On the things to do and not to do in Timisoara

Read it also in Italian

First question. Why did I go to Timisoara, Romania? 

Answer 1 – This was a present. And you know, travel presents are the best of the best.
Answer 2 – I never was there and I never was in Romania, so this is more than a good reason.
Answer 3 – sooner or later I would have chosen this destination for the reason referred to in point 2 and because there is a direct flight from Bari with WizzAir (very cheap, ver than direct).

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Let’s focus: What to do and what to see in Timisoara?

1 – Obviously, the first thing is the small historic city center.

Piața Victoriei (Victory Square) is in my opinion the most charming square of the city, home to the Opera House, impressive structure in which more than 800 people can sit and enjoy art. Small aside: not everyone in Timisoara have a clear idea of the impressive amount of people that work in this theatre.
The billboard is busy, it can be seen already from the entrance portal.
Opposite, across the square-boulevard with a central row of evergreen trees, the Orthodox cathedral.
I recently discovered that the Orthodox cathedrals have a great fascination for me.

Over than the gold, drapes and saints’ portraits, I like to observe their religion, very personal and intimate. Even the Orthodox rite of marriage is special, as I wrote in the semi-serious reportage on The Serbian Wedding, that inspired me so much to give life to a short story (for free, if you want you can download it;-)) .

Along the square-avenue that divides these two buildings, fine restaurants and small shops-stalls of street food (which is a point of which I will speak in a separate post).

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From here, it is not difficult to get to Piața Uniri, the center of the historic district called Fabric. Before you go there in the evening, be sure that the reconstruction of the public lighting system has been terminated because otherwise it is very dark and spooky. I now read on Wikitravel that this place is not recommended because it would be dangerous to go there in the evening.

Um … I don’t agree with Wikitravel. Really, nothing strange, not even a suspicious movement as I crossed the square in full dark to go to the pub The Drunken Rat.
Piața Traian has several local baroque structures, colorful buildings, benches arranged as if they dropped out of an airplane and the catholic cathedral.

Other interesting scenarios are the ones between Piata Unirii (“Unity Square”) and Romana Square Libertăţii. The first is the historic square of Timisoara and is home to the Roman-Catholic Cathedral, the Baroque Palace, the Serbian Orthodox Episcopal Cathedral, Casa Brück, the theoretical High School Nikolaus Lenau, the Holy Trinity Column (a gift from a merchant escaped to the plague – and who actually fled from the city – in 1700), the mineral water fountain.

Nearby, also the museum of the revolution, with free admission. A good way to understand what happened in those 7 days of the revolution of ’89 (a parish protest that in a few days transformed in the overthrow and execution of Ceausescu).

!!! First thing NOT to do !!!

If you walk into a pub, never ask for a 33 cl bottled beer. They just don’t have it. They only sell half-liter bottles. When I asked for a beer the idea of small or medium was not allowed. Only large.
I think a 33cl  is not part of the local code of ethics of the drinker, and I welcome this.

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2 – Go in winter

If you love the snowy and a bit ghostly scenarios, if you find the sweet and romantic periods of solitude without tourists and like to enjoy the beauty of a place that feels like yours alone, from January to March (-12 degrees)  is the most suitable time to you. Though I have got away with a minimum of -7, but I brought my boy home.

!!! Second thing NOT to do: Go in winter!!!

For the reasons mentioned above. Moreover I strongly suspect that the spring and autumn colors are firy and lively, since the city is full of parks and urban green spaces.

3 – A city tour by tram

Another thing I recommend is to take one of those purple and white trams running throughout the city center and the Old Town. In Piata Libertati there is a bus stop that takes in all the most interesting areas.

4 – A visit to the village of Banat.

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The museul satului banatean (The Village Museum of Banat) is an open-air museum, located northeast of the city (you can go by bus or by taxi at very low cost). This is the reconstruction of some fifty houses and farm buildings of the nineteenth century from different parts of the Banat region.
They are all so different since the architecture of each home is like those of the area of provenience of the inhabitants (Serbia, Germany, Latvia etc.).
The village is in a woods (Padura Verde, namely Green wood) and the houses are not just ‘reconstruction’ but real old houses. It is good to go when all the houses are open and can be visited and when the people in period dresses are in, to explain things or even just to show you how they used to live.
If you plan to go to Banat Museum, ask as a favor to the hotel reception to call the village (or call yourself… but do not expect great levels of English, perhaps it is better if you speak Italian) and ask if the Museum is open, if houses are open and if museum staff is active.

!!!Third thing to do: going there with smokers!!!
IMPORTANT UPDATE:
smoking in closed private premises is not allowed anymore, so the following paragraph is just my old personal experience that you won’t live, if you visit Timisoara (and Romania) now. 

At least … if you can’t stand the smoke in the public limited spaces. After this little dig at the smoker who was traveling with me (which, by the way, was too cool to bother him about smoking).
I’ll be serious. In Romania, as in a disproportionate number of places I visited, smoking is still allowed in the premises. There are some vacuums on the ceiling and they solve the problem this way. If you wear contact, then bring eyedrops with you everywhere, everytime.
If you carry around 500 grams of hair, lose the hopes of not stinking of smoke forever.

My second question is would I recommend Timisoara?

Yes, to those who have never been there for the reason mentioned in the first answer to the first question.
Maybe I’d rather choose spring and fall, because in some moments the cold and the wind really put to the test and because, as mentioned, it has to be very beautiful in the green of its foliage.

If you want more information on exchange, coin, cost level, where to sleep, write in the comments.

on the things to do and NOTT to do in Timisoara - in my suitcase

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 pensieri riguardo “On the things to do and not to do in Timisoara

  • Ott 2, 2018 in 8:19 am
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    When you just want to check the weather but instead you stumble upon this wonderful blog post… It makes me so happy to know that more and more tourists are enjoying Timisoara but I still feel the urge to make a few corrections: First of all I think you still have a bit mixed up Piața Traian with Piața Unirii. Traian is the center of the district named Fabric, but Drunken Rat Pub is indeed in Unirii. That leads me to think that the dangerous one you read about on wikitravel is actually Traian, because that neighborhood is less central and has a bigger population of gypsies. (Not to say they are inherently bad or something but I can understand why some people (especially tourists) would feel uncomfortable around them.) Second: Yes, we do have 33 cl bottles but honestly I don’t know who drinks them here since they are few and generally more expensive than the 50 cl ones and quite looked down upon, so it’s better to just grab a big Ciuc, Ursus or Silva or even try some Romanian craft beer. Third: Smoking in public indoor spaces such as pubs and bars was banned all over Romania and I think that happened right after your visit here (the ban was adopted somewhere around march 2016) so non smokers have now a much easier life here :D. All this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy your article… I love it everytime someone talks so nicely about my hometown, makes me feel so warm and nice inside. Last thing I want to say is: although I think Timisoara is very nice all throughout the year, I recommend newcomers to visit it during may/june. The weather is really nice and there are a lot of music and art festivals, concerts, the streets are bustling with people. It’s just very lively and energetic. So see you next time, Sabrina!

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    • Ott 2, 2018 in 8:31 am
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      Dear Iulian, thank you for your message and for the corrections you made: actually I wrote the post on sept. 2016 and I really guess it’s high time to update something in it, since I see it receives quite much traffic, mainly in its Italian version. I’ll add some notes to it and you give me the idea of writing a new one about When and Why to visit Timisoara.
      Thank you again!!

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  • Mag 23, 2018 in 1:24 pm
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    Nicely described. As a big fan of Timisoara (which is not my hometown but the town I chose to live in) I’d like to thank you for this article. It pops up on Google’s first page of results when looking up Timisoara and it does make a great service to Timisoara.

    And I agree, at least 2 days should be dedicated to walking the city, at least the central/historical zone, you just can’t see enough within 24 hours because you won’t just spend 24 hours there 🙂

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  • Dic 4, 2017 in 9:27 pm
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    The photo that you posted as Piata Traian is Piata Unirii, I think there was a confusion there because you don’t have to cross Piata Traian to get to the Drunken Rat pub. I was born in Timisoara, just wanted to let you know, so nobody will be confused. The article is indeed very nice, I am thrilled that you enjoyed my city.

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    • Apr 26, 2018 in 4:50 pm
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      Hello! could you please tell me if it is possible to walk around with dogs? Are there packs with strays? I’m planning to visit the city for one day next week during my stay in Belgrade 🙂

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      • Apr 27, 2018 in 7:28 am
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        Hi! You can walk with dogs no matter where in the city (take the plastic bag for excretas with you, in Sofia cleaness matters). Then your dog can have total freedom and joyful moments in all the green spaces of the city!

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  • Nov 7, 2017 in 2:49 pm
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    Thanks for this post! I’m going solo in a couple of days and have no idea what to expect. Other than those are my favorite kinds of trips—> no idea what to expect, and going alone 🙂

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  • Lug 28, 2017 in 1:44 pm
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    Hi, Sabrina
    Is 24 hours enough to experience Timisoara or should we extend another day?
    Thanks

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  • Gen 18, 2017 in 7:55 pm
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    Hi! I’ll be visiting Timisoara in April. Is there a lot of budget-friendly things to do there? Any cheap restaurant advice? What were the costs for riding the tram? What languages are commonly spoken?

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  • Ott 4, 2016 in 6:26 pm
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    Im off to visit my sister in December and she stays in Prague. We are planning a trip to Romania but was waiting for the summer season. Your posts inspires me to do a winter trip. Ill discuss this with her…it might just be a winter trip with a new adventure 🙂

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  • Ott 4, 2016 in 12:16 pm
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    Great tips. I’ll definitely have to visit Timisoara one day. The pictures look amazing!

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  • Ott 3, 2016 in 7:16 pm
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    This is the first time that I have heard of Timisoara but it looks so beautiful. I had no idea that they don’t do small or medium either.

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  • Ott 3, 2016 in 7:07 pm
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    What an amazing place to visit!! I love to travel and explore the world, your photos are breath taking.

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  • Ott 3, 2016 in 4:10 pm
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    Definitely grateful for the tips!! Timisoara has been on my wish list for too long… now it is time to take off!! Thank you. As always 🙂

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  • Ott 3, 2016 in 10:34 am
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    When one has never heard of or seen a place before . Its always strange to learn of it but heee you make it easy for one to know it all in one easy post. Thanks.

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  • Ott 3, 2016 in 7:51 am
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    Timisoara sounds pretty interesting place to visit and it’s quite near me as I’m living in Hungary. A bit weird that during all these years I never visited Romania. Winter is always challenging time to travel to a new place, but it has its good sides as well, just need to be dressed properly 🙂

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  • Ott 1, 2016 in 7:39 pm
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    I’ve never been to Romania before, but your post is so inspiring! You managed to capture fantastic photos, even those with snow grabbed my attention (I hate winter and snow LOL ‘cause I am from Moscow, Russia)! I am not a huge fan of beer, but I was surprised to know they haven’t a 33 cl bottled beer in pubs! It’s so weird!

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