A country with Majestic Castles, breath-taking natural beauty and a fascinating history – Romania offers a unique travel experience for our volunteers. Listed below are some of the popular places to visit and activities to do during your time on the IVHQ Romania program.
For those with only a day to spare, tailor-made day tours can be created in consultation with an expert local guide. Activities can include: Hiking, Canoeing/Kayaking, Cycling, Caving, Heritage sightseeing, Ski-touring, and City tours.
In and Around Harghita
Harghita County is located in the centre of Romania, in eastern Transylvania. The region is mountainous with populated river valleys.
Red Lake is only a 30 minute drive from Gheorgheni. Hire a boat at the lake and paddle peacefully across the water and enjoy the spectacular surrounding scenery. Then hike for 60 minutes up nearby Mount Cohárd and appreciate the magnificent panoramic views of the lake, surrounding valleys and stunning mountains (covered in snow during winter) of Transylvania. Spend some time at Békás gorge (10 minute drive from or 40 minute walk from Red Lake), an impressive gorge that serves as a passageway between the Romanian provinces of Moldova and Transylvania. The road along this passageway consists of ravines, often in serpentines with rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other. It’s one of the most spectacular drives in the country.
Travel to Balánbánya (Balan), a 60 minute drive from both Miercurea Ciuc and Gheorgheni, and hike up to Egyes Kő (Lonely rock). Cars can park at the base of the mountain and from there you start your hike. After 1.5 hours you will reach a picturesque lodge, where you can have a breath before you start the final climb, an additional 20 minutes to the peak of the Egyes Kő. From the lonely rock you can view the beautiful vast expanse of Harghita County. As you descend the Egyes Kő you can turn towards the Nagyhagymás Mountain and be rewarded with a panorama view of Gheorgheni and the Csík basin with all its winding roads, lush forests and quaint village settlements.
A 30 minute drive from Miercurea Ciuc is the small town of Baile Tusnád, nestled between mountains. Here you can hike for 40 minutes to Sólyom Kő (Eagle Rock) and enjoy the fantastic views. A 20 minute drive away (or 1.5 hour walk) is the volcanic lake of Saint Anna. A lake surrounded by forest covered mountains. Enjoy the serenity of this special place while sitting on one of the numerous simple wooden benches on the shore, and enjoy the clean, fresh air. There is a campground near the lake for those that want to camp overnight. During winter the lake is covered with a layer of ice up to 1 meter thick.
Skiing Tours (winter months)
A chance to sample a variety of Romanian slopes free from crowds that dominate the other ski resorts of central Europe. This tour has something for everyone who enjoys action and adventure in the snow.
In and Around Brasov
The historic city of Brasov is a 2 hour drive from Miercurea Ciuc. It is the 7th most populous city in Romania and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. Walk down Strada sforii (String Street), one of the narrowest streets in Europe. Have a look inside the Biserica Neagra (Black Church), the largest gothic church in Romania. Take the cable car or walk to Panoramic Restaurant, situated on top of Tampa Mountain, and enjoy panoramic views of this fascinating city.
Near Brasov is the magnificent Bran castle! Commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, constructed over 700 years ago, it is now a museum open to tourists. This is a must do during a visit to the region.
The iconic Transfagaras Road runs through the Arges River gorge. It is a spectacular drive across mountain crossings, up to 2000 meters above sea level, and continues through Romania’s longest tunnel (1km in length). You will eventually reach Lake Vidraru, an artificial lake built to feed the Vidraru Dam. From here visit the nearby famous Poenari Fortress, considered the real Castle of Dracula.
Black Sea Resorts
Romania’s main sea resorts include Mamaia, Eforie, Neptun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mangalia. These resorts are situated on 45 miles of fine sand beaches. Relax at the beach or visit remnants of ancient Greek culture.
World Heritage Sites
Romania offers a collection of world heritage protected sites from medieval towns, fortified churches, painted monasteries, wooden masterpieces and ancient Dacian ruins.
If you would like more details on any of these locations or activities, our local team in Romania can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Romania program. To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Romania, visit our Volunteer in Romania page.