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Best things to do in Central Romania

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Romania  /  Transylvania  /  Central Romania

Top 15 things to do in Central Romania

1. Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle), Bran

Originally built in the 14th century, Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle) draws visitors because of its association with the bloodthirsty 15th-century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler. The castle served as a fortress guarding the mountain pass and was advertised as the home of the ruler--also known as Dracul (the devil), who inspired the legend of Dracula. Perched on a rock above the river, the site offers panoramic views of the mountains. Today, its interiors feature art and furniture that belonged to the last Romanian Queen, Marie. Different rooms house some historical writings and the royal family tree. Check out an open-air museum in the park at the bottom of the hill with traditional Romanian peasant cottages and barns.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle)

2. Big Square (Piata Mare), Sibiu

Big Square (Piata Mare) features medieval and classical houses noted as "the eyes of the city," because the narrow roof window openings resemble half-open eyes. Surrounded by museums, cafes, and restaurants, and paved with granite tiles, the square was initially established as a grain market during the 14th and the 15th centuries. See the central fountain with the iron grates and the statue of Gheorghe Lazăr, founder of the first language school in Romania. Prominent buildings include Brukenthal Palace, which houses a museum, the city hall, and an 18th-century Jesuit church. Notice the flag on the roof of the Council Tower, which bears the emblem of the guild.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Big Square (Piata Mare)

3. Piaka Sfatului, Brasov

Lined with red-roofed medieval merchant houses evoking the region's German heritage, Piaka Sfatului shows off Black Church, the town's most prominent landmark. You'll find a pillory in the middle of the square, where witches and other misfits were once scorned and punished. The square was named after the 15th-century council house, which is home to the town's history museum. The ancient watchtower, which today is part of the main building, is even older. Take a break at one of the many indoor or outdoor terraces or in the Renaissance Merchant's House, which has been turned into a restaurant.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $17 › Learn more about Piaka Sfatului

4. Dracula Castle, Peles Castle and Brasov Small Group Tour from Bucharest

Likely to sell out FROM $37
Escape the urban bustle of Bucharest for the day to discover the legends and treasures of Transylvania. Wander through the Gothic chambers and turrets of Bran Castle, nicknamed ‘Dracula’s Castle’ thanks to its spooky atmosphere and ties to Vlad the Impaler, and then feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale on a tour of splendid Peles Castle, the former royal residence of Romanian kings. Finally, explore one of Transylvania’s most well-preserved medieval villages on a walking tour of Brasov.
Suggested duration: 12h
Tours from $37 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Centrul Istoric Sighisoara, Sighisoara

Go back to the time of medieval craftspeople and merchants at Centrul Istoric Sighisoara, a small, fortified town--now a World Heritage Site--built by Saxon settlers in the 12th century. This was the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, a daunting Romanian ruler whose life story inspired the legend of Dracula. Strategically built on a hill, the town played an important commercial role on the route between Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Walk amidst the stone and brick houses topped by high tiled roofs. Take the long stairway, covered by the 17th-century wooden roof and guarded by a clock tower, to reach the citadel on top of the hill. Nine out of the original 14 watchtowers remain standing on the citadel wall.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Centrul Istoric Sighisoara

6. Black Church (Biserica Neagra), Brasov

See what survives of the Gothic Black Church (Biserica Neagra), blackened by smoke and flames of the great 1689 fire. The interior features a huge organ with 4,000 pipes, a cast-iron tabernacle, some late Gothic murals, and an extensive collection of Anatolian carpets. Outside, the architecture draws interest, as the church is decorated with portals, arches, and many sculptures. The ruined bust of John the Baptist in the choir section is the oldest surviving sculpture in the church. Look for the city's coat of arms beneath the statue of Mary and Jesus.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Tours from $17 › Learn more about Black Church (Biserica Neagra)

7. Muntele Tampa, Brasov

Walk up one of the twisting trails or ride a cable car to reach the top of Muntele Tampa, which offers panoramic views of the city. The mountain rises 900 m (2,952 ft) above sea level as a natural landmark that divides the new area of the town with condos and factories from its medieval section. You'll be able to distinguish the old German district of the town because of its red roofs. From the top, you can walk over the ridges of the hills following the marked trails to higher altitudes. The shaded alley along the side of the old fortress walls at the foot of the hill is a popular strolling spot.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $346 › Learn more about Muntele Tampa

8. Transylvania and Dracula Castle Full Day Tour from Bucharest

FROM $43
Discover two of Transylvania's most stunning castles on this day-long adventure: Bran Castle, a 13th-century hilltop fortress known as "Dracula's Castle," and Peles Castle, a masterpiece of Neo-Renaissance architecture. On this day trip, you'll be ferried by climate-controlled bus to both landmarks, and will also have the chance to wander the medieval city of Brasov.
Suggested duration: 12h
Tours from $43 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

10. Rasnov Citadel: Garden and Panoramic View, Rasnov

Rasnov Citadel: Garden and Panoramic View, also known as the "fortress of fear," attracts ghost hunters because of its infamous well and the recent discoveries of human bones in the castle's basement. A group of knights from the Teutonic Order built the intimidating fortress, which later served as a refuge for peasants during foreign invasions in 1215. Learn the legend of the well built by two Turkish prisoners who were promised their freedom upon completing the task and then were betrayed. A feudal museum exhibits old weaponry, tools, stamps, and traditional dress. Look for a skeleton buried underneath a glass floor. You can also try archery at the castle, or rest in one of several cafes and restaurants.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $51 › Learn more about Rasnov Citadel: Garden and Panoramic View

11. Muzeul Astra, Sibiu

At Muzeul Astra, see the traditional dwellings from various parts of the country as well as wine cellars, sheepfolds, and small factories. Over 300 houses, workshops, and peasant industrial installations are set in the forest on the shores of two man-made lakes. Climb one of the windmills and observe the mechanism inside. You can also go inside one of the houses and see interior decorations maintained in their original form. The museum also houses a modern exhibit of wooden sculptures by notable Romanian and foreign artists. For more information about exhibits, consult available guides, brochures, CDs, and films.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $99 › Learn more about Muzeul Astra

12. Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Tour from Brasov with Optional Peles Castle Visit

Likely to sell out FROM $51
Discover Bran Castle, known as ‘Dracula’s Castle,’ and Râșnov Fortress on this 4-hour small group tour from Braşov. Travel to Râșnov to explore its stunning 13th-century fortress, and then visit Bran Castle, the turreted hilltop palace linked to Bram Stoker’s fictional Count Dracula. Walk through the spooky rooms and hear tales about Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century noble who was imprisoned here and inspired Stoker’s blood-stained vampire. Upgrade to extend your tour to the beautifully ornate Peleș Castle (to be paid when you are doing the booking by choosing the option!).
Suggested duration: 4h - 5h
Tours from $51 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Cetatea Alba Iulia, Alba Iulia

Star-shaped Cetatea Alba Iulia showcases six monumental gates decorated in the early Baroque style and adorned with sculptures of ancient gods. Charles VI commissioned the building of the fortress, which was completed in 1735. The Italian architect laid out the fort as a seven-pointed star with bastions using the building system of Vauban, the leading military engineer of the 17th century. The citadel includes two palaces, a library, a university, a Romanian Orthodox church, and a medieval Catholic church. Try to time your visit to catch the ceremonial changing of the guards. Amenities include a few restaurants and cafes.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $74 › Learn more about Cetatea Alba Iulia

14. Sighisoara Clock Tower, Sighisoara

Climb to the wooden balcony at the top of Sighisoara Clock Tower for panoramic views of the town. On your way up, peek into the mechanism of the clock, which rotates the painted wooden figurines of pagan gods personifying the days of the week. The tower was built as part of the city's defense system in the 14th century and used to control the main gate of the citadel. The four corner turrets symbolize the town's judicial autonomy. The roof of the tower gained its present Baroque form after a fire in 1676. The tower, which once stored the city's treasures, today houses its history museum.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Sighisoara Clock Tower

15. Dracula's Castle and Transylvania Day Trip from Bucharest

Likely to sell out FROM $38
Transylvania is perhaps one of the most popular places in the world for the legends and mysteries surrounding his paths. On this tour you will discover in a small group the charm of the Castles of Transylvania: Peles Castle and Dracula's Castle (Bran Castle) and the legend of the famous Count Dracula and enjoy the city of Brasov, one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania.
Suggested duration: 12h - 13h
Tours from $38 › More about this tour at viator.com ›