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- 20 Oct 2020, 3 nights
- 2 Guests
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Iași's dynamic feel is partly down to its striking mix of architectural styles, with ornate historic buildings side by side with Communist-era edifices, and partly thanks to its large student population. They hail from all over the world, giving Romania's second-biggest city a spirited and cosmopolitan vibe. Visit this culture-crammed destination to check out ancient monasteries, lie under the linden trees of Copou Park and browse super-contemporary shopping centres all in the same day.
Hostels in Iași are known for their friendly staff and cosy common areas. If you're just on a quick stop-off, choose somewhere near the bus and train stations in the city centre. It's easy to find an Iași hostel with Wi-Fi (meaning there's no need to use up your data when sending friends your travel snaps). A place with a shared kitchen will help you cook up breakfast and get out exploring even earlier in the day.
Find your bearings by starting in the main square, Piața Unirii. It's the heart of the city and is lined with hotels, shops and apartment buildings. Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt, Iași's main street, runs south from the plaza – head here to seek out Romanian tavernas for hearty meals and local drinks. You'll mostly spot students in the Tudor Vladimirescu neighbourhood, which is the ideal place to hang out if you're into your nightlife or on a budget (or both).
Iași was historically known as the "city of a hundred churches", so iconic sights like the 19th-century St Parascheva Metropolitan Cathedral are worth a stop while you're here. You could also drop by the Botanical Gardens, the oldest and biggest in Romania at 100 hectares, to lounge by a lake or picnic among the roses. For people watching or a break from the city, head to the parks beside the banks of the Bahlui River, perfect on a sunny day.
You can catch one of five daily trains from Bucharest to Iași, which take up to 7.5 hours. Hop on a tram to get from the rail station into the city centre. There are also flights into Iași International Airport, which is 8km away, and a bus to whisk you into the centre. Iași has generally good bus and tram services, and taxis are easy to flag down in the streets.