Transylvania is probably the most popular part of Romania. It is a rather vast area. Alba Iulia is located close to the western border of Transylvania. It is a small town built around the recently renovated old fortress. It’s a must-visit especially for archaeologists and people interested in history. Alba Iulia is also a good starting point for visiting many other impressive sites in Transylvania. If you’re interested to find out where you can go on a day trip from Alba Iulia, you’re reading the right article.
1. Discover the wonder of medieval castles in Hunedoara
Hunedoara is a former industrial city that hosts a wonderful medieval castle, Corvinilor Castle. Less than an hour drive from Alba Iulia, Hunedoara is a very good choice for a day trip. You can plan around one hour and a half to visit the well maintained castle. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Romania’s complicated history. And after your visit to the castle, you can enjoy a tasty lunch and good coffee in the newly opened Restaurant Werk that’s just across the street from the castle.
Corvinilor Castle Hunedoara
Address: Strada Castelului 1-3, Hunedoara 331141, Romania
Website: Corvinilor Castle Hunedoara
Address: Strada Constantin Bursan 3, Hunedoara, Romania
Website: Restaurant Werk
2. Get underground in Turda salt mine, Cluj-Napoca
Enter a mystical world while going hundreds of meters underground in a salt mine that was formed millions of years ago. With its large galleries and small salt lake, Turda salt mine is for sure an impressive site to explore. There is a glass elevator from which you can get a wonderful view of the mine. You can also take a boat ride on the small lake. On top of that, it’s a great place for practicing your photography skills – the lights and the salty walls can give you very creative shots.
Turda salt mine
Address: Aleea Durgăului 7, Turda 401106, Romania
Website: Turda salt mine
3. Scărișoara Cave
Since we’re on the topic of the underground world, Scărișoara Cave for sure deserves to be mentioned. Part of Apuseni National Park, Scărișoara Cave hosts the second largest underground glacier in the world. Although the views are amazing, this is still one of the mostly unknown attractions of Romania. The highlight of the cave is its huge main gallery where the thousands of years old glacier is located. No matter the season you’re planning to visit, make sure to take some thick clothes with you, as the temperature drops drastically inside the cave.
Address: Gârda de Sus village, Alba country
Website: Scărișoara Cave
4. Trascău Mountains
Far from being the highest mountains in the country (under 1,400 m / 4,593 ft), Trascău Mountains offer a high variety of landscapes. Since it is not one of the most touristic destinations in the area, you will have the entire mountains just for yourself. The steep peaks and the deep valleys will make you feel like you’re in the middle of the wilderness. There are many hiking paths to choose from and it’s certainly a great way to get closer to nature and further from the online world. It’s a perfect solution for getting disconnected.
Address: Apuseni mountain range, Latitude: 46° 19’ 58.80" N, Longitude: 23° 30’ 0.00" E
Website: Trascău Mountains
5. Rimetea Village
Right at the bottom of Trascău Mountains, Rimetea is a small village in Alba County. It is considered to be unique in the world mostly because of its old style architecture. It is located right next to the mountains, making the views extraordinary. The beautiful white houses are spread around the village, giving visitors the opportunity to admire the traditional architecture of the area from the 19th century. It is located only around 60 km (37 miles) away from Alba Iulia, making it very easy to reach. It is one of the few architecturally protected areas from Romania.
Address: Rimetea Village, Alba County, Romania
Website: Rimetea Village
6. Oașa Lake in Șureanu Mountains
Oașa Lake is in Șureanu Mountains, on the famous mountain road called Transalpina. It’s an artificially built lake dating back to the 1970s. If you go during winter, there’s also a ski resort nearby. During summer, you can go on a boat trip or a fishing trip, getting away from the noisiness of the cities. It’s a wonderful spot to relax. And if you feel like spending more days in this area, there are a few guesthouses close by.
Address: Transalpina, on the border between Alba and Sibiu Counties
7. Câlnic Citadel
One of the UNESCO sites, Câlnic Citadel takes you back to the 13th century. Considering its age, it has been kept in relatively good condition. Visiting Câlnic Citadel, you will learn more about Transylvania’s history, with an emphasis on the German colonial times. Unlike most citadels, Câlnic has a rather curious location, not on top of a hill, but rather in a valley. Only 30 km (18 miles) away from Alba Iulia, it’s for sure a trip worth taking.
Address: Câlnic village, Alba County
Website: Câlnic Citadel
Get off the tourist path around Transylvania
Everyone has heard about Transylvania and many people want to visit Dracula’s Castle. Yet, there’s so much more to see than just that. While Alba Iulia is among the places that are relatively well known among informed tourists due to the old fortress, many other sites that are close by are well kept secrets. Getting off the tourist path is always a good idea for discovering a culture and interacting with local people. There are many small villages around Alba Iulia full with kindhearted people, always happy to welcome tourists and share the local culture. So don’t hesitate to explore. Most Romanians are not vampires.
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