The 20 best places to visit in Romania

 

In the centre of the country is the Vidraru Dam, it's primary purpose is to generate hydroelectricity. The symbol for the dam is the 15 metre ( 50 ft) statue of mythological Greek deity, Prometheus.

Another worthy nearby sight is the Poenari Castle, former residence of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Destroyed in 1915 the remains stand on the plateau of Mount Cetatea.

20. Prometheus

 

In 1977 the town of Geamana in the Apuseni Mountains was abandoned, the residents having been forcefully removed by the Romanian government of the time in order to make way for the newly discovered copper mine. Today the waters of the artificial lake are highly toxic, laced with cyanide and other chemicals, and the only remains of the once beautiful village being the church tower that rises above the toxic sludge.

19. Geamana

 

In the extreme north of the country on the border with Ukraine, the commune of Bârsana holds over one hundred wooden church buildings known as the Wooden Churches of Maramureș. Of the one hundred churches, eight 17th century structures with significant historical and religious importance were given UNESCO World Heritage Status.

18. Barsana Monastery

 

Discovered in 1847 in the Apuseni Mountains at an altitude of 1,165 metres (3,822 ft) above sea level is the Scarisoara Ice Cave. Visitors can access many different areas of the 105 metre (344 ft) deep cave and see many impressive stalagmites and stalactites in what is considered a natural wonder of Romania.

17. Scarisoara Ice Cave

 

Completed in 1941 in the western town of Timisoara is the enormous eleven towered 90 metre (295 ft) high Orthodox Cathedral. A national historic monument, this wonderful looking structure in a quaint central square is even more impressive at night when lit in the most enchanting way.

16. Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral

 

Built in 1532 by the illegitimate son of Stephen the Great, King of Moldavia, the Moldovita Monastery was created as a protective barrier against the Muslim Ottoman Empire from the east. It is one of eight Monasteries with frescoes painted on the outer walls known as the Painted Churches of Moldavia, all of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

15. Moldovita Monastery

 

At an altitude of 2,291 metres (7,516 ft) above sea level on the Caraiman Peak in the Bucegi Mountains is a 36 metre (118 ft) Christian symbol monument known as Heroes Cross. Completed in 1928 as a memorial to those who died in World War I it holds the record for the tallest summit cross in the world. From it's vantage point there are incredible views of the surrounding mountains. At night the cross is brilliantly lit by 300 lightbulbs.

14. Heroes Cross

 

Built in 1225 is the enormous medieval Rasnov Citadel sitting atop a small mountain surrounded by taller snowy peaks. From it's vantage point it offers excellent views over the town of Rasnov. When viewing the citadel from the town with the mountains behind visitors can also see the large white lettered sign with the town name spelled out similar to the Hollywood sign.

13. Rasnov Citadel

 

First mentioned as far back as 1075 AD the Salina Turda salt mine had produced table salt since the middle ages up until 1932, then in 1992 it was opened again as a tourist attraction. Considered one of the most amazing underground locations on Earth, visitors can enter five separate vast chambers along balconies carved in salt.

12. Salina Turda

 

The city of Sighisoara is comprised of seven villages and an ancient walled old town high above on a hill, most famous for it's many fortified towers. The most impressive of the towers is the Clock Tower, also known as the Master Tower, a 13th century 64 metre (210 ft) high building that can be seen from almost anywhere within the city. With so many well preserved ancient buildings the Old Town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

11. Sighisoara Old Town

 

Carved from a solid rock cliff face between 1994 and 2004, measuring a mammoth 43 metres (141 ft) high is the Rock Sculpture Of Decebalus, depicting the face of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia. Situated in the south west of Romania, on the border with Serbia on the Danube River in an area known as the Iron Gates, it is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe.

10. Rock Sculpture Of Decebalus

 

Built in the 12th century at an elevation of 760 metres (2,500 ft) on a mountain pass is the medieval fortress Bran Castle, one of three castles in Transylvania linked to the legend of Dracula. Today this beautiful structure surrounded by forests and mountains is a museum, a national monument and landmark of Romania.

9. Bran Castle

 

Built in 1925 the Palace of Culture is today more commonly known as the Moldavia National Museum Complex, a national historic monument. As well as housing an art, history and science museum another attraction inside is the Gothic room featuring medieval mosaics of beasts. The real star is the structure itself, with it's Neo Gothic facade centred to the great donjon clock tower entrance dominated by a large eagle with open wings.

8. Palace Of Culture

 

Completed in 1997 in Bucharest you'll find the colossal Palace Of The Parliament, the heaviest building on Earth. Standing at 84 metres (275 ft) tall with a volume of 2.5 million cubic metres it is the fourth largest building in the world behind the Pentagon, Kennedy Space Centre and the Temple Of the Feathered Serpent in Mexico's Teotihuacan. Even though it houses the senate, the chamber of deputies, three museums and an international conference centre, 70% of the building remains empty, with the cost of heating and lighting it equalling that of a medium sized city.

7. Palace Of The Parliament

 

Work began on the Neo Renaissance Peles Castle in 1873 and was completed as recently as 1914. Located in the wonderful surrounds of the Carpathian Mountains the palace was designed to look like a grand palatial alpine villa with many towers, terraced gardens edged by forests and inner courtyards with hand painted murals.

Peles Castle is one of three monuments within the complex. The other two include the Foisor Hunting Lodge and the Pelisor Chateau.

6. Peles Castle

 

Built in the 14th century, the Gothic Renaissance styled Corvin Castle is sometimes called the Hunyadi Castle and is one of the largest castles in Europe. In 1462 the castle housed it's most famous prisoner, Vlad the Impaler. Today it serves as a beautiful tourist attraction with it's tall towers, coloured roofs and stone carved balconies making it one of the continents finest ancient castles.

5. Corvin Castle

 

In the countryside of Transylvania is the Turda Gorge natural reserve, it's key feature being the 2,900 metre (9,514 ft) long  limestone canyon that in places reaches 300 metres (984 ft) high.

4. Turda Gorge

 

The DN7C, also known as Ceaușescu's Folly and more famously known as the Transfagarasan Highway, Romania's second highest paved road between the highest peaks in the country through the Carpathian Mountains. With so many hairpin turns, sharp descents and long winding S bends in an incredible natural landscape the Transfagarasan Highway is considered one of the best driving roads in Europe.

3. Transfagarasan

 

In the southern Carpathians in the Bucegi Mountains is the protected Bucegi Natural Park, an area of high mountains, caves, canyons, valleys, waterfalls and forests. One of the parks most famous features is the Babele mushroom shaped rock formations, of which the most prominent is the Bucegi Sphinx, named as it has a similarity to the great Sphinx of Egypt.

2. Bucegi Natural Park

 

In the Carpathians, the Retezat National Park in the Retezat Mountains is home to more than sixty peaks above 2,300 metres (7,500 ft) and over one hundred glacial lakes. Romania's oldest national park also shelters one of Europe's last remaining primeval forests as well as wolves, brown bears, wild boars, Eurasian lynx and European wildcat.

1. Retezat National Park

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