Europe Romania

Romania Vacation – Tour the Transylvania Region

If you are planning a Romania vacation, you may be asking yourself, is it worth the trip? Romania is a brilliant place to visit. Inexpensive, unexplored by tourists from the US, friendly and gorgeous – Romania is a bucket-list-worthy trip. Romania is also very romantic (Sibiu, one of the cities in this itinerary was named the most romantic place in Europe). This itinerary will focus on Romania’s famous Transylvania Region – the home of the famous Dracula castle, and so much more.

Before we get started, I’d like to say thank you to my friends from Vero Social Network for sponsoring this trip.   Join me on Vero and don’t forget to follow me – @traveltipster

Please note: This blog post may contain some affiliate links. More info.

romanian athenaeum buchrest romania
Romanian Athenaeum at night, Bucharest, Romania.

Two-week Transylvania, Romania Vacation Itinerary

  • Land and explore Bucharest (Days 1 and 2)
  • Drive Bucharest to Brasov (Day 3) (3-hour drive)
  • Explore Brasov (Day 3 and 4)
  • Drive Brasov to Sighisoara (Day 5) (2-hour drive)
  • Explore Sighisoara (Day 5 and 6)
  • Drive to Cluj Napoca (Day 7) (2-hour drive)
  • Explore Cluj Napoca (Day Day 8 and 9)
  • Drive to Sibiu (Day 10) (3-hour drive)
  • Explore Sibiu (Day 11 and 12)
  • Drive Sibiu to Bucharest (Day 13) (4.5-hour drive)
  • Fly out from Bucharest (Day 14)
Sighisoara, Old Town

One-week Transylvania, Romania Vacation Itinerary

The shortened one-week itinerary excludes the bigger cities (Bucharest and Cluj Napoca) in favor of Romania’s charming and romantic countryside.

  • Land in Bucharest and drive to Brasov (Day 1)
  • Explore Brasov (Day 2 and 3)
  • Drive to Sighisoara (Day 3)
  • Explore Sighisoara (Day 4 and 5)
  • Drive to Sibiu (Day 5)
  • Explore Sibiu (Day 6)
  • Drive and fly out of Bucharest (Day 7)

Renting A Car In Romania

A few important travel tips about renting a car in Transylvania, Romania.  First, when you rent a car in Romania it’s very important to go with a reputable car company.  The car companies are not well regulated and so, unfortunately, some dishonest operators may take advantage of tourists.  Rent from a big company.   Second, try to avoid driving and parking in Bucharest.  It’s best to start your car rental on your way out of the city.  Third, consider buying full supplementary insurance – I almost never do and in Romania, I was grateful I did. The last thing you want is to spoil your Romania vacation with unnecessary charges due to car damage.  

Best Websites To Rent A Car In Romania

The winding roads in Romania countryside.

Bucharest – Discover The Capital

Bucharest is a big, noisy city and like many big cities, there is plenty to do here.  Of course, the old town is a tourist favorite. Here, you can wander cobblestone streets or check out several of the hundreds of restaurants.  Inside the historic district, you’ll find notable attractions such as the National Bank of Romania.  The beautiful old buildings host an ancient coin collection (some are over 2500 years old).  Here too you can learn more about the economic history of Romania. In addition to old down, consider a visit to the Romanian Athenaeum, a concert hall that hosts some of the most famous musicians in the world.

Buchares Romania river
Bucharest, view from the river.

What to do in Bucharest on Romania Vacation

Where to stay in Bucharest on Romania Vacation

While in Bucharest, I stayed in private apartments run by a sole proprietor. These types of arrangements are popular in Romania and you will often get a much better deal this way. It is also more authentic – you wake up in a residential area, surrounded by locals. It feels like being a Romanian for a day. Apartments for rent are readily available on all the major booking sites.

The old town, Bucharest.

Brasov – Dracula’s Castle and More

To get to Brasov you’ll travel over winding mountain roads and pass villages that look like they haven’t changed in several hundred years.  On these roads, you’ll see horse-drawn carts compete for space with BMWs. 

Brasov is famous as the home of Dracula’s Castle (Bran Castle). Because this attraction is well known the world over, it gets very busy. Ideally, try to come here in the morning for the fewest crowds.

What To Do in Brasov on Romania Vacation

draculas castle bran castle brasov romania transylvania
Dracula’s Castle – Bran Castle near Brasov.

Where to Stay in Brasov

In Brasov, I rented a spectacular room with a view of the old town.  Romanian countryside is cheap, and you can get incredible deals here for about $50 to $100 a night.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

Sighisoara – A Spectacular Old Town

Sighisoara is perhaps the most stunning city in Transylvania.  Here you’ll find a spectacular old district that seems to go on for miles, ancient churches, plenty of quaint shops and restaurants. 

In Sighisoara, rent a bike in the central square and explore the old district by bicycle.  If you are interested in history, stop by the old synagogue and the many other houses of worship.  Romania is mostly Catholic so you’ll see many Catholic churches on your trip to Transylvania. Another interesting point of interest in Sighisoara is the one-room museum of torture. 

Things to do in Sighisoara

sighisoara romania historical district transylvania
A street in Sighisoara, Romania, historical district. Transylvania.

Where to stay in Sighisoara

A great hotel in Sighisoara is the Fronisius.  Centrally located with great views this one features a restaurant and a bar.  You’ll be in a close walking location to all the major attractions and right in the center of Old Town. 

Sighisoara’s clocktower.
A boarded-up window in Sighisoara
Sighisoara romania transylvania vacation
Sighisoara city views.

Cluj Napoca – The Regional Capital

Cluj is much larger than either Sighisoara or Sibiu and is more industrial. Still, there is plenty to do here, including touring unusual museums and a botanical garden. 

cluj-napoca city transylvania romania
Cluj-Napoca is more industrial than some of the other places we visit on this Romanian vacation

Things to do in Cluj Napoca

The first place I really wanted to visit in Cluj – Napoca was the mysterious Hoia forest.  This forest is famous for the trees that grow in an unusual “bend” pattern.  There are many explanations for the phenomenon – ranging from odd weather to UFO to ghosts.  It is rumored that locals don’t go into the forest to avoid the evil spirits who live here.  If you wish to check out the mystery, do not follow the GPS coordinates to the forest.  This will only lead you to backroads and people’s homes.

To get to Hoia Forest, set your GPS to the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography.  Drive a little bit past the museum to the parking lot and you’ll see a forest with well-marked trails.  In this mysterious forest, follow the arrows and you’ll quickly find the unusual twisted trees.

hoia forest trees bend ufo ghost cluj napoca
The mysterious trees in Hoia forest

Where to Stay in Cluj Napoca 

Many consider Opera Plaza one of the nicest hotels in the city.  Centrally located and luxurious its a great place to spend the night. 

Although I enjoyed my stay in Cluj Napoca its the most industrial city in the region, and so, if you are looking for a traditional small-town Transylvania experience and are short on time you can safely skip this stop.

cluj napova romania vacation
Cluj-Napoca city views from Cetățuia Park

Sibiu – The Most Romantic City in Europe

A few hours drive south of Cluj-Napoca you will find Sibiu – a world of its own. Many consider Sibiu is the most romantic city in Europe – and it’s not hard to see why.  Picturesque downtown extends for miles and medieval buildings line the little streets and big squares.  On the roofs, you’ll notice windows that look like eyes.  It’s easy to imagine the buildings are watching you.  Here, you can spend hours wandering the streets under the observant eyes of nearby buildings.  It is easy to get lost. In addition to absorbing the atmosphere, there are several notable attractions in Sibiu, and plenty to do. 

Things to do in Sibiu

As you wander the streets of Sibiu, you will eventually find your way to the bridge of Lies.  Legend says it is called the bridge of lies because in medieval times lovers used to meet here and promise each other undying devotion.  Another explanation of the bridge’s name is even less romantic.  In the quaint square right next to the bridge, heretics were tortured and “confessed the truth.”  This little bridge was the only way to get to the square – and so it became the bridge of lies.  Whatever your personal preference, whether the romantic or the macabre, there is no doubt the bridge and its surrounding area is gorgeous. 

Sibiu, Romania
bridge of lies, sibiu, romania
Bridge of Lies, Sibius, Romania
council tower sibiu
Sunset from the Council Tower
A windmill in the Astra National Museum Complex

Where To Stay In Sibiu 

A great hotel in Sibiu is the Noblesse Boutique Hotel, located in the center of town.  

An old town street in Sibiu
Astra National Museum Complex, Sibiu, Romania
A street lit up for the evening in Sibiu, Romania

Is It Safe To Travel in Romania?

Short answer – absolutely. As a solo female traveler, I am sometimes a little weary when traveling in eastern Europe or the developing world. In some places, I’ve encountered a culture of street harassment/catcalls.  This makes for an uncomfortable experience.  In Romania on the other hand, there is no such culture.  Every person I encountered was extremely respectful and polite. Every neighborhood felt safe. As a solo female traveler, I felt comfortable at all times in Romania.  I do not hesitate to recommend a visit here. If you are looking to explore Eastern Europe I think Romania is a great place to start.  

Is Romania Expensive For Tourists?

Romania is very inexpensive for tourists. While the culture is similar to western Europe, the prices are all eastern Europe. You can get a great dinner for $10 to $15, and a great hotel for $50. Admission to most attractions is a couple of dollars or free. Rental car insurance can be expensive, but it’s worth the price. On the other hand, if you have a credit card rental car insurance, this is a great way to save.

How Many Days Do You Need To Visit Romania?

A visit to Romania, the Transylvania region is more about quiet exploration and atmosphere rather than big-name attractions. This means you can visit here over a weekend or spend 3 weeks. A seven to fourteen-day Romania vacation is likely to leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please leave a comment or a question – these help the search engines determine which articles are most useful to readers. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you on the road!

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