Top Romania: drive on the 50+ most amazing roads in Romania

Besides famous and international Transfăgărăşan mountain pass, there are some amazing roads in Romania that wait for you to discover them. Being paved or dirt roads, requiring 4WD or just normal street car, with amazing views or hiding at big altitude in deep forests, they all have something to offer.

Sometimes you follow a road for its beauty, sometimes for what you will find on your way and other times you just go for the feeling.

Here is a top of my favorite roads in Romania, most of them I have tried and the others and on my list.


1. Transfăgărăşan (Road 7C)- the best road in Romania

It is consider one of the most amazing road in the world. It has it all – the adrenaline, the view, the wow, the story, the history. On the other side, it is overcrowded and this can ruin everything.

The name comes from “trans” + “Făgăraş” which means over Făgăraş Mountains.

On the way you find a lot of other places to visit like: Bâlea Waterfall, Bâlea Lake, Caprei Waterfall, Vidraru Lake.

The road is usually very good, but there is always the element of weather. It can rain or get cloudy really fast. Add the element of human nature – in weekends it is so crowded that a line of cars is kilometers long, and you can not move further, or even worst, get stuck in the tunnel.

Advice: if you want some adrenaline and something amazing and unique, don’t miss Transfăgărăşan Road, but you have been advised not to come during weekend (Friday to Sunday).

Keep in mind that the road is opened from the beginning of June to end of September.

Official name DN 7C and it connects Bascov (Argeş) to Cârţişoara (Sibiu) running approx. 150 km.

I know you will not understand this, but it is better to cross from Transylvania to Muntenia (from North to South) , than the other way around. The Transylvanian side is more spectacular, and it has a greater impact when you go up from this side.

2. Transalpina Road (Road DN 67 C)

This is actually the highest road in Romania. While it is wilder and the drive on the plateau is longer, it can not beat Transfăgărăşan at the wow factor. But still, it is amazing and I would add relaxing.

You really get that feeling of mountain experience, you have time to feel the chill, and you definitely have more panoramic view points.

3. Transrarău (Road 175B and 175A)

Transrarău is a road crossing Rarău Mountains (as the name suggests) in Bucovina area. It connects the Chiril to Pojorâta.

Transrarău reaches 1400 meters altitude and it is a paved road, but be careful because from Chiril there is only one lane for both directions, while from Pojorâta there are 2 lanes. My recommendation is to go from one side to the other, just keep in mind this one lane issue.

The official name of the road is 175B and 175A.

Transrarău itinerary on Toura

4. The Boilers Canyon Road on Danube River (Road 57)

We drove on the Serbian side of the Danube Canyon on our return from Albania, but the Romanian side is just as beautiful. You can see our itinerary on Toura in the last day

5. Transbucegi (Road 713)

Even though the name suggests, the road does not cross a mountain, it just goes up to the top. But it is not any mountain, it is Bucegi, one of the most spectacular and mysterious mountains in Romania.

The road will take you to the Piatra Arsa and from there yo can reach Babele and Sfinx and the Cross.

Because this is the access road to Pestera Hotel, probably it is open all year round, so if you want to have some winter experience, you should try it.

6. Bicaz Pass (Road 12C)

Bicaz Pass is amazing because it is carved in Hăşmaşu Mare Mountains at 1256 m and created the famous and amazing Bicaz Gorges.

7. Culoarul Rucar Bran (Road DN73)

This road is not famous for the altitude or the dangerous bends, it is more about the winding roads with the mountains on each side, different scene every turn and passes the famous Bran Castle.

The mountain pass between Rucăr and Bran it is one of those roads that is amazing in any season

On the left and right of Rucar – Bran Pass you have a lot of touristic villages and a lot of places to see. Villages like: Moeciu, Magura, Fundata, Bran, Pestera, Sirnea, Rucar can offer some of the most amazing views and accommodation. I think Bran area is the second most appreciated area for holiday after Prahova Valley.

What I find most interesting about this place is the 2 seasons alternations visible with the naked eye.

Also you have places like Bran Castle, Dambovicioara Gorges, Dino Park, Rasnov Citadel, Rasnoavei Gorges, Prapastiile Zarnestilor, Valea Cetatii Cave and also some mountain trails in Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains.

8. Drive on the shores of Lake Bicaz (Road DN 15)

Lake Bicaz is a man-made lake on Bistriţa River, close to Bicaz Gorges. The road DN 15windes on the sores of the Lake Bicaz, passing through some very nice villages. We had the chance to see an amazing sunset from here.

9. Cheia Pass (Road DN 1A)

Bratocea Pass or Cheia Pass (1263 m)- in Ciucaş Mountains. It is an alternative road connecting Bucharest to Brasov, it is less crowded than the famous Prahova Valley and in my opinion it is also more beautiful and wild. It is also known as Cheia – in translation “The Key” because of the hairpin road that resembles a key. A stop here is more than welcomed , even a picnic would be great.

10. Road to Poiana Brasov (DN 1E)

The road starts from Braşov and winds up into Postăvaru Mountains to Poiana Braşov – one of the most famous ski resorts in the country.

The road offers some amazing views over the old city of Braşov .

11. Prislop Pass

Prislop Pass is a mountain road between Rodnei Mountains and Maramures Mountains reaching 1416m altitude at Prislop Monastery.

The Road connects Maramures to Moldova (from Borsa to Carlibaba) and it is a very wild area with amazing view over the surrounding mountains.

12. Trasursoaia (Road 1R)

Transursoaia is a mountain road in Apuseni National Park, connecting Albac with Belis and passing through some amazing remote villages in the area.

Transursoaia itinerary on Toura

13. Prahova Valley / Predeal Pass (Road DN 1)

Prahova Valley is the most touristic road in Romania. What should take 2,5- 3 hours from Bucharest to Brasov, sometimes can take 6 to 8 hours due to road blocks, especially on weekends.

Valea Prahovei has Bucegi Mountains on one side and Baiului Mountains on the other side. Bucegi Mountains are one of the most spectacular Mountains in Romania, one place covered in mystery and strange phenomena. Bucegi is also home for Babele and Sfinx monuments .

Prahova Valley is home to the most popular holiday destinations in Romania with different cities and attractions.

Cities on Prahova Valley that worth visit Sinaia, Busteni, Predeal, Azuga.

There are also some amazing castles: Peles Castle and Cantacuzino Castle and the 120 years old winery at Rhein&Cie in Azuga.

There are a lot of options for winter sports and also for summer hiking. You can use the cable car in Busteni or Sinaia, or the chairlift in Sinaia.

Also nearby is the Transbucegi Road taking you in the hearth of the Bucegi Mountains.

14. Jiului Gorges (Road DN66 / E79)

The Road takes you into the Gorges created by River Jiu and creates The Defileul Jiului National Park

15. Olt Valley (DN 7 / E81)

From all the roads in Romania, this it is probably the busiest one. Due to the lack of highways in Romania, this is the main road to go from Bucharest to the west of the country and the Europe. You will find a lot of trucks speeding here, often there are accidents, but don’t let this discourage you.

16. Petrosani – Obarsia Lotrului – Voineasa (Road DN 7A)

This road crosses the famous Transalpina Road at Obarsia Lotrului, but it offers different kind of scenery. The road starts in Petrosani, then you poass Jietului Gorges and Waterfall.

From here the road takes you high on the mountain, reaching Obarsia Lotrului and crossing roads with Transalpina.

Then you reach Voineasa Lake.

17. Mestecanis Pass (1096 m) (Road DN17 / E58)

Mestecanis Pass is the road to Bucovina, to this timeless place where life has it’s undisturbed rhythm and where beauty is taken for granted.

18. TransSemenic (Road DJ 582)

TransSemenic is the road crossing Semenic Mountains. We started from Resita, then the road takes you high on the plateau where you see a wood carving exposition.

From the DJ 582, you make a right on DJ582 E to a mountain resort and to reach the Semenic Peak.

After this little hiking trip you stop in Garana Village – one of the most beautiful villages in Romania.

And one last stop is at the Lake Trei Ape – in translation “three waters”.

Transsemenic it is not a high altitude road, so no dramatic cliffs, gorges, bird’s eye view, but instead it has a very calming effect, a very serene state of mind. We even stayed one night here at the “La Popasul Cerbului” very close to Semenic Peak, and the views are just amazing.

19. Road through Dâmbovicioarei Gorges (Road DJ 730)

Dâmbovicioarei Gorges are an amazing canyon carved in the rock by Dâmbovicioara River.

20. Mușat Pass (Road DN 2D)

Road DN 2D is crossing from Transylvania (Targu Secuiesc) to Moldova (Vrancea) crossing the National Park Vrancea . The most interesting part of the road is Ojdula – Gresu – Lepsa.

21. Buzau Pass – drive on the shores of Lake Siriu (DN 10)

The road starts in Buzau and passes the mountains into Brasov. The first stop should be at muddy volcanos – a place so unique, that is does not look from this world.

A short hike away from DN 10 road you will find Pruncea Waterfall.

The true gem of this road is Lake Siriu.

You can visit “Valea Zimbrilor Vama Buzaului” sanctuary one of the few aurochs sanctuaries in Romania.

One last stop you can make on the road to Brasov is Prejmer Fortified Church.

Buzau Pass (DN 10) it can be done in any season, we prefer spring and autumn beauces it it an area with a loft of fruit trees that bloom in spring and a lot of forest to be intoxicated by autumn colors.

22. Tihuta Pass (Road DN 17 / E58)

Tihuta pass in a mountain pass between Bârgău Mountains and Călimani mountains that reaches 1201 m altitude.

The road starts in Vatra Dornei and just before starting the ascend you can stop for a walk in Poaina Stampei Peat Bog.

After passing Piatra Fantanele, you can make a detour to Lake Colibita

23. TransApuseni (Road DJ 108 C / DJ 763)

This is an off road itinerary that passes Apuseni Mountains. We did it with a small car (Volkswagen Golf), but it has it’s challenges.

As you leave Rachitele on this adventurous road, you can stop first at Bride’s Veil Waterfall.

Then the road starts to go up to Doda Pilii on 2 lanes, which become one and at some point the asphalt just stops. Around Padis the road is again with asphalt, and as you go down, you have on your right Crisul Pietros River with some amazing blue water.

TransApuseni is one of the most amazing roads in Romania, specially for those who are looking for a wild area with some spectacular views.

24. Zărneşti – Măgura – Peştera – Moeciu de Jos (DN 112G-58)

Few of the roads in Romania go so fast to such an amazing view.

Magura and Pestera are 2 villages settled on a hill top and surrounded by 2 mountains: Piatra Craiului and Bucegi. The views are amazing , and the road surprising at every turn.

I have to mention that the road between Magura and Pestera can not be done without a 4×4 car, but don’t loose your hope. You can visit with a small car either one of them. For example you can go from Moeciu de Jos to Pestera and back on asphalt road (with one lane), or you can go from Zarnesti to Magura and from there back on a dirt road accessible to small cars. Just do not attempt to go between the 2 villages with a small car because the road is very steep and the water has created deep ditches.

As you start the ascend from Zarnesti, you can have a hike in Prapastiile Zarnestilor – an amazing gorge at the foothill of Piatra Craiului Mountains.

The road to Magura from Zarnesti is accessible with any car .

One you reach the top, you can enjoy the amazing view.

25. Dobruja Gorges (Road DJ 222)

This is the only road in Constanta County to be included in this Top 50 Romanian Roads to drive. The road passes through the Dobruja Gorges.

26. Gutâi Pass (Road DN 18)

27. Baia de Aramă – Valea Cernei – Herculane (Road 67 D)

Before starting this road trip you can make a detour to God’s Bridge at Ponoarele – the second largest natural bridge in Europe – and some amazing clints.

The road starts to go up with view over Mehedinti Mountains. Then you go to down to Cerna Valley.

You can make a detour on Road 66A to Corcoaia Gorges.

Then the road will go side by side with Cerna Valley until you reach Baile Herculane.

28. Oraviţa – Anina – Reşiţa (Road DN57B, DN58)

The road takes you through National Park Cheile Nerei and National park Semenic-Cheile Carasului.

The first stop would be at Bigar Waterfall, classified as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

In Resita you can walk in the outdoor museum of steam locomotive .

29. Zarnesti – Poaina Marului – Sinca Veche (Road 73A)

Poiana Marului is one of those villages nestled on the hills with amazing 360 view over mountains.

On the road you can stop to see the Viaduct at Sinca Noua, the temple at Sinca Veche or the water mill at Ohaba.

30. Oituz Pass (Road DN 11)

A mountain pass between Nemira Mountains and Vrancei Mountains that reaches 866 meters altitude.

31. Tuşnad Pass (Road DN 12 / E578)

Tusnad Pass is a low altitude pass (640 m) in an area with many post-volcanic activity.

32. Bucin Pass (Road DN 13B)

After passing Bucin Pass , you arrive in Praid and Sovata, and you can visit Salt mine, Salt Hill and Sovata Lakes.

33. Road to Târsa

34. Borsec Pass / Creanga Pass (Road DN 15)

You can stop in Tusnad for some spring water or for a nice walk.

35. Trei Movile Pass and Ciumarna Pass (Road DN 17A)

This road takes you in the heart of Bucovina.

36. Ghimeş Pass (Road 12A)

37. Road to Plaiul Nucului (Road 203K)

38. Casin Pass (Road DN 11B)

39. Mureșul Superior Gorge (Road DN 15 / E578)

40. Şetref Pass (17C)

41. Neteda Pass (1039 m)

In our itinerary we went from Surdesti to Plopis, where we saw 2 of the UNESCO Wooden Churches, from there to Cavnic on road DJ184and from there to Wooden Church in Budesti and to the picturesque village of Breb on road DJ 109F.

you officially enter the magical land of Maramures, a place where people are as kind as the food they pun on your table and where the arts and crafts are well kept. When you are in Maramures, you simply know it.

42. Paltinu Lake and Doftana Valley (Road 102I and 101S)

The road starts from Campina on road 102 I, then you reach Paltinu Lake, then from Tesila you take road 101S to Secaria and then Comarnic. This road has some dirt road portions, but nothing you can not do with a small car.

43. Olt Pass / Spring of River Olt (DJ 125)

You pass Mesteacănul Dam an you go up on a dirt road to the spring of River Olt, one of the biggest rivers in Romania. This is one of the off road itineraries I was telling you about.

44. Vâlcan Pass (Road DJ 664)

This is a new project in Hunedoara County to cross Vâlcan Mountains at an altitude of 1621 m between Vâlcan and Schela. The road is only half paved.

45. Road to Biertan and the hilly area of Sibiu (Road 14, road 141)

The road starts in Sighisoara – a UNESCO site and the only inhabited medieval fortress in South-East Europe, then you head to Biertan Village. From here you pass Transylvania hills until you reach SIbiu and ASTRA Museum.

You can find this itinerary on the third day of our Autumn Trip in Transylvania

46.

46. Tulcea – Murighiol – Sarichioi – Babadag

this road will take you at the edge of Danube Delta. You get a glimpse of the landscape and an idea of what it can be. But don’t miss the chance to visit the hearth of the Danube Delta for a few days.

The itinerary should start at the Traditional fishing village Museum. From here on you would start to see more deltaic imagery.

47. Cota 1400 Sinaia (Road DC 134)

Road starts in Sinaia and takes you up to altitude 1400.

48. Huta/Fargău Pass (Road DN 19)

You start the road in Sighetul Marmatei where you can visit the Memorial.

Next stop is at Merry Cemetery from Sapanta.

49. Belis Dealu Botii (Road DC 121)

The road takes you on the shore of Belis-Fantanele Lake

50. Sinaia to Targoviste (Road DN 71)

How are the roads in Romania

Romania is lacking in highways and high speed roads, but the scenic roads in Romania are not in short supply. With so many hilly and mountainous geography, the spectacular is just a turn away.

From all the roads in Romania, I appreciate the most the ones that are wild and undiscovered.

Most beautiful villages in Romania (Top 50+ Romania)

For many travelers Romania is a place of mystery, of life unaltered by the means of technology, an unspoiled beauty, and they will find here this state of mind if they turn their attention to the villages and rural life of Romania.

Many of you know that Romania is 1/3 mountains, 1/3 hills and 1/3 plains, but you will find the beauty and the quietness of the rural life in all geographic forms and scattered all around the country: some in Transylvania, some in Moldova, some in Danube Delta, some perched in the hill tops, others hidden in the valleys, others living on the edge of Danube River or other waters.

This list is a personal preference, but they are all remarkable is their own unique way. Who is to say which is the most beautiful village in Romania until you visited them all?

1. Măgura Village (Brașov)

I choose Măgura as the most beautiful village in Romania because of the feeling you have when you are there. With view over 2 magnificent mountains – Bucegi and Piata Craiului – one on each side, you will get dizzy trying to take in the 360 panorama this place has to offer. You won’t know where to look, every turn of the head will surprise you in an unexpected way.

You are so close to cities and roads with traffic, you are close to Bran Castle and all but here the silence can not be disturbed because your eyes will focus only on the natural amphitheater. On one side you have Piatra Craiului and a steep can yon: Zarnesti Gorge, and on the other side further in the distance you have is the Bucegi Mountains in all their glory.

The village consists of scattered houses on the hills surrounding the area, trees and wooden fences randomly appear on the steep hills, houses made of wood shingle are still present.

2. Biertan Village (Sibiu)

The Village of Biertan is lost in the hills of Transylvania, no important road passes this village, like it used to, and no traffic other that the tourists who want to see the first Fortified Church included on the UNESCO list.

Biertan is spectacular in so many ways: the hole village is surrounded by terraced grape hills and in the middle of the village the church dominate the hole view from a hill that would offer protection in times of need. Villagers would go on with their life, immune to the beauty they take for granted.

The colorful houses, the order of life, the natural amphitheater, all make Biertan a great choice for a visit and you can add to that the Fortified Church with its spectacular view, with 3 layers of defensive walls, with the amazing craftsmanship that went into the wood works, into the paintings, the unique lock and you have yourself a perfect destination. More about the village of Biertan

3. Viscri Village (Brașov)

Viscri is probably the case study on how to develop rural tourism in Romania, it wrote the book on this topic, and it payed off. From all the villages in Romania, Viscri gathered the attention of national and international press with guests that only castles could take pride in having.

People create hand-made products and they sell them to tourists eager to take home some of the peacefulness they encountered in this washed-blue village.

There is also the Fortified Church from Viscri offering a great view over the village and surrounding areas.

4. Rimetea (Alba)

This is the perfect village from a postcard. Guarded by the mountains, with its white houses and green shutters, it has the vibe of fairy-tale place.

The village is decorated with wonderful works of the craftsmen. You will find the wooden doors, the painted signs, the metal works, the pottery and carpets.

View of the guardian mountain

And one of the attraction of Rimetea is the water mill still working.

5. Letea Village (Tulcea)

With Letea we will change the scenery and go from the hills of Transylvania to the low lands of Danube Delta. Besides being an isolated, traditional, fisherman village, Letea has something more to offer: the National Reservation of Letea Forest with its sand dunes, secular trees and wild horses.

Waterlilies will pave the way into the village.

Fisherman are the guardians of this surreal place known as Danube Delta

Letea Forest is an enchanted place that seems like the set of mystery movie with its crooked trees and deep shadow.

Local limousine and horse-drown carriage are the hip way to go.

6. Șirnea Village (Brașov)

At 1244 altitude it was declared the first “touristic village” from Romania.

7. Cisnădioara Village (Sibiu)

Cisnadioara is a village in the outskirts of Sibiu and most emblematic about this place is the fortress-church that is guarding the village from the top of the hill.

8. Ciocănești Village (Suceava)

Ciocanesti Village if famous for its painted houses. Almost all houses in this village are painted with traditional motifs and they are scattered on the picturesque hilly area of Bucovina.

9. Dubova Village (Mehedinți)

Nestled in a golf between the 2 canons the Danube River – The Big Boilers and the Small Boilers – the Village of Dubova offers a breathtaking view over the calm waters of Danube.

10. Racoș Village (Brașov)

Racos Village is recommended by the natural beauties surrounding the village: Volcano crater, Emerald Lake, Basalt column, Olt River passing through the village and the ruins of a castle. It is truly an amazing feeling being inside of an extinct volcano. Due to all the black and red walls of cinder, with a tree poping here and there is an apocalyptic scene.

Our itinerary in Racos

11. Corund Village (Harghita County)

Corund village is a where people create wonderful things with their hands and imagination. It is like a all the talented people gathered here to produce this museum-like village. You will notice 3 things : the wood carved gates, the garnished trees and the hand made store at almost every house.

12. Sfântu Gheorghe Village (Tulcea County)

Sfântu Gheorghe is a fisherman village where the Danube Canal with the same name flows in The Black Sea. The roads are paved with sand and dust, the houses keep their white and blue specific and the roofs are made of straws. Nature and human combine their forces to make life possible in this remote and hostile environment. A 15 minute walk will take you to the sea. The local transport is “the trocarici” – a tractor-driven carriage that will take you to the sea.

13. Breb Village (Maramureș County)

Maramures, oh, Maramures. You have to see it to understand. With its wooden houses and church, with the valleys aligned by the haystacks, and people obtaining food with the work of their hands.

Breb is actually the name for Eurasian beaver that is living in this area.

14. Șinca Veche (Brașov)

Șinca Veche is considered one of the energetic centers in Romania. Here in the Persani Mountains there is a cave-church carved thousands of years ago.

15. Roșia Montana, Alba

The name of this village means Red on the Mountain and it got it from the river crossing the village that has a reddish color from the minerals (specially iron) that is found in this area.

It is one of the oldest mining region in the world since before the Roman Empire. You can visit the ancient roman mines and the Mining Museum

16. Sarichioi (Tulcea)

Settled on the edge of Lake Razim it has a magical color to it. The boats resting on the troubled lake, the blue church and the hole view over the lake, make this place special. The name “Sarichioi” in Turkish mean the “yellow village”.

17. Sâmbăta de Sus (Brașov)

Sâmbăta de Sus in translation means the Upper Saturday, is a village on the footsteps of Fagaras Mountains offering amazing view over the highest mountains in Romania. It has an amazing Monastery in the Brancovenesc style.

18. Săpânța (Maramureș)

One of a kind cemetery, where the the wit of the people meet talented craftsman and the result is this cemetery where each one get a cross carved in wood and telling a story about the person buried there. The story are told in rimes and with full humor.

Here is maybe on of the most funny poem, you guest it, about the artists mother in law:
Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in-law
Three more days should she have lived
I would lie, and she would read (this cross).
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause’ if she comes back home
She’ll criticize me more.
But I will surely behave
So she’ll not return from grave.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!

19. Poiana Mărului (Brașov)

With the head in the clouds and the eyes wondering in all direction, Poiana Mărului is a village near Bran (Dracula Castle, that offers the perfect recreation. Seems like nothing really happens here, it is one of those eternal place, where you grasp the meaning of life. The hills and the houses on the top offer a great view towards Piatra Craiului and the surrounding hills.

20. Bârsana (Maramureș)

Another village from Maramureș, a place where tradition is still part of the peoples life, where people are welcoming and the nature generous.

Barsana Wooded Church complex is one of eight Wooden churches of Maramureș listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

21. Fundățica (Brașov)

At the foot of the Mountains, you will find this village that scattered on the slopes of the hills, between tress, meadows and rocks.

22. Colibița, Bistrița-Năsăud

It is often call the sea from the mountains due to its artificial lake build here for energetic purposes.

23. Vișeu de Sus (Maramureș)

Something that you will find in Vișeu de Sus and other villages in Romania can not say the same, it is a steam train called “mocăniță”. It was used as a forestry railway system that extends deep into the Vaser River Valley, but now it is a touristic train. At some point the train will stop to get some water necessary to run.

24. Dâmbovicioara (Brașov)

Dâmbovicioara is one of those mountain village, where the life is tough and resources scarce, where people have to adapt to the whim of nature.

The modest houses so close to this wonder of nature is such a great combination.

25. Eftimie Murgu (Caraș-Severin)

This village is famous for its wood water mills. There 22 working watermills in the village.

26. Inelet (Caraș-Severin)

Ineleț is a perfect example of an isolated village, one of those place that getting there is in itself a challenge. The village is connected with the world by a wood stair case build in the 70’s. And when I say wood stair imagine an improvise, vertical, beam of wood connected to each other. The hole trip would take 2 hours walk and some serious climbing is involved in order to reach this would forgotten place.

27. Preluca Noua (Maramureș)

You will find here some houses older than 100 years old made of adobe and covered with a straw roof.

That is the thing about Romanian Villages: you will find houses with straw roof from this remote village in Maramureş (north-west of Romania) to the villages in Danube Delta (East Romania), 700 km distance between them.

28. Botiza (Maramureș)

In this village in Maramures you will find some amazing things to admire: the wooden church complex. Also the people here master the water and tame it to serve their need: to grind corn, to wash the wool rugs. It is particular fascinating how this predecessor of the washing machine is using rotation, water power and air bubble to wash something. They call it a ” vortex ” and for good reason.

Also you will discover the brandy making process. Make sure you ask about “pălincă”.

29. Veneția de Sus (Brașov)

Veneția is Romanian for Venice. Apparently the name of this village came from the strategic positioning of the village: at higher ground that the neighboring villages and in past times River Olt would rise and flood the area. For some time all you could see was water and the Fagaras Mountains projected on the back. Or at least so my grandmother told me. This is the village of my childhood, but I can not stop to admire it still today.

With the 2 streams that meet in the village, with the Garbova Mountain meaning “hunched one” where the legends says young girls would jump over the steep end in order to escape the humiliation brought by the Turkish conquerors, the small church in the center, the hill guarding the village with the dispersed stone that all my childhood I thought they are sheep, and everything else just makes it a village to visit.

30. Șimon (Brașov)

Șimon Village is the gateway yo Bucegi Mountain and it is accessible from Rucăr-Bran Pass.

31. Casa de piatră (Alba)

In translation would mean “Stone House”, this village with only 20 families is an isolated place lost in Apuseni Mountains.

32. Valea Zălanului (Covasna)

Isolated village in the hills it has the media attention due to the visits of Prince Charles. But the village is a dreamy place, with traditional houses and charm.

33. Fundul Moldovei (Suceava)

A typical village from Bucovina, houses scattered on the hills mingling with trees and pastures. Walking around you will fund century old houses, communist block of flats and some post communist villas build with the money people earn while working abroad. A melange of beauty and questionable taste, but nevertheless a place to visit.

34. Densuș (Hunedoara)

Densus is famous for its church, which is one of the oldest from Romania. It was build in the present form in 13th century, but the history of this place go way back. Before the church on this site was a 2nd century Roman temple and before that it is believed that a Dacian temple was build.

Some interesting fact about the church is the painting showing Jesus in Romanian traditional clothes.

35. Plaiu Nucului (Buzău)

Buzau area is a place of underground richness – salt, gas – but also at the surface this area is spectacular . Plaiu Nucului is a remote village with an amazing view over the surrounding area. You will find close by “Fire from Lopătari” and “Salt Mountain from Mânzălești”.

36. Caraorman (Tulcea)

The village for which Ceausesc had great plans it remains now in ruin but with the beauty of a typical Lipovan village. As you arrive in the village you will see the ruins of a sand factory and some blocks of flats build for the workers. I always thought about the paradoxes of communism. In this God forgotten place somehow the communist machine find a way to leave a mark.

The name of Caraorman in Turkish means Dark Forest, and this is a hint to what is there to see : an amazing forest with secular oaks. Near the knelled oak you can find a stone table with chairs.

And another must see place if you arrive here is the moving sand dunes. They are moving due to weather, wind and water.

37. Săcărâmb (Hunedoara)

A village nestled in a volcanic cone with a perfect view over the sunset. 

Due to its volcanic activity, there are a lot of precious and rare minerals. The gold hunters came here for the past 2 centuries. 

There are over 100 minerals discovered here, 2 of them being very rare.

But the beauty and the riches of this place don’t lie underground. The hole village with it’s surrounding walls and the infinite perspective.

You will also find in this village: the Church struck by lightning and the Silver forest.

38. Pleșa (Suceava)

Pleșa is a village nestled in the hill of Bucovina and it is inhabited mostly by Polish People.

39. Gărâna (Caraș-Severin)

It is a village create in 19th century by the German colonists from Bavaria and the their legacy is visible in the village vibe.

40. Cireșoaia (Bistriţa-Năsăud)

As the name suggest, this is the cherry village. It is a center for cherry production, so imagine being here when the cherry trees are in blossom or when the cherry are ripped. Yummy!

41. Târsa  (Hunedoara)

Situated at over 1000 meters altitude, this is one of the most isolated villages that recently has an asphalt road. It offers panoramic views over Şureanu Mountains.

42. Hoghilag (Sibiu)

Besides the beauty of a typical Saxon village in Transylvania, this place has a great gift to offer to its visitors: a beauty to the eyes and scent – the tuberose.

43. Şarlota (Timişoara)

Şarlota is the only circular village in Romania.It is also known as Charlottenburg.

44. Gârda de Sus (Alba)

A village on the foothill of Apuseni with many places to see: Scărișoara Cave, Rusty Pit.

45. Răşinari (Sibiu)

Colorful houses line up the streets of this village.

46. Runcu Salvei (Bistriţa-Năsăud)

A village list in the hills with a wood church from 1757. 

47. Coleşti (Bihor)

Animated by the youth that is moving back to the village and with its own lake in the village center, Coleşti , is a place with a lot to offer.

48. Richiş (Sibiu)

In the shadow of the famous Biertan, Richiş still has something to offer. At just 5 kilometers from the famous UNESCO Church, it seems it is the most multietnic village of all. It attracted people from all over the world who bought houses, and try to live in the beat of the village, people from The Netherlands, Austria, Swiss, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Lithuania and United States.

49. Cund (Mureş)

This mountain village is a perfect example of coexistence of 3 nationalities: Romanian, Hungarian and German. From the 200 people living in this village, they are almost equal divided among the 3 ethnicity.

50. Ciosa (Bistriţa-Năsăud)

It is a isolated mountain village in Bistriţa-Năsăud. The traditional houses are scattered on the hills.

Villages in Romania that no longer exist

Geamana

Geamana is not a beautiful place, it is in fact a tragic one. It is something that could have been, but it was interrupted in its existence. The location of the Village Geamana was evacuated in order to create a toxic waste from a nearby mining pit.

You can only imagine how the village used to look like, you can remove the dirt that has been dumped here , you can see the church still standing and around it imagine the modest houses displayed around it.

Ada Khale

This is not really a village, as it no longer exist. Or at least it no logger visitable. But a great place we could not miss from our list because it is a unique village due to its positioning. It was situated on an island in the middle of the Danube River around Orsova. It was inhabited mostly by Turks. It was a really special place because of the ottoman customs, of the mild clime which it allowed to grow exotic plants and fruits, due to the houses build on top of the fortress, sometimes really integrated intro the defensive walls and using materials for it.

The island was lost to a mega-construction of the communism. When the Iron Gate Dam was build, the water level rise and the island was swallowed by the unforgiving water of Danube River. It is called the Atlantida of Romania, but we know for sure this one existed.

It is been said that there is a light post in the middle of the Danube still visible today, a memory of the lost island, but on our drive on the road next to this place, w did not see it.

This is a movie made to help us remember the last days of the island. It is in Romanian, but you will see the beauty and get the vibe of this unique place.

Planing your trip to see Romanian Villages

The villages are concentrated in some rural center. Here is a separation of the villages by region and county:

Villages in Transylvania:

Villages in Brașov: Măgura, Viscri, Şirnea, Racoş, Poiana Mărului, Fundăţica, Dâmbovicioara, Simon;
Villages in Maramureş: Breb, Săpânta, Barsana, Vișeul de Sus, Preluca Noua, Botiza;
Villages in Sibiu: Biertan , Cisnădioara, Hoghilag, Răşinari, Richiş;
Villages in Alba Iulia: Rimetea, Roșia Montana, Casa de piatră;
Villages in Bistrița- Năsăud: Colibița, Cireșoaia, Runcu Salvei, Ciosa;
Villages in Hunedoara: Densuş , Săcărâmb, Târsa;
Villages in Harghita: Corund;
Villages in Covasna: Valea Zălanului;
Villages in Mureș: Cund;
Villages in Timişoara: Şarlota;
Villages in Bihor: Coleşti;

Villages in Moldova:

Villages in Suceava: Ciocăneşti, Fundul Moldovei, Pleşa;

Villages in Wallachia:

Villages in Caraș-Severin: Eftimie Murgul, Ineleț, Gărâna;
Villages in Mehedinţi: Dubova;

Villages in Dobruja:

Villages in Tulcea: Letea, Sfântu Gheorghe, Sarichioi, Caraorman;

Maybe the most traditional rural life is situated in the northern part of Romania: Maramureş and Bucovina. Here people and traditions are unaltered, here time has a different beat, the seasons have their own meaning.

Another region that is worth considering to visit if you want to taste the rural life is Braşov – Sibiu – Covasna. Also, The villages in Danube Delta are spectacular, if you consider visiting this region you can add them to you list.

Stay at rustic accommodation

There are some fine places to stay and feel the village life pulsing. There are places done with consideration and with respect towards traditions and techniques. Some or new and some are old, but regardless, the result is still amazing.

Satu Muscelean (Arges County)

This amazing jewel is a complex of traditional houses build on a slope in a forest. There are 10 small houses build in a traditional manner and a central building for food and with 3 more rooms. The quietness and the relaxation is unprecedented. With a little patio you can spend the days on the outside admiring nature and reading a book, while setting the vibe on a different timezone – the one that is not included in any watch, but the one we all linger for, the timezone where there is no time.

For reservation you can use the Booking.com page .

Biertan – the village lost in the hills of Transylvania

Biertan is the place you want to visit if you want to understand the rural life of Transylvania. Biertan in one of the oldest villages, attested from 13th century. The position of the village surrounded by vineyard hills, the citadel-church, the village life, everything creates a perfect picture of a place lost in time.

The fortified Church in Biertan is the most important church of this kind in Transylvania. It was the first to be part of UNESCO Heritage and it has also some specificity that make it magnificent.

The church represented more than a religious place, it was the center of the community. People would store their goods, would punish the ones that disregard the rules, it institutionalize the marriage and the divorce, and one of the most important feature, it protected the people and the wealth of the village. It was the cultural, social, religious and defensive center of a community.

3 defense walls in Biertan Fortified Church

As the name indicates, this kind of building serve more that one purpose. During peace time they are the center of the religious life (and not only), while at war, they acted as a citadel with the defense system in place and also it had to sustain life inside for weeks and to ensure food and water while.

Biertan Fortified Walls

The wall are 4 to 6 meters in depth and 10 to 14 meters high.

Biertan Fortified Church
Biertan Fortified Church

Taking a stroll around the wall is quite a journey due to the arcades that reinforce the walls and creates the feeling of a covered promenade with plants growing in walls.

The 19 points lock

There is a one of a kind lock created by the Saxon craftsman in 1515. It was a work of a genius and still today it is appreciated due to its complex mechanisms and time enduring resistance. It received an award at the Paris World Expo in 1900, almost 400 years after it was created and still raises the curiosity of people. The closing system engages 19 locking points and it was effective in protecting the wealth of the church so many centuries.

Lock of Biertan Church sacristy

No divorce policy – the “matrimonial prison”

There is a prison-like room where couples that wanting to divorce were forced to live for two weeks disposing only of one fork, one spoon, one chair and a single bed, but no knife.

matrimonial prison
Divorce room

The purpose was to make the couple revise their decision to separate. Apparently it was a highly successful tactic since only one couple in 300 years decided to go through with the divorce, all the others reconciled. Or so the legend says.

The Covered Stairs of Biertan Church

Covered Stairs to Biertan Church
Covered Stairs of Biertan Fortified Church

Biertan Church is positioned on the top of the hill in the middle of the village. In order to reach the church you need to climb some 50 stairs. The stairs are covered, creating a passage that will get the people on top of the hill at the church entrance level. The stairs resemble the Covered Stairs in Sighisoara, only they are smaller.

Painted ceiling

The church was Roman Catholic in the beginning, afterwards becoming Lutheran after Reformation and all the painting were covered according to the new beliefs. After the renovation the painted ceiling was discovered and restored so we can admire it today. One interesting detailed: search for the joker.

Biertan ceiling
Biertan Church ceiling
Joker in the Biertan Church
Biertan paintings – The Joker

Woodwork

I found some great piece of woodwork in the church doors. Take your time and discover what else the craftsmen have to offer in the details of this amazing creation.

View of the village

As the church is position on the top of the hill to help with the resistance in case of attach, one of the great reward of the stairs you have to climb is the view of the village. The life you can admire from above. The smoke in every chimney, the order of life in the

View of Biertan Village
Biertan – view from above

How to get to Biertan

We visited Biertan Fortified Church 3 times, each in a different season. One of the visits was an itinerary that includes all 6 Fortified Churches from Transylvania that are included in UNESCO Heritage

Stay the night in Biertan

Do stay one night in the village to be able to see the church at night lit and dominating the hole village from above. You have a lot of option in the restored houses.

Biertan Church by night
Biertan Church by night
View of Biertan Church from our accommodation
View of Biertan Church from our accommodation

If you plan a trip in Transylvania, don’t forget about: Turda Salt Mine and Mohos Peat Bog .

Mohos Peat Bog – walking on the water experiment

I loved Tinovul Mohos (Mohos Peat Bog) from the first moment I understood its meaning. Besides the fact that the hole place looks out of this world, just understanding the genesis, will give you goosebumps.

Long long time ago, The Volcano Mohos erupted and in the crater left behind there a lake formed. After some time, The Saint Ana Volcano erupted and covered with ash the lake in the Mohos Crater. From then 7 meters of ash and peat created a surface above the lake. A few plants adapted to this very acid, very poor soil and they create a dwarf like landscape.

Walking here is like you are in a children story, where dragons have burnt everything in their way. The dwarf pine which is the only one surviving in this environment looks wretched and almost dead, just a few hints tell you that they live, but their height is not bigger than 6 meters.

Besides the dwarf pine there are some other small plants adapted to the life in the peat:  bog-rosemary, bog cranberry, blueberry and some carnivorous plants.

At the entrance in Mohos Peat Bog, you will meet your guide and you will enter together. There are entrances each hour. The guide spoke with us in Romanian and Hungarian, but I hope they have a version in English too. Both of the guides we had were great story tellers and funny, they answer you questions, they teach you a lot of things and tell a lot of bear jokes.

After a 10 minutes of information you enter the peat over a wooden bridge, and afterwards on wood steps that will guide your visit inside. If you step outside them your foot will submerge in the moss carpet impregnated with water like a sponge. We first realized it because we entered with our dog and she doesn’t step exactly on the wood , and her feet would sing a few centimeters and then we tried on our own.

They say this is the wild animal way across the peat, the know where to step in order not to sink, but in other area the risk is real. But this path is constructed right at the edge of the peat with access to 2 most amazing lakes.

As you enter the peat you can see how the forest changes, from green tall tress as you enter into an area with the dwarf pine, struggling to survive. And as you watch in the distance you can map the exact limits of the peat because the vegetation changes drastically. The blueberries area is next, and from here to the first lake.

There used to be around 200 + lakes, while now are there are only 15 left. In this trip you get to see 2 of them. The lakes in Mohos Peat Bog have a special petrol-like look – a dark blue that is completely opaque and seems denser that water. These lake communicate with the underground lake with a hourglass-shape of 22 height.

You are standing on a wood bridge and looking at the lake from any position you can not take a pick to see what it is inside, only the reflection of the sky and the forest.

And you realize that beneath you is a huge underground lake and only a 10 meters layer of peat separates you from the 10 million liters of water, and this water is an example of who the tar-like water.

From here you go to the next lake and you get to see the carnivorous plants better because of the opens of the area. Then you exit, not before you wind int he wooden path created in the dense pine forest.

The guide will wait here an you exit the peat and return to the starting point on a dirt road.

Due to high acidity of the water and of the soil, due to the volcanic origin, everything in this place look from a different story. it is a place where the underground sends messages to the surface, where everything is connected

To sum up the hole experience, you walk in the crater of a volcano that become a lake and it was covered by ash and peat so now you can walk on this thin ground and in order not to sink, there is a wooden path you have to follow. Are you up for it? Not that is dangerous, but it definitely is exciting.

The Mohos Peat Bog is situated at 1050 meters altitude, 100 meters higher that Lake Saint Anne. I suggest from here you go to visit the lake. You have all the information in our Toura itinerary in Harghita and Covasna County

Visit Mohos Peat Bog

If you want to visit the Mohos Peat Bog, follow our itinerary on the map. As you arrive in the area you will pay a parking tax of 10 lei (2 euro) for the car. After parking you go to buy tickets – 5 lei /person (1 euro). The entrance is every 2 hours: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00. I think when it is busy the guided tours are each hour.

I said you something about walking on water and I was not kidding. here is the proof from our itinerary recording:

As long as you are in the area visit some of the most beautiful villages in Romania .