It’s that wonderful time of the year again! That time where sparkling strings of lights light up the streets of cities, while the smell of sugar cinnamon and hot chocolate fill the cold air.
And everyone is thinking of the holiday season which is just around the corner. If, in your case, the holiday season means making great memories in a new place, know that there are plenty of reasons to plan a visit to Romania in December.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best ones to get you excited up for a trip here.
From Christmas markets and dreamy village escapes to winter sports resorts, an ice hotel and even a communism-related tour, we’ve included some of the best experiences and attractions you can enjoy here.
Chances are that, by the time you finish reading, you’ll already have at least a few new items on you travel Bucket list.
So let’s jump right in.
Christmas Markets in Medieval Towns Are Open Throughout December
It’s become a tradition for fairytale winter markets to be organized in all major cities across the country. Most of them open mid-November or early in December, around Saint Nicholas Holiday and close soon after New Year’s Eve.
For a one-of-a-kind experience, we recommend traveling to one of Romania’s top medieval towns from Transylvania, such as:
- Brasov. Held in Brasov’s gorgeous Council Square, at the foothills of Tampa Mountain, Brasov’s Christmas market benefits from a fairytale setting tourists instantly fall in love with. Furthermore, the market’s organizers take pride in the way they decorate their Christmas Tree, which somehow manages to stand out every year.
- Sibiu. Sibiu’s Christmas market usually takes place in the city’s historic center and is one of the biggest in the country. Over 70 exhibitors’ houses from across the country and abroad await visitors with carefully selected products.
- Sighisoara. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sighisoara hosts a winter fair where local artisans will tempt you with traditional goodies and themed, handmade souvenirs such as figurines, candles, jewelry, woodcarvings, or hand-knitted wool socks.
Visit any of the markets mentioned here and walk around with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate, listening to carols and admiring the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.
Blend with the locals while you browse around the many wooden houses decorated in the spirit of the season.
In addition to souvenir and tasty treats like sugar coated, cinnamon apples and nuts, the markets usually feature an ice skate rink and a beautifully-decorated carousel, as well as thematic workshops for kids held in Santa’s workshops.
What’s more, medieval cities in Transylvania are home to many amazing attractions such as Dracula’s Castle, Peles Castle and top medieval sights. So you can add to your trip and see as much of Romania as possible.
Contact us if you’re interested in planning a visit to the superb Transylvania region. We’ll take care of all the planning details so you can relax and the most out of your visit.
The Stunning Carpathian Mountains as Your Winter Playground
If you pick your destination right, you can enjoy a proper snow vacation in Romania with genuine winter fun – even in early December.
Your best pick is one of the many mountain resorts in Romania.
Whether you are a big winter sports enthusiast or simply want to build a snowman with your family, you’ll have a great time here.
Below are listed a few top winter destinations where you can practice typical winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and ice skating – with snow-capped mountains as your backdrop.
Or you can just take in the scenery and share stories with loved ones over a glass of hot mulled wine, made from a local recipe.
- Predeal, Sinaia, Busteni. All located in the Bucegi Mountains. You’ll find lively ski slopes for beginner and intermediate levels, as well as several ones for advanced skiers. Also, there are many restaurants, hotels and chic guesthouses to choose from for a comfortable stay.
- Balea Lac resort in the Fagaras Mountains. The resort offers 14 km of slopes for skiing and snowboarding, as well as breathtaking views of the tallest mountains in Romania and the Balea Glacial Lake.
- Poiana Brasov. Located at an altitude of 3,347 feet, the resort offers no less than 12.4 miles of slopes and infinite party vibes. So it’s for good reason it’s the most popular ski destination in the country.
- Paltinis. This is both the oldest (founded in 1894) and the highest (at 1442 meter high) mountain resort in Romania. Here, it commonly starts snowing since November, making it a hidden gem for those who practice white sports.
Note that there are no guarantees for skiing early on in December, but chances are you’ll find enough snow to have a proper snowball fight with friends.
December Marks an Important Date in Romania’s History
For more than four decades, Romania has been a communist country under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Fifteen years after he became the president of Socialist Republic of Romania in 1974, Ceausescu was removed from power and executed on Christmas Day 1989 after a violent revolution that took place in the winter of that year.
December of 1989 marked the end of the Romanian dictatorship. So the last month of every year since carries special meaning to the Romanian people, as it symbolizes change and a newfound sense of freedom.
If you are interested in exploring this tumultuous part of the country’s history during your visit to Romania, we recommend the “Last Days of Communism” Tour.
In just four hours, the tour will guide you on a journey into Romania’s recent history where you’ll get to visit:
- the first communist building in Bucharest
- the Revolution Square with the balcony where the dictator gave his last speech before being removed from power
- the world-famous “House of People”
- the luxurious former residence of the presidential couple, designed in the mid-1960s to the exact specifications of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife.
A White Christmas in a Dreamy Maramures Village
The weather in December in Romania is normally snowy before Christmas, especially up in the mountains. There, you’ll find villages and a landscape which looks like the ones you may be used to see on a Christmas card.
If you are interested in a village escape during your visit to Romania and want to travel to a place where traditions are kept alive, travel to Maramures, an area located in the northwest of the country.
You’ll get to witness century-old traditions which were passed down from one generation to another and listen to tales told in front of log fires and over steaming bowls of hot soup.
Around these parts, people still dress up in their traditional clothes, while going caroling from one house to the next and serve homemade goods which look and taste heavenly.
Here, everyone who can participate in Christmas preparations does so. So, visiting the region around this special time of the year is a great occasion to see the community coming together.
Maramures is also famous for it beautifully carved wooden churches and homes which are particularly charming around Christmas when locals use traditional ornaments and lights to decorate them.
Also, you will get to admire the winter landscape while riding on a horse-drawn sled with a nice blanket and perhaps a glass of palinka (traditional alcoholic drink) to keep you warm and comfortable.
Then, you can head back to your accommodation and perhaps warm up in front of the fireplace before getting a good night’s sleep.
The weather can get pretty cold and the snow can get pretty tall, but the people are warm and welcoming, and ready to share their traditions with others.
New Year’s Eve in a Unique Location: an Ice Hotel
Nested high up in the Carpathian Mountains, in the close vicinity of Balea Lake, the Balea Ice Hotel is entirely made of ice. And we mean everything.
From the furniture to the shot glasses, you’ll drink from in the hotel’s restaurant, all looks like it’s been touched by Elsa from the movie Frozen. What’s more, the hotel also features a sculpted church with an altar which is probably unlike anything you’ve seen before.
It’s important to mention the hotel usually opens around Christmas. This means you can wait for Santa, exchange gifts and party on New Year’s Eve in a special location.
One of a kind parties, festive dinners, fireworks and other carefully thought-out surprises will make your stay here truly memorable.
If you want to learn more about the fascinating Balea Ice Hotel, make sure to check out this article.
Start Planning Your Visit to Romania Today!
As you saw from this article, Romania has plenty to offer those who want to discover it during the winter season. If learning about all the wonderful sights in Romanian and fun activities you can do here in December has got you all excited, then it’s time to jump into action.
Contact us today if you have any questions about the tours mentioned in this article.
We’re always happy to help you plan your dream vacation.