Possible Itinerary in Romania?

Old Feb 10th, 2012, 11:02 PM
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Possible Itinerary in Romania?

I had a thread on the Painted Monastaries but decided to start a new one for our possible schedule.

We still haven't booked flights but are very close to doing so. We cannot add another day on. Here is the rough schedule we've come up with focusing on Transylvania and the Painted Monastaries. Right now we plan to fly in and out of Targu Mures. We could fly to or from Bucharest but I think Targu Mures fits our schedule better. This trip is planned for June (departing June 15) so we should have plenty of daylight each day.
There are 4 of us in our family. 2 adults and 2 children ages 10 and 11.

Thursday night – drive to hotel near airport (we live in England)
Friday – fly to Romania, arrive around 1pm, drive to painted monasteries area - about 300km, 4.5 hours - HOTEL 1
Saturday – painted monasteries – HOTEL 1
Sunday – painted monasteries – HOTEL 1
Monday – LONG drive to Brasov area – take road through Bicaz Gorge on the way for photos - arrive in Brasov – about 340km – about 5 hours – HOTEL 2
Tuesday – Brasov area (perhaps Black Church, Rasnov Fortress – Prejmer with octagonal church is just 12 km away, Harman fortified church is 5 miles away )– HOTEL 2
Wednesday – Bran/Walachia (30km – 40 min from Brasov) – HOTEL 2
Thursday – perhaps Sinaia – Peles Palace (48km, 50 minutes from Brasov) – open to suggestions here – some places from Tuesday? – HOTEL 2
Friday – drive to Poenari Castle (this is a must stop for our son) – climb – allow an hour just to climb - and then more time to visit and come back down – anything else here? – continue drive and stay near Sighisoara
(Drive from Brasov to Poenari Castle is 155km, 2.5 hours)
(Drive from Poenari to Sighisoara is around 180 km, 2.5 hours)
Saturday – Sighisoara (citadel, clock tower, weapons museum, church on the hill and more – vlad’s birthplace ) – perhaps also visit Biertan (walled church UNESCO site- 30 minutes away – probably no time but listing just in case)– continue on to hotel near/at airport (drive to airport is about 60km – 1 hour away)
Sunday – early morning flight out

Can someone please take a look and let me know what they think? There are a few places we are missing on this schedule that we would have liked to fit in but we don't want to feel rushed. They are: Sibiu, Snagov Monastery (supposed burial place of Vlad Tepes), and Targoviste. If we could fit one or more of them in by using Bucharest airport at one end of the trip I'd be interested to hear anyone's ideas. However, we'd prefer not to be driving somewhere new every day if possible.

I've also posted distances I got from the web and approximate drive times. If those are way off can someone please let me know?

Thanks for taking a look.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 03:52 AM
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It's a reasonably good plan, though driving times are somewhat longer (I'd say Targu Mures to Bucovina 5-6 hours, Bucovina to Brasov 6-7 hours, Brasov to Poenari 3 hours, Poenari to Sighisoara 3 1/2-4 hours ).

The main thing to see near Penari fortress are Vidraru dam and especially the Transfagarasan road itself - it's a very scenic high altitude road heading north from Poenari across the Fagaras mountains into Transylvania (it's actually the route you would follow to Sighisoara).

If you want to see Sibiu and Targoviste (Snagov monastery really isn't very interesting) and can fly into Bucharest you could try this:

Day 1: a long drive Bucharest-Targoviste (visit the old court's ruins)-Poenari fortress-Sibiu (7-8 hours in total)
Day 2: visit Sibiu
Day 3: early morning drive to Brasov, visit Brasov's old town
Days 4-6: day trips from Brasov to Sighisoara, Sinaia (Peles), Rasnov&Bran;
Day 7: drive to Bucovina via Bicaz Gorge
Days 8-9: visit the monasteries
Day 10: drive to Targu Mures
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 04:22 AM
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Thanks for the better estimates on times flat4. For your suggested itinerary above would we really have any time to visit Targoviste or Peonair fortress? Is your 7-8 hours the amount of driving for that day? And then the visits would be on top of that?

I think because we lose a couple hours on the flight in we would not arrive until 1pm into Bucharest. So unfortunately, I don't think we'd want to plan such a long drive on the first day just in case of delays.

It seems like we just need 1 more day, but unfortunately we have to get back. Is there anything I should swap out in order to see Targoviste or Sibiu?
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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flat4 - we are traveling by car in Romania mid March for 9 days.. we will be driving from OTP to Sinaia once we arrive.. we want to see Peles, Bran and the Poenari Fortress.. understanding the opening times of Peles and Bran, we think we should do them first.. how long - and what route would you suggest to get to Poenari.. and should we stay near Poenari one night ( before or after ?) we are winging it with zero reservations ... can you advise me on this ? I appreciate it very much...we will be driving the loop from Brasov to Sibiu to Sighisoara ( don't know what order ) then back to OTP.. have any suggestions to the order of that ?
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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@see_the_world7
Yes, unfortunately 7-8 hours would be just the drive on day 1.

Here's another suggestion (flying in/out of Targu Mures). Follow your original itinerary until Brasov then do this:

Wednesday: drive Brasov-Sinaia-Bran (~2 hours drive plus the castle visits) then push on towards Poenari (~2 1/2 hours from Bran) and spend the night nearby (there are numerous guesthouses in Capataneni, a village just south of Poenari, and several chalets/hotels around Vidraru lake)

Thursday: visit Poenari fortress in the morning then drive to Sibiu (on the Transfagarasan or along the Olt Valley if the Transfagarsan is still closed)

Friday: visit Sibiu, drive to Sighisoara

Saturday: visit Sighisoara, drive to Targu Mures airport


@frugaltraveler
Do you want to do Peles, Bran and Poenari the same day? It can be done only if you leave from OTP/Otopeni airport early in the morning.

Drive from Otopeni to Sinaia (~2 hours) , visit Peles palace then head to Bran via Paraul Recece and Rasnov (~1 hour).

After you visit Bran castle drive to Poenari through Campulung and Curtea de Arges (~2 1/2 hours).
By the time you it will definitely be evening so you'll have to stay around there for the night.

I mentioned the accommodation options near Poenari in my reply to See_the_world7 above; on weekdays you'll easily find rooms even without reservations but on weekends it might be a bit more difficult.

After Poenari I think the best order would be Sibiu - Sighisoara - Brasov - back to Otopeni
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 07:43 AM
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flat4 ~
thanks - your information is wonderful... we will be arriving around 3pm at OTP on a Friday... we were planning on driving to Sinaia, staying the night, seeing Peles and Bran on Saturday..driving to ?, then seeing Poenari on Sunday.. thanks for the accomodation options near Poenari, I will definately make a reservation now that you suggested it..
Is the snow they are getting a rare winter for them ? I hope in 4 weeks it won't be that bad... thank you again
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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It's a good itinerary, not very rushed.
On the way to/back from Poenari you will pass through Curtea de Arges. If you have some time try to visit its famous cathedral and bishop's palace ( http://www.eparhiaargesului.ro/mrea_argesului.html )

In the past 10-15 years winters have gotten milder (although there still was snow every time in many parts of the country), compared to that the current winter really is unexpectedly harsh.
It will certainly get better by mid March but you still might find snow around Sinaia, Bran and Poienari, they're all in mountainous areas.
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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flat4 - again - thank you for your review and comments...
The snow recently received in Romania has my friend a little worried about us driving.. he is favoring the train... I am hoping the weather will be better by March 16th...

thanks for the tip on Curtea de Arges cathedral and palace.
we will try and visit that too...

thanks again..
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Bran/Walachia is meaningless. Bran can be seen on the same day as the Raznov fortress (and I think that we drove back to the other side of Brasov to see the Premjer church). You can check that in my trip report; click on my name to find it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...ith/4186096748
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 09:34 PM
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Our flights are now booked - in and out of Targu Mures. Now we just have to finalize a schedule and book accommodation.

@Michael, do you say Bran is 'meaningless' because it is quick to visit (not taking much time)? Or because it has no real connection to Dracula?

@flat4, I'll take a closer look at your second suggestion to include Sibiu.

If distance/time were not an issue, would you choose to see Sibiu or Targoviste?

Thanks for the replies.
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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Bran and Walachia adon't make sense. Walachia is a Romanian province south of the Carpathians, Bran is on the northern foothills of the same mountains.

Bran is interesting, but not because it is somehow connected with Dracula. I think that I mention my reaction to it in my trip report.
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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@frugaltraveler
Driving won't be that bad even if there's snow, all the places you want to get are mostly on major roads that are usually kept in good condition.

But you can easily do your itinerary (incl. Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu) by train&bus if necessary, the only somewhat complicated part will be reaching Poenari (you'll have to walk from Capataneni onward, for about one hour).

@see_the_world7
I'd definitely choose Sibiu, there's considerably more to see in it than in Targoviste.
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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@Michael, I must have written some things down wrong when I was taking notes of locations. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old Feb 18th, 2012, 10:32 PM
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I've revised the itinerary slightly now based on the suggestions of flat4. The revised itinerary will allow us to see Sibiu if we think we have time, but since we won't have an overnight booked there we can decide on the day whether to go or skip it.

Thursday night – drive to airport hotel
Friday – fly to Romania, drive to painted monasteries area - HOTEL 1
Saturday – painted monasteries – HOTEL 1
Sunday – painted monasteries – HOTEL 1
Monday – LONG drive to Brasov area – take road through Bicaz Gorge on the way for photos - arrive in Brasov – HOTEL 2
Tuesday – Brasov area (perhaps Black Church, Prejmer with octagonal church is just 12 km away, Harman fortified church is 5 miles away )– HOTEL 2
Wednesday – Sinaia – Peles Palace, Rasnov - HOTEL 2
Thursday – Bran, then continue on to Poenari Castle. If we arrive in time (depending on how much time we spent in Bran), visit Poenari tonight. Otherwise, save for morning. HOTEL 3 overnight near Poenari.
Friday – visit Poenari if we didn't have a chance (otherwise we'll be ready to move on). Decide now if we want to visit Sibiu. If so, drive to Sibui and then on to Sighisoara. Otherwise, go straight to Sighisoara. HOTEL 4 near Sighisoara.
Saturday – Sighisoara (citadel, clock tower, weapons museum, church on the hill and more – vlad’s birthplace ) – perhaps also visit Biertan (walled church UNESCO site- 30 minutes away – probably no time but listing just in case)– continue on to hotel near/at airport (drive to airport is about 60km – 1 hour away)
Sunday – early morning flight out


I see that Bran Castle opens at 9:00am. Is there any set opening times for Poenari Castle? Or is it always open if you make the climb?

Thanks again for the feedback.
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 03:15 AM
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I did not visit Poienari fortress, but I found in internet that it is open daily in the summer only, between 9 and 18. Till there you have to climb 1480 steps, so be careful!
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 10:29 PM
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@flat4 - you adjusted my estimated driving times above:
>>(I'd say Targu Mures to Bucovina 5-6 hours, Bucovina to Brasov 6-7 hours, Brasov to Poenari 3 hours, Poenari to Sighisoara 3 1/2-4 hours ).
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 11:41 PM
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1.5 hours from Sibiu to Sighisoara according to Google maps.
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Old Feb 20th, 2012, 03:57 AM
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Thanks Michael. I used googlemaps for my original time estimates and flat4 told me it would probably take longer. So I wondered if this one would take longer too. Have you done the drive between the two?
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Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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See_the_world7, I looked in sites in Romanian for "Cetatea Poenari" and the visiting hours are listed in some sites, like:

http://www.cetateapoenari.ro/program-vizitare

http://www.muzeul-judetean-arges.ro/...8,19,20,42,48/
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Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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Poenari to Sibiu 2 - 2 1/2 hours via the Transfagarasan or ~3 hours via the Olt Valley
Sibiu to Sighisoara, yes, around 1 1/2 hours
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