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Oradea is a major city in Crisana, Transylvania, capital of the Bihor county. The city is home to about 205000 inhabitants according to the latest census, this not including the metropolitan areas which brings the total to slightly over 220000.
The city is considered by locals to be one of the unknown toursist gems in Romania. Many times Oradea is overlooked by tourists in favour of more fashionable Transylvanian destinations such as Brasov, Sighisoara or Cluj-Napoca.
Given its proximity to the Hungarian border, Oradea is one of the wealthiest cities in Romania. The city is also home to a large Hungarian minority making the city a bilingual one, most residents being able to speak both languages, Romanian and Hungarian, although Romanian is the most frequently encountered one.
Oradea is situated 8 km east of the Hungarian border in western Romania, making the city an ideal starting point to your Romanian journey if you're entering the country from Hungary. The distance from the capital, Bucharest, is around 650 km northwest.
It is located at the meeting point of the Crisana plain with the Crisul Repede ("The Fast Cris" in Romanian) basin, 126 m above sea level. The Crisul Repede river is crossing the city through the center of it.
Getting to & around
Getting to Oradea is very easy. The easiest way to reach Oradea is by train. The city is served by two or three daily trains from Bucharest and the journey from the capital to Oradea takes 10 hours.
Oradea is well connected by train with other major Romanian destinations as well, the city being one a hub of the InterCity network of fast trains linking the major Romanian cities.
There are three trains daily from Budapest to Oradea that continue their journey to either Brasov, Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest. Two of the trains come in early in the morning while the other leaves Budapest in mid day in order to arrive in Oradea in the evening, a good six hours later. You'd be better off choosing CFR as your carrier instead of its Hungarian counterpart as their trains, believe it or not, are much more comfortable.
Oradea is home to a small international airport. This airport links the city twice a day through TAROM flights with Bucharest as well as other Romanian cities. Carpatair is also operating on the airport, connecting it with cities in Germany and southern Europe.
Other larger international airports nearby are Timisoara's international airport and Cluj-Napoca's international airport, although they only offer a slight increase in the variety of flights. Other than that, there's also the Ferihegy International Airport in Budapest, 6 hours by train away, and that's one airport that should be able to satisfy any of your flight needs.
The operation and administration of public transport in Oradea is run by RAOTL, known also as OTL, which is owned by the municipality just as in other Romanian cities. The network is made up of buses and trams.
Three tram lines are being operated in Oradea: line 1 and line 3 actually run together in a loop while line 2 runs with the other two in a part of this loop. Almost all of the neighbourhoods except "Vie" and the city center (due to preservation reasons) are served by trams.
As for bus routes, OTL runs 9 of them, numbered from 10 to 18 and covering the whole city.
Oradea is famous for its thermal springs, the outstanding city center as well as the nearby health spas at Baile Felix, accessible by train or bus, amongst other things.
Other attractions worth visiting are:
- The Cris Country Museum ("Muzeul Tarii Crisurilor") - a museum built in Baroque style with 365 famous windows. Served as the palace of the Roman Catholic biship until 1945 when the Communism took things over and transferred it into public ownership. The state returned it to the Roman Catholic church in 2003;
- The Baroque Cathedral ("Catedrala baroca") - biggest Baroque cathedral in Romania;
- The Church With A Moon ("Biserica cu Luna") - a peculiar church with an astronomical clock showcasing the moon's phases;
- The Oradea Fortress - with a pentagon shaped fort;
- "Ady Endre" Museum - a museum for one of Hungary's best poets;
- The State Theathre - designed by Austrian architects at the end of the 19th century;
- The Main Street (known locally as Strada Republicii or Strada Prinicpala);
- The Black Hawk Passage (Pasajul "Vulturul Negru");
- Various religious sights including a couple of synagogues and the biggest Baptist church in Eastern Europe.
Please visit our page of Oradea hotels to get further information on Oradea accommodation or to comment or rate a specific hotel.
The city is home of the FC Bihor Oradea football team, now playing in the Romanian second division.