I recently returned from a fall trip to Romania in the month of October, and I can confidently recommend autumn as the ideal season to explore this beautiful country in Eastern Europe.
During the fall, Romania’s landscapes come alive with vibrant fall colors. While Romania is renowned for its eerie Transylvanian castles, in the fall, these medieval fortresses take on a captivating charm, especially against the backdrop of an early sunset. Additionally, cities like Brașov and Timișoara showcase their colorful architecture, seamlessly blending with the autumn scenery.
In this blog post, I’ll provide you with practical insights into the best activities and destinations to make the most of your fall visit to Romania.
Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!
6 Romanian Destinations To Go In The Fall Are
Even though Romania doesn’t get as many tourists as other famous Balkans destinations, it has so much to offer you.
My top 6 suggested sites to hit up next fall are:
- 🍁 Bucharest
- 🍁 Peles Castle
- 🍁 Brasov
- 🍁 Bran Castle
- 🍁 Timișoara
- 🍁 Cluj-Napoca.
I found The Romanian capital to have a similar vibe different to other Balkan cities I have visited. It had a lively and colorful atmosphere throughout, with modern street art and quirky bars. I found the seasonal change in the parks added some extra shade to the city.
We got lucky during our Eastern European wanderings, as the temperature was above average with sunshine. Therefore, we spent significant time outdoors exploring the cultural side of Bucharest.
The sun sets early in October, so this nudged us to head into the Old Town area to sample the nightlife each night, which we had been told is buzzing all year round. This turned out to be true, with five or six streets full of packed bars and restaurants.
Bucharest is an easy city to navigate by foot, and the Old Town can’t be missed, which makes walking a viable option if you are lucky with the temperatures. It can be hit-and-miss in the fall.
Enjoy the fall air in the city’s parks.
Piata Unirii (Union Square)
When we wanted to escape the action of the Old Town, we headed to the closest park area, ‘Piata Unirii.’ This square is a five-minute walk from the Old Town and is signposted well.
We just walked there, observing a new city as we explored. One thing I noticed was the communist-style buildings that surrounded the park. A high number of the buildings had betting adverts at the top of them. This must be a popular thing in Romania, as we found this to be very common during our visit.
In the park’s center, there is an extensive fountain which can be enjoyed in the daytime or evening time. We visited during the day as we wanted to enjoy the sunshine as much as possible before a long winter!
If you do visit on an evening, there is a choreographic fountain show, which includes water, lights, and music. This was in our plans one night, but the lure of Romanian beer and excellent food meant we ended up in the Old Town area all evening.
Herăstrău Park is a popular choice with tourists and locals alike, as it has abundant things to do. When we were making our way around the park, we could see people on rented boats enjoying a crisp morning on the lake.
The Japanese Garden was a peaceful part of the park and would make an excellent spot for a sunset walk. We noticed some cherry blossoms and Japanese acacia brightening the park with the other fall colors.
You can catch a cab or test out the metro network, which we found efficient and easy to use. You are looking out for the Aviatorilor Station stop, which is convenient as it is located close by.
Cișmigiu Gardens is an iconic park in Bucharest and is the city’s oldest, which attracts thousands of visitors on a weekend. During our visit, we found this one the busiest of the three we walked through.
You can find this park in front of the City Hall in the city’s center. You will find the monuments of French soldiers in the park. We found this aspect of the park to be very interesting!
Izvor and Universitate are the two closest metro stops. If you want to walk it, then the National Museum of Art and Revolution Square are very close.
Short on time – Which park should you choose?
Out of the three parks, my personal favorite was the Piata Unirii. There was something about the fountain that just offered a great spot to enjoy my coffee. Its location near the Old Town also makes it an easy escape from the crowds.
Grab A Seasonal Coffee
You will find many street food stalls and coffee vans in all of the parks, which is an ideal way to warm yourself up on a chilly fall day. A personal recommendation is the caramel cappuccino from the ‘Piccolo Van’ in Piata Unirii.
We spent a nice relaxing Sunday enjoying our coffees with a view of the fountains, and it just happened to be the day of the Bucharest Marathon, which is held annually in early October in the city. This offered a unique vibe around the parks and streets of the capital.
Explore A Local Museum
A rainy day activity is visiting one of the many museums in the city. There is a range of highly-rated museums that focus on contemporary art, history, and the culture of Romania. We even saw a museum on football close to the Old Town. This would be the ideal choice if you are traveling in a family looking for some entertainment for children.
Here is some key information for some museums:
|Art||National Museum of Art Bucharest||Wed-Sun
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
|24 LEI ($5)
12 LEI ($2.50)
|Sport||Football Museum Bucharest||Thurs – Tues
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
|49 LEI ($10.50)
33 LEI ($7)
|History||Museum of Communism in Bucharest||Everyday
10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
|24 LEI ($5)
12 LEI ($2.50)
Visit The Parliament Building
If the weather changes as you wander around the Romanian capital, then visiting the Palace of Parliament is another excellent activity for poor weather. Not only will you be able to marvel at the grand architecture of the administrative building, but you can also enter inside on a guided tour.
This is a hands-on history lesson as you learn about the intriguing political history of Romania while exploring the buildings’ grand halls and lavish rooms. Renting an e-scooter or bicycle and doing a full lap of the building’s grounds is a terrific way to grasp the scale of the famous structure. It is actually the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon in the USA.
We found this out from a security guard at the entrance. This really took us by surprise, and then we found some great angles for some photos!
Opening times in fall: Every day – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Entrance costs: 60 LEI ($13) / 30 LEI ($6.50)
Make sure you are carrying your passport with you when visiting the Palace of Parliament, as it is a requirement.
Enjoy A Traditional Romanian Meal In The Old Town
The Old Town in Bucharest is in a historic neighborhood and home to many restaurants, including a mixture of local and International cuisine. The narrow cobblestone always makes for a great getaway from the crisp temperatures, whether inside the snug restaurants or in the gardens next to a heater, watching the world go by.
Traditional Romanian cuisine is available to try in many of the restaurants in the Old Town. During our trip, we tried the ‘Mici,’ similar to sausages and a mixture of beef, lamb, and spices. When we observed other people enjoying dinner, it seemed that Romanian cuisine is very meat-heavy, similar to Albania & Bulgaria from my experiences.
Brands We Use And Trust
One of the main reasons I booked Romania was to experience Transylvania, as it is a world-famous spot. It did not disappoint from the stories I had heard from a young age. I could feel the gothic charm circulating around the castles. The fall scenery added some color to some plain-colored architecture.
During this time of year, the beautiful bright-colored forests surrounding the castles and the frosty, foggy mornings add an element of spook to the area.
The fall foliage creates a picturesque setting in the gardens of Peles Castle and the forest that surrounds it. The neoclassical castle is one of the most famous landmarks in Romania and is picture-perfect, snuggled into the Carpathian Mountains.
When we visited, the sunshine was peeking through the trees, offering a pleasant day, ideal for a walk around the castle grounds. We enjoyed admiring the sculptures and fountains in the courtyard, which blended in with the rustic surroundings that were a mixture of maple leaves and an immaculate garden, which all sat in the sun’s shadow overhanging the grand palace.
Peles Castle was built over a century ago after King Carol commissioned it. However, the interior of the building is beautifully maintained and pristine throughout. We took a guided tour as we wanted to learn the history behind the building, and it was a good job we did, as the ticket queue was really long. Our tour guide skipped us straight to the front, which saved us so much time. This is definitely a hack for both Peles and Bran Castle, especially in peak times.
From inside the castle tour, a personal favorite was the Great Armory Room, which had hundreds of pieces of the King’s weaponry hung on the walls. There are more artifacts in the Peles Museum, which is located in the former stables on site. The Inside of the castle is more than enough to satisfy, though.
Opening times in fall: Wed-Sun – 9.15 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Entrance costs: 60 LEI ($13) / 30 LEI ($6.50)
Beautiful Brasov will steal your heart during any time of the year, but there is something extra special about fall. You still get some warm sunshine, but the surrounding landscape of the city captivates your attention. None more so than the Brasov sign, which gets lost amongst the tints of the seasonal nature, displaying the true essence of the city. We visited Brasov in between a tour of the two famous castles, so it was a pleasant change of scenery for an afternoon.
If you want to visit the Brasov sign, catching the Tampa cable car up is cheap and quick if you squeeze it into an action-packed itinerary. If you are in Brasov for longer, you can hike up to the iconic symbol and fully immerse in the enchanting forest.
Tampa Cable Car opening times in fall: Tues-Sun – 9.30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Entrance costs: 20 LEI ($4) return
If you do get lucky with the temperatures, then dining outside in the market square is a fabulous experience. There are an array of options, including local cuisine. We would recommend the beautiful Ristorante Italian D.O.C, which served stunning food and offered a lovely, relaxed ambiance. At this time of year, it was still very popular to sit outside enjoying dinner.
If you are heading to Romania to spot a brown bear or two, Brasov is an excellent place to locate yourself. Romania is home to the largest wild brown bear population in Europe, so spending time in the Autumn wilderness might throw up a surprise for you!
Many bear-watching tours operate with Brasov as the starting point, creating a unique experience.
Approx. Price for a 3-hour bear-watching trip – 300 LEI ($65).
If you are on a tight schedule, Brasov is usually included on the tours of Transylvania with Peles and Bran Castle. You can still appreciate the city’s beauty in a short space of time.
The allure of fall in Transylvania doesn’t get any more authentic than Bran Castle. The air offers a crisp chill, which, combined with the mystical fables that surround the castle, makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Although it is quieter in fall time, we still found the castle crowded and claustrophobic. It would be best to head to Bran Castle early in the morning before the tour buses arrive in the afternoon (they usually start with Peles Castle).
We came with a tour, and it seemed like every tour bus arrived simultaneously, which is their regular schedule. So it is worthwhile planning your visit around these times. We arrived at Bran Castle at around 3 p.m.
Autumn time brings Halloween, and where better to spend it than a medieval castle?
The Castle hosts an annual Halloween party, which tourists and locals enjoy. You can expect fancy dress, live entertainment, and an all-around spook fest! Unfortunately, we missed this by one week, which was a bit unlucky, as it would have been a cool activity for sure.
You can purchase tickets online in advance or during your visit to the Castle. The hosts go above and beyond to create a haunted vibe in the castle, sound effects, creepy lighting, and actors.
It is said to be A truly unique atmosphere!
Bran Castle Opening times in fall: Tues-Sun – 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Mon 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Entrance costs: 60 LEI ($13) / 15 LEI (£6.50)Halloween special cost – 100 LEI ($22) / 50 LEI ($11)
We found the best spots to explore in the castle are the turrets, which offer a bird’s eye view of the courtyard. An excellent spot for a photo. Another popular area of the iconic landmark is the secret staircase. I’ll let you find this one for yourself.
Heading west in Romania took us to the charming city of Timișoara, which is famous for its bright buildings and its secessionist architecture throughout the city. The colorful art nouveau-style buildings contribute towards a distinctive vibe and a contemporary culture of art.
The most famous building is Casa Bruck in Union Square, which attracts many visitors. We found this building to be a highlight in the city. If you want to visit it, then the main square is easy to reach by foot. You can only enter the building if you are using the pharmacy or shops inside it, but it’s well worth a visit just for the exterior.
We were impressed by the arty vibe in Timisoara, which we found continued throughout the city. We enjoyed a stroll through Umbrella Street. We saw a walking tour exploring as we wandered through it, which makes for a great free activity in the city.
On the history side of the city, we found Visiting the Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral was the best option and was also free. The beautiful setting of the building is enhanced by the Autumn colors, creating a picture-perfect backdrop. You can explore the impressive interior, which is still immaculate despite its age since its construction in 1946.
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral opening times: 6.30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Timisoara is located close to the Hungarian and Serbian border, so it is a popular spot for International tourists. It can be reached by train or car; furthermore, its airport is home to many budget airlines. You can traverse the city by foot, as most sites are within walking distance, or use one of the quirky trams, a unique feature of the city. I found the trams in Bucharest and Timisoara were excellent and similar to the ones in Bratislava.
If a fall walk is in your travel plans, head to the Bega River, where you will find a lovely walkway and some pretty scenery. On our walk, we found an ice cream stall, which cooled us down in the sunshine, and we also saw some restaurants and shops.
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Cluj-Napoca is a centuries-old city in the northeast of Romania and is located between Bucharest and Budapest, which means it has many travelers passing through it.
The pedestrianized square in the center of the Old Town has a welcoming atmosphere, making it a great place to socialize. The city is known as a university, which we found obvious by the h many young students everywhere.
If you want to escape the crowds to have a more relaxed day, then you can head to the Hoia Forest, which is around 10 km outside the city. However, Autumn colors might not be the only thing to capture your attention during your wander. The forest is famous for paranormal activities and has been touted as the world’s most haunted forest.
You were fine in Transylvania, right? So you can handle this one!
This is a free activity during the daytime, but if you want to experience the forest at night, you have to take a guided tour.
Hoia Forest night tour cost: ranging from 200 LEI ($43) – 600 LEI ($130) per person 200-600 RON
Visit The Carpathian Mountains
If you get lucky with some warm weather like we did, then a trip to the Carpathian Mountains is a fantastic way to enjoy the beautiful nature of Romania. In autumn, the mountains are a treasure trove of colorful foliage, as the landscape is painted with shades of red, yellow, and orange. The area is home to some awesome hiking trails, which you can check out in advance!
You can reach the famous mountain range within around three hours by car, so an early start will be needed if you want to make the most of a whole day trip.
There You Have It, Romania In The Fall Season
A combination of beautiful nature, iconic landmarks, and the chance to spend Halloween with Dracula in Bran Castle. If you use these practical tips, then your trip should go smoothly and be very enjoyable. The weather in Romania is delightful at this time of year, and the prices are very reasonable.
Romania and Transylvania are off the beaten track in the Balkans, primarily as the fall blanket covers the Eastern European nation. This presents the opportunity for an authentic experience as the crowds disappear and the landmarks turn into a cozy escape. It’s time to book that flight to Romania!