Oradea – 10 reasons why I fell in love with this surprising city

Oradea, Romania

I have never been to Oradea before so I was very enthusiastic when I received the invitation from Blue Air and Visit Oradea! I had heard that it might surprise me as a city, but you know how it is … I needed to see with my own eyes. And see I did! I completely fell in love with it and I cannot wait to go back! Why I loved it so much? I can see you are curious so … Keep on reading!

A quick introduction to Oradea

Oradea is situated in the north west part of Romania, at the border with Hungary (10km away from the border to be more precise).  Up until recently, it was easier, faster and more convenient for the locals to go to Budapest (approx 300Km) or even to Vienna (500Km)  than to Bucharest (600km).

PS: I am not getting into the very popular Bucharest (capital of Romania!) vs. Budapest (capital of Hungary!) discussion here…

The roads were not in the best condition and the trains can take anywhere from 12 hours up! But the low cost airline, Blue Air has increased their national routes quite a bit and since October 2016, there are 4 weekly flights to Oradea, taking 45min! Hallelujah! 😉 . Plus the infrastructure itself is getting better and better so I think Oradea will finally see its fair share of visitors. because it really deserves it.

Back in 2012, Oradea was included on the list of Art Nouveau European cities next to really popular ones like: Bruxelles, Barcelona, Viena , Budapesta and so on. Well done Oradea!!

The architectural style of the city is in fact very rich, as is its culture. Having been under the occupation of many empires throughout its history of about 900 years, Oradea has emerged as a multicultural city with many influences amongst which: Hungarian, Jewish, German, Italian.

Oradea, Romania
Palatul Vulturul Negru (Black Eagle Palace)

And that is not all. This beautiful city is not only the Art Nouveau capital of Romania but also of thermal springs. The internationally renown Baile Felix (Felix Springs) is the biggest of its kind in Romania and in fact it is unique in the world. The springs have won several medals in the past due to their curative effects. The first thermal springs in the region have been discovered around 1200!! But I am planning to write a separate article just one that, so stay tuned!

Now let me tell and show you why I  fell in love with Oradea:

1. The architecture

I do not pretend to be an expert or not even recognising all architectural styles but seriously, look at this!! I don’t think you have to be an architecture expert to appreciate and enjoy this! Currently, the city is undergoing a big renovation, by which they are restoring the facades of all historical buildings in the city. There was a fair share of scaffolding going on when we were there, therefore I am pretty keen to go back when the renovations will be finished!

Oradea, Romania
The National Theatre
Oradea, Romania
Unirii (Union) Square
Oradea, Romania
Grand Hotel

2. The pedestrian streets

Filled with cafes, bars, restaurants and all kind of shops, you don’t know what to admire first as you are making  your way through the city centre. You want to stop at each step and take a thousand photos from a thousand angles, or just sit down at one of the charming coffee shops and enjoy a coffee/drink of your choice. Or if you are hungry, you are in the luck as there is a wide choice of restaurants too!. Republicii street is the main pedestrian street and it brings you to Unirii square.

However it is not just the pedestrian streets that charm you , but you can find some really surprisingly beautiful views on so  many corners throughout the city.

3. The views

Did you know that you can get a birds eye view of the city from so many places? I spent 2 days in Oradea and managed to see the city from 4 different high views. How about that?

* Hover over each photo to see the description and where the photo was taken from

Oradea, Romania
The view from the City Hall Tower over Crisul Repede
Oradea, Romania
The view from the City Hall Tower over Union Square

4. The Spas

I knew Oradea was close to Baile Felix (Felix Springs) and that was about all I knew (embarrassed face)! What I didn’t know was, that because of the proximity of the Thermal Spings, Oradea is a spa heaven. I mean….we went to 5 places in 2 days!! Ok, I have to be honest here: we have “only” tried 3 out of 5 and I wish I had spent a full day in each of them. And most certainly I want to be back for the other 2 which we only visited but didn’t try (Lotus Therm I will be back! )

Oradea, Romania
Baile Felix ( Thermal springs)
Oradea, Romania
Lotus Therm luxury Spa

Check more on their website here

Oradea, Romania
Riserva Wine Spa at Ramada hotel

Check more on their website here

Oradea, Romania
Eforea Spa at Doubletree by Hilton

Check more on their website here

Oradea, Romania
Nymphaea Aqua park

Check more on their website here

5. The people

From the moment we got picked up at the airport till the moment we got dropped off we have only met beautiful, interesting people. Everybody was so welcoming and so eager and proud to show us their city.

And then there are all the smiling and beautiful faces you see walking through the city.

6. The  festivals

There are many events and festivals happening throughout the year in the city and even more are to be added. We  managed to witness one of them, The Street Food Festival, for the 2 days we were there and loved it!

7. The historic heritage

Oradea is a city with a long and complex history but The Citadel is its beating heart.  The Citadel (or The Fortresss) has been open to public in 2015 after 5 years of renovation. Now it is the symbol of the city. Everywhere you look you see its pentagonal shape, showing that the locals are indeed very proud of their heritage.

There is also a hotel inside the citadel where you can spend a night in a traditional room.

The pentagonal shape of the citadel is a symbol found throughout the city

As I do not have a drone (yet 😉 ) the photo credit for the above goes to The Drone. Check their website for some wonderful aerial videos and images!

8. Multiculturalism

Take for example the Roman -Catholic Cathedral. I must admit I was not that impressed from the outside but inside was a completely different story. This place is a jewel.  Unfortunately this was the only place of this kind that I managed to visit now, but I am planning a longer stay next time so I can really soak up in all this multiculturalism of this charming city (e.g. The church with a moon, the Zion neolog synagogue, St. Ladislau church and so much more).

9. A river flows through it

If the Citadel is the heart of the city, the river Crisul Repede (The Fast Cris) is its backbone. The city seems to revolve around it. I always preferred cities near to or crossed by water as they add a lot to the whole atmosphere. And here, in Oradea, the river is also a hot spot so many restaurants: traditional, mediterranean, Italian or simply international cuisine. Sipping a cocktail on the bank of the river, watching the sunset and the continuously running water is a favourite pastime of locals and tourists alike.

Oradea, Romania
Spoon restaurant on the banks of Crisul Repede river

10. Leading the way

There are so many things to add here and I am sure I don’t even know half of them. But I  just want to give you an idea:

  • Oradea is planning to become the first “Wi-fi city” in Romania, thus becoming an “intelligent city”
  • The mass renovation and protection of all historical buildings
  • The parking system in many places is inspired by very efficient ones in Austria
  • 30km of bicycle runway

…and so many more.

At the end I want to thank again Blue Air and Visit Oradea for this trip and for making me discover such a beautiful place in my own country!

And if you want to see even more photos keep scrolling 😉

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    • Ana asa m-am simtit si eu cand am ajuns acolo. Si acum ma bucur ca pot si eu cumva sa ajut oamenii sa descopere asemenea frumuseti. Multumesc mult pentru comentariu!

    • There is so much to explore even for me!! I have traveled so much but I have yet to discover my own country! The mountains are gorgeous! 🙂

  1. Doar o greseala chiar la inceput : Oradea este in nordvestul Romaniei si nu “Oradea is situated in the north east part of Romania ” In rest va felicit pentru vizita la Oradea si va asteptam sa vedeti si restul de 90% din frumusetile Oradiei !!
    Succes !

    • Am obervat-o si eu dar un pic mai tarziu din pacate. Multumesc. Restul de 90%? Cu mare placere! Cu siguranta ma voi intoarce in Oradea. Multumesc frumos pentru comentariu!

  2. Salutare! Aveti o greseala in denumirea site-ului pe cele doua imagini de la finalul articolului (Pin). In rest, felicitari pentru text si asteptam sa reveniti… cu familia si prietenii. 🙂

    • Salutare! Multumesc frumos pentru spiritul de observatie! :-). Si multumesc mult si pentru aprecieri. Cu siguranta voi reveni in Oradea!

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