Transylvania on the Road
Four years ago, my friend Raffaele and I left for Bucharest, with a one-way ticket.
I have always been fascinated by the capital. It is from here that our journey would have started. There was absolutely nothing prefixed. We would have stayed in a central, ultra-modern hotel, practically a latch (I will not mention the name).
They were the only fixed things, with the desire to leave to discover Transylvania.
In the capital, during the few hours of mental clarity, we have drawn up a sort of itinerary. We relied on our travel guide, the advice of some natives, some whore in Bucharest, and the inevitable old turnaround.
Impossible not to be influenced by the charm, and the charm of this land. A name that evokes mystery, adventure, Bram Stoker ... Fracchia against Dracula. Our trip would last the beauty of 13 days. Transylvania on The Road is the journey of two friends, which could be the journey of anyone else.
DAY 1 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: BUCHAREST
Bucharest it's a really beautiful city. Much more than you can imagine.
Someone called it Little Paris. In the world, there are Little Paris. Small Vienna. Little Venice ... ..
For myself: Bucharest is simply ... Bucharest.
Forget the similarities and know how to appreciate their beauty.
Museums, theaters, libraries, grand boulevards, historic buildings and lots, lots of night life. It is no coincidence that the name itself derives from the term Bucura, meaning being happy.
You will not be indifferent to the beauty of the Lipscani district, in the historic center: a tangle of narrow streets, shops, lounge bars. It was the neighborhood where we put the curtains, between a drink and another.
Soseaua Kiseleff, they are a sort of Elysian Fields. And again: the Royal Palace, the beautiful building where the Parliament is housed and Calea Victoriei, one of the most fashionable streets. From here, all about this fantastic city.
Having spent three days, years ago, we preferred to stay only one day, one night.
DAY 2 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: SINAIA
On a vacation where you have to share everything with the other participants, empathy is a fundamental aspect. And above all, be in tune with every little thing.
We got up very calmly. We took the opportunity to have a swim in the pool, on the top floor of the hotel. A shower and, away. It starts. Direction Sinaia.
Approaching stop for Brasov.
Very little is known of the route. The city, on the other hand, is an interesting reality. It is located along the spectacular, evocative, stretch of the Prahova valley; that is, one of the most beautiful of all the Carpathians, east of the Bucegi Mountains, following the course of the homonymous river between mountains and pine forests.
Sinaia is a beautiful city, with churches, parks and a casino. But, the role of primadonna, certainly belongs to Castelul Peles, the main attraction of the Prahova valley. Built between the 1875 and the 1914 in German neo-Renaissance architecture, following the style of the Castles of Bavaria, it is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. And it is absolutely true. The whole structure, including the gardens, the rooms and the location is really WONDERFUL.
Bello, also, the smallest Pelisor Castelul, which is located not far from Peles.
We only recommend checking the opening hours in advance. From here, all the info.
At Pelisor, we met Kyra and Catalina.
The knowledge has been quite fruitful: we have remedied a dinner (really perfect), a roof for the night (a latch) and an appointment to visit, the next day, the Bucegi mountains and the mystery of "The Elderly".
We would have reciprocated delighted with a little 'aromatherapy with natural grass (!!!) that Raffaele grows in his garden.
Between alcohol and smoking, the evening has passed too quickly
Do not expect nightlife in Sinaia. Off the lights, the city is a mortuary. Unless you meet, you too, Kyra and Catalina.
DAY 3 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: SFINGE + BABELE, BRAN AND RÂSNOV
The curve of the Carpaţi Mountains, which takes its name Bucegi, has for centuries been surrounded by an aura of esotericism, enhanced by the presence of some singular attractions of geological origin, such as the Sphinx and Babel, nicknamed "The Elderly".
It is a truly evocative and extremely beautiful place to see. Add to this the presence of a rocky structure sculpted by the wind, at 2200 meters of altitude, the Sphinx, in fact. View and breathtaking view. There is also a refreshment point where you can eventually stop.
At the top you arrive by cable car from Busteni, a small village located about 10 Km north of Sinaia. From Bulevardul Libertatii (E60 road), coming from Sinaia, after passing the beautiful Caraiman Monastery, turn left onto Strada Telecabinei.
Just in front of the entrance to the cable car (Telecabina) of Busteni you will find the sign for the parking (PARCARE) where you can leave your car.
We greeted our friends after spending the whole morning, with the (false) promise to keep in touch.
A trip to Transylvania can not be complete without visiting the Bran Castle. The Castle of Count Dracula. Although, in reality, Bran Castelul is not at all Dracula's Castle. And then, why take almost an hour's drive between curves and bottlenecks?
Well. The Castle deserves, and the place is absolutely wonderful. Truly impressive to see his silhouette perched on the street, with trees and leaves in motion; and, in the light of the sunset ... The courtyard is beautiful, and the view from up here is splendid.
In winter, in the evening, someone could get chills!
If you are in Transylvania it would be a shame not to come this far.
The Bran Castle, in the summer, closes at 18: 00. To enter, the cost is 35LEI.
We stayed until closing; Brasov, the next stop on our trip, is just a 4 minute drive from here.
Along the way, the historic fortress Cetatea Râşnov certainly deserves a visit.
You can wander through the walls and ramparts of the fortified citadel, built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights. At the top, the view of Brasov and the valley is really impressive.
Whoever wants, can get on with a small train pulled by a tractor!
In the place, some scenes of the film "Back to Cold Mountain" by Anthony Minghella were shot.
Cetatea Râşnov is open every day, from 09: 00 to 18: 00, with an admission fee of 12LEI.
A Râşnov, we recommend staying for the evening. A rather quiet town. At "La Promenade" you can try the excellent local cuisine, and the inevitable soup. We found a nice evening with live music, and popular music. A really nice evening.
DAYS 4 AND 5 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: BRASOV
Picturesque, medieval-looking town Brasov it is the most important city in all of Transylvania, as well as the second most important and number of inhabitants in Romania. Located in a depression of the Southern Carpathians, the City is a cluster of charming alleys and narrow streets and baroque façades, and the famous Mount Tampa as a backdrop.
Brasov is an extremely evocative town; the splendid Black Church, and the famous Bastions, indelible testimony of its ancient fortifications and walls.
From here, a detailed guide on what to see in Brasov in two days.
Brasov, with Bucharest, was one of the most eventful destinations on our Tour. We had two fantastic evenings and crazy nights. There are so many clubs, clubs and lounge bars in the city. At Move Club we had a fantastic evening, full of fun. Excellent music, excellent location and a lot of people.
Virtually identical features of 4 Rooms, another local not far away, rather popular.
The only drawback, wanting to be fussy, the excessive presence of kids and students.
For the rest, fun is guaranteed.
Kafe Pub, is an extraordinary alternative. Excellent cocktails and good music in a relaxing atmosphere.
Of gastronomy, I love to experiment and try new local flavors. Obviously, within the possible limits. On the sixth day, I wandered like a junkie looking for a good dose of ... Italian wine.
Give me a pasta in the sauce with a nice basil leaf. A plate of pasta and potatoes with provola. A pasta and beans with mussels ...
We relied on the reviews on the web to find the Trattoria del Chianti, at Strada Brânduşelor 100. You eat really well, and the atmosphere is relaxing. Absolutely to try.
DAYS 6 AND 7 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: SIGHIŞOARA
We returned to the hotel at 06: 30 in the morning. Drench on it.
We spent almost the entire morning sleeping.
The bottle of Pálinka, bought at the Brasov supermarket on the day of our arrival, completely empty.
For many, times are crucial.
Not for us.
Not that we had an endless time to devote to our journey. Not even too much money, after all.
Sighişoara, Targu Mures, Cluj Napoca, Alba Iulia, Sibiu ... if we wanted to see all these places, we would have to change our rhythms and styles a little.
Sighisoara is known to be the Christmas city of Vlad Tepes.
The myth of Dracula lives on every street, square and corner of Sighisoara. And as such, you will almost be overwhelmed by souvenirs, knick-knacks, perfectly styled premises ... Dracula.
There is no travel in Transylvania, without having set foot in this beautiful city.
But, far from the stereotypes and the merely commercial aspects, Sighisoara presents itself as a romantic and, at the same time, mysterious city.
Two souls that live together in symbiosis, day and night.
Try to make a jump in the middle of winter, and in the evening, with the city, almost completely empty, and the cold and pungent cold blows on your face!
Crossing, however, its beautiful old town, it seems that the hands of the clock have been stopped for several centuries. So beautiful, fascinating and charming, to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Sighisoara, represents the very essence of Transylvania. We recommend that you dedicate one or more days to this wonderful city. It is certainly one of the most beautiful in Transylvania.
DAY 8: TARGU MURES AND CLUJ NAPOCA
Tirgu Mures it is located in the heart of Transylvania, about 50 kilometers from Sighişoara.
A town of which the beautiful Medieval Fortress (Cetatea Medievala), the Ascension Cathedral and the Palace of Culture remain impressed.
We spent half a day.
For those on holiday with their children, we recommend a trip to the Zoo
Less touristy than Sighişoara and other transylvanian destinations, it is a rather peaceful and relaxing place. Along Strada Morii, Laci Csarda is really the Top for your lunch (or dinner); one of the best in Transylvania, for quality-price, in which I had eaten so far.
Meat is the TOP and abundant portions. Friendly staff.
Here we met Bogdan. Really nice boy, with a singular outfit. He advised to take a trip to Turda to visit the salt pans. Suggestions that we would follow, literally, the following day.
Cluj Napoca it is an important university center, and one of the largest cities in Romania. This explains, therefore, the motive of so much movement, day and night.
Of all the cities seen so far, Cluj Napoca was the one that impressed me the most. Do not get misunderstood: Transylvania is a wonderful land, with truly unique places and villages, and a truly surreal atmosphere. Thinking of Cluj Napoca, however, I can say that I want to come back.
A truly beautiful city, fascinating, elegant, multicultural, lively. A place where you can admire its extraordinary architectural beauties, take walks in its green spaces, spend time siping drinks, dancing and having fun in the clubs ...
In the first stage of the day, in the city, we started from Piata Unirii, with the marvelous Church to frame. Along the perpendicular Bulevardul Eroilor, you will meet many places, until you reach the beautiful Orthodox Cathedral. Do not miss to visit it. And, speaking of heroes, there is the statue of Avram Iancu, a national hero to whom the city has also dedicated its own airport. Beautiful, nearby, the building that houses the Opera House. It could be a tantalizing idea, to spend an alternative evening.
In the evening, we went to a rock night at the Hardward Pub, not far from the center. A place really up to par
DAY 9: TURDA AND CLUJ NAPOCA
La Turda Salt Mine it is located along the DN1 road, less than 40 kilometers from Cluj Napoca.
For the first time during our trip, we got up early (the 09: 30 around). At least for our vacation habits.
With all the good will, it would have been impossible to arrive at the Salina at the opening hour, as advised by Bogdan.
An extraordinary and somewhat suggestive journey into an underworld ... in Transylvania.
Do not expect vampires and bats but an incredible mine, from the 2010, historical monument of Romania's national cultural heritage.
A journey through paths and underground paths, hidden from the human eye. Mining is waiting for you, and an ancient winch with which, in the nineteenth century, salt was extracted.
The current aspect is due to recent modernization operations. Today, the Salina Turda, is a mining museum, a halotherapy tourist center and amusement park!
At the cost of 30LEI, you can visit the Crivac Room, which houses an ancient instrument of the nineteenth century, with which the salt rocks were raised; and the Rudolf mine, the most spectacular point of the complex, where even an amusement park is set up!
The afternoon was entirely dedicated to Cluj Napoca. Simion Bărnuţiu is a huge green lung, located right in the center. A place of peace and tranquility, ideal for relaxing. Given the location, it is quite crowded. There are many families with children, and students.
Not far away, at Memorandumului Street 21, we enjoyed the Ethnographic Museum, which offers a fantastic insight into the everyday life of the past. Beautiful Made in Transylvania costumes and artefacts displayed on the inside. In the summer, it opens from 10: 00 to 18: 00, while in winter it closes at 16: 00.
Further away from the city center is the "Romulus Vuia" Ethnographic National Park which, according to many, is worth visiting. We promised to return to Cluj and, perhaps, visit the Park-Museum.
Walking in Cluj, there are so many parks and POIs. Like, after all, the locals.
From a gastronomic point of view, Cluj can satisfy everyone's needs, with the most disparate multi-ethnic proposals. There is, even, the inevitable Pizzeria Napoletana; and you eat, too, pretty good!
The locals. Cluj's offer is from the top of the class. Club Midi and NOA are considered the excellence in clubbing in Romania. At Club Midi, despite the impressive crowds, and the rather high prices, the fun is guaranteed throughout the night.
DAY 10: ALBA IULIA
Reach Timisoara. Stay in Cluj. Return to Bucharest. Of the 3 options, we opted for the last one, and booked our return flight from Bucharest, leaving other 3 days on our road trip.
It is almost common judgment that ad Alba Iulia and Sibiu you can find the true soul of Transylvania. For many, they are the two most fascinating and mysterious cities in the Region.
Alba Iulia is located about 100 kilometers south of Cluj Napoca. It is a city of great history as well as the ancient capital of Transylvania.
It is one of the best preserved cities in the Region.
A place full of history and tradition, with beautiful buildings such as the White Fortress and, inside, the Catedrala Sfântul Mihail, the oldest in the country.
Beautiful streets. Scenographic fountains. Historical buildings. The Batthyaneum Library, a legacy of the past, in which ancient texts are preserved.
The atmosphere is calm and relaxing. Like our evening, spent eating a kebab, drinking a couple of beers each (strictly Ursus) and walking at dusk in the citadel.
The liveliness of Cluj-Napoca, despite the short distance, is only a memory
DAY 11 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: SIBIU
Known as the most beautiful city in Transylvania, Sibiu hits at first glance. The city is located about 70km to the southeast of Alba Iulia.
Sibiu offers many points of interest. There is no lack of green spaces, even in the center.
The Bridge of the Lies is one of the symbols of the city. But, both in the Upper Town and in the Lower part, the fascinating and evocative places are not lacking.
Muzeul de Etnografie Universala Franz Binder, in Piaţa Mică 11, is particularly interesting for lovers of ethnography. The Top of the genus, however, is represented by ASTRA, a marvelous complex with faithful reconstructions of villages and landscapes of the Romanian and Transylvanian folk tradition. ASTRA is one of the most incredible open-air museums in Europe, in an extraordinary natural setting: the Dumbrava Sibiului Park. Open every day from 09: 00 to 17: 00. You can also get easily by public transport, using the 13 line.
In the park there is also an interesting zoo, ideal for families
In Piata Cibin, in the city center, do not miss a visit to the agri-food market. Excellent cheeses, good prices.
And, again, its imposing ramparts and the splendid towers. The Churches, of every order and cult.
Thanks to its beauties and its splendid, and extraordinary architecture, the city has also obtained the recognition of Capital of Culture, in the 2007.
Gorgeous in every season of the year. At Christmas, the city becomes even more fascinating and evocative, sometimes covered in snow and lit up for a party, like a small, marvelous Nativity scene.
After a whole day spent in Sibiu, we can join the chorus of those who claim that this is one of the most beautiful cities in the Region. A truly unmissable stop on a tour of Transylvania on the road.
DAY 12 TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD: TRANSFAGARASAN
The best farewell to this wonderful Earth is through one of the most beautiful, fascinating and evocative roads in all of Europe: the transfagarasan.
This fantastic national road, the DN7C, is spread over 90 km, along trails that cross the Carpathians, reaching, in some stretches, over the 2000m in height. From Cârţişoara, to Piteşti, crossing the villages of Bascov, Merişani, Băiculeşti, Valea Iaşului, Albeştii de Argeş, Corbeni, Arefu.
A journey, an adventure, an experience ... among tortuous paths, at a speed of 45 km / h.
Just like that.
Because, given its conformation, on this road the 45 km / h can not be exceeded.
A road off limits in winter, and even at night.
From Sibiu, follow the directions for Brasov and, before Fagaras, take the DN7C. About Făgăraş, if you have time, we recommend a visit to the beautiful Fortress.
The Cascada Balea is, of course, one of the most touristic places along the Transfagarasan. Between the peaks of the Negoiu and Moldoveanu mountains, you will have to cross a fantastic path for over 40 minutes, through enchanting landscapes, until you reach the beautiful waterfall. A real show.
La Diga and the splendid Castello Poenari are two absolutely must-see places along the Strada Nazionale. Poenari is considered the real Castle of Dracula.
Leave the car, to get to the top you have to climb almost 1500. Fatigue, however, is rewarded by the magic of the place and by an absolutely magnificent view of the Carpathians.
On the way, you will also find a splendid Byzantine Monastery, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
LAST DAY TRANSILVANIA ON THE ROAD
From Curtea de Arges to the Bucharest airport, in an all-in-one itinerary
A total length of 160 approximately kilometers.
Ours, it was a tour of well 13 days, for around 1050 km traveled, with over ten cities and numerous villages and points of interest.
A truly wonderful, unique and wonderful journey. Like this Earth, so lively, and so full of charm, tradition, mystery, suggestion ...