Things To Do In Oradea, Romania For The Weekend

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Post author Ana

Written by our local expert Ana

Croatian born Ana is an avid traveler who is always looking for the next travel story from the Balkans to share. Her passion is creating travel itineraries and in-depth guides.

Written by Ingrid from Ingrid Zen Moments

Here is your weekend guide to the best things to do in Oradea, Romania. The Romanian city of Oradea is known for its rich multicultural history. Enjoy!

Romania Travel Blog_Things To Do In Oradea Romania For A Weekend

Oradea is a city in Romania known for its rich multicultural history, celebrated art-nouveau architecture, good restaurants, active nightlife, and world-renowned thermal spa resorts.

According to legend, this most beautiful city was founded in 1092 by Ladislaus I, King of Hungary, who was buried in the city’s cathedral after his death.

The first historically attested documentation dates from 1113, when the city was mentioned in a chronicle of the benedictine monks from the monastery of Zobor. The city flourished and became an important center of pilgrimage in 1192 when the Pope sanctified its founder, Kind Ladislaus I.

Since those times, the city already had a multicultural background with several ethnicities living side by side: Hungarians, Slavs, Vlachs, Italians, Germans, and others.

By the Mongol invasion of 1241, Oradea was one of the most important cities in the Kingdom of Hungary. The entire city was destroyed during the attack but steadily rebuilt. It peaked during the XV when it became the favorite city of Sigismund of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor, who was eventually buried in the city’s cathedral.

The city was an essential center of Protestantism during the Reformation of XVI. century and Counter-Reformation that followed.

The Ottoman Turks eventually occupied Oradea after a long siege in 1660 when less than 800 heroic defenders managed to keep a vast Ottoman army at bay for 40 days.

The city was liberated in 1692 by a Hapsburg-led German, Hungarian, and Croatian army.

After the 1867 creation of Austria-Hungary, the city flourished again and became the second most important city in the Hungarian part of the Empire after the capital Budapest.

In this period, the city went through a fantastic transformation, most of its current central area being developed during the last three decades leading up to the First World War.

After the end of the war, the Treaty of Trianon awarded the city to Romania, and Romanian forces entered it in 1919.

Between 1940 – 1944 Oradea was again awarded to Hungary by the Second Vienna Award.

Finally, in 1944, the city became yet again part of Romania as it is today.

After the 1989 fall of Communism, the city experienced a rapid development process and is today one of Romania’s most prosperous cities.

Given its rich and multicultural history, Oradea offers many exceptional sites to visit and many attractions and activities for a one-weekend getaway.

If you’re wondering if Romania is safe to visit, don’t worry. Oradea might be one of the safest cities in the country.

Thus, here’s my perfect 2-day itinerary for a weekend in Oradea.

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Day 1 In Oradea

Things To Do In Oradea, Romania_View from Oradea Townhall

Book a stay in the heart of the city at one of the two hotels on the river (Continental Forum, DoubleTree by Hilton) or at the Ramada Hotel, where you can experience its famous wine spa.

No matter which one you choose, you’ll be pretty close to almost all the main attractions in Oradea; thus, walking from one fantastic place to the other will be easy. However, when you feel tired, the town’s tram will carry you from one place to the other.

Start your day with a walk at the Roman-Catholic Basilica, one of the largest and most impressive Neo-Baroque style buildings in Romania and the wider region. Next to it, the Episcopal Palace of the Roman Catholic Bishopric is a beautiful palace built in the Viennese Baroque in the late 18th century. It has 365 windows representing the days of the year;

Cross the street and admire the Corridor of Canons (Sirul Canonicilor), an architectural gem comprising ten buildings in a line. This place can quickly become one of the most beautiful in Oradea.

Things To Do In Oradea, Romania_Episcopal Palace

When you’ve had enough of architecture, take a walk and a breath of fresh air in Petofi Park – an arboretum park hosting tens of types of trees and vegetation from different parts of the world.

If you visit during spring, both Episcopal Park and Petofi Park will be filled with magnolias in bloom.

Next, take the tram and get off in the beautiful Unirii Square, which has unique architectural masterpieces: the Greek-Orthodox Episcopal Cathedral (or Moon Church), the Greek-Catholic Episcopal Cathedral (Emmanuel Cathedral), the Greek-Catholic Episcopal Palace, the Moskovits Palace, the Black Eagle Palace with its iconic passage, and many more.

You can have a delicious coffee at The Dripped and maybe a late brunch to get ready for some more walking.

Things To Do In Oradea, Romania_Moskovits Miksa Palace

That’s because next to Unirii Square is the Neolog Synagogue, one of the largest Synagogues in the Central European region. After visiting it and learning about the Jewish community and the Synagoges history, you’ll want to head towards the City Hall Palace.

Across the square from the Black Eagle Palace, the City Hall Palace, with its clock tower, is not only another architectural gem but also offers the possibility of climbing its tower, from which you can see Oradea from above, in all its beauty.

Cross the Crisul Repede River, admire the beautiful buildings on the left-hand side, Oradea’s National Theatre, and head towards the so-called Corso or Republicii Street.

This street will amaze even the most demanding visitors with its kilometers-long line of Art Nouveau buildings and its excellent restaurants, terraces, and bars. Walking up the street, you’ll stumble upon the Moskovits Miksa Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Oradea, with its blue walls.

Finish your day off with a delicious dinner, and don’t forget to try the iconic gulas soup at Cyrano restaurant.

Oradea Day 2

Today will be a mix of history and relaxation because nobody wants to spend all the time walking around, right?

Start your day with a stroll on the kilometers-long riverfront, wherein the central section can admire dozens of types of blooming tulips and many other flowers and trees. Stop for coffee at Snooz Caffe or wander around towards the Oradea Citadel.

The Medieval Citadel, with its Cathedral, Princely Palace, and Museum, will take some time to explore. But judging by its impressive history, it will be worth it.

Once you’ve had enough of history for one day, cross the river back and go to the Nymphea Aquapark and Spa.

This great place can offer visitors a fun day on the many waterslides and a relaxing day in its Thermal Turkish Baths and the Sauna area with different saunas (Russian, Finnish, Saline room, Aromatherapy, and so on). There’s not one time we visit Oradea that we don’t spend at least a few hours here.

What Else To Do In Oradea

Things To Do In Oradea, Romania_Corridor of Canons

For those looking to spend more time in Oradea, here are some other activities to put on the list:

State Theatre (Teatrul Regina Maria). Kick things off with a visit to this impressive building in the city. It’s not just an architectural beauty; it’s a cultural hotspot where you can catch everything from operas to ballets. Seriously, if walls could talk, the stories here would keep you hooked for hours.

Oradea Fortress (Cetatea Oradea) Events. If you time it right, you’ll get to step back in time at the Oradea Fortress. Picture this: knights, craftspeople, and heaps of traditional food all set in a historic fortress. It’s like a live-action history book!

Museum of Oradea. You’ll find this in the fortress; this museum is your go-to for diving deep into local history, art, and archaeology. Whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, there’s something here for everyone.

Tarii Crisurilor Museum. This amazing place is a treasure trove of Romanian art, from stunning paintings to intricate sculptures. It’s a great way to get a sense of the local culture and artistic flair.

Oradea Zoological Garden. Need a break from all the culture and history? The Oradea Zoo has a range of animals to keep you entertained. It’s a hit with families and anyone looking to chill in nature.

Ioșia Park. Speaking of chilling, Ioșia Park is the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon. Pack a picnic, take a stroll, or bask in the greenery. It’s all about relaxing here.

Food Scene. Oh, and let’s not forget about the food! Oradea’s got a vibrant gastronomy scene, with dishes like “papanasi” (a drool-worthy dessert) and “sarmale” (delicious cabbage rolls). Trust me, your taste buds are in for a treat.

Biking Along the Crișul Repede River: Fancy a bike ride? The paths along the Crișul Repede River offer some pretty stunning city views and a fresh perspective on Oradea. Plus, it’s great for working off all those papanasi.

Felix Baths. A short hop from the city center, this spot is famed for its thermal waters and spa treatments. Whether you’re looking to relax or recuperate, the Felix Baths are a must-visit.

Ski Resorts. If you’re visiting in winter, don’t miss the chance to hit the slopes at Vartop-Arieseni and Stana de Vale. Some places in Oradea even offer day trips, making it super convenient.

Apuseni National Park. For nature lovers, this park is a dream. Think stunning mountain views, ancient forests, and fascinating caves. It’s well worth the drive.

Day Trip to Hungary. Last but not least, consider crossing the Hungarian border for a day in the wine region. Eger is just a stone’s throw away and offers incredible architecture, food, and, of course, wine.

So, are you ready to head to the Art Nouveau Capital of Romania? Packed with historical monuments, a rich history, and stunning architecture, you will love it.

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  1. Hello, congrats on your blog!
    I was reading about Romania (being a Romanian myself) and wanted to tell you that the Neolog Synagogue in Oradea is not UNESCO heritage unfortunately….

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