The interest of tourists coming to spend a city break holiday in Bucharest, Romania increased more and more. In our previous articles, we have showed you what you can do and experience in Romania’s capital city and which are the best places to visit: Highlights of Bucharest, 24 hours… in Bucharest or Bucharest, the new city break destination in Europe.
Now, it is time to discover also the surroundings of Bucharest which can give you a complete travel experience to Romania even though you do not have too much time at your disposal. There are many options, depending on your special interests: culture, hiking, adventure, history, food, wine or even meeting new people and making friends. You can travel on your own, rent a car or by train, you can join a small group tour leaving from Bucharest or you can take a private tour and travel with your own personal tour guide.
First, let’s see which are the best attractions you can go to for a half day or full day visit outside Bucharest and which is the best way to reach them:
Small group day tours from Bucharest to Transylvania
This 12 hour tour is by far the most popular one if you have only one day to spend. You will leave Romania’s capital city in the morning and head to the legendary land of Transylvania. On the way you can visit some of Romania’s most beautiful castles:
Visit Peles Castle in Sinaia
This is located in Sinaia, a very famous mountain resort known also as the “Pearls of the Carpathians”. Peles represents the former summer residence for the first Royal couple of Romania, King Carol 1st and Queen Elisabeth. Considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, the construction is impressive thanks to the architectural style and decorations, but most of all thanks to the beautiful interior design (interesting mixture of cultures in terms of furniture, the specific touch of the King and Queen) and the modern facilities for the last half of the XIXth century (electricity, vacuum cleaner, electrical elevator and central heating). Here you will also find out the story of the Royal couples in Romania and their important influence in the history of our country. The visit lasts about 45 minutes after which you can spend some time in the beautiful gardens of the castle.
Visit Bran Dracula’s castle in Transylvania
Bran castle is probably the reason why most of the tourists are coming to Romania and this thing is due to its connection to the Legend of Dracula. It was built in the 14th century as a medieval fortress at the borders between Wallachia historical region and Transylvania. Starting with 1920s, the castle was offered as a gift to Queen Marie of Romania who renovated it and turned it into one of her favorite dwellings in Romania. Now, the castle belongs to Queen Marie’s successors, being a private property and represents the most visited museum in our country.
Stroll around Brasov medieval city in Transylvania
This city is a must visit destination, one of the most beautiful and representative cities in Transylvania. Being founded by the Saxons in the 13th century, Brasov developed as a trade city keeping throughout the centuries the charming local architecture. The highlights of Brasov are the Council Square, the Council Tower, the Black Church (landmark of the city and the largest Gothic worship construction in Eastern Europe), the Rope Street (the second narrowest street in Europe), Saint Catherine’s Gate, Schei Gate and many others.
If you travel on Mondays or Tuesdays, Peles castle is closed, but you can see it from outside and visit inside either Cantacuzino castle located in Busteni mountain resort or the medieval fortress of Rasnov.
Besides the castles, you will also enjoy the great mountain scenery of the Carpathians and admire their natural beauty.
If you want to take a day trip from Bucharest to Peles castle, Bran castle and Brasov medieval city, you could also consider our small group day tour Two Castles in One Day.
2. Small group day tours from Bucharest to Dracula’s fortress, Poienari
There is a certain interest of tourists in finding out the story of Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, the cruel ruler of Wallachia whose life served as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker to create his fearful vampire in his novel “Count Dracula”. So, during this tour you will visit the places which are related to this Wallachian voivode: the ruins of the Old Princely Court in Targoviste and the ruins of Poienari fortress. Poienari is a special place, where you can get only after climbing the 1480 steps through the cool forest and once you reach the top you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Carpathian Mountains and a glimpse of the popular Transfagasaran Road.
Before returning to Bucharest, do not miss a short stop at Vidraru Dam, an engineering masterpiece which offers to tourists an impressive natural view over the Carpathian Mountains and the artificial lake of Vidraru.
All these places can be seen in a full day trip from Bucharest, lasting around 1 hours. Have a look over our small group “The Real Dracula” Tour and find our how you can visit them in just one day.
3. Small group full day tours from Bucharest, Romania to Bulgaria
If you already visited Romania and have an extra free day, a trip to North of Bulgaria could be a great option. Thus you can say, you visited two countries in one holiday.
For this trip, you will leave Bucharest in the morning, at 08:00 am and head to the country border, cross Danube river, the second largest river in Europe, and then, step in the Bulgarian territory. You will stop first at Ivanovo to visit Ivanovo Churches (UNESCO heritage since 1979). Located in the Valley of the Rusenski Lom River, the rock-hewn churches are famous thanks to their impressive XIII-XIVth century frescos.
The second stop will be in Veliko Tarnovo, one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria, located on the banks of Yantra River. Also known as the City of Tsars, Veliko boasts an impressive fortress with the ruins of the former Tsarevets Palace and the patriarchal church, nowdays with modern and intriguing paintings. The medieval atmosphere is well kept in the city thanks to the old architecture and the narrow streets where you can admire local craftsmen and their work.
There are plenty of good restaurants in Veliko Tarnovo and we will choose one to enjoy the tasty Bulgarian food together with one of their fine wines.
The Village of Arbanassi is the next place you will visit, being located very close to the city. Arbanassi is a quiet and picturesque village which even today keeps the medieval touch through the old architecture.
Check out our small group “Experience Bulgaria Tour” starting from Bucharest.
4. Small group half day tour from Bucharest to Mogosoaia Palace, Caldarusani & Snagov Monasteries
During only 5 hours you can discover the beautiful surroundings of Bucharest and visit three of the most important and appreciated sites: Mogosoaia Palace, an over 300 year old palace located in a charming and very large park; Snagov Monastery, which became so famous thanks to the Legend of Dracula as, according to local stories, it is believed that in the monastery, Vlad the Impaler has his grave and the beautiful Caldarusani Monastery, one of the oldest and largest Orthodox Monasteries in Wallachia.
You can rent a car and reach all these places by car or you can book a small group to Mogosoaia Palace, Snagov and Caldarusani Monasteries Tour.
5. Small group 2 day tour from Bucharest to Sighisoara, Transylvania
For those who want to explore Transylvania in depth, they can go on a shared 2 day tour from Bucharest to Transylvania including the Romanian castles (Peles castle and Bran Dracula’s castle), Brasov, one of the most beautiful cities of Romania and Sighisoara medieval citadel, the only citadel in Europe which is still inhabited (UNESCO Heritage). Here time seems to run after other patterns, visitors feel like in a journey back time when knights and fair ladies used to fall in love before dating and freedom was the priceless treasure of the community. Here you will find out the story of the citadel, you will see the well preserved walls and towers of defense and admire the medieval houses aligned along narrow old streets. The highlights of the citadel are: the house where it is said that Vlad the Impaler (known as Dracula) was born, the Clock Tower (on the top of which you can take some beautiful panoramic pictures with the citadel), the Covered Stairs and the Evangelical Church. You will stay overnight in a charming superior guesthouse in the citadel and the next day, you will return to Bucharest.
Do not miss our 2 day Transylvania Break Tour from Bucharest and discover the highlights of Transylvania.
6. Small group 2 day tour from Bucharest to Transfagarasan Road and the medieval city of Sibiu
If you like adventure and prefer to discover the natural beauty of Romania, then the best option for you is a 2 day tour from Bucharest to Transfagarasan Road.
During two days, visit Romania’s two most popular tourist attractions: Sibiu Medieval city, considered the most beautiful city in Romania and former European capital of Culture in 2007 and Transfagarasan high altitude road appreciated by Top Gear as being the “best road in the world”. Cross the Carpathian Mountains and reach the legendary land of Transylvania and then travel above the clouds and admire impressive waterfalls, glacial lakes and the high peaks of the mountains.
During our small group Transfagarasan Road and the Medieval city of Sibiu Tour you will get the chance to visit all these places in an efficient and easy way.
We hope this article will be useful when you will be planing your trip to Romania. For other destinations that you can include in your travel program, have a look over our blog or write us at [email protected]