Romania round trip – 8 days in Bucharest and Transylvania

When planning another round trip in summer season, I was considering many different destinations, but decided to visit Romania in the end. The hot weather that is usual here during summer (and it was even hotter this year), friendly people, good food, good prices, interesting cities, a lot of history and the legends about Transylvania made me wanting to visit this country. I already visited Craiova once (you can read about it here), but I wanted to see more of the country. It turned out to be a great trip with a lot to do and see, so here’s what I liked about the chosen route and the cities and sights alongside it:

  1. Bucharest

Our first stop was Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Many flights go here, so we decided to start and finish our trip in this city. From the airport you can easily get to the city center by bus, express line 783 leaves the airport every 30 minutes during day time, a trip to the city center (last stop is Piata Unirii) costs 9 RON.

The 6th largest city of the European Union has a lot to offer, you can do sightseeing here, the city is known for its night life, there are a lot of museums and places of culture to visit and it is easy to get around by metro and bus. We stayed at the X-Hostel (Tripadvisor) not far from Piata Unirii, from where we were able to visit most things we wanted to see by foot.

One of the most famous sights of the city is the Palace of the Parliament. It is an impressive building and said to be the heaviest building in the world. Even if the building has not been finishes yet (it was planned to be completely finished within two years, starting in 1984) it is used as the headquarter of the Chamber of Deputies and the Romanian Senate and yet costed an excessive sum of more than 13 billion RON. You can also do tours to visit some of the rooms and the terrace of the building, if you’re interested to see it from the inside.

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Not far from here, you’ll find the old town district. Strada Lispcani is crossing this area with a lot of restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs in the surrounding streets. You’ll not only find beautiful old buildings and typical Romanian Architecture here, you can also eat and drink everything you like: Romanian dishes, international food from many different regions and besides that, there is a small street food market with live music called Food Hood. We really liked this area, we spend a lot of time here, during day time for lunch or snacks and for drinks and clubs at night. If you like to go out, you’ll definitely find a place that suits your needs here. DSCF2767

From here we took a long walk along Splaiul Independentei to Lacul Morii. It was quite far but interesting to see different sites of the city, residential areas and modern business parks side by side, but a visit to Lacul Morii really is not worth it, it’s not pretty and even locals seem not to like it too much. The parks in the city center (Parcul Carol and Parcul Tineretului) are definitely more worth a visit.

If you like churches, a beautiful church we discovered during a long walk is the Saint Spyridon the New Church, a building from the 19th century with gothical influences.

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Bucharest is definitely a place to visit when in Romania, we really liked it here and also had a lot of fun when roaming through the city, talking to people and making culinary experiences. When you’re here, you should not miss out on those gastronomical localities:

For the rest of our trip we rented a car to get around between the cities and be as flexible as possible. There are also coach services between the larger cities of Romania, so that you can also travel around without a car.

  1. Sibiu

The second city on our route was Sibiu in Transylvania. It is located a little less than 300 km north-west of Bucharest. At first we were a little concerned about the quality of the streets as most info pages on the internet claim them to be in bad condition but honestly: we have seen worth and the roads we used were mostly as good as in most Western European countries. The traffic here is also moderate, especially in the cities many drivers are driving thoughtful and pay attention to other drivers and pedestrians, especially in the big multi lane roundabouts. Only on single lane highways some people seem to tend to risk their life in really dangerous and rapid passing maneuvers, so you should be careful and pay attention to the traffic to avoid dangerous situations.

Sibiu turned out to be a very nice stop on our route. We stayed at the Da Vinci Residence near the city center (Tripadvisor).

The city center itself is beautiful. A lot of old buildings, really good restaurant and an interesting heritage museum are the highlights here. A walk through the old town is interesting, not only because of the architecture, but also because of the cultural and historical background of the city. In the past it has been an important center for the German settlers in Romania so that many things such as signing and restaurant menus are bilingual in Romanian and German. From time to time when walking around you can also here locals speaking German, mostly elderly persons.

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Besides the beautiful old town and its cathedrals, it is also really interesting to visit the local ASTRA open-air museum of local traditions and heritage (TRIPADVISOR). It is not expensive (17 RON per Adult, 3.50 RON per student) and you get an interesting insight into the ancient life of people in Romania. Many houses in traditional styles are built here, you can walk in to some of them where you can see how people lived and worked in the past. The park of the museum is quite big so that you should plan about 2 hours to walk through it. Right next to it you can also visit the small Sibiu Zoo (Tripadvisor) which is not big but houses different animals and entry is only 3 RON per person. During good weather you can perfectly combine those to parks.

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In the old town you can also enjoy the culinary specialties of the region. Here are our favorite places:

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From Sibiu we drove to Brasov, on the way there you can perfectly do detour to the Balea lake and cascade. While most people stop at the food of the mountains, where the cable cars leave, you really get a beautiful view when driving up further to the cascades:

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  1. Brasov

Our third and last stop on the route was Brasov. The city is known for the nearby Bran castle (Tripadvisor). This castle is mostly referred to as the home of the title character of “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, even if it neither is mentioned, nor does the castle fit the descriptions in the book. Nonetheless the castle is beautiful and known as the “Neuschwanstein” of Romania. Due to that, it also is a well-known tourist attraction and quite crowded during the summer season. A visit here is worth it anyways, it’s a beautiful castle with a lot of history.

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Not far from here, in Rasnov, you can also visit the Rasnov Citadel, a historic defense system and refuge castle of the city with a great view onto the city.

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Back in Brasov you also have a beautiful old town to roam through here. The pedestrian zone is home to many bars, restaurants and cafés. We stayed at the Golden Time Hotel (Tripadvisor), a little farther away from the old town. A walk there took about 50 minutes, but we did the walk several times during our stay, even if there were busses going as well.

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Brasov is a good base to explore the castles and cities in the surrounding. Sighisoara is also not far, perfect for a daytrip there.

Here are some of our favorite pubs and restaurants in the city:

There are also some really good bakeries, where you can buy a snack through a window to the street, throughout the city.

As Brasov was our last stop, on the last day we drove back to the airport from here, returned our car and flew back home. We really liked this trip and had great experiences in Romania. The countryside and cities are beautiful and the people are friendly and open to travelers. We didn’t have any negative experiences and most people had no problem communicating in English. If you speak Italian, French, Portuguese or Spanish, you are also able to read some Romanian signs or short infos and texts, as the Romanian languages has many similarities with other Romance Languages.

We can fully recommend to do a trip to Romania!

Here is where we stayed during our trip:

  • Bucharest: X-Hostel (Tripadvisor) – basic hostel also offering double rooms with privat bathroom, good location and perfectly to get in contact with other travelers.
  • Sibiu: Da Vinci Residence (Tripadvisor) – small hotel in a residential area near the city center. Comfortable, stylish and cheap rooms.
  • Brasov: Golden Time Hotel (Tripadvisor) – Good four star hotel, high quality, comfortable rooms and tasty breakfast. A little far from the old town

 

How to get to Romania?

Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport (OTP) is the largest airport in the country, so there are most connections here. Besides the local airlines TAROM and Blue Air and the low-cost-carrier Wizz Air are offering the most direct connections here from within Europe. If you are flying in from another continent, you can use following airlines for example: Aeroflot (via Moscow), Air France (via Paris), Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), British Airways (via London), flydubai (via Dubai), KLM (via Amsterdam), LOT (via Warsaw), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt and Munich), SAS (via Copenhagen), Swiss (via Zurich) or TAP (via Lissabon).

Sibiu International Airport (SBZ) is a much smaller airport connected by Wizz Air, TAROM (from Munich), Blue Air (from Stuttgart), Austrian Airlines (from or via Vienna) and Lufthansa (from and via Munich).

The third city on our route, Brasov, has no public airport yet, but there is one planned to be in future.

 

Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to give you some interesting insight into our trip

You can contact us by commenting below or just dropping an e-mail to thealterlookout@freenet.de in case you have any questions or suggestions. Also don’t forget to follow our Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/thealterlookout) and Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/thealterlookout) to be always up to date about our blog posts and to see some pictures even while we are travelling.

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Ein Gedanke zu “Romania round trip – 8 days in Bucharest and Transylvania

  1. Sibiu and Brasov are really great, as well as other Transylvanian cities. Also, the Transylvanian villages with a strong Saxon cultural heritage, such as Biertan, Viscri, Saschiz etc. are interesting for a short trip.

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