Romania

25 Pictures That Will Inspire You To Visit Oradea, Romania

(Last Updated On: 04/11/2019)

I must confess that before visiting Oradea, Romania I didn’t know much about the city: no history, no things to do in Oradea, nothing. I only remembered it is very near the border between Romania and Hungary.

When I was looking for a day trip from Cluj Napoca, Oradea popped up in my mind as not the most obvious but definitely doable choice (it’s only a bit over 2 hours by train away). A few minutes into reading about the city I was sure I want to visit Oradea.

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Short history of Oradea, Romania

Oradea (under its Latin name Varadinum) was located in this area already in the 11th century. The city was granted the diocese which significantly increased its importance in the region, and has been a burial place for numerous Hungarian kinds until the mid-15th century.

In the past Oradea belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary, Principality of Transylvania, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy and eventually Romania.

The city developed and bloomed in the 18th century when the Viennese architect Franz Anton Hillebrandt rebuilt the city in the neo-Baroque style. Then, and in the upcoming years most of Oradea attractions were built.

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Multicultural past

Oradea is yet another example of the Central European city with a rich multicultural past (just like Chernivtsi, Sarajevo or Lviv).

In the past, the city was inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians, Jews, Slovaks, Germans, Italians, Gypsies, and more nationalities. This created a unique multicultural blend that you can still see and feel in Oradea.

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Art nouveau in Oradea

Oradea is one of the most significant art nouveau cities in Europe and that’s actually one of the main reasons why I’ve decided to visit Oradea. The art nouveau heritage is so big that the city was included in the Art Nouveau European Route, together with cities like Subotica, Riga, Budapest or Tbilisi.

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When walking around Oradea you will find lots of beautiful art nouveau buildings. But the most stunning one and one of the biggest Oradea highlights is “Vulturul Negru” Palace (“Black Eagle” Complex).

It was built at the beginning of the 20th century and consists of two symmetrical parts and beautiful passage in the middle – don’t miss walking through it, this is such a gem!

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Other Oradea attractions

But you will find many more interesting spots in Oradea: baroque and eclectic architecture, a hundred churches, synagogues, parks… Oradea is also a home to the important fortress – the current look dates back to the 16th century.

The city and its attractions will definitely keep you busy for a day or two! You can learn all about what to see in Oradea at the very good website of the local tourism office – it helped me a lot too!

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Oradea pictures

I wish I had more than just a few hours in Oradea. The city is really full of attractions, beautiful architecture, the old time’s charm and this great vibe that makes you want to stay there longer.

I was surprised that there were almost no tourists around during my trip to Oradea. It seems like the city is very much overlooked and under the shadow of its more popular Romanian destinations, like Sibiu, Brasov or Timisoara.

I’m sure that during my next trip to Romania I will include Oradea in my itinerary again – I really want to get to know the city better! And I’m sure more tourists will discover Oradea soon too, it’s hard to keep this gem a secret.

But today let me show you a few pictures that will hopefully make you want to visit Oradea too!

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania

Visit Oradea Romania


Travel resources

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Money – My number one tip for everyone is to start using Revolut bank card to save money when traveling.

You get the card by mail within a few days and you can use it all over the world. You top up the card in the app on the phone, where you can also have accounts in different currencies and exchange money between them, for no extra fee and at very favorable rates.

Everything is super easy and fast, you only need an internet connection to manage your accounts in the app.

Revolut supports over 140 currencies and offers free withdrawal from ATMs all over the world. In the first 6 months I’ve used Revolut card in 12 countries in 3 continents and had no issues at all. And I saved a lot of money in the exchange rates!

Click here to learn more about the service and order your own Revolut card!

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com.

They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs.

I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Check the best deals on accommodation in Oradea here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road and better safe than sorry (I’ve learnt my lesson).

I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me.

Click here to get the insurance policy for Romania here.

Day tours – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that saves you time and money.

I most often use Get Your Guide that offers a variety of tours all over the world. Click here to check all the best tours you can take during your travels!

Offline maps – For years I’ve been using MAPS.ME app and I can’t recommend it enough!

It’s free, works offline perfectly fine and saved me many times. You can easily transfer Google Maps with all the bookmarks to maps.me and use them offline wherever you are.

Click here to download it to your phone before your next trip!


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Romania too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Teddy
    03/11/2019 at 20:07

    What an Incredibly beautiful city, I love Art Nouveau and there is an incredible number of very beautiful Art Nouveau buildings there, thank you for advising.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:25

      Oradea is a wonderful place for every fan of art nouveau architecture! Such a gem!

  • Reply
    Dan
    03/11/2019 at 22:45

    I visited Oradea 1 year ago and a lot of the buildings that appear in your photos have in the meantime been beautifully restored. I think you will love to see how the city has changed. I spent 3 days in the city and still did not manage to visit all. You can visit the inside of the State Theatre, it is just amazingly beautiful, the Baroc palace with interior frescoes and the Basilica just next (the interior is stunning), the Church with the Moon on the Unirii square (one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen), the pedestrian Republicii street for its Art Nouveau buildings, the Renaissance fortress is also spectacular and the gardens around it. I would add to this the Jewish museum in one of the 4 still standing synagogues of the city, the Neolog Synagoue (Europe’s 3rd largest synagogue – the inside is amazing), the Vasile Alecsandri pedestrian street for its Art Nouveau buildings and the Museum of Art, History and Natural Science in a beautiful 19th century palace. I also liked that in one of the Synagogues there was a jazz and wine bar held by an Israeli who moved to Oradea, there was a great vibe there. I also loved relaxing at the Nymphaea termal baths downtown Oradea. The buildings of the University are also Art Nouveau and they are stunning. One of the highlights was the Holy cross Monastery, a bit outside the city, it has this incredible exterior frescoes you normally see in the monasteries in Bucovina, a pure gem. In finally, do not miss the incredible views of the city from the city town hall tower – you will get the best pictures from there :-).

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:27

      Thank you for all the recommendations. I really hope to revisit Oradea soon, hopefully next year, and I already can’t wait to see all these places and restorations. This is really one of the most hidden gems in Europe!

  • Reply
    Laura Mahanes
    04/11/2019 at 20:30

    I visited Oradea in the summer of 1974 when I was 19 years old, with my college room mate who still had family there. This was during the dismal days of communism. The city then was in such horrible shape, and the people so desperate for many things we take for granted. It is so nice to see how it has changed. Thank you for your blog. It makes me want to go back and experience Oradea’s rebirth.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:56

      Thank you for your comment, Laura. Back then Oradea (or the whole Eastern Block) must have been so interesting to visit, and so different. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  • Reply
    Anna
    14/11/2019 at 16:58

    Gorgeous city, we will be travelling to Romania next summer and we are now going to add Oradea on the list on top of Maramures, Cluj-Napoca, Turda, Sibiu, Brasov, Timisoara and Arad. Did you visit Turda, Arad and Brasov? Arad and Brasov look very beautiful, I would be curious to read about them. Arad seems to be full of Art Nouveau architecture.
    For Turda we know about this amazing underground salt mine and the roman ruins.

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