Out of all the cities that we visited in Romania, Oradea is the city that surprised us the most. This small border city sits on the border of Romania and Hungary, and isn’t a typical tourist attraction. In fact, we only decided to spend a day here since we were passing through already on our way into Hungary.

When we first arrived in the mediocre train station and began our trek to the city center, our hopes were pretty low. Everything looked kind of dull and boring. But as soon as we arrived in the pedestrian zone, we could tell that Oradea was something special.

The Exterior of the Black Eagle Palace in Oradea, Romania

For one, the combination of Romanian and Hungarian architecture has yielded some of the most beautiful and colorful buildings we’ve ever seen. The people were also exceptionally friendly, which is probably because they really aren’t used to getting that many tourists in this small town!

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Overall, we can’t recommend Oradea enough. It’s a really special place and we recommend spending at least a few days here so you can properly explore everything that Oradea has to offer. Based on our time spent in Oradea, here are 13 amazing things to do in Oradea, Romania.

13 Amazing Things To Do In Oradea, Romania

1. Explore Piata Unirii, Oradea’s beautiful main square

Piata Unirii in Oradea, Romania

Piata Unirii, or Unirii Square, is the main square in Oradea. It is surrounded by many of the city’s most beautiful buildings and landmarks, including City Hall, two churches, the Greek-Catholic Episcopal Palace, and more.

This is the perfect place to start your time in Oradea, because it’s so central. From here, you can walk to pretty much anything in the city center. Many of the things to do that we have included on this list are a short 10 minute walk from the square at most.

2. Climb the tower at Oradea City Hall for beautiful views

Couple taking in the views from the top of Oradea City Hall in Oradea, Romania

Looking for the best spot for pictures in Oradea? Then look no further than the Oradea City Hall tower! For 5 lei per person, you can climb to the top of the tower and get panoramic views of the city below.

It’s worth every bit of 5 lei, because the main office where you pay also has a cold water fountain, mints, travel brochures, and more. Climbing this tower was specifically recommended to us by our Airbnb host, and we’re so glad we did it. It was a beautiful experience.

3. Visit The Neolog Synagogue Zion

Neolog Synagogue Zion in Oradea, Romania

We’ve never seen a temple quite as unique as the Neolog Synagogue Zion. With its dome-shaped top, it almost looks like a mosque. But look a little closer, and you’ll see intricate Jewish symbols, including the Star of David on top of the dome.

The Synagogue was closed for a private event when we were there, so we weren’t able to go in. But most days you should be able to enter and take a look around.

4. Explore The Black Eagle Palace

The Black Eagle Palace in Oradea, Romania

The Black Eagle Palace represents a beautiful meshing of history and modern times. The building, built over a hundred years ago, features stained glass windows, chandeliers and a glass-covered passage. Yet it also houses modern cafes and pubs, the perfect spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

It was sad to see that many of the restaurants had been closed and boarded up when we were there. It’s still worth going to see, because the building itself is so beautiful. Plus, the cafes that are still there looked pretty cool.

5. Channel your wild side at AquaPark Nymphaea

AquaPark Nymphaea Tornado.jpg

There’s nothing more fun than a waterpark on a hot summer day. AquaPark Nymphaea is Oradea’s waterpark, complete with pools and slides for a fun day in the water. They also have a spa that you can visit, which has saunas and Turkish baths.

6. Have your morning cup of coffee on a cafe patio

Couple drinking morning coffee on a cafe patio on Calea Republicii in Oradea, Romania

The pedestrian zone in Oradea is home to countless cute cafes. May of these cafes have patios in the middle of the pedestrian walkway, the perfect place to sip your morning cup of coffee and watch the world go by.

The prices are very affordable, too. We picked up two to-go cups (so we could finish our coffee over a morning stroll) and it cost 14 lei (about $3.30 USD).

7. Try the delicious Turkish food from La Turcu Kebap

Food from La Turcu Kebap in Oradea, Romania

La Turcu Kebap was located just a block from our Airbnb, so we decided to try it out. When we first saw this humble looking Turkish restaurant, we almost changed our mind. It really doesn’t look like anything special. But since it had such stellar reviews, we decided to give it a try anyways!

Let me tell you people, the food was absolutely delicious. Don’t let appearances deceive you and stop into La Turcu Kebap for some delicious Turkish food. You can even eat outside on their shaded patio. Overall, our massive meal cost 42 lei (about $10 USD), and it was so much food that we had to bring leftovers back to our Airbnb.

8. Take a stroll down Calea Republicii

People walking and eating dinner on Calea Republicii in Oradea, Romania

Calea Republicii is the main pedestrian zone that we mentioned earlier. It’s a street entirely dedicated to foot traffic, and it is lined with amazing restaurnts, cafes, ice cream shops, gift shops, clothing stores, and more. We were lucky enough to stay in an Airbnb located right on this street!

This was definitely our favorite area in Oradea, simply because there is so much to do. In the morning, you can sip your coffee on the patios. During the day, grab a bite to eat and check out the discount shopping stores. At night, you can listen to the live music from local street performers.

9. Travel back in time by visiting the Oradea Fortress

Oradea Fortress - The Romania Journal

The Oradea Fortress was built hundreds of years ago and is remarkably preserved to this day. Today, visitors can visit the fortress to learn all about Oradea’s history. The fortress functions as the city museum, a Museum of Bread, and also has many traditional restaurants and cafes.

10. Admire the incredible architecture

Teal Palace in Oradea, Romania

We couldn’t do a blog post on Oradea without mentioning the incredible architecture. Everywhere you walk, there are old churches, palaces, theaters, and buildings that will take your breath away. This teal palace was our favorite architecture that we saw in Oradea. It is located along Calea Republicii if you want to see it for yourself!

11. Have lunch at Panemar Bakery

Panemar Bakery in Oradea, Romania

We never would have discovered Panemar Bakery if we hadn’t been killing time before our Airbnb was ready! Luckily, we decided to drag our 50 lbs+ of luggage in here on a hot summer day to take advantage of the A/C and Wifi and have lunch. The place looked stylish and modern so we figured it would be a good place to hang out.

We ordered two sandwiches which was delicious and fresh, and split a decadent chocolate brownie afterward. It’s a really cute lunch spot if you are just looking for something simple!

12. Enjoy an ice cream cone on your evening stroll

Two ice cream cones on Calea Republicii in Oradea, Romania

On our last night in Oradea, we decided to pick up two ice cream cones to enjoy while we walked through the city center one last time. It was an awesome way to end our time in Oradea, and the ice cream was super delicious!

There are ice cream shops and stands all over the place on Calea Republicii (the pedestrian zone) and it is very inexpensive (about 4 lei per cone).

13. Catch a beautiful summer sunset

Sunset over the skyline in Oradea, Romania

Last but certainly not least, try to catch at least one sunset during your time in Oradea! The colors are so beautiful, and they look even more spectacular on the backdrop of Oradea’s beautiful architecture.

A great place to catch a sunset in Oradea is on Mushroom Hill. This colorful sunset was captured out the window of our Airbnb. We love the way the orange sky looks against the red hatch roofs that are so popular in Romania.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning a trip to Romania, don’t miss out on visiting Oradea! This charming town will surprise you in many ways, and you’ll be visiting a more under-the-radar destination. We love hidden gems like this, so stop by before it becomes the next big tourist destination!

Don’t forget to check out our other posts from Romania:

13 Amazing Things To Do In Oradea, Romania

 

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