Winter might not seem like the best time to travel to a place where it snows, but trust us when we tell you that Romania is magical during the winter! From the snow-covered mountain tops to the dusted castles to the cozy coffee shops and bookstores, there is so much to do and explore in Romania during the winter, so read below for some of our top suggestions!

1. Visit Brasov and go skiing in Poiana Brasov

Rasnov Citadel is one of the most visited medieval attractions

Brasov is an absolutely charming medieval city. It is enclosed by the Carpathian Mountains and its buildings have plenty of gothic, renaissance, and baroque influences. Some of the best and oldest attractions in Brasov are the Council Square, the Black Church (which is the biggest Gothic church east of Vienna – it is called the “Black Church” because of a fire that nearly destroyed the entire church back in the 1600s), the St Nicholas Church, and the Brasov Fortress.

Just 30 minutes away from the city is Poiana Brasov, which is a top ski destination in Romania. You could actually plan your whole Romanian vacation around Brasov and skiing. There is so much to do in the city, and up by the slopes there are spas too (just in case you aren’t as much of a skier!).

2. Taking a dip in the thermal waters of Therme Bucharest

Escape the cold by heading to these warm waters! This place is an oasis of 91 degree Fahrenheit thermal water from deep underground. There are 10 pools, 6 saunas, 4 wet saunas and 16 water slides, and you could literally spend hours here, it is so relaxing!

3. Stay in a Thermal Resort

Have you ever heard of a thermal resort? They are not super common, but there are a few in Romania! A thermal resort is a resort built over or around thermal springs so that the guests can enjoy these natural waters. We would recommend Afrodita Resort or the Grand Hotel Minerva if you are looking for something more high-end.

4. Visit an ice hotel

Every winter since 2005 the Balea Ice Hotel has been built. The entire hotel is made of ice, even the beds and furniture. Every winter the craftsmen bring blocks of ice from the nearby lake to create this hotel.

The temperature inside the hotel stays right around freezing, but they have plenty of sleeping bags and blankets to keep you warm! The only way to get here is by car, and the rest of civilization is quite far away. But there is a wonderful restaurant on site that serves drinks in glasses made out of ice (of course!).

5. Go to the Christmas markets

Sibiu Christmas Market during night, with all that lights and markets with hot wine, homemade chocolate

If you are visiting Romania during December, visit the Christmas markets! Some of the markets even start in November, just look up the city you are going to be visiting and check out their schedules online. One of the best parts of the Christmas markets is the food. If you visit the markets, be sure to try some roasted sausages with mulled wine or hot punch!

6. Visit the caves

Romania has tons of caves, here are some of the most popular: Scarisoara, Limanu, Muierii (Woman’s Cave), Lalomicioaiei, and Huda Lui Papara. Each cave is different and has something special about them. If you can only visit one, we would recommend Scarisoara because that cave contains the second biggest underground glacier in Europe!

7. Head to a salt mine

Salina Turda is a giant salt mine located in Turda, which is northwest Romania. More than just a salt mine, this is now an amusement park too, complete with a Ferris wheel, a bowling alley, rowboats and a mini golf course. This place is fun for the kids, but good for everyone because you breathe in all that healthy salt!

8. Explore the coffee shops and bookstores of Bucharest

There is always a ton to do in the capital city of Bucharest. If you are looking for a low-key vacation day in Bucharest, we would highly suggest popping into a cute café or one of the many bookstores. Two of the most popular bookstores are Carturesti Carusel and Carturesti Verona.

Carusel is the bigger, more popular of the two because it is such a gorgeous store: it is multiple levels, painted a clean white, and has tons of art along with a vast, open layout. Verona has its own unique charm; it used to be a house and now each room is decorated differently depending on the theme. Bonus – both of these bookshops also have cafes in them!

9. Visit some snow-covered Romanian castles

What is more magical than a castle covered in snow? Next to nothing! Dracula’s Castle (we’re talking about Bran Castle) is quite beautiful in the snow. It is perched at the top of an ominous hill, it is large and majestic, and it dates all the way back to the 1300s.

Some people believe that the character Dracula is based off the real-life Romanian Ruler, Vlad the Impaler. Vlad did visit this castle during his lifetime, but he did not actually live here. Because of its age and perch overlooking the valleys, this is the ideal beautiful yet isolated and weathered castle to visit.

Peles Castle is a medieval castle in Transylvania

Peles Castle is one of the most famous and well-known castles of Romania. It is located in the Carpathian Mountains, on a route linking Transylvania to Wallachia. This castle was constructed from 1873-1914 for the first king of Romania: King Carol I. King Carol I loved the mountains and when he came across this mountain range, he knew that this would be where he would want to spend the rest of his life.

You will have to see it for yourself – the castle was beautifully built and the view of the mountains is absolutely magnificent!

Finally, Corvin Castle is huge and dates back to 1446. It is built in a Gothic-Renaissance style and is located in Hunedoara, Romania, which is in the central-western part of the country. After the 17th century, the castle had been abandoned for many decades, and then a fire destroyed a great part of the castle, leaving it in ruins.

What stands today is a restoration of the old castle, with modern architects interpreting how a great Gothic castle would have looked. Perhaps because of this creative interpretation, this castle looks straight out of a Game of Thrones episode!