Had you ever heard of Timișoara? No problem, as a matter of fact, me neither. But when traveling through Eastern Europe and looking at the map, this city is geographical attractively positioned. Timisoara is significantly close to Serbia’s capital Belgrade and Hungary’s capital Budapest. To be sure, we checked some photos on the web and also found out that Timisoara got elected as the European Capital of Culture of 2021. So, we got to Timișoara! (Singing "If you like Pina Colada” with our own Timișoara lyrics 😉)
We had a great time and I would really recommend this one for a city trip!
How to get to Timisoara
How to nót get there, would be the question. Timișoara can be reached by car, bus, minivan, train, plain, bicycle. Depending on where you are coming from you will have a lot of options.
Minivan from Belgrade to Timisoara
We got to from Belgrade to Timisoara by minivan
from the company GEA TOURS
. To sum up the steps to arrange this: firstly, fill the form on the website (you will get a standard confirmation by e-mail). Secondly, they will call you the day before your departure to tell which time they will pick you up. They told us that we would be picked up between 11am and 11.30am. Thirdly, the day of our pick-up. At 11.15 we got a call from the driver that he would be there in 5 minutes, and he was! We paid in cash (Euro’s, € 15 / $ 17,50 for a single ticket) when we had a stop along the way. In Timisoara the driver dropped us off at our hotel, couldn’t be better!
Border crossing from Serbia to Romania
In short, border crossing was quick and easy. All passports are given to the driver and he talks to the customs official. As a passenger, you can just stay in the car
. Process happens twice, once exiting Serbia and once entering Romania.
Get to Timisoara by plane
The second largest airport
of Romania is in Timișoara: Traian Vuia International Airport, and it’s only 11 kilometres / 6,8 mile to the city centre. You can take bus 4 from the airport to the city centre. You can get your bus ticket at the Domestic Flights Terminal and will cost you 2,50 RON/lei (€ 0,50 / US$ 0,60). The most used airlines are Blue Air, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Lufthansa and TAROM.
Roadtrip to Timisoara by car
When you driving are driving by car
through Europe and consider road tripping, put it in your navigation and let’s go. Same for cycling if you are a real adventurist.
Get to Timisoara by train
The main train
station at Timisoara is Timisoara North railway station. At Timișoara North railway station you can take domestic and international trains. I took the train from Timisoara to Budapest. For more information about this trip also check out my dedicated blogpost about how to get from Timisoara to Budapest by train.
What to do in Timisoara
Enjoy the scenery of Timisoara
Timisoara is also called ‘Little Vienna
’, so for sure you should wonder around the city and look at all the astonishing buildings, statues and squares. While wondering in which house Dracula would have lived, you gaze at the beautiful balconies of the houses that look like little castles with towers.
Timișoara Orthodox Cathedral
Not to miss (literally) is the Timișoara Orthodox Cathedral
(Romanian: Catedrala Mitropolitană din Timișoara) with her mesmerizing roofs and golden details. As stunning as the outside, also the inside is definitely worth a visit. You will see a lot of people pray and kiss the holy figures. The walls and roofs are filled with orthodox dim paintings and the light comes from the dome above, take a moment to look at the fascinating paintings and all the gold. Don’t forget to dress respectable when visiting a consecrated place.
Places of worship
Next to this main church there are a lot of other beautiful places of worship as well, synagogues
, catholic churches
and other orthodox churches. Places to pin are Millenium Church (Piața Romanilor 6), Notre Dame Church in Timisoara (Bulevardul Ion Dragalina 4), Nativity Church (Piața Alexandru Mocioni nr. 9) and The Stronghold Synagogue (Strada Mărășești 6).
In for some shopping? Iulius shopping mall
is the way to go. This is a big one, by stepping inside you forget in which country you are, as this giant mall could be in any other country. Neat floors, clean free toilets and every shop you can thing of. At the top floor you will find a large food court. There is also a hypermarket Auchan, if you are in need of some groceries.
Where and what to eat in Timisoara
Langos: the real Eastern Europe specialty
Being in Eastern Europe for sure you have to taste langos
. It’s like fried dough in the form of a cloudy pancake and topped with anything you like, sweet or savoury. They sell them as street food carts and from the windows of little bakery / coffee shops along the road. Price is 8 lei (€ 1,70 / US$ 2).
Drunken Rat Pub
We had a lot of fun at the Drunken Rat pub
, a great place at one of the central squares to get a drink and have a good time. The ambiance is great and the music is 90’s rock music. You get the feeling of an English pub. Skip the food here though, we once had dinner here and were not blown away by it. Beers are about 10 lei (€2,15 / US$ 2,50) and food around 30 lei (€6,44 / US$ 7,50).
In the mood for some pizza? For sure visit this Italian restaurant
: Casa Antinori, close to the shopping mall Iulius. It looks quite fancy and they have more expensive Italian food, but we just wanted to eat a good pizza. The Italian staff is very attentive and the prices are high for local standards, but you will feel like you are in Italy. Big bottle of Perrier was 14 lei (€ 3 / US$ 3,50), pizza’s around 37 lei (€ 8 / US$ 9,25).
Local traditional food
Taste real local food? Be prepared for big portions Casa Bunicii 1
! The desserts are even bigger portions as the main courses. The name of the restaurant means ‘Grandma’s kitchen’ and they prepare all under their own roof. Despite being a big restaurant, there is no loss in quality or local feeling. Their wooden furniture, watercolours and the decoration make you feel like having dinner at a Romanian home, or terrace when the sun is shining. Our bill was about 80 lei (€ 17,20 / US$ 20) for 2 people having a main, dessert and some drinks.
Coffee of course
Everywhere I travel, I experience different coffee
rituals. Personally, I like to drink my coffee hot and black, a black filter coffee or americano. Fortunately, Romanians are familiar with this and sell it therefore on every corner through outside public coffee machines. The coffee is cheap (max. 2 lei / € 0,40 / US$ 0,50), hot and surprisingly not that bad! Every type of coffee is the same price and there are like 20 different coffee types. For example, espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, and so on. There are different brands of machines, we preferred the Lavazza
How to operate the coffee machines in Timisoara
Firstly, put your money in the machine. This can be bank notes or coins. The amount will be shown as your credit. Of course, make sure to insert enough credit to buy your beverage. Secondly, (very important) you select the amount of sugar you want (default is medium amount of sugar). Thirdly, you press the button of the coffee that you prefer. Fourthly, simple, just wait. The machine will prepare your coffee in a paper cup (with a mini spoon), and you take it out on the beep! Cheers☕.