Oradea

Travel Guide Europe Romania Oradea

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Introduction

Oradea

Oradea

© mikebv

Oradea is the capital city of the Bihor County in the northwest of Romania and has about 200,000 inhabitants in the city, and around 250,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Oradea is one the few undiscovered gems of Romania's tourism. Despite being one of the largest and most important cities in Transylvania, and having a high degree of administrative, economic and commercial importance, it is often overlooked by tourists in favor of other Transylvanian cities such as Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara or Cluj-Napoca. The city can also act as a pleasant stopover if you are coming to Romania from Hungary, or leaving the country. The city combines a good location and climate with romantic baroque architecture from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with a lovely jumble of Romanian and Hungarian cultures. The city was passed back many times between Hungary and Romania, with both these cultures are apparent in the city giving it a special charm and pleasant mix of architecture.

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Sights and Activities

There are several Art Nouveau buildings (mostly around the Piata Unirii, the Piata Regele Ferdinand and the Calea Republicii) like the Palatul Vulturul Negru, and Austro Hungarian baroque buildings like the Episcopal Palace, now housing the Muzeul Ţării Crişurilor, also a theater by Fellner & Helmer.

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Weather

The city lies at the meeting point of the Crișana plain and the Crișul Repede's basin. It is situated 126 metres above sea level, surrounded on the north-eastern part by the hills of Oradea, part of the Șes hills. The main part of the settlement is situated on the floodplain and on the terraces situated down the river Crișul Repede. Oradea is famous for its thermal springs. The river Crişul Repede crosses the city right through the center, providing it with a picturesque beauty. Its flow depends on the season; the dykes near Tileagd have partly controlled it since they were built in the early 1980s.

Annual average temperature is 10.4 °C. In July the average is about 21 °C, while in January the average is 1.4 °C. Rainfall is enough to support the woods and vegetation of the zone, registering an annual average of about 585.4 mm. Rainfall is variably distributed throughout the year, with a maximum in June and a minimum in the late Autumn and Winter months of the year.

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Getting There

By Plane

Oradea also has a small airport, located 5 kilometres southwest of the city. This airport has TAROM flights from Bucharest twice daily, also Ryanair from Memmingen (Munich), Bergamo (Milano) and Girona (Barcelona). These flights are average in terms of comfort, but are fairly expensive, and are not worth the money.

There is no money changer in this airport, only a quite expensive ATM (Euronet).

Citybus 28 goes to town, last stop at Strada Independenței corner Emanuil Gojdu (700 metres east of the Piata Unirii), when planes are arriving and go to the airport a bit before they are leaving (the online time table was not correct, but the timetable at the last bus stop is, allmost no service Saturday and Sunday).

By Train

Getting into Oradea is moderately easy, from Romania or from Hungary. Most visitors arrive by train, as Oradea is located at the western extremity of the Romanian train network. If you're travelling from Bucharest, there are two or three trains per day, one of which is a very comfortable yet fairly inexpensive night train, especially if you decide to travel in a refurbished first-class sleeper. Make sure that you take your tickets well in advance if you intend to travel by the first-class sleeper cars because the tickets sell out quickly.

The journey from Bucharest is a 10-hour, 650-kilometre trip across Romania. Getting to Oradea from other parts of Transylvania is a lot easier and quicker - there are now fast InterCity (IC) connections with brand-new trains from Germany to Cluj-Napoca, Arad and Timisoara. Besides these, there are fast trains that link Oradea at least once daily with nearly every major city in Romania.

If Oradea is your entry point to Romania, and you are coming from Hungary or Central Europe, there are five trains per day from Budapest to Oradea (some of which continue onwards to Brasov and Cluj-Napoca). Two of these trains are early in the morning, and one leaves Budapest in the afternoon and arrives in Oradea in the late evening, after about four hours.

By Bus

Intercity bus and coach services running through Oradea are strongly on the increase, and most of the residents see them as a welcome departure from what they see are slow, uncomfortable trains. This is because intercity coach travel is very much a novelty in a country where trains and aeroplanes have been the primary form of public transportation for decades. Even today, train is by far the recommended way, being much more comfortable and increasingly modern and luxurious.

Bus services are private, and are either run by large cross-European companies such as Eurolines or small Romanian or Hungarian companies which operate coaches between, say, Oradea and Budapest.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Bus and Tram ist 5 Lei, from the train station to the Emanuel church by Tram 3 and 4, bus 28 from there and the Unirii place to the airport, get the ticket before at a news stand or a ticket machine. The online timetable ist a bit of a puzzle.

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Eat

Dining in Oradea is usually a pleasure, provided you know where to eat. Most restaurants serve local cuisine, which is similar to other continental cuisine. Additionally, some Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants have opened, and even though they are good, it's best if you eat Transylvanian food in Oradea because this is what you won't find anywhere else.

  • Restaurant Rosecas, No. 17 Traian Mosoiu Street, +40745265673 phone reservation.

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Sleep

Hotels in Oradea range from modern and gleaming structures with all the amenities to cosy, wonderful and very elegant pensions to old, charming but somewhat uncomfortable hostels. Prices of hotels tend to be fixed, so it's not much use haggling. Note that prices are increasingly being quoted in euro, not Romanian lei (the local currency), and euro is accepted in most places. Hotels in Oradea are cheaper than in Western Europe, but not by an overly significant margin.

As Oradea city center is not that large, anywhere is OK to stay. In the "satellite quarters" of Oradea there are rarely hotels, except in the Nufărul quarter, where it's not worth staying. Try finding accommodation in the city, near Str. Republicii or the Town Hall, or near Bd. Magheru and the Civic Center. Both places are just as good, even though the you will find Str. Republicii accommodation to be probably more desirable, due to the abundance of shopping, dining and partying facilities on the street, which is the liveliest in Oradea. These accommodations are also noisier.

  • Hostel Oradea, Str. Mihai Eminescu nr. 11, +40-259-437 011. The building has no sign on it, go through the archway right to the back and turn left. You'll see a doorway with the Hostelling International Logo. Find the groundskeeper, but he only speaks Romanian so maybe grab a local speaker as many Romanians stay here too. €12 per night for a bed in a 4 person room. Spacious, clean and right in the center of town.
  • Avalon Hotel, Primariei nr 35, ☎ +40 744 522 523. Check-in: 06, check-out: 11:30AM. Free parking, internet wireless, phone/fax access. Secured access during night, restaurants table reservations and airport transfer. €20.
  • Hotel Atlantic, Str. Iosif Vulcan 9, ☎ +40 259 426 911, fax: +40 259 410 788, e-mail: office@wpg.ro. A four-star hotel located in a quiet area with a restaurant, air conditioning and minibar in every room, as well as good room service, doors that close with magnetic cards, video security all night, parking, spa, color TV and phone in every room and in-room safes. $40–$80 (Singles: €35; Doubles: €45; Suites: €70).
  • Hotel Ramada, Calea Aradului nr.9 (Calea Aradului is the road leading to the city of Arad), ☎ +40 359403333.
  • Continental Forum Oradea, Aleea Ştrandului nr 1 (between the Civic Center and the Aquatic Center), ☎ +40 372 598 800, e-mail: forum.oradea@continentalhotels.ro. Dacia Continental is the largest hotel in Oradea with conference rooms, bars, swimming pools, secure parking space and thermal spa treatment.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes exist in most cities and towns. The number of internet cafes seems to be declining in bigger cities recently because of cheap availability of computers and the rising living standard here. Wifi is widely available in University areas, airports, public squares, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Pay-as-you-go Wifi is also available in many venues. If uncertain, look for plazas near the Town Hall, large parks or other important buildings. Most (if not all) McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks in Romania have Wifi access and so do most 3-star (and higher) hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Romania's country code is +40. To dial to other countries from Romania, dial 00 and then the international number usually without the first 0.
Public phones work well and are available in all areas. You must purchase a phonecard from a kiosk to use them. When dialing within Romania, dial 0 + three digit area code + six digit telephone.

There are five networks - four GSM/3G (Orange Romania, Vodafone, Cosmote and DigiMobil) and one CDMA (Zapp). Orange and Vodafone have almost full national coverage (98-99% of the surface of the country), while the newly-merged Cosmote+Zapp are expanding quickly. Tariffs are average for the European Union (€0.08-0.30/min, €0.04 per SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available but is, like in most of the EU, rather expensive. Pre-paid cards or recharge codes can be bought in almost every shop, either rural or urban.

On prepaid SIMs you can activate extra options ("extraopţiune") starting from €5 (+ 24% VAT) in total = RON27-32, with a validity period of 30 days, containing thousands (200 -3,000) of minutes and SMSs within the same network and up to 100 minutes outside the network, including most European Union fixed land-line networks and two or three mobile networks.

Post

Posta Romana is the national postal service of Romania. Postal services are generally very affordable, reliable and reasonably fast. Post boxes are red and can be found near the post offices, along the street or in main train stations. Post offices can be found in even the smallest towns and the opening hours are generally Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00am to 12:00, closed on Sunday. You can buy stamps here or at kiosks. Prices for international mail start at around €0.55 and takes at least 3-5 days to countries within Europe. It's slightly cheaper and faster for domestic mail to be send. Intercontinental post is slightly more expensive but takes much longer. For slightly more expensive but faster and more reliable services you can also try international courier companies like TNT, DHL, FedEx or UPS.

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Accommodation in Oradea

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Oradea searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 18. Last edited at 7:40 on Sep 25, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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