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Finally emerging from the wings to join its Eastern European counterparts on the world travel stage, increasing numbers of Euro trippers are realising the little-known depths that Romania reveals to those who pay her homage. While any exploration has traditionally been on the dynamism of Bucharest or romanticised fables of Transylvania, no less deserving of the spotlight is the spirited city of Timisoara.
When standing in one of Timisoara’s central squares surrounded by elegant, pastel-coloured architecture, it’s hard not to wonder why we don’t hear more about the country’s third-largest city. As cities like Venice and Barcelona struggle under the pressures of “overtourism”, it’s never been a better time to cast your net further afield. With parks and plazas galore and a solid hotel and restaurant scene to boot (with prices remaining eye-wateringly low) it won’t be long before this beauty bags a role as a protagonist for weekend escapes.
Glamorous, art-nouveau buildings have earned Timisoara the nickname of “Little Vienna“, and there’s nowhere better to experience this creativity than in Piata Unirii. This broad square in the town centre is lined on all sides by magnificent buildings, including several churches and palatial homes. Perhaps the most distinctive of these is Brück House, a palatial residence and feast for the eyes thanks to bold colours and decorated windows. Not to be overlooked either is the Serbian Orthodox Episcopal Palace, where subtler hues allow the architecture to be appreciated for its own merits.
One also can’t mention Timisoara without acknowledging the city’s icon; the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. While not particularly historic, its eclectic mix of architectural styles and tower-like design mean make the cathedral look more like something plucked out of Disney.
Who to take with you
A friend with an appreciation for architecture and modern European history who is happy to roam the streets and see where it leads.
When to go?
Essential to bring with you
An empty itinerary.
Most likely to bump into
Inquisitive travellers who want more than a standard city break; have a drink and soak up Timisoara’s revolutionary spirit with them.
How to get there
Fly into Timisoara International Airport; from there, express buses head into the city centre and the main train station.
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