’s bar and restaurant can offer specially made glasses of ice, and at the restaurant, you can dine on ice-exclusively tables and chairs.

The Balea Ice Hotel is located on Transfagarasan, which is closed to cars from November until July. However, access to the hotel is possible from the opposite side of the Transfagarasan, from Sibiu. By car, you can go to Balea Cascada and from there, above, to Balea Lac by cable car.

Best tours for winter in Romania:

10 days in Romania itinerary

Price on request
If you are searching for a 10-day tour in Romania that includes the main attractions, this Romania Grand tour is the perfect choice for you! On this trip, you will discover what are the best places to visit in Romania and why is Romania worth visiting. The tour will help you discover the unspoiled Maramures, enjoy the green Bucovina and visit Transylvania, the mysterious land of Dracula. Or you can try another multi-day trip to Romania.

3 days in Transylvania medieval tour

Price on request
Transylvania is a land full of legends, fortresses, and shadows of the knights that once lived here. Are you ready to discover them? Medieval Transylvania tour will show you the beautiful cities of Sibiu and Brasov, both dated from ancient times, the Sighisoara citadel, the only citadel in Europe still inhabited, some amazing fortresses and the remains of medieval history – the fortified churches. This itinerary in Transylvania will be enough to make you want to come back again. And if you want more, choose a longer tour from our Transylvania experiences.

9 days in Romania – Bucovina & Maramures tour

Price on request

9 days in Romania - Tour of Bucovina & Maramures

Maramures and Bucovina, the two regions in the North of Romania, are known for their unspoiled nature, well-preserved traditions and beautiful landscapes. A trip here is like a trip back in time. The villages live their quiet life, people follow the rural practices and food has the same taste as it did 100 years ago: fresh and delicious. This tour of Maramures and Bucovina was designed to help you explore them, enjoy them to the fullest and offer you a relaxing holiday. Are you ready to experience the mix of beautiful villages, wild nature and cultural legacy? For this 9 days itinerary in Romania, you can choose a tour with a guide or a self-drive tour. Or you can try another multi-day trip to Romania.

Dracula tour in Romania – 8 days

Price on request
Spend 8 days in Romania and explore the mysterious land of Transylvania. Transylvania is known to be the land of Dracula, but do you know how the legend of the famous vampire came alive and who really was he (because he was a real person that inspired the story)? Did you feel chills and goosebumps when reading Bram Stocker’s novel? Are you curious to visit the places mentioned in the book and the castles that hosted the major life events of Vlad the Impaler, the cruel ruler known to be Dracula? Then this is the perfect tour for you! Enjoy this 8-day itinerary in Romania for an adventure that will offer you mysterious places, breath-taking landscapes and a little bit of history. This 8-day Dracula tour in Romania includes the places mentioned in the book connected with Dracula or with the journey of Johnathan Harker in Romania. But this is also an amazing opportunity to find out everything you want about Vlad the Impaler. On the way you will also explore the places where the major events in his life took place. (his birthplace, his castles etc) The legends about vampires in Transylvania, ghost stories and creepy rituals interwine with the real history. And at the end you will have a full picture of this mysterious region called Transylvania. Check here other long trips in Transylvania.

Winter sports in mountain resorts

ski slope romania

Due to the Carpathian arch in the centre of the country, Romania has quite a few mountain resorts prepared for winter sports enthusiasts.

From Bucharest, the most accessible are the resorts in Prahova Valley or Poiana Brasov. Sinaia, Busteni, Azuga and Predeal have the necessary equipment for skiing (slopes, chairlift and rental centres). Also, the chances of finding snow here are high, even if there is no sign of it in the capital.

Poiana Brasov is another destination suitable for winter sports. Here you will find modern slopes, horse riding centres, ice rinks, sports equipment rental centres and instructors ready to teach you the desired sport.

Usually, all these resorts are quite crowded during school holidays and weekends. During the week, however, you can have the slopes for yourself.

Explore Brasov

Brasov Christmas market

Brasov is one of the most visited cities in Romania. Being located at the foot of the mountains, Brașov is worth visiting both in summer and especially in winter.

Every year, a beautiful Christmas tree is erected in Sfatului Square, and the streets in the centre that lead tourists to the square are decorated with rows of lighted garlands. In Piata Sfatului you can serve mulled wine with cinnamon.

Near Christmas, in addition to exploring the city on foot, it is worth entering the Black Church and listening to the organ concert.

Visit the Bran Castle

bran castle snow romania

And a stone’s throw from Brasov you can visit Bran Castle, the famous castle of Count Dracula. If you catch a dark and snowy day, you will see the perfect setting for the novel’s action. The castle is built on a steep cliff that becomes more dramatic when it is surrounded by snow.

Built on a rock, the Castle currently houses the Bran Museum, a museum that spans its four floors. And although foreign tourists come every year in search of the legend of Count Dracula, and the guide emphasizes his mythical side, the history of Bran Castle fascinates them all the same.

A history of over 600 years.

The first documentary attestation of Bran Castle is represented by a document issued on November 19, 1377.

In 1920, the City Council of Brasov donated this castle to Queen Maria of Great Romania, as a symbol of gratitude for her contribution to the Great Union of 1918.

The castle was restored in the period 1920-1927 under the direction of the architect of the Royal Court, Carol Liman. During the reign of Queen Maria, Bran Castle experienced its heyday as a royal residence, one of her favourite places.

The myth of Count Dracula is based on the fiction novel “Dracula”, published in Great Britain in 1897, with the Irish writer Bram Stoker as its author. The characters in the novel “Dracula” are the result of the author’s fantasy, but the deeds of Count Dracula and his end are based on popular beliefs related to the existence of evil forces, such as vampires or undead.

The ruler of Wallachia, Vlad Tepeş, was associated with Dracula.

Enjoy the traditions in Maramures

romania winter in maramures

Maramures is a beautiful area, full of traditions and customs – especially in the cold season. In Maramures, you will really see what it means to keep the traditions sacred. Here you can take a ride with the horse-drawn sleigh among the trees loaded with snow. You can serve local dishes that are prepared around the winter holidays (sausages, pork mice, sarmale and cozonac) and you can warm up with their traditional drink, horinca.

The mocanita ride on the Vaserului Valley, an activity not to be missed in Maramures, has a special charm in winter. The road of the old steam train through the snow-laden valley has a special charm in winter. If you are in the area, you can’t miss this experience!

Read also When to visit Romania?

Visit the Christmas fair in Sibiu

sibiu christmas fair

Sibiu, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, is charming all year round. The well-preserved architecture, superb photos, the places with delicious food and the quiet and chic atmosphere make this city an extremely desirable one at the moment, especially since it is located near the mountains.

But Sibiu has another advantage in winter: the Christmas Fair organized in the Great Square. It has often been voted the most beautiful Christmas fair in Romania. The fairytale scenery that delights the little ones and the big ones alike and the lighted Christmas tree in the centre are what make the fair so attractive.

The old centre is of beauty comparable only to other cities in Europe, permanently maintained and restored. In any season you visit it, you will be delighted after a walk on the streets paved with cubic stone, surrounded by colourful houses. But in winter you also have the Christmas Fair as a bonus.

Admire the frozen Black Sea

Frozen sea constanta winter

The photos of the casino in Constanta, the frozen waves and the ice deposited on the seafront have already become famous. The frost works wonders at the seaside in winter. Therefore, Constanta suddenly becomes a winter destination in Romania, a spectacular one from a visual point of view.

It is enough to make a day trip from Bucharest to Constanta. On a walk on the seafront, you can enjoy the swirling sea and the wonders the ice leaves behind.

Another advantage of winter at sea is the late hour of sunrise. Thus, you can admire the sun from the beach at a reasonable time in the morning. Just make sure you have enough layers of clothing on you. If the breeze is pleasant in summer, it can be sharp in winter.

Swim in the thermal waters at Baile Felix

Among the most unique places to visit in winter in Romania is the Baile Felix resort. They give you the rare opportunity to relax in pools with hot thermal water while outside temperatures are below 0 degrees Celsius and the snow does not shy away from appearing.

After bathing, you can benefit from a dry or wet sauna session and other spa treatments for relaxation. Nearby, you have the opportunity to visit Oradea, known as the Art Nouveau city of Romania. And if time allows, you can opt for car trips to the Bear Cave and other natural wonders of the Apuseni Mountains.

How cold is Romania in winter?

From the data recorded in the period 1961–2020 at meteorological stations, it can be seen that in January the air temperature values are negative throughout the country except for small areas located along the Black Sea coast and in the southwest of Banat.

In the intra- and extra-Carpathian area, the average temperature values are between -4 and 0 ºC, slightly higher, -2… 0 ºC, in the south and west of the country and somewhat lower, with values between -4 and -2 ºC, in Moldova and the centre of the country.

In the Subcarpathian and Low Carpathian areas, the averages are between -6 and -4 ºC. In the high Carpathian area and in the intermontane depressions of eastern Transylvania, the temperature drops to -8 ºC, and at altitudes higher than 1800 m even below -10 ºC.

What is the coldest month in Romania?

January is the winter month characterized, in general, by the lowest minimum temperature values as a result of the persistence of polar continental air masses that cover the eastern half of Europe during this period.

What to eat and drink in Romania in winter

Each area of Romania has specific dishes for the Christmas table, but pork is a common element that can be found in all corners of the country. However, traditional dishes such as sarmale or toba have different interpretations in each region.

The most popular Christmas appetizers are cold meats or piftia, made of pig’s feet, ears and head, covered in aspic and served with lemon or paprika. It can also be made from turkey, veal or chicken.

Pork sausages, whether grilled or fried, are usually served with different types of pickles. Other traditional pork specialities are toba and caltaboş.

For Maramureș, a specific dish is balmoş, a combination of thicker whey with condensed milk and pieces of sheep curd. In this fatty whey, the cream is boiled, and the result is called balmosh.

The traditional horinca and palinca from Maramureș are also necessary at the festive table.

In Transylvania, smoked pork is preferred at the Christmas table: bacon, sausages, ribs and smoked pork knuckle.

Sarmale are perhaps the most popular traditional Romanian Christmas specialities and are usually served alongside another Romanian speciality, mămăliga. The sauerkraut leaves are stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice and spices and then slowly cooked for several hours. After the sarmale, the roast pork is served in the oven with red wine.

Perisoare soup is another speciality for the Christmas table. Made with vegetables and meatballs, the soup is soured with borscht, lemon juice, cabbage leaves and even vinegar.

In the dessert chapter, the housewives in this area compete in their skill in preparing cozonacs, but also in homemade cakes.

Does it snow in Romania at Christmas?

Romania is a country that has all 4 seasons. Winter is really cold and snow is often seen here, but not in all regions. If you to spend a white Christmas in Romania, snow is an important element.

And there are several places that you can choose to increase the possibility to have a Christmas with snow. Transylvania and Maramures are regions that usually have snow in December. The mountain resorts like Poiana Brasov, Sinaia, Arieseni are also good choices to increase your chances. Even Bucharest experienced some Christmases with snow, but in the last years, that was not a common situation.

Winter in Romania is a well-defined season with all the specific characteristics: snow and low temperatures. Those who have never seen snow before and those who like low temperatures and winter sports can find many interesting things to do in winter in Romania. The list above includes just a few of them. But you must come to discover the others!

Do you need extra details about Romania? Please read our Romania Travel blog.

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