Choices in Romania

Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 07:52 PM
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Choices in Romania

Hi everyone
Next August we (two of us) are planning to drive ourselves around Eastern Europe, including Romania. We're not really big-city people, however I accept that there are some big cities that can't (or shouldn't) be missed. After some research, the plan at this stage is to spend time in Bucharest, Brasov (including Peles and Bran Castles), Sibiu, Sighisoara, the Maramures region around Sighetu Marmatiei, and the Bucovina region. But I'm looking for help with deciding on some of the finer detail.
For example, Bucovina. Leaving aside Suceava because it's another big city, there seem to be three popular choices: Gura Humorului, Radauti, or Vatra Dornei. Given the distances required to get around the painted monasteries, would it be more economical on time and fuel to string them together in one road trip and stay a night at each place? Or is it best to choose one as a base and just accept the extra time and fuel returning to it every night? If the latter, which would people recommend as the best base to stay in, walk around, and find pleasant and relaxed dining in?
Also the central region around Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara. If distances to or from require an overnight stop at Cluj-Napoca or Targu Mures, which would be the better choice? Or are they both must-visits? Cluj-Napoca of course has nearby Turda salt mine as an attraction, and that looks amazing, but I'm wondering how the two towns themselves compare for staying, walking, dining etc.
Finally, away from all of these is Timisoara. Photographs I've seen of it look very nice. Is it worth making the effort to include if it we can (e.g. on our way to or from Hungary or Serbia), or would it add little to what we're already likely to see at some of the other places we're going to?
Looking forward to your advice. Thanks...
twoflower is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 08:45 PM
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I just spent one day visiting the painted monasteries, so I don't think you need to move around for that.

I stayed in both Targu Mures and Cluj, and preferred Targu Mures, but one night would have been enough. Don't miss Timisoara.

Start here for my report on that area, links at the top of the page:
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2019, 05:21 AM
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Transylvania is a fabulous region to visit. We travelled around by train, but by car would have been fabulous. Be wary of parking in the towns though, the non-uniformed parking enforcement bods are very keen.

Don't overcommit yourselves either, less often means more. I'd allow 4 days for both Sibiu and Brasov, particularly if there is a festival on, 2/3 days for Sighisoara, a couple of days in the Sinaia area is a nice introduction to Transylvania if entering from Bucharest. I think we went to Targu Mures for the day by bus from Sighisoara, and quite enjoyed it.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 06:12 AM
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I think half a day is plenty for Sighisoara itself. Very cute, if you like cute, and very crowded.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 07:31 AM
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We stayed just outside Gura Humorului using that as a base.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 07:49 AM
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None of the towns mentioned is worth more than half to a whole day. They are pretty small and the museums are sometimes a little odd. Think ethnographic piles of African skulls for instance. The painted monasteries or small similar religious buildings are especially interesting. Look out for Hungarian gates in Transylvania and how the four "races" managed to get along in Transylvania over the centuries and how they stored hams in church towers etc.

Timisoara probably is worth the visit especially as it leads you to Hungary and places like Tokai which, if you are a wine buff, is a real gem.

Watch out for hotels, there are three types. Expensive large modern ones (avoid). Cheap large state owned ones (avoid). Local B&B and small hotels built by people trained in the service sector in the west which are amazingly good value and well worth booking.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 03:15 PM
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Thanks everyone. Some really useful information there. Sounds like there may be better places than Cluj Napoca or Targu Mures, but that Timisoara is a must. I agree less can be more. It's just so tempting to try and cram everything in - I'll have to discipline myself! Thanks again.
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Old Feb 8th, 2020, 08:04 PM
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Great pictures, though I wish I knew the locations.
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Old Feb 8th, 2020, 08:20 PM
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Click on the photos, macboo, Michael has labelled them.
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