What to do in Oradea – A 2 Day Travel Itinerary
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 :
- Experience Bucharest – Top 5 Sights and Attractions
- Sighișoara Photo Blog
- 5 Iconic Gems of Romania
- Experience Romania – A Weekend in Danube Delta
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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