The city, located at an altitude of 664 metres, has a very pleasant climate in summer, with long, cool evenings, and the two thermal baths and the surrounding mountains invite many tourists. The ski slope is very popular for the snow layer which is more resistant than the other slopes in the area. Many of the buildings in the old centre were damaged or demolished under communism, but there are still some architectural curiosities that are worth seeing. Here is found the only secessionist castle in Transylvania, as well as a thermal waterfall and a covered bridge, two other rarities. Toplița also has three Orthodox monasteries.
Since the end of the 19th century, Bánffy Resort has been the main tourist attraction of the city. Located on the left bank of the Mureş River, it was once the domain of the Bánffy family. After the 1989 revolution, the resort lost its former fame. However, the old 30-metre-long pool was renovated and a small wellness centre built nearby, equipped with several saunas and a gym, although these new pools do not use mineral water. The current resort of Bánffy-Toplița includes almost the entire city centre, the baths and Urmánczy Castle.
The Urmánczy Baths have thermal mineral waters of 26 to 27 °C (79 to 81 °F) and are located in the centre of the city near the railway-station, surrounded by high mountains. The main attraction is the Olympic size (50 by 20 m or 164 by 65 ft) swimming pool, the biggest in the region. A real rarity is the smaller 1.4 m (4.6 ft), deep leisure pool, fed by small natural springs that gently heat the pebbles on the bottom of the pool. Due to its high carbon dioxide content, bubbles ascend like in a glass of champagne, tickling one’s skin. There is also a little crescent shaped pool for toddlers and a larger, deeper one for children 3 years and older.
The covered bridge is about 2.5 km from the city centre, near the Catholic cemetery. Following the road to Gheorgheni, any street on the right will take one there. The wooden bridge crosses the Mureș River at an altitude of 667 metres. It was built in the second half of the 19th century and once connected the lands of the Urmánczy family. In Transylvania, there were once several wooden covered bridges, but most have been destroyed. We know of only three such bridges, at Lăzarea and near Coșbuc (Butoi) in Bistrița County. These bridges also had a community role as when it rained, people who worked in the nearby fields sheltered there, bringing with them carts loaded with hay.
St Elias (Ilie) Monastery
St Elias (Ilie) Monastery was originally a wooden church constructed in the nearby village of Stânceni in 1847 and moved to Toplița in 1910. Inside the monastery complex, there is a museum with a collection of painted icons from the 18th century, some remains of the old church, and ancient Orthodox religious books and bibles.
Our Lady’s Monastery
Some research suggests that the construction of the wooden church (which is now a monastery) began in 1658, at the request of Lady Safta, wife of Voivode (Prince) Gheorghe Ștefan (1653-1658) of Moldavia. However, the epigraph above the entrance states that it was built in 1710.
Thermal Water Waterfall
Near downtown, on the left side of the Mureș River, right beside the rail tracks, is the only thermal waterfall in Transylvania. Here, water flows from the Bánffy Baths into the Mureș River. The lime-stone waterfall has a distinctive flora.
On the plateau above the Bánffy Resort, a few kilometers away from the city, at 850 metres above sea level, you can find Baciu’s Guesthouse which enjoys an impressive view of the Călimani Mountains and the city of Toplița. In the summer, you can enjoy horse-riding, while in the winter, ski slopes await you.
The Stone Mushrooms
Upstream on the Magherus Valley, after a four hour walk, or less time if cycling, one can see fantastic volcanic rock formations.
Tarniţa Peak Belvedere
From the belvedere on Tarnița Peak, there is a panoramic view over the Mureș Valley. Basalt mined from the quarry in this mountain was used in the building of Urmánczy Castle.
Lake Iezer, Răchitiș and Pietros Peaks and the Millenary Border
The Călimani are the most intact mountains in Transylvania. There has been very little construction there, so we can admire the basalt colonnades or the pungent sulfurous springs almost in their original state. The picturesque Lake Iezer lies just under Răchitiș Peak (2021 m.) The area is most beautiful in June when the rhododendron flowers give a cyclamen hue to the landscape. The Millenary Border of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy ran here, and leads toward the Negoiul Românesc and Negoiul Unguresc Peaks. From this vantage point, we can see the whole volcanic crater. The Negoiul became a site for surface-sulphur-mining and from afar, it appears as a floating orange pyramid. Pietros Peak (2100 m) can be reached by climbing the Negoiul Unguresc, after which the rest of the journey is a pleasant walk.
Mountain Bike paths
Near Toplița you can find five mountain bike paths:
Topliţa – Gălăuţaş. Length of route: 10.9 km. Degree of difficulty: Medium
Topliţa – Călimani. Length of route: 40 km. Degree of difficulty: Difficult
Topliţa – Călimănel. Length of route: 20.3 km. Degree of difficulty: Difficult
Topliţa – Tarniţa. Length of route: 12.5 km. Degree of difficulty: Difficult
Topliţa – Măgheruş – Bătrâna. Length of route: 22 km. Degree of difficulty: Difficult