592km (367 miles) NW of Bucharest; 152km (94 miles) W of Cluj-Napoca

A small, prosperous city at the western limits of Romania, Oradea benefits from the marks left by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, best evidenced in the elaborate and sometimes dainty Secessionist architecture fringing its avenues and squares. A whiff of its former fin de si├Ęcle cosmopolitanism still hangs in the air, and the city has made great efforts to restore much of the visual glory of its historic center, a program that's been continuing since 2006. While Oradea is lovely for its restrained ambience (best experienced on foot), it is also convenient for adventures into the Apuseni Mountains, with its seamless meadows, karstic formations, spectacular caves, wildlife, and traditional communities.