This summer, Claudiu and I took a short trip to visit his sister and her fiance in Iași. Located just a few kilometers from the Republic of Moldova, Iași is one of Romania’s largest cities. The drive from Brasov was about five hours, mostly because you’re on small mountain roads.
A tip for future tourists to Romania – keep in mind that there aren’t too many highways in Romania (yet) and if you are planning a trip, you will need to budget in more time for car/bus travel.
The number one thing you must do if you go to Iași is visit the Palace of Culture. Originally a government building, it has been remodeled into a wonderful museum.
The price point is very reasonable – make sure to bring your student ID here if you have one! I think it was also worth the extra money to go up to the clock tower. Inquire at the front desk to make an appointment – they have the clock tower tours in English and Romanian. For the both of us, we paid about 120 lei for two tickets to the entire museum + clock tower.
Also, great news – the Palace of Culture appeared to be wheelchair accessible. That was something very nice to see in a recently remodeled building!
They have different temporary exhibits going on (we saw one about Leonardo DiVinci), but in general, they feature Romanian artists from the past to present as well as some village items that are very interesting.
I’m a big fan of the paintings because I haven’t had too many chances to experience Romanian art. My favorite paintings included people and flowers.
The clock tower tour takes you up an elevator and then to an attic with stairs (this part of not wheelchair accessible, sadly). You get to see all the clock guts and also hear a lovely rendition of Hora Unirii (Unity Hora – a Romanian song that celebrates the unification of the Romanian lands).
We had an AMAZING dinner at a restaurant called Salsa Mexican Inspired. It was conveniently located right next to the mall and the portions were huge. Also, I was in heaven because it was the first Mexican cuisine I had had since coming from the states. Wow.
…And I am including a picture of Starbucks cup because of the way they spelled my name. Cler.
Another great place to visit is the neighborhood of Copou. The university is located in this district, as well as the Botanical Gardens and the beautiful Copou Park.
In Copou Park, you can visit Mihai Emenescu’s special Linden tree. According to legend, he wrote some of his most famous poetry sitting underneath the tree in the park. The tree itself is almost 500 years old.
Next door to Copou Park is the Botanical Garden. The entrance fee was 5 lei and totally worth it.
So. many. cactuses.
Iași is a very nice town to visit if you have a day or so free to do some sight seeing. Unless you are the kind of traveler who likes to slowly drink in the culture of a city, I wouldn’t recommend spending more than two days here on a tourist trip. We had an excellent time in Iași relaxing and visiting with our family.
(a big THANK YOU ❤ to Claudiu’s sister and fiance for hosting us)