Like many of my European summer trips, my trip to Romania was originally born out of a visa situation. As in, I needed to leave Hungary that day and stay out for a while, so I could come back again in the autumn (extreme simplification alert).
An acquaintance of mine had recently gone to Romania, and recommended I rent a car like him and visit the mountains, specifically Transylvania. I was so interested in Romania–especially since I was reading a book set in Transylvania (about 500 years ago, but still) at the time.
Then my husband learned how cheap Romania is, not to mention chock-full of gorgeous mountains, cute villages, tons of castles and ruins, and full of cultural heritage unlike anywhere else–well, he was on board, too.
Romania is actually huge, and since we were driving from Budapest, we decided to just stay in Transylvania, for the most part. Here’s our itinerary!
We chose Arad as it was right over the border from Hungary, and the main objective for the first day was just to cross into Romania. It as also on the route to Sibiu. It ended up being a really cute little town! Which I took zero pictures of. Oops.
Although it poured pretty much the entire time we were in Sibiu, I didn’t mind–it was so cute, colorful, and walkable! We stayed in this Airbnb which was well-located, not to mention clean and charming. It was a brief walk into the center–not even far in the rain ;).
We chose Magura purely due to the fact that this Airbnb is located there. It was E’s birthday and he wanted a retreat in the mountains–and this was certainly that! It wasn’t just a cabin in the woods, though– we made friends with the owners and their gigantic dog, who provided us with a lot of Romanian tuica, a plum brandy, and hooked us up with their neighbors who gave us cheese, milk, and eggs. Their fresh, smoked cheese might be one of my favorite memories of Romania. And that doesn’t even include the location of the place! We hung out enjoying the view or exploring the nearby trails. I would highly recommend staying in the country in Romania, to experience authentic village life that is hard to find in Europe.
day trips from Magura to: Bran Castle, Zarnesti Gorge
Of course we had to visit Bran Castle while we were in the area. While it remains the most touristy part of our trip, you can’t not see Dracula’s Castle when in Transylvania.
Nearby Magura is Zarnesti Gorge in Piatra Craului National Park. One of the most gorgeous, pristine spots we’ve found in Europe!
Admittedly, I had really high hopes for Brasov–I kept hearing from digital nomads that it would be a wonderful nomad base. The internet in Romania is amazing but I just didn’t connect with Brasov like I hoped. However, it’s a really adorable town, and is the best spot for a base to exploring Transylvania. AND our Airbnb there was absolutely amazing! It also ended up being a work stop (mostly for my husband, who works online) which meant the apartment was great for that.
day trips from Brasov to: Peles/Pelisor Castles, Rasnov Fortress, Prejmer
Peles Castle is probably Romania’s most famous castle, after Bran Castle. Some have called it the Transylvanian Neuschwanstein and I can see the comparisons–it was built around the same time, and it’s in the middle of the mountains. Right next to Peles is Pelisor Castle, originally a hunting retreat. Both feel like you stumbled across a hidden, enchanted castle in the middle of the wild mountains.
Another little gem is the fortress of Rasnov, close to both Bran and Brasov.
Romania is also known for its fortified churches from their Saxon roots. We visited the one at Prejmer–half museum, half church. We ended up talking to the guy selling jam and brandy for about an hour, about his life and his craft. Romanians are so friendly and love telling you all about their culture!
Little Sighisoara is unforgettable as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. Therefore, it is fairly well-known (like Bran Castle, although not nearly as crowded). I liked staying the night there, however, as most people bussed in for the day–it was much quieter in the evenings. Again, the colors and the charm just blew me away!
So there you have it! Our 12-day trip to Romania. See the map below to help you plot out your own trip to Romania! Because if I haven’t convinced you yet…you should go.
Have you been to Romania? Would you go?
Linking up with Wanderlust Wednesday.