2 weeks in Romania: Bucharest and...?

Dec 15th, 2007, 08:15 AM
  #1  
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2 weeks in Romania: Bucharest and...?

Good afternoon everybody,

I'm planning where to go on vacation next year (early June) and Romania is one my strongest options. I must admit that Romania is my strongest option because my grandfather was from there (Horezu) and I'd definitely like to visit an off-the-beaten-path destination in Europe.

I've just ordered a bookguide of Romania, but I'm so excited that I can't wait to start planning my trip. I've been checking www.romaniatourism.com to have an idea of what I'd like to visit and, considering I only have two weeks and I only travel by train or bus (when trains aren't available), I've narrowed it down to Bucharest and the medieval towns of Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara. From what I've read, it seems that I could base in Brasov and daytrip to the other two, but I'm not a big fan of daytripping to cities (I don't mind monasteries and castles, though). These are three questions I have:

1. Would it be crazy to stay in each city even though, Bucharest aside, they're very close to one another?
2. How long should I stay in each city considering that I don't care for museums or nightlife but I'm into strolling, shopping, visiting churches and trying the typical food?
3. Which castle shouldn't I miss, Peles or Bran and will a taxi there be expensive?

Thanks for your time and opinions!
MCMLXXVII is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Peles castel is much better. I guess I am surprised you don't have our 2 favorute places listed on your itinerary. Bucovina--we only had a day and ahalf there and wished we'd had more. The Maramures area is like stepping back in time. This was definitely the highlight of our trip. There is an agroturismo type agency there that will arrange homestays (really your own small apartment) in homes and provide guides as well. HIGHLY recommended.
julies is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Although it appears that you will not be driving, you might be interested in my trip report which includes Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34659808
Michael is online now  
Dec 16th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Hi Julies, let's say I include Bucovina and Maramures, I've read a lot about the monastery in Voronet, but what location of the Maramures is not to be missed?

Thanks for the link to your trip report Michael.

Anybody else?
MCMLXXVII is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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I visited Maramures and posted a trip report here (From Hay Stacks to Water Lillies):

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34858589

You could tailor an itinerary based on my story, you'll see the names of the places where I was. It was a very good 3 days trip.

I was in locations not to be missed in Maramures, but you need a car to do that.
gabrieltraian is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Definitely Sibiu. Brasov and Sibiu and Sighisoara and Bucharest are not so close together that day trips would be that easy. Sighisoara *maybe* from Sibiu or Brasov, but it'd be a long day.

Very different type castles, Peles and Bran. Bran is old and fortess-y. Peles was built in the late 100's as more of a manor house than a castle. But, in Sinaia, the monastery (old and new share a courtyard) is very worth seeing. The train goes from Bucharest to Sinaia (and Brasov, for that matter, where I understand there's a bus to Bran).


Clifton is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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PS - my favorite Bucovina monestary was Sucevita and fav spots in Maramures were Ieud (find someone to unlock the church) and Sapanta (the Merry Cemetery).
Clifton is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Thanks Gabriel and Michael for the link to your trip reports. I loved the pictures.

I don't think I'll be able to include Maramures or Bucovina because of the car. Besides, not only I can't drive but I usually travel on a budget, so I don't think hiring a car with a driver would fit my budget.

I think I'll stick to Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara. I still haven't read much about Bucharest, but, apparently, you don't need much time to visit Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara.

Thanks Clifton for your opinion on Bran and Peles.
MCMLXXVII is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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Since you will not have a car, I hope you won't carry too much luggage so you'll be able to take buses as well as trains. In the summer there are numerous buses between cities, but they are rather small-sized and can become stuffy. For short distances like Brasov to Bran you will need to take them, though. Trains can be pleasant provided you buy your ticket the day you arrive in a city (that is, for the next day departure), and preferably travel 1st class.

Spend a couple of days in Bucharest, take a cab 13 km outside the city to Mogosoaia Palace but also make sure there's a way to come back to the city. Visit some museums, Enescu maybe, some old churches, Stavropoleos, and some old famous establishments like Hanul lui Manuc, enjoy a beer at Carul cu Bere, take a walk in the Village Museum and stop by the Romanian Peasant Museum on your way back to the center.
Take the train IC to Sinaia (AC in the summer). Visit Peles and Pelisor Castle and Manor, the Monastery, Enescu Manor, take the cable car to 2000 meters, that's in case you decide to stay 2-3 days. Any hotel close to Peles is heaven.
Take the train to Brasov, walk the old town, decide if you spend the night here or take a bus to Bran. early in the morning visit the Castle, arrange to go to Rasnov fortress and back to Brasov. Bran is 26 km away from Brasov and taxi drivers are used to bargaining for these distances. Spend the night in Brasov so you can rest.
Take the train to Sighisoara, spend the rest of the day in the old town. Arrange for the next day a possible trip to Biertan, a UNESCO fortified Saxon church, less than 30 km away from Sighisoara. Catch the train to Sibiu or spend another night here. Spend at least a full day in Sibiu.

This is where I would suggest a full circle Sibiu, Govora, Curtea de Arges and Targoviste even though I have only done portions at a time as a child. Why not stop at Horezu, visit the Monastery, buy some pottery, and reconnect with your past?! It seems that you want to visit Transylvanian towns, leaning towards Bucovina, yet life in Horezu was and still is quite different.

Check train connections at www.cfr.ro and bus timetables at autogari.ro
MilenaM is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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MCM:

Peles over Bran...fairly close, visit both. Have been traveling Romania since the late 70's..dramatic changes since the revolution...took a group of my readership in late 2005...primarily on a genealogical theme, visiting churches, monasteries, the Bucovina fresco'ed churches/monasteries, and the very few remaining synagogues (shuls).

Here are some photos for you...please write me at [email protected] or we can correspond on these pages where I've been a member for several years..

Stu T.(don't be thrown by the "axe murderer" pix..all in good fun..1979-83)

***By the way, that great little village of Ieud is pronounced "yay-ood"..as Cilfton will tell you, don't miss it in Maramuresh...

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Romania2005



tower is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for the detailed suggested itinerary Milena! It certainly gives me a good idea of how long to stay in each place. Let's say I include Horezu to my itinerary, how do you get there? I was checking the train website (thanks for that as well!) and, apparently, there are no train services there.

Among Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu, which one would you say is less interesting?

Thanks for the picture link Tower!
MCMLXXVII is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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I preferred Sibiu over Sighosoara and Brasov. As a town, Brasov was architecturally less interesting than the other two, but it had more cultural activities.
Michael is online now  
Dec 17th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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MCM:

I would select both Sibiu and Sighishoara over Brashov. I recommened Casa Wagner for lodgigs in Sighi...
I imagine there are buses from Sibiu to Horezu (only 30 kms. south).

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Sibiu to Horezu can be done by bus, yet it takes 3:20 hr. See if you could stay at the monastery, they rent rooms, and possibly see another monastery 10 km away, Bistrita Monastery (if you find some nice villager to drive you there). Then from Horezu take another bus for 1 hour to Rimnicu Valcea, this is a large town and you'll have train connections if you want to go straight to Bucharest. If not, do Rimnicu Valcea to Targoviste by bus, and then Targoviste to Bucharest by bus or train.
I cannot find a way to fit Curtea de Arges in between Rimnicu Valcea and Targoviste.

Another site for bus schedules: www.businfo.ro
MilenaM is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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Thanks Milena for that information about the Horezu Monastery renting rooms! I've stayed in monasteries in Italy and it's certainly been a highlight!

Thank you both Michael and Milena for the information about how to get from Sibiu to Horezu.
MCMLXXVII is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 04:31 AM
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I'd stay 1-2 days in each of Sighisoara, Sibiu, and Brasov. I liked all three, but for different reasons. All have fantastic old architecture.

In Brasov, you can take a cable car up the mountain on the edge of town. You can also walk along the fortified walls, visiting the original bastians and towers. The Black Church is an enormous and very interesting medieval cathedral, and was my favorite in Romania.

In Sibiu you can take time exploring the different squares in the old city and then walk down to the lower city. Climb the Council Tower for good views over the city. The Bruckenthal Museum sounded good, but we didn't have time.

Sighisoara seemed to be the most compact and in many ways the most picturesque. Take the covered staircase up to the church and the Saxon cemetery on top of the hill. Go up in the Clock Tower, visit the old churches, walk the walls, and down to the lower city.

Bran is interesting, if highly altered when made a royal residence. I'd honestly skip Rasnov - it's a pretty cheesy reconstruction, and without a car I don't think I'd make the effort.

Not far from Brasov is Fagaras, which you can reach by train. There you'll find a true medieval castle. It might be worth a half day trip.

Also in that area of southern Transylvania are some villages with medieval fortified churches - several are on the UNESCO list. They are interesting, and you may be able to reach one or two with public transportation. I'd say Biertan would be the one to visit - it's the largest and has lots to see.

I agree that Maramures and Bucovina would be tough to do without a car.
noe847 is offline  
Dec 25th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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Thanks Noe for your recommendation!
MCMLXXVII is offline  

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