Suceava is a city in the historical region of Bukovina, north-eastern Romania, founded on the banks of the Suceava River. During the late Middle Ages, until 1564, Suceava was the capital of now Moldovia region. Suceava was once regarded as "mini Austria" thanks to its significant ethnic diversity during the Austrian domination of Bukovina.
Suceava is the place of several medieval sites, museums and historical buildings. It's also the gateway to Bukovina's UNESCO World Heritage painted monasteries known for their incredible Byzantine architecture. What is beautiful about Suceava is that you can see a city that is at the crossroads of so many cultures. Its Romanian buildings have German and Austrian influences as well as Byzantine and Turkish architecture.
Suceava continues to be a relatively undiscovered gem with foreign tourists, but thanks to its cultural and historical sites it's quickly gaining popularity. With this complete and comprehensive travel guide to Suceava, you will be able to prepare for an excellent and worry-free trip to this city. Here's everything you need to know about Suceava, in Romania.
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The present-day city of Suceava and the surroundings were already inhabited since the Paleolithic period. Unlike other regions from Romania, Suceava was not conquered by the legions of the Roman Empire. During the Late Middle Ages, Suceava was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia and the main residence of the Moldavian princes for nearly two centuries.
Suceava (German: Suczawa, Hungarian: Szucsáva) is the largest city in Suceava County. The town is located in the south of the historical region of Bukovina, is located in the Suceava Plateau, on the river of the same name, 21 km away from Siret.
The city covers two types of geographical areas: hills and meadows. The tallest hill is called Zamca Hill. Suceava is the place of several medieval sites that are closely linked to the history of the former Principality of Moldavia.
There is even more to Suceava than meets the eyes. Within a project supported by the European Commission, Suceava was chosen as a European destination of excellence.
How to get to Suceava
By car - If you decide to visit Suceava from any other part of Romania or from mainland Europe, the best and easiest way to get to Suceava is by car. You can rent a car and make the journey this way, as it will be the fastest and most comfortable. Suceava is located just 46 minutes from the border with Ukraine, and around 6 hours and a half from Bucharest. If you decide to make the journey from Bucharest, we recommend that you turn it into a longer itinerary and stop at all the special monasteries in the Moldovia region of Romania.
By train - Getting to Suceava by train is just as easy. There are direct trains that take 5 and a half or 6 hours. A ticket for first-class with a fast train will cost roughly £25 while a ticket for second class will cost only £15. Both tickets allow you to have a seat reservation. You can buy your ticket in advance on the official Romanian train websites.
By airplane - From Bucharest to Suceava it takes approximately 1 hour by plane. Prices vary depending on when you book your ticket but you can score tickets for as little as £15.
When to visit Suceava
Suceava has 4 distinct seasons much like everywhere else in Romania. As it's located in the north of the country, Suceava is cooler than other southern cities in Romania or the seaside resort such as Mamaia. The best time to visit Suceava is at the beginning of Autumn when the temperatures are still mild but not as dry or torrid as in the summer.
Summer in Suceava is hot with temperatures ranging between 11°C (52°F) to 25°C (77°F). As Suceava is just becoming more popular with tourists, you can visit it during the summer and not expect it overcrowded like in many other places in Romania.
Autumn is mild and beautiful with gorgeous foliage colours everywhere. Starting early September the temperatures are still warm, and progressively getting cooler towards mid and end of Autumn. September is definitely one of the best times to visit Suceava. Temperatures in the Autumn range from −1°C (30°F) to 21°C (70°F).
Winters are cold with heavy snow. Prices will be much lower for tourists who wish to visit in the winter. Just one hour away from Suceava there are ski resorts for you to enjoy winter in all its glory. Make sure you dress properly for winter, with winter boots, winter jackets and lots of layers. Temperatures range between −9°C (16°F) to 2°C (36°F).
Springs in Suceava are cold at the beginning of March and slowly warm up, becoming sunny and beautifully May. In April you will see lots of flowers, green and blooms. The city comes to life in a beautiful way and it's the time when most people start wearing light coats and even t-shirts during the day. Temperatures range between −3°C (27°F) to 20°C (68°F).
Where to stay in Suceava
The best place to stay in Suceava is close to the city centre. You will be closer to most attractions this way and it's easiest to have access to shops and restaurants. Accommodation in Suceava is affordable and you can stay in 4-star hotels but also budget self-catering studios to live like a local. Here is where we recommend you to book in Suceava.
Luxury: Hotel Sonnenhof
This 4 star accommodation is ideally located in Suceava with the main train station located just 5 miles away. This hotel has a lovely summer garden and a restaurant which serves traditional Romanian food.
Suceava Fortress can be reached within 3.6 miles.
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Luxury: Hotel Balada
Set in Suceava, Hotel Balada features a bar, a garden and a terrace. This is a very good hotel at a very reasonable price, starting with just £39 per night.
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Budget: Hotel Casa Bucovineana
Book a budget double in this property from just £27 per night. You will enjoy a private room with your own en-suite bathroom, as well as toiletries, towels and linens. Included in the price you can enjoy a beautiful traditional breakfast.
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Things to do in Suceava
Suceava is such a beautiful city with so much to offer. There are several things for you to do and see in Suceava and we've put together a list of must-do and must-see. There are eight UNESCO World Heritage churches with Byzantine architecture located in and near Suceava so whether you love art, culture or history, there's definitely something for you in Suceava.
Fortress of Suceava
Fortress of Suceava or the Suceava Citadel is a medieval castle built during the reign of Petru of Moldavia. This medieval castle was later expanded and strengthened and played a vital role in the fortification system built in the late 14th century to protect the region from the Ottomans.
The Seat Fortress of Suceava consists of two concentric citadels. There is the inner citadel which is the original built by Petru of Moldavia. There is also the outer citadel which has a circular shape surrounding the old one. As apt of the new fortifications, a moat was added for extra protection. It is now a major touristic attraction in Suceava and also a landmark where there are many cultural events happening year-round.
The Princely Court of Suceava
The Princely Court of Suceava (Romanian: Curtea Domnească din Suceava) was also built and developed by Petru of Moldavia. this was originally made of wood. Later, after 1400, Alexander I of Moldavia rebuilt it to include a stone wall and a complex of sturdier buildings. Nowadays, you can only admire the ruins located in the centre of Suceava.
Bucovina Village Museum
Bucovina Village Museum is an open-air museum with 21 houses to visit and admire. It's essentially a lovely reproduction of a village to see how locals used to live before Suceava became a flourishing city. The whole site is well maintained and restored. The price is just £2 per adult.
The Bukovina Museum consists of several individual museums, objects and memorial houses scattered throughout the region. Every single one of them has its own series of events so you can learn more about the culture and history of Suceava. The History Museum was built in 1898 and is now a cultural heritage site making it an important tourist attraction in Suceava.
St. New John Monastery
St. New John Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also listed as a historic monument by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs. Both the interior and the exterior are incredible, built between 1514 and 1522 by Stephen IV of Moldavia.
What to eat in Suceava
Romanian food is incredible and this is no exception in the city of Suceava. You are going to love eating all the traditional dishes such as stevia stews, polenta, cheese, meatballs and delicious soups. Here are some of the dishes you need to eat while you are in Suceava.
Sarmale cu mamaliga - Sarmale cu mamaliga is the most traditional Romanian dish which you need to try during your visit. Sarmale are stuffed cabbage rolls and polenta is usually prepared with cottage cheese, sour cream and milk. They go so very well together.
Piftie - Piftia is a type of jelly with bits of pieces of meat and vegetables in it. It takes a while to cook and can be enjoyed during festive and traditional holidays almost everywhere in the country.
Pârjoale - This is a Romanian type of meatball made from minced pork or beef mixed with eggs, grated potatoes and bread soaked in milk, onions and herbs. Everyone has their own version of the recipe with various spices and shapes. The mixture is breaded and fried in oil.
Cornulețe - These are delicious amortised pastries with vanilla and rum extract, usually stuffed with Turkish delight, jam, chocolate, cinnamon, sugar, nuts and raisins. The shape is like a crescent which is why we call it "Cornulețe".
Brânzoaică - A Romanian sweet cheese pie with semolina, cottage cheese, eggs and lemon zest. It tastes incredible and it's a hearty dish. Sometimes this dish is also called Poale in Brau and it's considered a traditional dish from the region of Moldova and Suceava.
There is so much awaiting to be discovered in Suceava. A city full of cultures and traditions and safe to visit for all types of travellers, this Romanian city is an ideal destination if you love hidden gems that still preserve much of their authenticity. Suceava is also an incredible destination full of authentic souvenirs from Romania and plenty of shopping opportunities for traditional gifts and artisanal materials.
Now that you have read all the complete guide to Suceava, you are ready to visit and enjoy this incredible Romanian city.