Timișoara is a very compact city; the center is basically two squares – Piața Operei and Piața Unirii – and a network of streets with old buildings that host various boutiques, offices and cafes on the ground floor. Piața Operei is again a two-land- mark place: the Orthodox Cathedral, something of an emblem of the city; and the National Opera and Theater at the opposite end, a very dynamic and cosmopolitan institution (it also includes the German State Theater and the Hungarian Theater).

Piața Unirii is where everybody goes. It is a charming cobbled square, surrounded by old colorful buildings, the Serbian Church, a beautiful Catholic Dome, an Art Museum – Palatul Baroc- and lots of outdoor cafes. You might encounter stray dogs if you decide to explore the outskirts of the city, but they are almost never found in the center. I do not know if this sounds comforting enough, but they are very tame and mostly ignore humans. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, can be a real menace during the hot season. Make sure you have insect repellent if invited to a BBQ at a friend’s house or if you want to enjoy a drink by the bank of Bega canal.

TWO PARKS

The Rose Park & Children’s Park
Address: Michelangelo St.
They say Timișoara is the city of parks and gardens, and I guess it is. The Rose Park, apart from being ro- mantically in bloom six months of the year, hosts film and dance festivals, concerts and whatever else can happen on a stage. Across the road, the new, improved Children’s Park is well worth an entire morning. It
is not one of those ‘useless unless you are a child’ places, but rather a large stretch of tastefully designed outdoor urban space.

For an outdoor trip I have some tried and tested suggestions:
Bazos / www.bazos.org.  A 60 ha wooded area, 20 km east of Timișoara,  in the village Bazosul Nou, perfect for walks, a picnic and a nap. Many go there for the game dishes at the exquisite restaurant, Stejarul.
Lake Valiug – Crivaia Resort. You will need a car and a map, but it is well worth the drive. From Timișoara, follow the E75 road to Reşița, and then it’s a short 20 km stretch to Văliug.