Winter is coming again! Once the cold season hits the Romanian lands, you might ask yourself where you can travel to have a special vacation. Romania is such a rich and diverse place with enchanting traditions, colorful Christmas markets, white fluffy snow and lively celebrations. Winter in Romania is truly a magical time. So, if you are thinking of a vacation during winter season, there are many Romanian places to visit where you’ll have the experience of a lifetime and a memorable vacation. Read further to learn more about three of the best ones we can recommend.
1. Lake Bâlea Ice Hotel
First, let us tell you about one of our land’s magic places: Bâlea Lake and its surroundings. Bâlea Lake is one of the most popular and beautiful Romanian places to visit in the Carpathian mountains. It is located on the Transfăgărășan Road, recognized as the best road in the world by Top Gear. The view here takes your breath away due to the high altitude and due to the crystal clear glacier lake right in the heart of Carpathian Mountains.
The altitude here reaches 2,034 meters, with strong winds and mountains of snow. The landscape becomes covered in snow during the winter, and a hotel of ice opens its doors to tourists seeking to have a once in a lifetime experience. Covered with snow and built with ice blocks taken directly from Bâlea Lake, the hotel is reconstructed every and each year, being opened for a limited period of time.
More exactly, The Hotel is a large igloo made of ice cubes, which weigh approximately 60-70 kg each. Actually, in this hotel everything from glasses to beds is made from the same frozen material. Bâlea Lake Hotel has most of the amenities you will find in a regular hotel like: restaurant, bar, and even a church. What makes Bâlea Lake hotel a special place is the fact that everything is made out of pure ice. The beds are covered with furs, pillows and thick blankets, and at each room where you can sleep there is an ice guardian in front of them. Temperature during winter inside the hotel ranges from -3 to 2 Celsius degrees. But no worry about the cold, as there’s enough booze at the bar to get warm.
So, if you are a mountain lover, and ever want to sleep in an Ice Castle, and wanna feel like the Ice Queen, you can have a unique experience visiting The Ice Hotel next to Bâlea Lake.
How to get there:
You can travel up to the hotel by car, if you get lucky and the road is cleared of snow. If however the snow is blocking the road, you can leave the car at the cable car station – the place where it starts its climbing up the mountain. The cable car is actually the most used and most convenient mean to get there. In addition, the 10 minutes climbing is really spectacular.
The cable car station is right next to the Bâlea Cascada hotel. The price for a ticket for the cable car is 30 lei for adults, and for children it is 15 lei. It works daily, between 9:00 – 17:00.
2. Mocănița – a ride with the last steam train in Europe
Maybe you already heard that among the best Romanian places to visit and best Christmas traditions are in Maramureș and Bucovina. And nobody can deny that Mocănița is a spectacular attraction. Mocănița is the last forestry gauge steam train in Europe, running on a railway in Maramureș county, in Vaser Valley. It was used since 1933 to carry wood from the mountains to the village, but nowadays is a popular attraction for tourists. The old train was refurbished back in 2004 and since then it is running for the joy of tourists. The trip starts in Vișeu de Sus and ends in Paltin station, returning to Vișeu de Sus, covering a route of approximately 42 km. The entire trip, including the stop, takes approximately 6 hours.
You can enjoy Mocănița all year long. So if you miss it this winter, you can ride it during spring or summer as well. Every season will bring colourful and unexpected changes in the mountain scenery that the old steam train crosses. The best time to photograph the steam coming out of train is obviously in the winter season, when all surroundings are white and frozen, covered in snow.
Out of all the Romanian places to visit, Maramureș is by far one of the richest in local culture, traditions and wonderful nature.
You can also buy tickets for the train online, on the official website. The website is also in English. Fares for the trip start at 59 LEI for adults, and it can reach a price of 119 LEI, which can include also a meal.
How to get there:
Most convenient way to get to Vișeu de Sus from most of the Romanian cities would be by car. Here are the calculated distances, by car, from main Romanian cities:
- Bucharest: 530 km (approximately 8.5 hours by car)
- Cluj-Napoca: 166 km (approximately 3 hours by car)
- Iași: 310 km (approximately 5.3 hours by car)
- Brașov: 350 km (approximately 6 hours by car)
For planning your route on map, here you can also locate Vișeu de Sus:
Accommodation close to Mocănița:
Closest accommodation you can find in the area is in Vișeu de Sus. The locality is not thriving with luxurious five-star hotels, but you can find a few hotels and guest houses nearby where you can enjoy a cosy room and good food. Best we loved are the following:
- Hotel Gabriela
- Pensiune Restaurant La Cassa
- Casa lu’ Ion
- Piatra Șoimului
3. Poiana Brașov mountain resort
One of the most beautiful Romanian places to visit and one of the most famous resorts across the country is Poiana Brașov. Due to the 12 ski slopes with varying degrees of difficulty, Poiana Brașov is the ideal location to visit during the winter season, with a magnificent scenery.
Many tourists from all over the world come to ski in Poiana Brașov, due to the cheaper prices and its modern sports infrastructure. You can also find here riding centers, a big artificial skating rink and sport fields, and an indoor recreation center. Poiana Brașov is also a fun place with a wide range of restaurants, discos and bars to choose from.
Poiana Brașov is located at approximately 15 km from the city of Brașov, at about 1,020 m altitude, and it is host to lots of hotels, guest houses and restaurants. In some of the restaurants here you can taste traditional Romanian food and drinks.
Accommodation in Poiana Brașov:
Poiana Brașov is a frequently visited mountain resort, so it boasts with beautiful hotels and guest houses for all tastes. The ones we loved the best are:
- Teleferic Grand Hotel
- Ana Hotels Bradul
- Alpin Resort Hotel
- Rizzo Boutique Hotel
- Ana Hotels Sport
So, what do you say? Are you decided to plan your winter vacation and try out one of these wonderful winter experiences? Don’t forget that the complexity of these Romanian places awaits for you and you’ll for sure find out many other things to experience here. We just packed into this article 3 Romanian places to visit this winter that you will sure love. But apart from these three, we assure you that you will discover other places as well. All you need is enough time to experience them all.
Are you decided on which Romanian places to visit? Now, check for available accommodation and book your room before it’s too late.