Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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in early stages of planning a fall trip to romania....have never been there before and would welcome any suggestions you might have:

must sees
hotels/home stays
car rental companies or experiences

will have about 15 days on the ground in romania so should be able to see quite a lot...will have a car for duration, except for our time in Buch. .....

all thoughts and suggestions are welcome...thank you

rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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My report might be of interest to you. It also refers youto Clifton's excellent report:
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Covering new territory! I read a lot of your postings as we prepared for Thailand & Cambodia last year (much appreciated).

We drove as well. Rented a car from Budget in Budapest, through Autoeurope, and drove in and back out. Plan on slow driving... it's more difficult than, say, N. Thailand. I thought the main roads were mostly ok, but on secondary roads you'll go through a lot of villages and there will be horsecarts and livestock on the roads. Plan not to drive at night.

The Freytag and Berndt driving map of Transylvania (aka Erdely) was very useful, listing town names in Romanian, Hungarian and English (sometimes German) where applicable. It also had lots of symbols for scenic views, castles, churches, etc.

All from my own perspective of course on recommendations, but bear in mind we travel sort of a mid-range budget:

Must sees:

Sibiu - the 2007 European capital of Culture. Great city, unique architecture. Stayed at the Imparatul Romanilor hotel right in the heart of the old walls. A faded grand dame hotel, but thinking they may be fixing it up for the 2007 ECC events. Parking in the back.

Sighisoara - can't miss this. Best preserved town in Transylvania. Google for pics and you'll see what I mean. Stayed at a little b&b (breakfast was awful, room was very homey) called Legenda.

The Saxon towns with old walled churches - lots to choose from, with Biertan and Harmann being prime examples.

Sinaia - just inside Prahova, rather than Transylvania. Mountain setting, Palace Hotel seemed the best in town. Peles Palace and the monastary above town both beign interesting sites.

Bucovina - Walled monastaeries with central churches all painted top to bottom with external murals. Big wow from us on these. Each one, each in a neighboring town (Voronet, Sucevita, Humor, etc) has it's own theme and colors. No great hotel reco here, we stayed at a place called Casa Elena which we found on the fly. It was fine, but not flash.

Maramures - the most traditional part of Romania. Traditional clothing, traditional manual farming, fascinating wooden orthodox churches hundreds of years old. Will often have to find a villager to locate a caretaker who can unlock it for you. Or maybe locate a local guide to take you around. I'm thinking this would be a good place for a homestay. Wish we'd have done so ourselves.

I can't ever remember restaurant names, but there was quite a good one in Sibiu center with Mara in the name. Served traditional Romanian dishes and other dishes, and had some nice local white wines.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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This was my excruciatingly long report, which convinced me not to write any more trip reports unless I had a month to spare:
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Hi Bob,

Some suggestions:

In Bucharest, I would recommend to visit:
- take a walk on Calea Victoriei, to see the beautiful old buildings. You can walk till Sosea, to see the Arc of Triumph and to understand one of the reason that once Bucharest was named "Little Paris".
- visit the parks Cismigiu (in the centre of the city) and Herestrau at Sosea.
- visit Casa Poporului (try to make a reservation one or two days before)
- visit Royal Palace , now Art museum
- visit Cotroceni Palace (try to make a reservation one or two days before)

Carul cu bere
La mama
Military restaurant
and many, many other.

In the evening go to a restaurant with live music or with cabaret program


map and list of restaurants and theatres

60 km north from Bucharest is Valea Prahovei, - Bucegi Mountains. The most beautiful stations here are Sinaia, Predeal and Poiana Brasov.
In Sinaia - visit the town, Peles Palace (the beautiful palace of the Hohenzollern king , take the cable car to 2000 meters for a nice view and for walking in the forest. Visit also Sinaia Monastery - beautiful example of the Wallachian - Byzantine architectural style

Brasov is a big city, visit the old church Biserica Neagra (Black Church), go to Cetatuie - have there the dinner with show (with artists from Opereta), etc. Go to Poiana Brasov (13 Km from Brasov, you can spend there 2 -3 days to rest in the beautiful forests).
From Brasov, go to Bran, to visit Bran Castle, built in the 14th century by the merchants from Brasov to protect the old border between Wallachia and Transylvania, also known as the Dracula Castle.

Then visit Sighisoara, the best preserved and continuously inhabited early middle age town in Europe and therefore part of the World Cultural Heritage. Make a n walking tour of fortified town of Sighisoara, including the famous Clock Tower, the History Museum and the Torture Room.

Then go to Sibiu - in Transylvania, then to Valley of Olt - very picturesque. Visit there Cozia Monastery

If you are interested about sea, you can go to Mamaia - at Black sea.

The Delta of Danube is an unique place in Europe, well known for the vegetation, birds and fishes. You can make boat cruises on the channels.

Anotehr option - visit Moldova, with the painted churches ,from 16th century - the paintings are on exterior walls.
Visit Agapia, Varatec, Voronetz Monasteries.
Then go to Cheile Bicazului (Bicaz canion) , Lacul Rosu (Red Lake).
Transylvania has famous castles, citadels and fortified churches. The Fortified Churches were included in UNESCO patrimony.
Find visitors opinions about medieval towns at Sibiu-Travelogues, Brasov-Travelogues and Sighisoara-Travelogues.
Near Transylvanian Alps can be visited Dracula Castle situated in the town of Bran.
Sighisoara is renowned by its architecture dating from 14 century

I do not recomend to rent a car, but a driver with car.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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As someone who drove around Romania with little difficulty, I am curious to know why you keep on recommending a driver/car combination rather than a rental.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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fabulous information....thank you all for it...

will take me until october to sort it all out...

would love more as well...

any specific hotel suggestions for bucharest?/ mid range....comfort of bed is #1....

rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2007, 09:05 PM
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There are so many bad roads (with holes)! On roads between towns or villages are often people walking, or with bicycles without lights, or wagons with horses without any light, so I consider that is dangerous, if you are not familiar with things like this.

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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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any additional suggestions??
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 11:35 PM
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Hotel suggestion for Bucharest: Hotel Elizeu I stayed there 4 nights. Good price; highly competent and friendly staff; location near gara de nord makes it convenient to use the metro system.

If you go to Constanta, consider Hotel Dali. Excellent location, but request one of the rooms with the view of the Black Sea.

A must restaurant in Constanta is New Safari (Strada Karatzali 1)

You must go to Sighisoara. Consider staying at Casa Legenda. Keep in mind that breakfast is not included here and there is no daily housekeeping service. However, the place does have an atmosphere to it, and the location is excellent.

You MUST rent a car and travel on your own. Do NOT let anyone scare you about driving in Romania. Within a day, you will get use to it. While you will be passed all the time and you will need to avoid hitting living and dead dogs, the pot holes are not that bad. One of the best things about my trip was simply riding around taking any road I wanted and going to small towns, taking photos and stopping at a local store or eatery for a coke.

If you really want to experience Romania, you must have a car and you must get off the beaten path.

You must also pick up at least one Romanian hitchhiker.

I found driving in Romania to be less difficult than figuring out the Bucharest metro system.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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My friends and I spent 8 days in Romania last September 2006. It was one of my most memorable trips because Romania was just so beautiful and pristine. Tourists have not discovered the country yet. Topping the list of must-go places are Sighisoara, Brasov, Sinaia, Suceava and Bucovina. The other towns/cities we went to like Cluj Napoca, Bistrita, Peatra Neamt, Durau and Bucharest itself were just okay (not so great really!). We stayed in Casa Epoca in Sighisoara, Palace Hotel in Sinaia, Hotel Alpin in Poiana Brasov and Castel Hotel Dracula in the Borgo Pass - all very comfortable hotels. The other hotels we stayed in are not worth mentioning. All in all I would highly recommend visiting Romania before the ordinary tourists discover the country.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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thanks for all these suggestions...

i am looking for a nice, well located bucharest hotel in the mid range, say 60-90 E per nite double...


i will look at all the other suggestions too and will definately use some of them...

rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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any other suggestions...

any special car rental suggestions
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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rhkkmk, here is what I did to get the Intercontinental Bucharest for $50 USD per night. I got the information from FlyerTalk, and then I went ahead and booked them as follows (as I posted on another forum):

From the web site, I bought 15000 points for $150 USD. With the Intercontinental PointBreaks special, it costs 5000 points per night for the Intercontinental Bucharest.

For August, I needed a one-night stay, and later on a two-night stay. So for the three nights total at the Intercontinental Bucharest, I prepaid $150 USD (or less than 120 Euros). So this is costing just a little more than a hostel room. I've made the bookings, and they can't be cancelled, but I can live with that.

Other European cities are available too:
If you want to do this, I recommend purchasing the points over the phone. Apparently if you do that, your account is credited immediately, so you can book right away. I had to wait about 18 hours, because I purchased the points online. There's a risk that you will buy the points, and the deal will suddenly be yanked before you can book it, but that's very slight if you purchase the points on the phone. I don't know when Intercontinental plans to cancel the promotion.

Be sure to check the nights you want ahead of time to make sure that the 5000 points per night is available for the nights you want.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:38 PM
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thanks very much for this...i will look into it
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Posts: 29,048 are a gem....for $150. i now have the intercontinental for the first part of my stay....

thanks so much....don't you just love it when you can outsmart these companies.....of course the room may be in the celler next to the furnace....


the res just came to me so i must go look at it...

when i called the # the lady did it all....sold me the points and booked everything for me....good service...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:12 AM
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rhkkmk, I'm glad to hear that worked out for you. When are you going? We're going in August.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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we will be there in mid-october

there are some other great deals around the world from that same "sale" of 5000 pts....
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2007, 04:05 AM
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mid-october is a great time for the countryside. Lots of new-england type colors around the mountains.

It's also harvest time, so lots of haystacks and cornstalk stacks everywhere. Also lots and lots of horse-drawn carts on the roads, coming and going to the fields, so be careful. (but I still think driving's not a problem).
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