Romania’s capital and largest city is a lively and entertaining place to visit, with a vibrant culture that would totally lift up your spirits. With beautifully preserved castles, majestic mountains, rustic villages, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, each of these adventures is just a short drive away from Bucharest. Here are some of the best day trips from the city!
In the heart of Transylvania, on top of a cliff, is the majestic silhouette of one of the most famous structures in the fictional world – the Dracula Castle. Lovers of folklore and fairy tales shouldn’t miss this day trip to Bran Castle in Transylvania, known for its links to the legend of Dracula. Perched atop a 200-foot-high boulder, the site has over 1,000 years of history. As you wander through the timbered rooms linked by narrow winding staircases, you’ll see furniture, armor, and weapons dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
And of course, you’ll learn about the castle’s ties to the legend of Count Dracula, who many people believe was inspired by the real-life Vlad the Impaler, a medieval ruler of the neighboring region of Wallachia with a reputation for cruelty. The author of ‘Dracula,’ Bram Stoker, also drew inspiration for his mythical character from local Transylvanian folklore and superstitions about the existence of immortal evil spirits called steregoi, who led normal lives during the day, but preyed on the innocent at night.
How to reach: The distance from Bucharest to the famous Bran Castle is around 200 km and there are five ways to get there. You can book a car, a tour, hire a private taxi, use the public bus or go there by public train.
It takes around three hours to drive to Bran Castle from Bucharest. From Bucharest, go north on DN1/E60, pass by Ploiești city, keep following DN1/E60 and after Azuga town turn left on DN73A, then at Râșnov town turn left again on DN73/E574 and after 10km. You will find the castle on your left.
Located at the very heart of Romania, Brasov is perhaps the country’s most well-known destination besides Bucharest and for a good reason. It is a beautiful picturesque city and serves as an excellent base for exploring the Transylvania region. Dating back to the 12the century, this city still conserves centuries-old monuments like the largest hall church East of Viena, the Black Church, and iconic landmarks like the Council Square and the towers and bastions from the old fortification lines.
Colourful and ornate, the buildings in Brasov Old Town seem to have sprung straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. Strolling around this enchanting setting should be every visitor’s top priority when in Brasov. Walking to the top of nearby Mount Tampa is definitely recommended, as it gives you some fantastic views of the city and the chance to see the famous Hollywood-esque sign up close. If you’re short of time, or not comfortable walking, there’s a cable car as well. Finally, don’t forget to relish the Tomanian delicacies like Ciorba in paine (soup in a bread bowl), Sarmale (cabbage and pork spring rolls), and Papanași (Romanian doughnuts) before heading back to Bucharest.
How to reach: As lots of direct trains run between Brasov and Bucharest, it is very easy to travel from one to the other by public transport. Simply hop on a train at Bucharest Nord Gara A, and two and a half to three hours later you’ll find yourself in the center of Brasov.
It takes a similar amount of time to reach Brasov by car. Follow the DN1 all the way from Bucharest to Brasov. The drive takes you through some fantastic landscapes you’ll ever see. There are a lot of guided tours of the city as well.
Peles Castle in Sinaia, Prahova county, is undoubtedly the most beautiful fairytale-like castle you will see in Romania. Built as a summer residence for the Romanian royal family at the end of 19th century, the castle is a architectural jewel – a ‘must-see’ sight in Romania!
The history of Peleș Castle is far less dramatic than the spooky history of Bran Castle, but it doesn’t mean it is not interesting or beautiful! Peles draws tons of tourists due to its Neo-Renaissance architecture and its location, secluded from the town centre, in a lush green surrounding. This castle is located in the Carpathian mountains not far from the gorgeous town of Sinaia. Construction was finished in 1914 for King Carol I, and it was built on a road that linked the historical routes of Transylvania and Wallachia, two important regions of what is now Romania. You can also visitSinaia Monastery – one of the oldest monasteries in Romania, located only few minutes away from Peles Castle. The best way to see Peleș Castle is to combine it with a day trip to Bran Castle.
How to reach: Peles Castle is located in the town of Sinaia, a 90-minute train journey from Bucharest. It’s a lovely uphill walk from Sinaia Train Station to Peles Castle and it is accessible via a forest path or by walking along the main road. Taxis are also available outside the train station. If you have a rental car, the journey between Bucharest and Sinaia takes about 2 hours by road.
Chances are if you’re planning to explore Romania beyond the famous Transylvania, you’ll have to cross the major mountain range in the middle. I hope you’ll forget about flying, because the road that crosses it, called Transfagarasan, is way too unique to miss out on. It often tops lists of the most scenic roads in the world!
Rent a car, put on a warm coat and head up the mountainside on the stunningly beautiful Transfagarasan Road. This is one of the most gorgeous highways in the world making the drive itself worth the trip. The Transfagarasan Road traverses the Fagaras Mountains; the tallest mountains in Romania which are also known as the Transylvanian Alps. Notable tourist spots around the mountains include Curtea de Arges monastery, cable car rides at Balea Lake and of course another castle, Poenari Citadel (it is Romania after all!).
How to reach: Lying to the northwest of Bucharest, the Transfagarasan Road is very ea sy to drive to from the capital. Just head west on the E81. Once you’ve passed Pitesti, continue on the 7C all the way there. All in all, it should take about two and a half hours to reach the start of the road. You can visit both the impressive Vidraru Dam and beautiful Balea Lake before zigzagging your way through the breathtaking Fagaras Mountains.
When you think of Bucharest, you probably think of gritty streets and concrete facades. So you might be surprised to know that a day at the seaside is not an idle wish and there’s no need to board a plane in order to get a slice of the sea! Found overlooking beaches and with its fair share of resorts, restaurants and bars, this is one of the most popular destinations to visit in the country during the summer.
Constanta is the oldest attested city in Romania at 2,600 years old which means that it has plenty of historical landmarks, museums, shops, beaches and even a grand casino that you can explore. After having learned so much, you can head to Mamaia beach resort, Romania’s most famous and beloved location by the Black Sea. The resort was founded during the Royal Times, and remained ever since a favorite place for elite holidays. Spend some time on the beach basking under the sun during the day time and then head back to the capital city by the evening.
How to reach: The best way to reach Constanta from Bucharest is by train. The route is served by 29 trains daily and the duration is 2 h 53 min. The first train leaves at 03:30. The last one is at 23:20.
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