The westernmost city in Romania, Timişoara is the perfect place to start your visit to the country. Timişoara is known as Little Vienna due to its elegant architecture, built during Austrial rule. Likewise, the city is famous for its beautiful squares and churches of different denominations. What’s more, there are wonderful parks along the river Bega. I spent two wonderful days hopping from one park to another, taking photos and people watching. There are so many things to do, I could have stayed in Timişoara for a week. Eitan did. He stayed for an entire week. The hotel had bikes, so all he did was bike downtown for breakfast, read for a couple of hours and then go to the pool next to the river. Summer and spring are especially nice in Timişoara. Imagine the parks and gardens blooming under the sun!
Things to Do in Timişoara
If you don’t have much time in Timişoara, focus on its old town. The old town is a collection of interesting squares surrounded by Austro-Hungarian churches and palaces. All you have to do is walk and admire the architecture! My favorite buildings are Piaţa Unirii (Union Square) and Piaţa Victoriei (Victory Square). Do not miss the St George’s Cathedral on the first and the colorful neo-Byzantine Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, on the second square. Among the beautiful city gardens that dot the city, I especially loved the Rose Garden, southeast of the old town and the Botanical Garden, northwest of it. Finally, don’t forget to visit the 18th Century Maria Theresia Bastion.
Where to Stay in Timişoara
Like most Romanian cities, Timişoara’s doesn’t have a nice periphery. On the other hand, the historical old town is absolutely beautiful. Hence, stay in the old town or nearby so you can explore the area on foot. The best hotels inside the old town are Hotel Continental and Hotel Timisoara. Close to the center, across the Bega River, you’ll find two great options: Savoy Hotel and NH Timisoara. Eitan stayed at the NH Timisoara and had a great time. The hotel is very quiet and modern, plus they have complimentary bicycles! A little bit further west you will find Hotel Iosefin Residence, a historical building.
How to Get to Timişoara
Timişoara is one of Romania’s largest cities. Strategically located near the border with Serbia and Hungary, it is easy to reach. Additionally, Timişoara has an international airport. Several low-cost airlines fly to Timişoara from many European destinations, especially in summer. Three direct trains a day connect Timisoara with Bucharest and one with Sibiu. There are no direct connections with Budapest at the moment, but you can take a train to Oradea and then another one to the Hungarian capital. It’s even more complicated to go to Belgrade. Currently, only minivans operate the route. You can find more info here.