Arad is an industrial city of some 160,000 population at the western edge of Romania, close to the border with Hungary. The only reason to visit is to stop over on a journey between those countries. There's a collection of fine 19th C buildings around City Hall, and another dilapidated collection just south around Piata Avram Iancu. But mostly the city is bland 20th C medium-rise and lacks visitor attractions, and there's no reason to stay longer.
The nearest viable commercial airport is Timisoara (Traian Vuia TSR) 40 km south, with 6 or 7 flights a day to Bucharest, and other European destinations. Budapest (Ferihegy BUD) airport 150 km north-west has extensive connections.
Arad is on the main highway E68 between Budapest and Bucharest. There are buses every hour or two to Timisoara (60-90 mins); change there for Bucharest. Buses run every 30 mins to Budapest, the fastest in only two hours.
For Transylvania, four or five buses run daily to Deva (3 hrs), Sibiu (5 hrs) and Brasov (8 hrs). There are four buses to Cluj Napoca (4-6 hrs).
The bus station is in the Atrium Centre on Aurel Vlaicu Bvd, 200 m west of the railway station and 2 km north of city centre.
There are five direct trains a day to Budapest Keleti, taking 4 hrs 30, fare 100 lei. (This includes an hour waiting at the border; there's also a one-hour time switch between Romania and Hungary.) The last direct train is at 3:30PM, but there's a 5PM indirect route taking six hours. The 1AM train is a through-service to Vienna.
All passenger trains are run by CFR Calatori. 1 Arad railway station (Gara Arad) is 2 km north of the city centre at Piața Gării 8-9. The interior is modernised; few facilities within but lots of fast food places, small supermarkets, currency exchange etc just outside on the main boulevard.
Most sights, eating and accommodation are a short walk from City Hall. Buses and trams run along the main strip here, Bulevard Revolutiei. At its north end this curves west into Calea Aurel Vlaicu, with the bus & railway stations. Taxis and car hire are readily available.
- 1 Cultural Palace & Museum (Palatul Cultural & Complexul Muzeal), Piaţa George Enescu 1 (by City Hall). Museum Tue-Sun 9AM-5PM. Exhibition of Arad's history - it's long been a border town. The Filarmonia have regular concerts: box office is currently at "Ioan Slavici" Theatre. 2 lei.
- Just east of the Palace is the Mures river, with a promenade for strolling, and a children's play-park.
- 2 St. Anthony of Padova Church (Biserica Sf. Anton de Padova). RC cathedral built in 1904 in neo-Renaissance style.
- 3 Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxă "Sfânta Treime"), Bulevardul Revolutiei. Built 1992-2006, the interior is being re-plastered & repainted in 2018, with wooden scaffolding filling the north part near the iconostasis. The murals at the south part, by the entrance, look very fresh.
- Three blocks west of Piaţa Avram Iancu, Reconciliation Park (Parcul Reconcilierii) has monuments to those slain in the Hungarian uprising of 1849.
- East of the river, the Citadel 2 is an 18th C Vauban-style fortification on the site of an earlier Ottoman fort. But it's a military base and closed to the public; you can't even see much of the exterior among the tangled shrubs.
String of cafes, restaurants and bars on Bvd Revolutiei just south of City Hall.
- Alexander, 175 Calea Radnei (3 km east on Hwy 7 towards Deva), ☎ . 2 star
- Arad, 9 Bvd Decebal (corner of Str 1 Dec 1918), ☎ . Central, with restaurant, cleaning variable.
- Ardealul, 98 Bvd Revoluţiei (on midtown Bvd), ☎ . Nice old building, needs a makeover.
- Lotus, 8 Str. Nicolae Ştefu (central, off Str Banu Maracine), ☎ . Good value for 2-star 25€.
- Pensiunea Mioriţa, 127 Calea Radnei (3 km east on Hwy 7 towards Deva), ☎ . Small clean place.
- Best Western Central Hotel, 8 Str Horia (downtown 2 km from rwy station), ☎ . 3-star, reliable chain choice. The building is set back from the street so it's quiet although central. Big comfy rooms, good breakfast. Mezzanine lift so you always need to go half a flight of stairs to get in, same again to get out. 60€.
- Coandi, 47 Calea Romanilor (just north of river bridge Podul Traian), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-star
- Iris, 1 Str. Capitan Ignat, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Central, with adjacent restaurant.
- Marem, 2C Calea Victoriei (off Str Banu Maracine), ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Central, near rwy station, clean, has own restaurant.
- Parc, 25 Bvd General Dragalina (off Str Unirii), ☎ . 3 star in ugly 1970s block overlooking river, lukewarm guest reviews.
- President, 164 Calea Timisorii (2 km S of centre on hwy towards Timisoara), ☎ . Edge of town, handy if travelling by car. 40€.
The main options are to go west towards Budapest, or south via Timisoara towards Bucharest, or east into Transylvania.