Odorheiu Secuiesc is the second largest municipality in Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania. In its short form, it is also known as Odorhei in Romanian and Udvarhely in Hungarian. The Hungarian name of the town “Udvarhely” means “courtyard place”.
Odorheiu Secuiesc is a small yet culturally vibrant town. It has a sizeable theater, the Haáz Rezső Museum (featuring permanent and seasonal exhibits dedicated to Szekler village life, Szekler arts and crafts, the history of the region, and a growing collection of Hungarian painters in Transylvania), a philharmonic orchestra of Szeklerland, a local TV studio, and several local newspapers. Throughout the year, there are festivals and youth events, a monthly farmer’s market selling local, traditional and organic products. With strong cultural ties to Hungary, the town frequently hosts artists, writers and bands from Hungary. The town also features a central park, a large open air pool and several spas. Its main square, flanked by historic public buildings, is Márton Áron Square, or as the locals call it, Horseshoe Square (due to its shape).
Odorheiu Secuiesc and the area have some great touristic attractions, such as a bike path to Szejke Spa (also the burial ground of the Szekler ethnographer Balázs Orbán) and the Mineral Water Trails Museum, the low-Alpine-type ski resort of Madaras Harghita Mountains (part of the eastern range of the Carpathians) as well as charming mountain bungalows and farm guest houses (http://transylvaniantravel.ro/en) on the mountainous paths and Alpine slopes leading to the Madaras Peak (with genuine farm-to-table dining experiences), in addition to several mineral water springs and pools (Homorod Spa, Lake of Zetelaka), with great fishing and hunting. The pottery village of Corund, a popular destination for those who love Hungarian pottery and traditional folk patterns, is only 25 kilometres (16 miles) away from the city. The salty Bear Lake in Sovata, a significant resort town that has been recently redeveloped, is also less than one hour’s drive away (46 km).
The region has seen increased interest in eco-tourism, wildlife hiking and bear-watching, biking, rock climbing, horse riding, photo-tourism and cultural tourism. Odorheiu Secuiesc has three large hotels: Hotel Tarnava, Hotel Gondűző, and Septimia Wellness Hotel and Spa. Other accommodation options are smaller B&Bs (panzio) and guest houses: Crown (Korona) Inn, Maestro B&B, and Carriage B&B (Hinto Panzio), Villa Vitae.
The town is an ideal day-trip destination for tourists exploring the richness and diversity of Transylvania due to its closeness to the Medieval (formerly) Saxon towns of Sighișoara (50 km), Brașov (109 km), Sibiu (150 km) as well as the world-famous Bran Castle, better known as Dracula Castle, (130 km), yet it offers a different cultural experience thanks to its carefully preserved Hungarian culture. The surrounding villages showcase traditional Szekler-Hungarian house-building techniques and woodcraft, such as the stooped Szekler Gates. The rich and distinctive furniture-carving and painting techniques of villages in Szeklerland were showcased in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival‘s Hungarian Heritage program in June 2013 in Washington, D.C, USA.
The closest airport is Targu Mures International Airport (110 km) with direct flights (Rynair, Wizzair or Tarom) to Budapest, London, Barcelona, Bergamo, Bologna, Madrid, Rome, Bucharest, Brussels and Pisa.