Romania travel: Six places to visit during the December 1 break
The end of November comes with a short holiday for many Romanians as November 30, when the country celebrates St. Andrew's Day, and December 1, its National Day, are public holidays. For public sector employees, these add up to a five-day holiday after the government declared December 2 a legal day off for them. For those who want to take the opportunity to travel at this time, here is a list of six destinations to consider.
December 1 is Romania's National Day, marking the union of Romanian-majority provinces of Transylvania, Banat, Crişana, Maramureş, Bessarabia, and Bucovina with the Kingdom of Romania, which at the time was made up of Wallachia and Moldavia.
Alba Iulia (opening photo), one of Romania's most stunning cities, has a special charm to the celebration of the union. The city is ideal for history lovers, as here is where The Great National Assembly was held and where it was agreed to have Transylvania, Banat, Crișana, and Maramureş unite to the old Romanian kingdom.
Make sure to visit the Alba Carolina Bastion Fortification, which was built more than 300 years ago. Here you can travel back in time and witness the strongest fortification used to defend against the Turks.
Moreover, there are numerous additional attractions in Alba Iulia that visitors shouldn't miss, including the Batthyaneu Library, the Horea, Cloșca, and Crișan Obelisk, the Coronation Cathedral, the National Museum of the Unification, and many others.
A short trip there might be insufficient to see all the historical sites within or close to the city, but the charm of Alba Iulia is sure to leave an impression.
For a unique Romanian experience, Maramureș is the place to visit on December 1. Among the major attractions in this region are historical sites and winter scenery. You may have a vacation in the true Romanian spirit in many of the region's villages, as they have managed to maintain their cultural identity and customs.
Do not miss Săpânţa's Merry Cemetery to see the hilarious messages on the crosses, which make it unique. Stan Ioan Pătraș was the architect of this location, and a memorial house, exhibiting other works by him, can be found nearby.
Furthermore, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Sighetul Marmației is a museum covering a significant piece of our history and should not be skipped. The museum depicts the atrocities of the communist era in photographs, letters, newspaper collections, novels, and other artifacts. The former Romanian prime minister Iuliu Maniu's prison cell is a significant draw for visitors to the museum, keeping many of the items discovered when it was operational.
With its impressive number of Art Nouveau buildings, Oradea can make for a popular destination for the December 1st holiday. Oradea's historical and cultural center, Unirii Square, dazzles with its various architectural styles (baroque, classicist, eclectic, historicist, secession, modernist).
Church of the Moon, Church of St. Ladislaus, and Church of St. Nicholas are all well-known churches that can be found in the city center. Tourists can also visit the over 1000-year-old medieval fortress in Oradea, which serves as the city's symbol and provides a fantastic experience.
The city can be admired both day and night from Ciuperca Hill, also known as Dealul Oradei. Additionally, the largest spa resort in Romania, Baile Felix, which is only 9 km away from Oradea, offers year-round access to its thermal pools for relaxation.
Băile Felix Spa Resort near Oradea
For those seeking a relaxing time off, the largest spa resort in Romania, Băile Felix, only nine kilometers away from Oradea, is open year-round.
The Băile Felix treatment center has numerous medical treatments and facilities, such as paraffin and mud heaters, physiotherapy, hot mineral water baths in tubs and pools, thermal water pools, medical gyms, hydrokinetic therapy, electrotherapy, and many others, but it is also a suitable location for those in need of a few days of spa time.
Prahova Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations, whether in summer or winter. Because of the beautiful mountain landscape and the abundance of lodging options, Romanians love to spend their vacation days here. In the area, visitors can choose Sinaia, Azuga, Breaza, Buşteni, and Predeal for a few days of relaxation.
However, for the December 1 mini-holiday, it is advisable to make reservations in advance, as there is a high probability of these destinations being overbooked.
The Romanian capital is definitely worth a visit. The month of December is a busy month in terms of events in Bucharest, so make sure you check them out.
The cold December month might drive you to seek cozy and warm places, so visit Carturesti Carusel. Centrally located, it is a unique six-floor bookstore with a wide collection of about 10,000 books, all aesthetically sorted in a castle-like interior.
However, you can take a cup of hot chocolate on the go and make sure you do not miss the Military Parade for Romania's National Day. More than 1,500 soldiers and specialists from the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Special Telecommunications Service, and the National Administration of Penitentiaries, as well as approximately 120 technical means, including 40 aircraft, will take part in the military parade in Bucharest's Arc de Triumph Square on Thursday, December 1, starting from 11 a.m.
For another Romanian experience, be sure to visit the fair held on December 1 and 2 at the National Village Museum "Dimitrie Gusti" in Bucharest.
(Opening photo: Marius Dorin Balate | Dreamstime.com)