What to do in Oradea – A 2 Day Travel Itinerary

What to do in Oradea – A 2 Day Travel Itinerary
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Experience Romania – 5 Iconic Landmarks in Oradea + 2 Day Travel Itinerary

 

 

Oradea – A Brief Introduction

Also known as the Art Nouveau capital of Romania, Oradea is one of the hidden gems of Romania, in the historic region of Transylvania, that is often overlooked by tourists and travellers, as they prefer to travel to towns like Brasov, Cluj Napoca and Sighișoara instead.

Interestingly the city of Oradea, that is based on either shores of the Crişul Repede river is located just 8 miles from the Hungarian border, making it a good place to kick off your trip to Romania when coming from Hungary. 

 

Crişul Repede river flowing through Oradea | What to do in Oradea
Crişul Repede River flowing through Oradea

 

Fun Fact – Oradea is Romania’s 10th largest city and has also been rated as one of the most liveable cities of Romania.

If you plan on starting the trip from Bucharest which is 650 kms away, like we did, you can make a stopover at Brasov on the first night, then travel all the way to Oradea on day 2 via Sighișoara – A UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of Europe’s most well preserved medieval citadels.

Also as Oradea is located in the county of Bihor which is famous for the plethora of adventure activities on offer such as trekking, hiking, rafting and kayaking, via – ferrata, caving, canyoning, among others; if you love nature and are up for some adventure on your trip to Romania, I highly recommend you keep a day or 2 reserved for this, to experience the outdoors in Romania. Apart from the time you need to visit the 5 iconic and unmissable sights in Oradea, as mentioned below. 

 

 

 

Oradea Fortress

Dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, and having played a key role in the conflicts between the Austrians, Hungarians and Turks over the years, the most significant of the sights in Oradea is the Oradea Fortress. 

Back in the time, the present day Oradea Fortress, served both as a residence for the Roman-Catholic Diocese of Oradea (1092 – 1557) and as a military fortress from 16th – 19th century, governed by various successive administrations: Hungarian/Transylvanian (1092 – 1660), Ottoman (1660-1692), and Hapsburg (1692 – 1918).

The present shape of the five-point-star fortress was given in 1569, when Italian military architect Domenico da Bologna was commissioned with rebuilding it after repeated invader attacks. 

Oradea Fortress | 2 Day Oradea Itinerary
Oradea Fortress | Dronestagram | Calin Stan

 

 

Roman Catholic Cathedral

Built between 1752 and 1780, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, is Romania’s largest Baroque religious establishment. It is located inside the Baroque Complex Park, where one can also find the Roman-Catholic Bishopric Palace.

Not only is the cathedral extremely beautiful and visually appealing from the outside, it is equally beautiful and well preserved from the inside too. You will see this for yourself, when you step inside.

Roman Catholic Cathedral – Romania’s largest Baroque religious establishment

 

 

Piața Unirii / Union Square

Piata Unirii or Union Square is without a doubt one of the most significant attractions in Oradea. It is in Piata Unirii where you’ll find the Moon church and the Black Eagle Palace – also one of the most prominent landmarks in Oradea, apart from the iconic City Hall, the Greek Catholic Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of St. Ladislaus.

Apart from being the centre of attraction attracting tourists, where Seven architectural styles: Baroque, Secession, Eclectic, Classical, Historicist, Romantic and neo- Romanian can be admired, Piata Unirii or the Union Square is also one of the most picturesque and popular breakout spaces in Oradea with plenty of cafes and restaurants in the vicinity.

Piata Unirii Oradea | Thins To Do in Oradea
Piata Unirii – Oradea | Flickr | Daniel ENGELVIN

 

 

Moon Church

The church ‘The Assumption of Mary’, also known as ‘The Moon Church’, designed in late – Baroque style with marked classical elements, is located in front of the Greek-Catholic cathedral, in the South-East corner of Piata Unirii.

The name Moon Church is derived from the mechanism installed in the church clock tower back in 1793. The mechanism that spins, similar to how the moon is supposed to complete a full round on its axis in 28 days, indicating the moon phases, according to the daily cycle marked by the clock mechanism.

The clock and the moon are the masterpiece of a creative mechanic from Oradea, Georg Rueppert.

Oradea Moon Church | What to see in Oradea
Oradea Moon Church | Flickr | Daniel ENGELVIN

 

 

Black Eagle Palace

Built between 1907 and 1909 by Hungarian architects Marcell Komor and DezsoJakab and originally designed to house a theatre, a ballroom, a casino, offices and more, in secession style architecture, the Black Eagle Palace, which derives its name from the stained glass window with the black eagle, houses many cafes and restaurants today, and attracts visitors round the clock.

Apart from the stained glass window which became the emblem of the ensemble, the most striking feature of the Black Eagle Palace is the passage. Accessible from three sides, the  Y shaped passage built after the famous Vittorio Emanuele gallery in Milan, is one of the most Instagrammable sights in Oradea. The light passing through the stained glass creates a really beautiful atmosphere during the day.

 

 

Where to stay in Oradea?

I highly recommend you check out RAMADA by Wyndham Oradea – has a Wine Spa, a rooftop jacuzzi and sauna area, DoubleTree by Hilton – has an indoor swimming pool or the Continental Forum.

 

 

2 Day Oradea Travel Itinerary

My recommendations for you would be to do a Oradea Cultural Walking Tour on the first day, ticking off these 5 sights and attractions in Oradea, starting from the Roman Catholic Cathedral, then to Oradea Fortress via Republicii Boulevard and Podul Intelectualilor, and finally towards Piata Unirii. You will also be walking past Biserica Romano – Catolica Sfantul Spirit, Rimanoczy Kalman Sr. Palace, Moskovits Miksa Palace, Stern Palace and Poynár House which are also some of the most photographed and Instagrammable locations in Oradea. The whole route is roughly a stretch of 5 km on foot, but will take you almost 3-4 hours or even more, as you’ll be making plenty of stops enroute. 

PS – I just made your life a lot more easier, as here is the entire Oradea Walking Tour on foot marked on Google maps.

And a day trip to Bihor county on day 2 for some kayaking in the Crişul Repede river, and via ferrata on one of the three routes up the vertical walls of the Crișul Repede Gorge. 

 

So basically, Oradea makes for a pleasant stopover for 2-3 days, during your 10 Day Romania Travel Itinerary, and is one of the best places to indulge in some adventurous activities that Bihor county has to offer. 

Hope you guys enjoyed reading about these Top 5 Sights and Attractions in Oradea. If you want to read more of my Romania travel articles published here on the Eat | Travel | Live | Repeat blog, check these out :

 

 

Don’t forget to Pin this Oradea Travel Bucket List featuring 5 Unmissable Sights and Attractions in Oradea  + A 2 Day Oradea Travel Itinerary and if you have any queries, or need any help in planning a trip to Romania, please feel free to drop in a mail to arnav@theETLRblog.com

 

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10 thoughts on “What to do in Oradea – A 2 Day Travel Itinerary”

  • Oradea is truly a hidden gem of Romania. By uploading the photographs of this city, it is quite evident that there are so many things to do and see in this beautiful city. Besides giving a peek into the country’s history and culture, this place is also good for some offbeat adventure. I would like to thank you for your time and effort taken in bringing this post to us.

  • I’d love to explore Romania,or even Eastern Europe for that matter having explored the West at least a bit. Oradea does seem to be a hidden gem, and its exciting to know that it houses some adventurous activities too, have been wanting to try out kayaking but gave it a miss on seeing the rough waters in Portugal haha! The interiors of Black Eagle Palace with glass and light passing through would be quite a sight. Although Baroque architecture is heavily present in much of Europe, the concept behind Moon Church sounds like one of its kind. Am sure the drive through Hungary to Romania must have been a cherishable one, isn’t it?

  • I love eastern Europe as it has amazing cultural vibes and I enjoyed a lot on my Ukraine trip and got chance to see some of the Romanian countryside town on the border of Romania and Ukraine. I loved reading about this art Nouveau town in Romania as it looks perfect for me. I would surely consider this town on my exclusive trip to Romania.

  • Living in Brussels, I come across Art Deco & Art Nouveau buildings so often that I’ve grown to love them. I’d love visit the Art Nouveau capital of Romania and it would be fun to experience the similarities & differences between the 2 countries. That’s for the perfect tip about the places to stay in when starting the trip from Bucharest, coz most probably we’d do that too. Moon church & its clock mechanism sounds impressive.
    Bhushavali N recently posted…Bois du Cazier & other things to do in Charleroi (Wallonia – Belgium)My Profile

  • I couldn’t help feeling intrigued what’s inside of the Oradea Fortress. It was a magnificent above. Their buildings’ architecture are also very impressive. Do you think they will open for tourism soon?

  • I don’t understand why Oradea doesn’t get too many visitors. They have beautiful architectures in town. I especially like the Black Eagle Palace and the Moon Church. Good thing about it, you can enjoy the city without a rush.

  • We really would love to visit Romania one day. It looks like we may want to put Oradea on the list to see when we finally make it. That fortress on the top of the city looks like such an amazing spot for a sunset. And a great spot to plan where we might wander. There seems to be such a variety of churches in the city. And lovely architecture too. I would certainly be on the lookout for the black eagle stained glass windows. Thanks for sharing this new spot with us.
    Linda (LD Holland) recently posted…Kawartha Lakes Day Trip In The Summer Of Covid-19My Profile

  • I was in Romania, but I focused on nature and mountains. Now I wish I had visited Oradea. I didn’t know that this city has so much to offer. It is a real hidden gem of Romania. Oradea Fortress looks so impressive and photogenic! I would love to see Black Eagle Palace with this spectacular stained glass window with the black eagle. It’s so beautiful. I add Oradea to my bucket list.

  • I have always wanted to go to Romania, and now I’ll be able to use the super helpful itinerary. I love history and architecture, so a lot of the places you mentioned really appeal to me. Also, I love the outdoors, so I’m definitely going to check out some of those outdoor activities you mentioned. Thanks for this great resource.

  • I missed Oradea when I visited Romania. The architecture of Union Square is gorgeous. I love the passages in Romania and the Black Eagle Palace passage doesn’t disappoint. That stained glass window is truly unique. Looks like I have a new city to explore in Romania!

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