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Things to Do in Fagaras, Romania

Places best described as “a little off beaten path” are my favorite sort of places to travel. The small town of Făgăraș, Romania definitely falls in this category.

It made a great base for a few days of rest and exploration on my way from tourist-packed Sibiu to tourist-packed Brasov, two larger cities in Transylvania.

A railroad stop halfway between, Fagaras is a destination in itself- though less popular with travelers who are doing a quick tour of Transylvania.

A street view in the town of fagaras romania
City street in Fagaras, Romania

There’s nothing wrong with fast travel that highlights the “greatest hits” of a region, but when I began digital nomading, I discovered that I loved a slower pace of travel, and the opportunities to stay and linger in less popular locales.  Fagaras  (technically, styled Făgăraș) was a great landing place for a few days of rest, a few days of play, and some catching up on work.

A photograph of the romanian countryside from the window of a train.
A case study in “getting there is half the fun”: The slow trains often have large windows that open wide to incredible views.

Here’s my advice for visiting Fargaras, Romania in ONE day. I spread these adventures out, but if you arrive at Fargaras in the morning and depart in the late afternoon, you can complete this itinerary in one day:

1. Fagaras Fortress / Castle

Castle walls and moat in fagaras, set against a cloudy blue sky in romania
Surrounded by a moat, the still waters reflect sky and architecture.

How to get there: walk from the train station

The main tourist attraction in this town is the 500-year-old fortified castle. Though the outer walls are literally crumbling, the inner buildings have been restored and host several museum exhibits.

Fagaras Castle can be a bit crowded inside, and the amazing acoustics of the space have the downside of actually making it very unpleasant to visit when busy (with just a few kids playing in the inner courtyard, I found myself instantly developing a headache). To avoid crowds (and auditory interruptions), schedule your visit at the end of the day. Fagaras closes at 6 pm most days but stops allowing new entries at 5 pm. Since the castle itself takes about 30 minutes to visit, you can have the castle to yourself by planning entry just before 5pm, taking a relaxing walk around the outer courtyard, and enter just in time for a near-private showing.

Fagaras at Night:

The castle is dramatically lit after dark. Paired with the reflection, at all angles, in the still water of the moat- it’s a sight worth revisiting via an after-dinner stroll.

In this photo, a brightly illuminated castle is reflected in the still waters of the moat, set against a backdrop of a late sunset sky.

Fun anecdote from my visit: When my air B&B hosts picked me up from the train station, they drove me directly past the castle first, before heading to the home on the square where I would be staying. The driver, proudly boasted “in its whole 500-year history our fortress has never been conquered by an invading force!”

“It must be a very good fortress” I responded.

“No,” said my host thoughtfully. “I think nobody wanted it.”

GETTING AROUND FAGARAS

The next two stops require transportation. If visiting in the high season, you may be able to catch a tour by stopping at the tourism office on the square in Fagaras. Alternatively, taxis are very affordable in Romania. I was able to hire a car to take me to both locations, wait, and bring me back to Fagaras for $32 USD total.

Sambata de Sus Monastery

This monastery is set at the base of the Fagaras mountains. With stunning architecture, art, gardens, and icons both historical and religious, it’s well worth a visit. Free to enter- join with locals in pulling up a bucket of water from the well- which is reputed to be able to heal what ails you.

A large white monastery and landscaped path.
A dog rests under a bush in monastery landscaping.

Saturday stud Lower – Sâmbăta de Jos

Conveniently located between Fagaras and the Monastry, “Saturday Stud Lower” is a horse farm owned by the Romanian government. Visiting this farm felt like stepping back in time 50 years- It had all the charm of a 19th century horse stable with incredible photo ops. Both exhibitions and tourist-rides are given during popular seasons/days, so be sure to check their website in advance.

Hh 2020 064

Evening Experience

If you are able to spend the night in Fagaras, it’s well worth the slower pace to settle in for a night- or even a few- and experience more that this small city has to offer. One of my favorite ways to spend an evening or extend my trip another day is through Airbnb Experiences. Small tours, cooking classes, and Airbnb Experiences have been some of my most meaningful travel experiences. I love these opportunities to be invited to participate in cultural traditions, sit at the table during family meals, and given access to other typically-tourist-off-limits aspects of a country’s place and culture.

Itenerary for exploring fagaras and the surrounding area in romania

Răzvan

Saturday 17th of April 2021

That's a lot of visiting for one day.

I'm a native of the city, but left it 20 years ago for greener pastures. Hiking is the main attraction around the city. Back then i was using a bicycle, which i would consider now dangerous, given that the number of cars has dramatically increased and there may be no bike lanes. You can go to "Dealul Galațiul" in English Galata's Hill. Also, apart of the Sâmbătă monastery, which i personally consider a tourist trap (not from monetary, but spiritual perspective), you can hike to "valea sâmbetei" which is a 2 hour scenic walk. If you are a good hiker, consider "fereastra mică" or "fereastra mare", but they will require overnighting on the mountain. Peaks like Moldoveanul or Negoiu are available to hikers, even if you don't have climbing gear. Scenic road "Transfăgărășanul" is available for both car or hiking. Although if you hike i would recommend you to take the winter trail, on "Valea Doamnei". If you like day trips only, explore Dejani, Breaza, or Lisa valleys.

Observe the multicultural variety of the city, where romanian, hungarian, german and jewish populations have lived together for hundreds of years. To reflect this, the city has a lot of churches of various denominations and from different epochs. There are evangelical, unitarian, catholic, greek catolic, baptist, neo-protestant churches, with the majority of greek orthodox churches of all decades, from "brâncovenesc" style of 1700, to the modern kitch style.

Donald Patrick

Friday 8th of January 2021

The large orthodox church next to the fortress is well worth a visit. ... if you have the time; fishing in the Olt River is always a treat. A bit longer trip could take you up into the Fagaras Mountains to see the Transfagarasan and Balea Lake. Considered one of Romania’s greatest wonders. ... then there is always the food offered both in the city and up in the mountains.