Romania’s fifth-largest city wasn’t on my radar until my wife’s tech executive job brought us here for four days. A city once ruled by Hungarians, Ottomans, the House of Habsburg, and then Austria-Hungary, Timisoara was damaged during World War II by both the Allies and then the Axis. The People’s Republic of Romania was set up after the war only to be toppled in Timisoara in 1989 with the Romanian Revolution.
Today, Timisoara is called “Little Vienna” with its many parks, charming architecture, and six universities that attract 40,000 students annually. It was the first European city to be lit by electric street lights and once had the world’s fastest internet download speed.
After wandering the city for four days, here’s what we enjoyed.
- Cotton candy from a machine at Iulius Town, Romania’s largest mall with a large food court and outdoor garden with a carousel.
- Poppy seed rolls from Super Dona, a corner bakery.
- Lattes from Narativ Specialty Coffee, a coffee roastery with a corner shop along the river.
- Margaritas at El Maguey, a Mexican restaurant with delicious tacos and burritos.
- Browse books at Librăria Cartea de Nisip, a large book and gift store in the old city.
- Stroll along the Bega River, watching rowers and boats on the water.
- Swim at Aquapark Amazonia, an indoor water park with slides and several indoor and outdoor pools. A four-hour pass for my six-year-old daughter and I cost around $20 USD.
- Take your kids to one of the many city parks with playgrounds like Parcul Bucovina with a ship-themed playground entirely in sand and Ion Creangă Children’s Park, a large riverside park filled with playgrounds.
- Visit the Museum of the Communist Consumer, a free museum in a house’s basement displaying items from the Communist era.
- Walk Union Square, Liberty Square, and Victory Square learning the building and churches’ history by reading the informational signs.