Before we speak about things to do in Timișoara in a weekend, here’s a bit of a back story. As some of you might know, on 28 November I went for the last time to my office job, to get ready for whatever Mathieu’s contract brings our way. (We’ll find out this month, so fingers crossed!)
As the following weekend was a long one for people working in Romania, he made me choose a place to go on a small holiday, to celebrate my newfound freedom. I looked and looked, and chose Timișoara.
But what about Italy? he kept asking.
Nope. It’s going to be cold, and if we’re going to Italy it should be warm enough to spend a long time outside and not feel sorry for how little we end up visiting a new place at the end of the weekend.
So we chose to visit Timișoara, to also be in Romania for its centennial anniversary celebrations. Our Timișoara weekend turned out great and we won a new favorite destination in Romania!
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Is Timișoara worth visiting?
Timişoara, a city in western Romania, is definitely worth visiting. It’s famous for its extensive history and diversity of cultures. It’s also the main industrial, economic, and cultural hub of Romania’s western region and the third-largest city in the country.
There are many things to visit in Timișoara. The city is well-known for its numerous museums, theaters, and cultural events and it also has a rich cultural past. Lots of lovely parks, gardens, and historical sites, including Unirii Square, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and the Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral, can also be found in this Romanian city.
Timișoara is also known for its exciting nightlife, which includes a good selection of pubs, clubs, and restaurants.
In short, if you’re interested in learning more about Romania’s rich history and culture, Timișoara is unquestionably worth a trip. It’s a wonderful city with everything from cultural activities and beautiful landmarks to animated nightlife and excellent restaurants.
What makes Timișoara special to me
Well, maybe I’m biased when writing about the best things to do in Timișoara on a weekend. This is the town where Mathieu asked me to marry him on the day of our arrival. I think in less than half an hour from our arrival in Timișoara! So this is the place where I spent my first days as the future Mrs. Mirela Letailleur. (I love the alliteration!)
Therefore, our Timișoara travel experience may seem more magical to me than it is. But even without getting engaged, I think I truly would have loved our Timișoara holidays. So I’m encouraging you to read how I spent my weekend story and discover the charm of this city!
Where we stayed in Timișoara
Mathieu handled our accommodation in Timișoara, and it was a complete surprise for me. I later found out that he switched the accommodation three times until choosing Hotel Timișoara.
Not only that but he was prepared with a list of things to do in Timișoara Romania, together with a list of places we were going to eat. (The Culture Trip helped him with his list of Timișoara restaurants to try over our weekend trip.) He went as far as secretly packing our bathing suits to be ready for a swim in the awesome pool of Hotel Timișoara.
The hotel was lovely, and our room was very cozy. This is actually where he proposed. He knew I wouldn’t have liked a proposal in a public space, so when it was just the two of us, he got me in his arms and told me all he found great about me and wonderful about our relationship. And I was all “Me too! / You too!” for a while until I eventually let him finish his idea and pop the question.
And even though the pool was closed for the weekend, we enjoyed the large tub and took a bath with lots of bubbles in the evening.
However, until the evening, we had almost a full day to explore and choose what to do in Timișoara on our weekend.
If you book Hotel Timișoara, you can discover the city in style. Hotel Timișoara provides the ideal balance of comfort and convenience for your journey, from its comfortable accommodations and facilities to its practical location in the city center, next to the opera. Don’t pass up the chance to maximize your time in Timișoara by booking your stay here!
Address: 1-3 Mărășești Street, Timișoara 300086
Tel. +40 256 498 852
Having a late lunch at Pepper Steak & Shake
For our first lunch as an engaged couple, we went to a place with a lovely interior, where I appreciated the nice lighting, the hanging plants, and the olive tree by the entrance.
Wondering what our romantic lunch at Pepper Timișoara was all about? Burgers! And wine. It was also a nice spot to learn the story of my engagement ring and discover who else knew before me and how long ago.
This is where my future husband also took the first official photo of me wearing the engagement ring. So probably the first place I’d go back to should we return to Timișoara for a weekend or longer.
Pepper – Steak & Shake
Located at 13 Piața Unirii, Pepper Timișoara is open every day from noon until midnight. The restaurant can be reached by phone at +40 720 408 250.
Enjoying a lazy evening in Timișoara
Ok, the whole weekend was pretty lazy, not just the first evening, though there are lots of Timișoara things to do. But it was freezing outside, so we didn’t walk much or visit outdoor stuff that much. On the first evening, we just went exploring Piața Unirii, Piața Libertății, Piața Victoriei, and Piața Petru Maior Timișoara.
We went to the Timișoara Christmas Market, in Piața Victoriei. Though the market itself wasn’t yet officially open, some of the booths were already waiting for customers. We bought some mulled wine which we drank on our way to the Bega River and on the short stroll we took on the shore.
On the way back to Hotel Timișoara, we passed once again through the Timișoara Christmas Market and bought some hot local pies (plăcinte ardelenești), with salty cheese and dill, ham, and mushrooms. Still stuffed from our late lunch, we struggled to finish them.
How we spent Romania’s centennial in Timișoara
The next day was 1 December, Romania’s National Day. We woke up quite late, and we bought a kürtőskalács from the Christmas Market Timișoara, to eat while we went exploring.
Mathieu and I ended up on Take Ionescu Boulevard, where the military parade was scheduled to start later. We stayed there for a bit and we checked out the military men and the cars. But the parade was scheduled to start in two hours and it was very cold outside.
Coffee at M Bistro
We grabbed a coffee in Piața Unirii, passing by the Theresia Bastion. Ending up in M Bistro, Mathieu had a latte and I went for a cappuccino. The staff was giving homemade chocolates to the guests, tied with ribbons in Romania’s flag colors.
While checking out their menu, we saw a breakfast that looked great. We weren’t really hungry after the kürtőskalács, but it looked delicious. However, it was around 12.30, and they had stopped serving breakfast. We made a plan to return the next day for it, though.
(As you might have noticed, most of the things to see in Timișoara in a weekend involve eating and drinking. It may be because of the weather, but we also really enjoyed all the places we went to, and Mathieu was saying he would like more establishments like these in Bucharest, too.)
Located at 4 Piața Unirii, M Bistro is open every day from 11:00 AM to midnight. The bistro can be contacted by phone at +40 356 005 800. A good alternative can be Olive Bistro Timișoara.
Historic Trams Parade on Traian Bridge
A bit later, around 15.00, we were on Traian Bridge, over the river Bega. We were waiting for two beautiful horses to start pulling the first out of three historic trams from here to Piața Victoriei.
It was just three trams and only one stop, but it was nice to see a different kind of parade than the military ones we always get to see on Romania’s National Day.
Corneliu Miklosi Public Transportation Museum
If you’re wondering what to see in Timișoara, check out the historic trams collection. Tickets to the museum are 6 RON for adults and 3 RON for children, retired people, and adults with disabilities. You can also rent a historic tram for a private tour, with prices starting at 89 RON per kilometer without a guide or 199 RON per kilometer with a guide.
Address: 56 Take Ionescu Boulevard, Timișoara
Tel. +40 725 234 532
Quick lunch in Timișoara’s Christmas Market
Having seen the preview before Timișoara’s Christmas Market opened, I knew where to drag Mathieu to get what I wanted. And I wanted a pulled pork burger, at the Craft booth! It was very juicy and it had a lot of vegetables. We both enjoyed it very much.
We felt stuffed afterward, so we went for a nap and set the alarm for 18.30.
Watching the military retreat with torches
At 18.30, a battalion retreated with music and torches. It left from Piața Petru Maior Timișoara and passed on Take Ionescu Boulevard. We waited for them in Piața Unirii, thinking that if we woke up at 18.30, by the time we get dressed and reached Piața Unirii, we won’t have to wait for too long.
Well, we still waited a lot. But it was worth it. I found it thrilling to hear the marching band, followed by the singing military men with torches. Your Timișoara weekend won’t necessarily include all this, unless you’re going on Romania’s National Day, though.
We joined in and walked by their side until they left Piața Libertății (well, mostly me, Mathieu kept his distance). After that it got too crowded for our taste, so we went to have dinner at Vinto Timișoara.
Romantic dinner at Vinto Gastro Wine Bar
I was once again proud of Mathieu’s new planning skills. He booked a table at Vinto Gastro Wine Bar for a romantic dinner in Timișoara. The setting was nice, and it reminded me a lot of Verso Sera, from our Rome holiday.
We enjoyed some delicious tagliatelle with duck ragu and parmesan, paired with a Shiraz recommended by our lovely waitress. (She was amazing, spotting us in just a couple of seconds when one of us needed a refill!)
For dessert, we were delighted with our cheesecakes with salted caramel and crispy cashews. I loved the combination, which I’d never met before in another restaurant.
If you’re visiting Timișoara in a weekend and you’re looking for a romantic restaurant, just go to Vinto Gastro Wine Bar. Trust me on this!
Vinto Gastro Wine Bar
Vinto Timișoara is open from Tuesday to Sunday from noon until midnight. The restaurant is located at 4 Florimund Mercy Street and can be contacted by phone at +40 755 080 028.
Our relaxing Sunday in Timișoara
The two of us woke up earlier on Sunday morning, mostly because we wanted to be in time for breakfast at Bistro M. However, while 12.30 was too late, 10.00 was too early.
So we went next door, to In Thyme, and boy was that a fortunate turn of events!
Breakfast at In Thyme
Not only did we find them open at 10.00, but we adored the interior decorations at In Thyme Timișoara. And the staff was extremely nice and friendly.
One of them came to introduce herself and invited us to help them decorate the tree while listening to Christmas carols until our lattes and food were ready. I truly enjoyed spending the morning like that on our Timișoara holidays.
Mathieu had Banat-style scrambled eggs (you can see them in the photo above) and I had roasted egg sandwiches. And both were delicious.
After breakfast, we returned to Hotel Timișoara to pack our stuff, check out, and leave our luggage in storage till the evening.
In Thyme Timișoara is open from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 AM to midnight, and from Friday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM. The restaurant is located at 13 Piața Unirii and you can book a table in advance by phone at +40 725 065 301.
Timișoara Art Museum
Because it was before 14.00, when the Museum of the Communist Consumer opens, we decided to hide from the cold in Timișoara Art Museum.
Although I appreciated the building (especially the concert hall) and the lighting in the rooms with paintings, I was very disappointed by the Timișoara Art Museum. The only part I found interesting was the one with the works of art by Romanian painters.
Timișoara Art Museum
The Art Museum in Timișoara features both classic and contemporary artwork in a baroque palace. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The museum is located at 1 Piața Unirii and admission to the entire exhibition costs 30 RON.
Mulled wine and local hot pies at Timișoara Christmas Market
Ok, we got very lucky with the Christmas Market in Timișoara. First of all, because it had lots of booths with real mulled wine, not the cheap tablet-made one that was all over Bucharest’s Christmas Market last year. And a 300 ml glass was only 5 RON.
The second reason was that we were able to eat small things when we didn’t feel like eating a whole meal and in a much shorter time. (Even though on Sunday the queues were long because everybody wanted to have a quick lunch Timișoara.) In addition, in a small space, you find lots of fun things to do in Timișoara.
This time we chose the pies from Căsuța cu plăcinte, which came from Satu Mare. Though it took longer to get served, I enjoyed their plăcinte ardelenești more than those we had on our first evening.
The Museum of the Communist Consumer
Finally heading in a different direction from Piața Victoriei, we arrived at the Museum of the Communist Consumer, on the other bank of the Bega River. We were surprised to discover that it was in reality a bar inside an old house, where the basement was transformed into a museum.
The visit to the museum was very interesting, recognizing things from my childhood and from that of my parents’. Mathieu was very curious to learn more and he said he likes the fact that we have different backgrounds.
After visiting, we went to the bar and had some coffee. Then I also had tea to finish my pufuleți (you can see this delicious yellowish snack in the photo above), while Mathieu was kicking my ass in chess. Shamefully, I only won 1 out of 4 games.
The Museum of the Communist Consumer is a must-see, in my opinion, so make sure you add it to your list of things to do in Timișoara in a weekend!
Museum of the Communist Consumer
The Communist Consumer’s Museum in Timișoara offers a glimpse into the daily life of someone living in Romania during the Communist regime. Located at 1 Arhitect Laszlo Szekely Street, the museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 2:00 PM to 11:00 PM. A suggested donation of 10 RON is appreciated.
A cozy Homemade dinner
While searching for the restaurant Mathieu chose for our last evening in Timișoara, we realized we were very close to it. And from the communist apartment, we moved into “grandma’s living room” in the restaurant Homemade Timișoara.
We took our time, enjoying our wine from a beautiful decanter. For dinner, we chose shrimp and zucchini risotto, served with Parmesan and sesame seeds on top. And, for dessert, we had an amazing pumpkin cake.
Another must-try when you visit Timișoara in a weekend!
We left dinner and faced the cold to get to Hotel Timișoara for our luggage. However, we made one more stop along the way to admire Timișoara Christmas Market by night and to remember all the things we got to do in Timișoara in a weekend.
Located at 40 Gheorghe Doja Street, Homemade is open every day from noon until 11:00 PM. You can call +40 730 832 299 to book a table at this Timișoara restaurant.
See the best of Timișoara, a vibrant & welcoming destination!
Regardless of your interests, a weekend in Timișoara is guaranteed to be rewarding and delightful. This dynamic and welcoming travel destination in Romania has something for everyone, from its rich history and cultural heritage to its wonderful cuisine and gorgeous parks.
So, if you’re seeking to travel somewhere fresh and interesting for a weekend break, think about Timișoara. I promise you won’t be sorry if you choose a Timișoara city break!
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