Deva is usually not a destination. For visitors, it is rather a starting point to nearby Hunedoara. But we thought it would be a shame not to see the city. It is unbelievable how the history of Slovakia, Hungary and Italy is intertwined with this city. I am convinced that if I did a deeper analysis, I would certainly come to other countries.
How to get to Deva?
Deva is located on the main road and railway from Hungary to Romania, so you can easily get here from the capital of our southern neighbor (Budapest) without a single transfer.
The city of Deva is crossed by the European roads E68, E79 and E673. The E68 starts in the Hungarian town of Szeged and continues through the border crossing Nădlac – Arad – Deva – Sibiu – Făgăraş to Braşov. The European route E79 leads from north to south from Hungary via Romania, Bulgaria to Greece. In Romanian territory, it passes through the cities of Oradea – Deva – Târgu Jiu – Craiova – Calafat. The European road E673 from Lugoj ends in the city.
If you are traveling to or from the city by bus, you can come to one of the following bus stops:
- Autogara BV Dasler SRL – main bus station next to the train station,
- Parcare McDonald’s – north of the bus station,
- Benzinaria PETROM (langa McDonald’s) – north of the “ McDonald’s“.
Do not worry about anything, the station and both stops are next to each other. Regional and some long-distance buses leave from the southern part of the station, and public transport and some long-distance buses start in the northern part. Some regional buses also stop at public transport stops.
All international trains from Budapest stop in Deva. The railway runs in Romania through the cities of Arad – Deva – Sibiu – Făgăraş – Braşov. The railway station (Gara Deva) is located 700 m / 9 minutes walk east of the city center. The journey from Budapest takes 7 hours 51 minutes. A return ticket from Poprad to Alba Iulia costs 147 eur for 2 people. The seat costs 3 eur / person.
The train literally flies over Hungary, in Romania it „drags“ a bit then. Prepare for checks on both sides of the border. You will stay on the Hungarian side for 40 minutes, on the Romanian side for about 25 minutes. During this time, they manage to replace the locomotives and take about half of the train on their way from Hungary. I was surprised that there is no restaurant wagon on the train and the offer of refreshments from the trolley does not work. Therefore, get enough food before the trip.
Where to get information in Deva?
The Tourist Information Center (Centrul Național de Informare și Promovare Turistică) is located at the lower station of the cable car to the fortress (Telecabină Cetatea Devei; 850 m / 10 minutes walk north of the city center).
What to do, see and visit in Deva?
Deva does not have an overflowing primary offer. Nevertheless, it offers a few attractions that make it worth staying in the city longer.
The stone fortress in Deva (Cetatea Devei), which sits on a hill high above the city, is unmissable from every side from which you come to the city. It dates back to 1269. In 1784 it served as a refuge during the peasant uprising.
Hungarian legend says that the builder of the Deva fortress had his wife walled up in one of the walls of the fortress. He wanted to ensure that Satan never destroyed the fortress. The death of his wife was probably in vain. The fortress was conquered by Hungarian rebels after a 4-week siege in 1849 by the explosion of gunpowder warehouses. The tooth of time has been biting into her ever since. Projects for the gradual restoration of the fortress began only in this century.
You can go to the fortress on foot or by cable car (20 lei / 4.16 eur / person). Two walking routes – 30- and 40-minute start north of the manor house. Both routes are worthwhile. While the shorter one goes around the hill from the west side, the longer one from the east side. The lower station of the cable car is located at the eastern foot of the hill. You can enter the fortress at any time of the day or night. Admission is free.
In the Deva fortress there are information boards (also in English) and vending machines in case you get hungry or thirsty. From the fortress you will have a view of the surrounding hills, valleys and the city itself, which lies below the hill. In the past, the so-called the „Salt road“ that connected Rome with Transylvania, passed the city.
Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilization
Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilization (Muzeul Civilizației Dacice și Romane) is housed in the Renaissance manor house of Magna Curia, which dates from 1621. On the ground floor you can get acquainted with natural history collections, on the first floor with historical and archaeological ones. Permanent exhibitions are complemented by temporary exhibitions. We saw exhibitions dedicated to contemporary photography, wooden sculptures, treasure from the museum’s collections, or the 750th anniversary of the fortress. The ticket costs 20 lei / 4.16 eur / person.
I was surprised by the exhibition of dresses of Maria Szechy (1610-1678), who was the granddaughter of the infamous „bloody“ Countess Elisabeth Bathory. However, we know her from legends as „Venus of Muráň“. Maria was born and raised in Muráň, Slovakia, but at the age of 17 she married Stephen Bethlen and moved to the manor house in Deva, Transylvania. According to other sources, she allegedly fled to Deva from her second husband, Stephen Kun. After the death of her first husband, she married twice more.
For the first time to the already mentioned Stephen Kun, with whom she divorced. It should be noted that then it was not as common as it is today. The last time she married Ferenc Wesselényi, the Fülek castle captain, later the Hungarian palatine (the second highest position after the monarch). He married Maria only four months after the death of his wife Zsófia Bosnyák, whom we know from Strečno Castle in Slovakia.
Statue of Decebalus
The equestrian statue of King Decebalus of Dacia (Statuia lui Decebal; 500 m / 5 minutes walk south of the center) is located in front of the Drăgan Muntean Cultural Center. Decebalus ruled in the years 87-106 AD. His name means „as strong as ten men“. He fought against the Roman army several times. Last in 106 AD, when he was defeated by the legions of Emperor Trajan. Decebalus would rather commit suicide (allegedly pierced his throat) than fall into captivity.
Statue of the Roman emperor Trajan
The statue of the Roman Emperor Trajan (Statuia lui Traian) is located in the city center in the pedestrian zone behind the huge inscription „I love Deva“. The decisive battle between Trajan and Decebalus is also depicted on Trajan’s Column in Rome.
Where to stay in Deva?
Rooms Cristian is located (1.8 km / 23 minutes walk south of the center) in a residential area in the southern part of the city. There is a bus stop near the hotel, with public and regional buses.
We were accommodated in a spacious twin room „Deluxe“ with a private bathroom with shower and a view of the street in front of the hotel. At check-in, the receptionist was a little confused, but tried to solve everything to our satisfaction. She made sure I had her phone number so I could contact her with any questions. Rooms Cristian was another of the accommodation facilities in which smoking is probably allowed inside as well, because in our room it was quite felt. The shower flowed a bit.
We found out after its first use, when the bathroom was slightly flooded. The bathroom window was facing the opposite apartment buildings, so you won’t enjoy much privacy there. They prepared breakfast only for us, so we ate both days the same, but it doesn’t matter. They prepared a rich English breakfast, which gave us enough strength to explore the city and the region. The receptionist spoke German, the waitress spoke English. Free private parking is available on site. Reservation is needed. Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the hotel.
For one twin room for 2 people for 2 nights we paid 200 lei / 41.57 eur. The price includes room, value added tax, city tax and breakfast. You can only pay in cash in the local currency.
Where to eat and go for coffee in Deva?
During two days we tried 3 restaurants and one café in the city.
The Swedish-sounding BöRD13 (700 m / 9 minutes walk south of the center) is a pleasant modern restaurant on the floor of an older building. The restaurant offers fantastic views of Deva city center with the statue of Decebalus in the foreground and the Deva fortress in the background. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, there was no free table by the window and the staff sat us at a larger table by the bar. An English-speaking waiter was also found among the attendants. I didn’t want to experiment very much, so I chose a classic and ordered lasagna, which was very tasty. We paid 95 lei / 19.75 eur for dinner for 2 people.
Grizzly Restaurant (only 140 m / 2 minutes walk west of the train station) was our first stop after arriving to Romania. Nice, clean, minimalist restaurant with English speaking staff. I tasted fried chicken breast with basil, green sauce and rosemary potatoes. Dinner was simply delicious. After dinner, we enjoyed a local brandy, which did not taste us so much. Nevertheless, we prefer Romanian aperitifs. We paid 110 lei / 22.86 eur for dinner for 2 people.
Restaurant Capriccio Deva
The Italian Restaurant Capriccio Deva is located right in the city center in the pedestrian area. You just enter one of the gates and the restaurant is hidden in the garden of the house. After a tour of the castle, museum and fortress, we got a taste for something big and rich. Naturally, we got a pizza that was average. The waiter forgot about us with the order of the drink, which he later admitted. But he did not forget to add that he still did not have time. A little surprising when I think that it is his job, but probably common. We paid 90 lei / 18.71 eur for lunch for 2 people.
The stylish The Refresh Café is located in the city center, right in the pedestrian zone. I really like that they cared about the details in the café. On Sunday morning, it was filled by many young guests. There was almost nowhere to sit. The café seems to have captured its target audience accurately. I tasted cappuccino and brioche. The coffee was great, so was the cake. If I had lived in Deva, this would have been a coffee shop where I would probably spend my entire salary. We paid 24 lei / 4.99 eur for a bill for 2 people.
I think that two days will be enough for a city tour. The old town retains the atmosphere of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is already surrounded on all sides by socialist apartment buildings, but do not be discouraged. The gastronomic scene of the city is excellent. I recommend visiting.
Prices were converted according to the current exchange rate of the National Bank of Slovakia valid on 5 March 2020 (EUR 1 = 4.8110 lei).
I did not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage of the services provided by tourism businesses, institutions and organizations.
© Ing. Adam Vanečko