Visiting Romania surprised me and inspired me. A country that brings more “Why would you go there; What’s in Romania?” versus “OH! I’ve always wanted to visit Romania!” I was determined to visit and see what it was all about. And of all of the places to visit in Romania, I’m sure that I came upon some of the very best.
What I learned about Romania is that just because it isn’t crawling with tourists and widely shared on social media – doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the visit. It’s a beautiful and fascinating country rich in history and culture. Where it’s the thriving capital city, Bucharest, compares to many other capital cities around Europe. Yet it’s countryside boasts fairytale villages, cows and sheeps causing roadblocks, locals getting around in horse-drawn wagons, and a plethora of hitchhikers trying to get from place to place.
So while many people get their taste of a country from the capital city alone… that isn’t the case with Romania. If you visit Romania and only see Bucharest, it’s comparable to visiting the United States and only seeing Los Angeles (seriously, don’t do that). You’re missing what makes Romania – Romania. And who knows, if you slow down, go off the beaten path, and take your time… your trip to Romania maybe your favorite trip to date!
Wondering if you should visit Bucharest? Read my thoughts on Romania’s capital city.
So if you find yourself visiting Romania, go ahead and skip Bucharest. Instead, head to these four fairytale towns surely to leave you in awe and make you want to see and learn more.
The Best Places to Visit in Romania – Off the Beaten Path Fairytale Towns You Have to See to Believe
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Brașov – Romania’s “Most Romantic Town”
Brașov is located in Transylvania and is oftentimes referred to as Romania’s “most romantic town”. Nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, Brașov is easy to fall in love with. Cobblestone streets lead to narrow alleyways. Cafes dot the sidewalks. It’s small enough that you can get a good feel in a few days, yet it’s big enough to slow down and spend time. Ride the Tampa Cable Car up the mountain for views over Brașov. Take a day trip to Bran Castle and Râșnov Fortress. The options are endless!
Brașov is located in the heart of Romania, in the middle of Transylvania. The closest airports are Bucharest – 96 miles south; and Sibiu – 97 miles west.
Looking for more information about Brașov? Check out How to Visit Brașov in 48 Hours.
Sighișoara – A Well Preserved and Inhabited Fortified Town
Of all the quaint towns I’ve been in, there’s nothing quite like Sighișoara. A very small town made up of one main square and several snaking alleyways; Sighișoara is an idyllic place to spend the afternoon. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful and well-preserved inhabited citadels in Europe! While you can see the town in a matter of hours, it has a charm to it, unlike any other town I’ve visited. While visiting make sure to walk to the top of the Sighișoara Citadel for views over the city and perhaps spend time in the 500+-year-old wine cellar at Teo’s.
Also found in the heart of Romania and the middle of Transylvania, Sighișoara is located only 72 miles northwest of Brașov. The nearest airport is in Sibiu, 63 miles southwest.
Sinaia – Romania’s “Carpathian Pearl”
Where the incredible Peleș Castle Complex is found, Sinaia isn’t to be missed. It’s a mountainous town surrounded by ski trails and is worth it to drop in for a quick afternoon. While you can spend the night, there are many hotels around, I find it rather charming to visit the castle and leave. Just make sure to check out both Peleș and Pelișor (the less-visited castle).
Also located in Transylvania, Sinaia is only 68 miles north of Bucharest’s airport and 30 miles south of Brașov.
Viscri – A True Saxon Village
A town inhabited by 450 people, Viscri draws visitors for its unique fortified church. Dirt roads lead to Viscri with cows and sheep often causing traffic jams. You get a true taste of the Romanian countryside right before you pop into a town of colored homes, shops, and of course the Viscri Fortified Church. The Viscri Fortified Church forms part of the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania UNESCO World Heritage Site. To this day the church is used once a month by the people of Viscri.
While Viscri doesn’t deserve a stay overnight but it definitely deserves a visit if only for an hour as you pass by. It’s located between Brașov and Sighișoara making it a good place to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
Renting a Car in Romania
If you want to explore Romania and visit all of the charming towns around the country, I highly recommend renting a car to do so. Ideally, to hit all four of these towns, you’ll fly into Bucharest, pick up your car rental, and head south to Sinaia. From Sinaia you’ll hit Brașov, then Viscri, and your final stopping point will be Sighișoara.
For car rentals, I recommend using Discover Cars to compare prices across multiple different rental companies.
For more on a Romanian road trip, don’t miss:
So you see, there are many places in Romania to visit. Places that are a bit more under the radar. Where you can learn the history and culture as locals welcome you to town. I encourage you to step off the beaten path, get out of your own way, and see for yourself that there are many magical places to visit in Romania. There are small, charming, quaint, fairytale towns, not yet full of tourists… just waiting to be explored.
For more on Romania, don’t miss: 10 Epic Things to Do in Romania. And for a more visual look at Romania, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching #ppinromania or under the highlights section, “Sinaia”, “Sighisoara”, or “Brasov”.
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