If you are visiting Romania’s capital for a couple of days, it’s always a great idea to take a day tour to a nearby place. Most tourists visiting Bucharest venture perhaps only to Bran Castle, but there are so many other places that are within a day’s reach from the city. This post includes only a few of them, but the diversity is there: castles, historical sites, nature wonders and of course the smell of the sea. Which day trip from Bucharest are you taking? Choose from the map below.Visiting Romania's capital on a city trip and want to discover more of the country? Take one of these day trips from Bucharest!Click To Tweet
A day trip from Bucharest to…
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Busteni is a mountain resort that provides entertainment all year round. During the warm months, you can hike up to Urlatoarea waterfall. The hike is not hard at all and you can do it even if you are not very fit. It is about 90 min hike from the town, on a well-marked trail. You can also take the cable car to the very well-known Babele (The Old Women) and Sfinxul (The Sfinx) formations (which got their shapes thanks to the winds). A round trip on the cable car costs 70 lei for an adult. Should you prefer to visit Busteni during winter, Kalinderu ski slope is where you should go to. You can rent the ski equipment and even ATVs to explore the area.
Regardless of when you visit, don’t miss a tour of Cantacuzino Castle, located at the end of the town. The views are lovely as it’s perched on a hill. A complete visit ticket – castle, art gallery, and sculpture exhibition – costs 40 lei for an adult and there are guided tours in English available. There’s also an upscale restaurant inside offering contemporary French and international menu.
How to get to Busteni from Bucharest
Located just 150 km from the capital of Bucharest, Busteni is a lovely and laid-back day trip if you crave some fresh mountain air.
It stands on one of Romania’s busiest roads, close to the famous mountain resorts of Sinaia, Predeal, and Poiana Brasov. By car, it takes about 2 hours (in normal traffic) to get to Busteni from Bucharest but if you prefer the train, it takes even less on an Interregio (which is not the slowest).
Book a day tour to Babele and Sfinxul
If you don’t feel like driving or you dont’ want to rely on public transportation you can book a tour from Bucharest.
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One of Transylvania’s handsomest fortified cities, Brasov is a must-see in Romania. There’s more than enough to keep visitors occupied for a few days; but if you’re on a tight timeline, it’s also possible to visit Brasov as a day trip from Bucharest.
Brasov was originally founded as a medieval settlement, as evidenced by the Saxon walls, bastions and watchtowers that encircle the old part of the city. Piata Sfatului (Council Square) is the heart of Brasov, with the imposing Gothic-style Black Church at one end. The old town is the perfect size to explore in a day. If the timing is right, join the free walking tour for a guided introduction to Brasov.
Further out, pass through Katerina Gate to the Romanian side of town, where you can visit an old church, the first Romanian school in the region, and Union Square. Take the time to venture above the city to Brasov’s twin Black and White Towers, linked by Warthe Promenade walking trail. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, chose from one of the fantastic restaurants in town. My pick is Bistro de l’Art, a slow-food cafe that uses local produce.
Brasov sits at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains and is an ideal gateway to Transylvanian fortified churches and castles (Bran and Peles are both close by), as well as some spectacular nature. For a quick taste of the countryside, ride the cable car from Brasov up to Mount Tampa. If you have more time, spend the afternoon at Poiana Brasov, a nearby mountain that offers skiing in winter and trekking in summer.
How to get to Brasov from Bucharest
Brasov is located approximately 200 km north of Bucharest. The most comfortable way to travel is by train (journey time: 2.5 hours) from Bucharesti Nord station. Regular buses also ply the route and take just under 3 hours. If you’re self-driving or you want to break up the train journey, you can stop off at Peles Castle on the way.
Take a day tour to Brasov
If you don’t feel like planning everything by yourself, but leaving it to someone else, then it’s convinient to take a tour to Brasov. Most of the tours to Brasov combine a visit to Peles and Bran Castles and include a walking tour of the Old Town in Brasov.
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Snowcapped mountains, a dense forest full of myths, and a former royal residence, Peles Castle makes up for one of the best day trips from Bucharest.
An imposing blend of Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival, the construction has similarities with the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. But don’t think that that wasn’t planned. Oh, no. King Carol I of Romania, who commissioned its construction, was in fact German. Hence the Bavarian influence in the castle’s architecture.
Inside, the fancy fabrics and heavy carved woods on the walls certainly give this former royal palace a charming and unique look. Also, visiting is only allowed with their guide, but that’s not a problem because they are enthusiastic to let you know more about this place’s history and stories.
For us, Peles Castle is among the most beautiful Romanian Castles for sure.
How to get to Peles Castle from Bucharest
Nestled among the Carpathian mountains in Sinaia, the complex is about 1:30 hours away from the capital. You can simply take a train from Bucharest to Sinaia Station and from there take a taxi uphill, or prepare for a steep uphill walk that takes around 35 minutes.
Either way, Peles Castle is a no-brainer when it comes to experience the Romanian countryside and learn about the local history.
Take a day tour to Peles Castle
If you want to make the most of your time, or if you are travelling on a tight schedule, then a group tour from Bucharest is recommended. Most of the tours to Brasov will also include Peles Castle and Bran Castle, or you can opt only for the castles.
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One of the longest and most beautiful day trips you can make from Bucharest is the one on Transfagarasan. Transfagarasan, voted the most beautiful road in the world by Top Gear TV show, can be visited in one day if you are willing to spend around 14 hours out of town. It is one of the highest roads in Romania and because of that it is open every year from July 1st to November 1st.
From Bucharest it will take you around 2 hours to get to the Curtea de Arges monastery (you can visit it if you want to learn more about the Romanian Royal family). After that, your next stop will be at the Poenari fortress, the real castle of Vlad the Impaler, the ruler that inspired Dracula’s character. There begins the climbing on Transfagarasan. The road is not easy, so if you plan to drive be prepared and careful, but in half an hour you can stop again to admire the dam and lake Vidraru.
The most beautiful part of Transfagarasan (and the one that is closed during winter) is from Capra Chalet to Balea Lake: steep curves and breathtaking views will reward all your efforts to get there! If you are lucky and you choose a sunny day, when you get to the top, once you cross the tunnel, you can see the entire Transylvania at your feet. That’s an image you’ll remember a lifetime!
So, are you ready to visit the most beautiful road in the world?
How to drive the Transfagarasan from Bucharest
As it is one of the highest roads in Romania, it is open every year from July 1st to November 1st. From Bucharest it will take you around 2 hours to get to the first stop on the road – Curtea de Arges. To get back to Bucharest you have two options: going back to Curtea de Arges and then to Bucharest or continue on the Oltului gorge.
Take a tour along the Transfagarasan
If you don’t feel like driving this spectacular road, or of you are a beginning driver, it’s better to opt for a day tour. You can combine the road trip with visits to Curtea de Arges and Poenari.
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Bran Castle is THE famous “Dracula Castle” that many people have as their no. 1 reason why to travel to Transylvania. Even though Count Dracula didn’t exist and thus he didn’t live anywhere. The character of Dracula that Bram Stoker, the writer of the famous Dracula novel, created was based on Vlad Tepes, a local ruler known for his cruel methods he’d use on enemies. Impaling was the most ‘popular’ one. Even Vlad Tepes didn’t live in the Bran Castle, though.
Even if you’re one of those who couldn’t care less about Dracula, the castle is still beautiful and definitely deserves a visit. Just like many other castles and fortresses in Transylvania, Bran Castle is well connected and easy to get to.
The Bran Castle is surprisingly compact. You’ll be amazed at all the hidden passageways, little staircases and intricate layout. Don’t expect too much from the décor, it’s rather bare. The exhibits mostly feature weapons, clothing, furniture and armor from the 14-19th centuries.
You can easily spend 1 – 2 hours just roaming through the castle. A nice large park, where you can relax from the crowds that often form inside the castle, surrounds the castle. Other than that, you can find plenty of souvenir shops and touristy restaurants enclosing the castle area.
How to get to Bran Castle from Bucharest
When travelling from Bucharest, the easiest is to drive. The 200 km long route takes about 2.5 – 3 hours. There are also many tour options available from Bucharest.
Take a day tour to Bran Castle
There are many organized tours from Bucharest to the Castle of Dracula, as it is one of the most popular day trips from Romania’s capital. Mostly the Bran Castle can be visited in one day together with Peles Castle and Brasov.
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One of the day trips I love to take from Bucharest is to go to Constanta. I love the Black Sea and I like to visit it off season too. The beaches are not crowded (obviously) and sometimes it’s just us (we all go, including our dog) on the beach. Simply amazing!
Constanta is a big city, so there are plenty of things to do. From the planetarium to the beach and the splendid casino featured in every photo from Constanta, you’ll definitely find something to do here. You’ll also see the Constanta Shipyard, one of the biggest in Europe.
As it’s a short trip to the seaside, you’ll most likely focus on walking on the beach. The thing that I like the most is to just breathe it in. It has a special scent – as is a salty sea! All our foreigner friends, whom we took to Constanta, liked it and said that it is a great day trip from Romania’s capital.
How to get to Constanta from Bucharest
It takes 2,5-3 hours to get to Constanta – we go there by car. There are also special buses/tours and you can also take a train.
Take a day tour to Constanta and the Black Sea
Going to the sea side for a day, is always a good idea. If you don’t have a car available or don’t want to use public transportation, you can always book one of the tours below. And then why not stay at the sea side and make from the day trip an extended beach holiday.
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As Bucharest is conveniently located near the border with Bulgaria, one of the most popular day trips from Romania’s capital is to Veliko Tarnovo – Bulgaria’s old capital. The locals love to visit the neighbours and are quite a majority among the independent tourists visiting Veliko Tarnovo.
Bulgaria’s Old capital is a lovely city built on the hills formed by the bends of the Yantra River. Colourful houses in National Revival Style, tiny cobbled streets, breathtaking views and laid-back atmosphere will make you fall in love with the city.
When in Veliko Tarnovo, you should visit the Tsarevets Fortress – the seat of the Bulgarian kings during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396). Those days of glory are long gone now, but the citizens of Veliko Tarnovo still think of themselves as descendants of the kings.
For the most beautiful view of Velko Tarnovo go to the Stambolov Bridge or to one of the numerous restaurants and cafes on the main street on the river side.
Take a walk along the romantic Gurko Street or shop for crafts on the Old Market street (Samovodska Charshia). If you are visiting Veliko Tarnovo in the summer, there’s a big chance to catch a glimpse of one of the numerous festival that take place in the city: from opera to folklore dancing.
How to get to Veliko Tarnovo from Bucharest
There’s a regular bus line from Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo, or you can drive yourself. It takes about a bit less than 3 hours. You should be aware, however, that you will be crossing a border, so you might experience a bit of a delay. There’s also a fee for the bridge over the Danube River to Ruse.
Before you venture on this day trip, check whether you will need a visa for Bulgaria. This and other handy tips about Bulgaria, you’ll find in post about how to prepare for your travel to Bulgaria.
Take a day tour to Veliko Tarnovo from Bucharest
There are convenient day tours from Bucharest to Bulgaria and most of them include a guide in the price. Veliko Tarnovo is mostly combined with a visit to the nearby small village Arbanasi and/or to the Rock-hewen Churches in Ivanovo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.