In September 2021, the light at the end of the Covid tunnel was becoming brighter. Travel restrictions were being lifted worldwide and I knew that it was time for a grand adventure. It had been a year and a half since I established myself in my new home in Sofia, Bulgaria and thought that it would be a good idea to begin to explore my new neighbours, namely Romania. I knew very little about Romania, only that Bucharest is popular for its spa facilities and the legend of Transylvania and Dracula. I began some research and was quite pleased to learn how much the country had to offer, from old towns to castles and fortresses. I made a list of all the places I wanted to visit and planned my route.
In Part One of my journey, I begin my trip in my hometown, Sofia, and drive Northeast to cross the border into Romania over the Danube River through Ruse. Luckily for me, there was no traffic at the border, and I managed to get through quickly. Once in Romania, I first needed to purchase a Vignette, which are sold at a little kiosk just after the border post.
I arrived at my hotel in Bucharest, safe and sound, and was ready to start exploring the city. My very first impressions of the city were a little overwhelming because of the traffic and busy streets. Once I had parked my car at the hotel and began exploring on foot, I started to pay more attention and appreciate the architecture, which was impressive. One could rent a bicycle or electric scooter, but I would recommend simply exploring on foot. Some of my recommended sites to see are Cismigiu Gardens, Parliament Building and most definitely the Old Town of Bucharest with its charming streets and buzzing nightlife.
Leaving Bucharest, I officially begin my Romanian road trip and head up north to Brasov on the E60. Approximately 2 hours from Bucharest, in the Carpathian Mountains, is Peles Castle. The castle was built between 1873 and 1914 and was constructed for King Carol l. A must-see!
…Next, I take a little detour to the west to visit the world-renowned Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle, located in the heart of Transylvania.
Dracula is a mythical character inspired by Vlad the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia. In the market outside this magnificent 14th-century castle, one can find anything – Dracula! So, if you’re a fan of the blood-sucking vampire, Bran Castle is the place for you.
Heading north into Transylvania, I visited the popular tourist town, Sighisoara. The cobbled streets and pastel-coloured create a relaxed atmosphere. The city’s well-preserved walled old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Heading south to Brasov, on a hilltop, I saw an interesting fortress that I had not planned to visit and didn’t even know about. I decided to have a look and made a U-turn. The medieval fortress, Cetatea Rupea, can be seen from a distance and is quite captivating. From the 120m cliff, you can explore this well-restored landmark and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views.
Finally, last but certainly not least, I reach my final stop of the first part of my Romanian road trip, Brasov. I had booked a beautiful 5-Star hotel with excellent amenities and only a short walk away from the town’s main square. I left my luggage in my room and went to explore the town centre. I was stunned by how beautiful it was and the calming aura. People were friendly, the food at the local eateries was great and the atmosphere was excellent – what more could a person ask for?
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