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Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in Romania

by Eugenia Lazaris

Sep 13, 2023

Bucovina, Romania © Silviu Matei | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Romania is a land of beauty and history that often gets overlooked in favor of some of Europe’s more well-known destinations, but for family travelers looking for culture and adventure, Romania is ripe for exploring. There is plenty to see and do across the country, from visiting the Black Sea to discovering its many castles and fortresses, but one way to experience the best the country has to offer is by visiting these must-see UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Romania boasts 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites, each more impressive than the one before, showcasing the unique heritage of the country and its people. The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, located in the country’s northeastern region bordering Ukraine, are impressive examples of 15th– and 16th-century architecture. With exterior walls covered in brilliantly colored frescoes depicting angels and demons, heaven and hell, and scenes from the Bible, they not only make Romania stand out as a truly unique destination, but also represent masterpieces of Byzantine artwork.


Whether you visit around Halloween or another time of year, the Transylvania region is worth a visit to discover the nearly 200 villages home to fortified churches dating from the 13th to 15th centuries. Seven of these churches named UNESCO Heritage sites were fortified, not to withstand attacks from vampires as modern legends might suggest, but to keep the churches and the village inhabitants safe from raiding invaders. One of the most impressive examples is the Făgăraș Fortress, also home to the Făgăraș County Museum, housing traditional artifacts, weapons and folk crafts from Romanian history.


While in the Transylvania region, a necessary stop along your UNESCO World Heritage tour is the historic center of Sighișoara, birthplace of Vlad Dracula and much of the vampire lore still popular today. There are several sites to visit while you explore the town, like the home of Vlad Dracula (also known as Vlad the Impaler) and a 210-foot-high clock tower featuring a different wooden figure emerging in the fashion of a cuckoo clock at the stroke of midnight. While life has moved on since Sighișoara was first inhabited in the sixth century, the historic town center has been preserved for the last 500 years and is a fun way to introduce the family to some European history while exploring the spooky side of its folklore.


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