Timișoara is one of those cities that put Western Romania on the map, as they say. Moreover, the future holds unexpected chances for development in Timișoara or Temeswar, as it is known in German, as we will further note. Located in Banat, a sub-region of Transylvania, this city can get hot and humid in the summer. However, many Romanians think Timișoara has the perfect weather for a continental climate. One of the most famous cities in Romania, Timișoara is the perfect host.
Provided you choose the Timișoara airport to land in Romania, you will be happy to know it welcomes all sort of short flights. In 2016 airlines operating from Timișoara opened new routes to Tel Aviv, Frankfurt and Palma de Mallorca. Yet, domestic flights make up a significant part of this airport’s traffic, with connections to Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iași and recently Constanța. Not to mention, you can find flights to Timișoara from London, Milan, Munich, and Brussels.
You might want to rent a car in Timișoara for trips outside the city. In fact, surrounded by forests and meadows, Timișoara keeps the picnic tradition alive so you can take your family and join in. There are all sorts of car rental websites that provide extensive facilities, but it is always better to choose a local vehicle renting service and here‘s one for Timișoara.
Top 10 Things to Do In Timișoara
Just like other cities in Romania that host a population of students during the academic year, Timișoara strives to be more than a university town. Instead, it is an artistic hub for young and old generations of creative Romanians. Likewise, Timișoara has kept its multiethnic roots and brought about new international connections to resurface on the cultural map of Europe.
In 2021 this fascinating old city will be one of the two European Capitals of Culture, along with Elefsina in Greece. There will be lots of things to do in Timișoara in three years from now. So, why not take a peek at the city and familiarize yourself with it before the great influx of tourists and European citizens takes its streets? Here are our top ten suggestions for getting to know this western citadel. Apart from Timișoara’s attractions, we are sharing some of the best places to eat or rest after a city tour.
The Strange Museum of The Communist Consumer
First thing first: a visit to The Communist Consumers Museum, which is designed as a typical Romanian apartment that reproduces the atmosphere of those times. Luckily, the unusual museum is a rarity in Romania because no official museum of Communism has opened until now. Sometimes people organize exhibitions on the topic and projects like this are a tribute to the scattered memory of this era. So, it’s nice that both locals and tourists from abroad get to see and touch all those objects that used to comprise everyday life in Communism for many Romanians. Above the museum apartment, you can cool down in a bar called Scârț Loc Lejer (Squeaky Easy Place).
No Trip In The City Without A Village Museum
Just like Bucharest and Sibiu, Timișoara has its own village museum. This unique outdoor museum looks like a vast garden with traditional wooden or stone houses that showcase how the Romanian rural population once lived. Everything is replicated, including pottery and cartwheel workshops. Additionally, the Banat Village Museum acquired and decorated a few houses typical of all the ethnic minorities living in the region. In September every year since 2005, the museum’s garden becomes the hosting venue for Plai Festival, which is on our list of things to do in Timișoara.
Visit The Ruins of A Synagogue
Not surprisingly, Timișoara has three synagogues that can be admired from the outside, and one from the inside. In the 19th century, the city had a significant Jewish population of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi descent. The Fabric neighborhood in Timișoara is where one of the most unique synagogues in Europe still stands. Its architectural style is eclectic, with Neo-Moorish (Moorish Revival) and Neo-Renaissance elements. Unfortunately, it is nowadays in a complete state of degradation. However, it can be visited if you take a Jewish Heritage tour of the city.
Take A Bike Ride On The Outskirts of Timișoara
What is a city-break without a bike ride? Discover Timișoara’s inner city and forested edges with two bicycle tours: a relaxed one and an active one. For those looking a quick peek of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods check out this tour. For active family holidays, a trip to the nearby villages and vineyards could be a great idea. You can also rent bikes without a tour and establish your own route.
Go to Timișoara Craft Beer Festival
The first edition of Timișoara Craft Beer Festival took place this year, 2018, in June. Convinced by the growing artisanal beer industry in Romania has to be brought to Timișoara as well, the organizers followed the example of the other craft beer festivals across the country. Bucharesters and Cluj-Napoca’s beer fans already pin-pointed their way of making and drinking hop and malt liquors on the map. So, why not give the beer a chance on your trip to Timișoara in June. It might not be the Munich Octoberfest, but it is not the case. Craft beer festivals are all about small businesses, passionate entrepreneurs and the DIY way of life. That’s how you will discover the tastes of the already famous Romanian beer brands like Zăganu, Sikaru or Ground Zero. Timișoareana brewery is also widely known and one of the oldest beer brands in the country. The locals could not be prouder of it.
5. Dinner In A Tram
“Cină în Tramvai” or “Dinner in A Tram” is a fantastic experience for couples who want to spend their Valentine’s Day or Dragobete date in an unusual location. Likewise, similar concept restaurants can be found all over the world. This Colonial Tramcar Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia reminds us of the one in Timișoara. Our 20 seat tram with a bar and singing musicians covers the old electrical track operated for the first time in 1889. An unforgettable winter vacation in Timișoara must definitely include this tramcar restaurant romantic venture. You will be surprised to find out that local families with children dinned in the tram. So, the “dinner in a tram” concept is not only for romantic dates. It’s also a fun thing to do with your family while on a city-break in Timișoara.
If you’re looking for actual Timișoara food recommendations, we have got plenty. Yet, we are not going to list all of them here, for our food section will include more details. Timișoara is a cosmopolitan city from a gastronomic point of view. So, make sure you call for reservations and try out Musiu, Caruso, and Grill to Chill. All these are the best restaurants in Timișoara and fine-dining locations. If you are into local cuisine, you must try out ”pleșcăvița” and “urnebes”, a cottage cheese salad. The best place to taste these typical Serbian cuisine dishes in Timișoara is Yugoslavia restaurant. In case you strive for specialty coffee in the morning and your accommodation provides only filter coffee, you could take a walk to this downtown cozy coffee shop called Ovride and bask in the Rwandan or Peruvian aromas.
Joyful Audition at Timișoara Jazz Festival
Summer is, of course, the best season for music festivals. For Timișoara’s jazz fans, it is even more than an outdoor entertainment season. The city blossoms during Timișoara’s Jazz festival. Internationally acclaimed artists perform in parks, plazas, and pedestrian streets bringing jazz to life for all ears passing by. Visit Timișoara mid-summer, and you might spontaneously bump into a jazz spectacle. Nonetheless, other cities in Transylvania host jazz festivals, like Cluj-Napoca with Jazz in The Park and Sibiu with its jazz tradition that goes back to 1974. As a result, Transylvania has increasingly become famous for these international cultural events.
Visit Timișoara for The 2019 Art Biennale
Now, this is an event that transforms the otherwise peaceful city of Timișoara into an artsy, cosmopolitan, bustling city. Timișoara Art Encounters has already taken place twice starting with 2015, so the next edition will be in 2019. Museums and reconverted industrial factories, fortresses and castles open their gates and fill each spectator’s mind and heart with charming relevant pieces of art. The Art Museum in Timișoara, housed in a Baroque palace in Unirii Square is usually the central hub of this event. Unconventional spaces like a reconverted industrial equipment factory or a former cigarette factory are used for exhibitions. The Biennale offers an excellent opportunity to learn about Timișoara’s history while catching on with the latest art encounters. As a child-friendly event, the art biennale is hosting a lot of educational workshops for both children and their families. You can definitely participate, and it will be a Transylvanian family adventure on your vacation in Timișoara.
Go to Plai Festival
If each of the major cities in Romania has its own iconic festival, then Timișoara has Plai Festival. Born out of voluntary work and having reached 13 editions by now. Plai, literally meaning ‘land”, is not just a music and crafts festival, it’s an umbrella for local NGOs to present their work and cooperate in civic action and social change. If you really want to get to know the spirit of the city, this is the festival you must attend. Opened to all ages and hosted by the Banat Village Museum, Plai is the perfect excuse for an Indian summer city break in Timișoara. Of course, you can add that to your list of things to in Transylvania with your family.
Take A Boat On The Bega River
Finally, taking a boat trip on the Bega river is the best thing to do in Timișoara and the hippest since its recent inauguration. A 10km boat ride on the redesigned river banks is now part of the cities public transportation system. We think it is the perfect way to relax for the first day of your trip to Timișoara. The ticket is 1 leu, and you can buy it at any public transport ticket-selling kiosk. Indeed, you won’t find another city in Romania with inner river public transportation, which is impressive.
Timișoara catches your eye instantly and leaves a strong desire to come back and explore more. It is a lively, relaxed, community-driven city we hope you visit someday. Meanwhile here‘s how to get to Transylvania in the first place.