Piatra Neamt (German Rock), 43km south of Târgu Neamt, is a picturesque little valley town, surrounded by lovely hills, offering decent hiking opportunities. East of town is the rocky Pietricica Mountain and Cernegura Mountain stands on the southwest side, bordered by the artificial Lake Bâtca Doamnei at its westernmost foot. Cozla Mountain, which towers to the north, playing home to a huge park. It can provide a good day of wandering.
The area around Piatra Neamt has been settled since Neolithic times. In the 15th century, Stefan cel Mare founded a princely court here (like he needed more).
One corner of the main square is taken up by the Princely Court museum complex, one of the better executed tourist sites in the area. Additionally, the Bal Shem Tov Wooden Synagogue (Tel. +40 (0) 233 223 815; address Str Dr. Dimitrie Ernici; tours are 1.25 euros per person), located behind the Petru Rares School (Liceul Petru Rares), is quite arresting, if you’ve got the resilience required to arrange a tour. The original synagogue on this site was built in 1490 (only the foundation remains). The current wooden structure dates from 1766. The tiny interior, decorated with Jewish artifacts, restored frescoes and paintings, has been recently beautified with funding from the World Monuments Fund Jewish Heritage Grant Programme. If you have trouble rousing anyone at the synagogue, walk 20m down the alley and around the corner to Str Petru Rares 7 and inquire within. The tours are led by an elderly gentleman who only speaks Romanian, so you won’t glean much of the history without a translator.
There’s a tourist office in the lobby of Hotel Ceahlau (the big, ugly building in the main square) that’s staffed by ladies short on English but long on the desire to help. Gaby, the hotel’s reception clerk, is the exception to the rule that all Romanian hotel clerks should be rude and unhelpful. She can make just about anything happen.