Romania is is a country that is slowly increasing in popularity as an off the beaten path destination to visit in Europe. Despite more tourists coming to this beautiful country each year, it still remains relatively undiscovered and underexplored by foreign tourists. And this really is a shame, because Romania has a lot to offer travellers. It’s a massive country and any length of Romania itinerary could see you exploring hip, metropolitan cities, gazing in awe at the castles of Transylvania, and trekking through the stunning Carpathian mountains.
There are an abundance of fantastic places to visit in Romania and though it is slowly making its way onto European visitor’s radar, there is a distinct lack of large tour groups and khaki-clad tourists. While this adds to Romania’s charm, it can make planning a Romania itinerary fairly tricky. Luckily, we are here to help! After spending a good portion of time exploring this amazing country, we can help you plan the perfect Romanian adventure!
Getting to and Around Romania
Due to its size, there are a number of large cities that are easy to get to when visiting Romania. The cities of Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca both have international airports that serve a number of well-known airlines from many destinations across Europe. They are also both within easy reach of Budapest, Hungary with regular bus and train connections between the two. It is also fairly easy to reach Timisoara from Belgrade, Serbia though there aren’t any direct connections (you will have to switch trains at the border).
The logical starting point on any Romania itinerary, however, is in its capital city of Bucharest. The city has a large international airport and is also a transport hub with many bus and train connections from neighbouring cities — both locally and internationally.
When it comes to getting around the country once you’ve arrived, you will be happy to know that public transport is available and prevalent throughout Romania. There are frequent train and bus connections between the major cities but it is worth knowing that Romanian trains tend to be older, can be painfully slow and are frequently delayed. The bus is often a quicker option, though can be less comfortable.
The cities in this Romania itinerary all have their own public transport systems that are affordable and easy to use. Normally you can buy a ticket directly from the driver or at the station. However, with the exception of Bucharest, you will most likely be able to reach most main sites on foot.
Romania Itinerary: 10 days
If you want to see a good portion of the country while also really getting a feel for the traditions and culture, we recommend planning to set aside at least 10 days for your Romania itinerary. This will allow you to see the biggest cities and most famous sites while also allowing you time to breathe and enjoy yourself.
Obviously, you could easily spend more time in Romania and still not see everything. However, this is how we suggest you spend 10 days in Romania:
Romania Itinerary Days 1-3: Bucharest
As mentioned earlier, the most logical starting place for this 10-day Romania itinerary is the capital city: Bucharest.
Bucharest is a lively and dynamic city that is coming into its own as a tourist destination. Though seemingly a little rough around the edges, give Bucharest some time and it is sure not to disappoint. We recommend spending three days in the Romanian capital in order to get a good feel for the city, see the main sites, and also get a bit off the beaten path and maybe enjoy some of its famous nightlife.
Things to do in Bucharest
One of the best ways to get acquainted with a new city is to take a free walking tour. Walkabout Free Tours offers their general city tour twice daily and it will take you by all of the main sites in Bucharest like the Palace of Parliament, Stavropoleos Convent, and Victory Boulevard. They leave at 10:30 AM and 3 PM every single day. While the tour itself is free, please be aware that the guides do work for tips so it is good practice to pay what you thought the tour is worth once you are through.
There are also a number of interesting museums and historic sites to see while in Bucharest, along with a thriving street food scene. If the weather is fine, take some time to lounge in the city’s many beautiful parks or maybe go on another walking tour. There are a numerous themed walking tours that will help you learn more about Romania’s history, like a communist tour that will bring insight into what life was like under Ceausescu’s regime or a walking tour from a formerly homeless Bucharest resident.
Make sure you take the time to explore the Old Town, but also venture a little further away from the main tourist centre to see when most residents of Bucharest actually live. This will allow you to really experience the city as a local does.
Where to Stay in Bucharest
Bucharest is becoming an increasingly popular destination for long-term backpackers and eager city-breakers alike. Therefore, there are a number of great accommodation options to choose from in the Romanian capital. Here are some of our top recommendations:
Podstel Bucharest — located close to the city centre and within a stone’s throw from all of the main tourist sites, this hostel is a great option for a place to stay in Bucharest. They have both dorm beds and private rooms available and they organise social events most evenings. This is a great hostel for both budget and solo travellers. Click here to check latest prices on Hostelworld or Booking.com
Bucharest Boutique Accommodation — also located within easy walking distance from all of the main attractions in Bucharest, this boutique hotel is a great option if you are looking for something a bit more private than a hostel. They have a number of rooms on offer and breakfast is included in the nightly wait. Click here to check latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation in Bucharest!
Romania Itinerary Days 4-5: Braşov
Tucked high in the Carpathians in the centre of the country, Brasov is the most visited city in Transylvania and one of the top destinations for tourists when they visit Romania. Popular as a summer destination due to it’s proximity to many great hikes and as a winter ski resort, this is a beautiful town is one of the best places to visit in Romania.
Things To Do In Brasov
A beautiful little city, there are a number of fun things to do in Brasov. It can, for instance, be very nice to have a leisurely stroll around the main square and maybe have a coffee at one of its many street-side cafes.
As always, I recommend doing a free walking tour of the city to get to know it a little better and also to help you get the lay of the land and some recommendations. Brasov has a tour that meets at 6PM daily in the main square.
Another great thing to do in Brasov is going up to the “Brasov” sign (not unlike the “Hollywood” sign) on Mt. Tampa. You can either hike up or take a cable car, and the mountain provides stunning views of Brasov and beyond. There is also a cafe on the top where you can enjoy a coffee or beer amongst the lovely scenery.
If it interests you, it is also worth taking a short day trip to the town of Bran. Bran Castle is known colloquially as “Dracula’s Castle” and although Bram Stoker’s character in Dracula was fictional, the fifteenth-century Wallachian ruler Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned here. It has a spooky and domineering presence and it is one of the top Romania tourist destinations and one of the best places to visit in Romania.
If you want to spend an extra night here, it is also possible to take a day trip to other picture-perfect Transylvanian towns such as Sibiu or Sighisoara.
Where to Stay in Brasov
Being a popular tourist town, there are a number of accommodation types suited for every traveller in Brasov. There are a handful of hostels, budget guesthouses, and more pricey hotels to choose from. Here are our top picks:
Kismet Dao Hostel — one of the highest-rated hostels in Brasov, this is a great place to stay in you are on a budget. Though small, they have both dorm beds and private rooms on offer and a friendly staff that will help you in any way that is needed to make your trip to Brasov a great one! Click here to check their latest prices on Hostelworld or Booking.com
Arce Boutique Hotel — this quaint boutique hotel is located right in the picturesque centre of Brasov. They have a range of hip and cool rooms on offer and also includes breakfast in the nightly rate. Click here to check their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation in Brasov!
Romania Itinerary Days 6-8: Cluj-Napoca
The unofficial capital of Transylvania and the second-largest city in the country, Cluj-Napoca is a lively city with plenty of things to do. Combining some fascinating historic sites, a great cafe culture, and a thriving nightlife, spending a few days in Cluj is one of the best places to visit in Romania.
Things To Do in Cluj-Napoca
In the hopes of not sounding like a broken record, my first suggestion of things to do in Cluj-Napoca — or any new European city — is to go on a free walking tour with Cluj Guided Tours. Cluj has one that meets in the main square at 11 AM and 6 PM daily between the months of May to October. These tours are one of the best ways to see and get to know a city in a short period of time while also providing you with suggestions for activities during your stay.
Cluj is a fantastic stop on any Romania itinerary as it is quite laid back and filled with friendly locals. We especially relished in eating some international food. Going out for a nice meal is one of the great things to do in Cluj-Napoca.
We had the pleasure of being in the city during the Cluj Never Sleeps festival, which was created to promote culture in the city and to appeal to the young generation, who come alive at night. There was music playing in the main square all hours of the day and it gave the city a really nice vibe.
Cluj also has quite a vibrant nightlife, ranging from cute hipster cocktail bars to hopping nightclubs. Be warned, however, that the clubs don’t start to get going until after midnight so if you want to party you’re going to be up late!
Where to Stay in Cluj-Napoca
Being a large and vibrant city, Cluj has a number of accommodation options to suit any budget. Here are our top recommendations:
Transylvania Hostel — a small hostel in a great location, they have a friendly and helpful staff, clean rooms (both dorm and private), and great common areas — including a very nice garden. They also organise social events in the evening so it is a great place to meet other travellers. Click here to check their latest prices on Hostelworld or Booking.com
Hotel Capitolina City Chic — located in the city centre, this hip hotel is a great option if your budget allows for a little bit more than a hostel. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms on offer and a great breakfast included! Click here to check their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation in Cluj!
Romania Itinerary Days 9-10: Timisoara
The unofficial capital of the Banat region of Romania and selected as the 2021 European Capital of Culture, Timisoara is a picturesque and historic city worth a stop when you visit Romania. Settled in the west of the country, Timisoara was the site, in December of 1989, of the first protests that were to become the Romanian Revolution and was the first city to be free of communism in Romania.
Today, it is a bustling university town with a thriving nightlife and many parks. Often described as the most cosmopolitan city in Romania, it is very walkable and you could easily see all of its main attractions in a day or two. Give yourself two days here in order to enjoy the relaxed pace of the city.
Things To Do in Timisoara
Timisoara is a fairly compact city and you could easily see most of the city in just one or two days. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t a lot of things to do in Timisoara. A good place to start is with a free walking tour. Timisoara has one company offering this and it’s a great way to learn about the city when you visit Romania. As there isn’t a super high demand, you have to book in advance for this tour and it only takes about an hour and a half.
If the weather is nice, I would recommend checking out one of the city’s many parks. As a fairly flat city, it can be a great idea to hire a bike and cycle through the lovely green spaces.
Also worth a visit is the Museum of the Revolution which is very good and will give you an understanding of the communist regime and how the revolution started in Timisoara. This museum is one of the best places to visit in Romania if you want to learn more about the country’s recent history.
Where to Stay in Timisoara
Timisoara is just now coming into its own as a tourist destination and it doesn’t have the wealth of accommodation option as the other cities in this Romania itinerary. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great places to stay in Timisoara. Here are our recommendations:
Freeborn Hostel — centrally located, this small hostel is a great place to stay in Timisoara. The facilities are clean, there is a nice outdoor area complete with ping pong table, and they even offer a shot of palinka upon arrival, which is something you must try when you visit Romania! Click here to check their latest prices on Hostelworld or Booking.com
B&B Casa Italia — this small hotel is a great option for a cute and cosy place to stay in Timisoara. They have a variety of rooms and also include a free breakfast! Click here to check their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation in Timisoara!
Romania is an amazing country to visit and while travellers could easily spend months exploring this under-visited nation, a 10-day Romania itinerary is a great starting point to get to know one of Eastern Europe’s most dynamic and historic destinations.
Are you looking for places to visit in Romania? Have you been? Let us know about it in the comments!
Doing a free walking tour is always the best way to start discovering a city! I’ve never been to Romania and I’m not sure your article made me want to visit it haha. But I get the feeling of being disappointed about a country, or just not liking it, we can’t like everything all the time!
Free walking tours are the best! I think that my initial views on Romania had more to do with some travel burn out rather than the country itself…I had been on the road for a few months at that point. I think it’s definitely worth visiting and I plan to return again in the future. We can’t always judge a place by our first impressions 🙂