Romania has some beautiful touristic cities that attract visitors and offer them a wide range of options for entertainment and the discovery of the local history and culture. Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov or Bucharest are some of them, being constantly featured on a traveler’s itinerary. However, when it comes to the best cities to live in Romania, which ones are actually in the top?
Press one, an authoritative local newspaper, ran a survey among its readers in the spring of 2020, asking them to rank the cities they lived in, on a scale from 1 to 5, taking into account their safety, availability of urban green spaces, cost of life, cleanliness, administration, traffic, smart city solutions and quality of life.
The survey amassed over 6000 valid responses, helping build an accurate view of the most loved cities in Romania.
Here are the best cities to live in Romania, according to local residents:
Named European Capital of Culture in 2021, Timisoara has a vibrant cultural life and an expanding socioeconomic status. It is the biggest city in Western Romania and very close to the border with Occidental Europe, reason for which it attracts many foreign investors.
Timisoara scores well in terms of safety, quality of life, and availability of green spaces, but its residents are unhappy with the traffic, the cleanliness and the local administration. It also has a quite high cost of life.
Situated in Southern Romania, Craiova is home to a Ford factory, which employs thousands of people. It is considered to be a safe city, with plenty of green spaces and where people enjoy a high quality life. On the other hand, it ranks bad in terms of the local administrations, the traffic and the lack of smart city solutions.
The city has a relatively good position, linking the historical regions of Banat, Transylvania and Muntenia, so with a good investment in improving its surrounding infrastructure it could attract a higher number of investors.
It is the only city in the region of Moldovia to appear in the ranking. As it is the case for all the previously mentioned cities, people are unhappy with the traffic and the local administration. Iasi doesn’t rank high for its smart city functions, either, but it compensates with its cleanliness, safety and high quality of life.
Similar to Craiova, it needs better connections to other big cities in Romania to further develop and rank higher on the list of best cities in Romania.
Baia Mare is the largest city in the historical region of Maramures. It has a bad history with corrupt administrations, as seen by the low grades given by the city’s residents. It also ranks low for traffic and smart city solutions, but people are content with its safety, cleanliness and the low cost of life.
The city has a perfect location if you want to visit Maramures, Oas County, Lapus County and the whole region in the northwest of the Apuseni Mountains, but as many other cities, suffers from a lack of road and rail connections with the rest of the country.
Brasov is among the most important cities in the region of Transylvania and enjoys a privileged location, close enough to the country’s capital, but still located in the middle of nature. For this reason, it attracts plenty of travelers who come to visit the famous Peles or Bran castles or to enjoy winter sports in the Poiana Brasov resort.
The city managed to situate itself as a self-sustainable destination. Its residents are happy with its safety, cleanliness and high quality of life. The local administration, the lack of green spaces inside the city, the traffic and the lack of smart city solutions are aspects that could undergo improvements.
Nicknamed by many Romania’s Silicon Valley, Cluj-Napoca is emerging as the country’s new technology hub. The city provides incredible work opportunities for those activating in the IT industry and it attracts many large investors. Besides that, it offers a vibrant cultural life and plenty of entertainment options. It is home to many renowned film, theatre and music festivals, including Untold.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Cluj-Napoca’s residents are very satisfied with their quality of life and the smart city solutions available. They also consider Cluj-Napoca to be a safe city and to have a good local administration, but it could improve in terms of traffic and cost of life. The latter is considered to be the highest in the country.
A small city in Transylvania, Alba-Iulia enjoys a good location and efficient connections with the nearby cities of Timisoara, Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca. Furthermore, the major renovation it underwent 10 years ago significantly improved its touristic appeal and brought with it many improvements in terms of infrastructure.
Its biggest advantage is the equilibrium between quality and cost of life (almost 4 on a scale of 5), but the locals are also content with its safety. Alba Iulia registered lower scores in the availability of urban green spaces and local administration, but overall the residents have a good image of the city.
Located close to Romania’s capital, Bucharest, Targoviste has a significant historical and touristic importance. It is much loved by its residents, scoring highly in terms of cost of living, safety, and quality of life. As everywhere in Romania, people are unhappy with the traffic and they also think Targoviste could improve its smart city solutions.
It comes as no surprise that Sibiu is one of the best cities to live in Romania. In 2007 it was named European Capital of Culture, and that title brought with it many good changes. A large part of the historical center was renovated, the infrastructure was improved and the development of tourism gave rise to numerous work opportunities.
Sibiu is well-connected to other cities in Romania and Europe and it attracts many foreign investors, both aspects that rise the quality of life of its residents. They are also happy about the city’s safety and cleanliness, but score the local administration, traffic and cost of life a little bit lower (just under 4).
In recent years Oradea has built its reputation as one of the best cities in Romania in which you could live. The local administration had a good strategy of developing the city and their efforts resulted in a beautiful renovation of the historical center and significant economic growth, thanks to benefitting from EU funds.
Photo credit: Radiho
Oradea’s residents are highly satisfied with all the criteria they had to score Oradea on, as seen by the overall score of 4.45 out of 5. Not surprisingly, people are happy with three key elements – the local administration, the quality of life and the safety. At the same time, they believe further improvements can be made in the following areas: traffic and cost of life.
Besides these ten, other places that compete for the title of best cities to live in Romania are Constanta and Bucharest, according to a reportage done by Digi24, a local news television.
Constanta has a much coveted position, being located on the Black Sea coast and only a few hours away from the capital.
Besides the incredible natural beauty and fresh seafood, what is better for its residents than knowing they are free to enjoy the sandy beaches and the clear sea at any time, without the busy crowds that gather in summer?
From an economic standpoint, the city is a force to be reckoned with in tourism and trade. Constanta’s maritime port is the largest port on the Black Sea and the main eastern entrance gate into Europe.
Romania’s capital has the largest population in the country, and therefore it seems almost natural that it is able to cater to all tastes. Whatever you want to do, you’ll find a place for it in Bucharest – be it dance studios, unusual specialty gyms, high-quality entertainment options, exotic restaurants or bizarre career opportunities.
Besides its diversity, Bucharest is known for its bests. Although not everything is of equal quality, it is home to acclaimed universities, reputable companies, sought-after services and the largest airport in the country, providing easy connections to the rest of the world.
From an insider’s point of view, these are some of the best cities to live in Romania.
Transylvania is the region best represented in the top, as 4 out of 12 cities are located here: Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Alba-Iulia and Sibiu. Thus, Transylvania upholds its reputation as having some of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns in the country. Moreover, it has imposing fortifications, like the UNESCO Fortified Churches built by the Transylvanian Saxons, famous castles – Bran and Peles, a rich and diverse biodiversity, and stunning natural views. If you are interested to learn more, read our article about the best attractions Transylvania has to offer.
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