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8 days in Romania...

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8 days in Romania...

We have just eight days to see the best of Romania!

We will be flying in from London - not sure where to yet, depends which are the cheapest routes...

We would really like to visit Marmures and see some of the old villages and take a trip on the narrow gauge railway, also see some of Transylvania (including the glacial cave), a day or two on the coast near Mangalia and Bucharest.

Is this possible or are we trying to cram too much in? We'll be using public transport as not comfortable driving on the "other" side of the road, happy to take the occasional overnight train if necessary.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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Bucharest
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1. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Yes, you could get to these sites in 8 days, like this:

a) fly with the budget airline Wizzair ( http://wizzair.com/ ) from Luton to Cluj Napoca (preferably) or Targu Mures (slightly cheaper);

b) take a bus into the Apuseni mountains (to Garda de Sus), walk/hitchike to Scarisoara ice cave (2 days);

c) get back to Cluj and catch a bus to Viseu in Maramures, see a few villages nearby, take a ride on the narrow gauge railway (2-3 days)

d) catch the night train from Viseu to the Black Sea coast, stay in one of the resorts there (1-2 days)

e) take a bus or train to Bucharest, visit it, fly back to Luton with Wizzair or Blueair ( http://www.blueairweb.com/First-Page/ );

However, my suggestion would be to skip the ice cave (it's not so easy to reach using just public transport) and do the Brasov or Sibiu areas instead.

Also, it might be better to spend the last days in the Danube Delta (there are beaches there too) instead of the resorts on the southern part of the coast.

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Bucharest
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Romania
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2. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Thank you so much for your information! I will certainly look at taking those options :O)

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3. Re: 8 days in Romania...

It looks like we are going to fly into Bacau as it's by far the cheapest option at the moment, arriving in the small hours of the Friday morning - but the good news is that it slightly increases the time we'll have available (until the following Sunday).

I would guess that we will probably fly back from Bucharest (again, depending on prices), any suggestions as to which way around would be the best?

Thanks again!

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Bucharest
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4. Re: 8 days in Romania...

After you land in Bacau catch a morning bus or train to Piatra Neamt (about one hour away) and then get another bus towards Gheorgheni. The route between Piatra Neamt and Gheorgheni is very scenic, it passes through the Bicaz canyon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicaz_Canyon ); along the way you can stop in the small resort at Lacu Rosu/Red Lake, another interesting landmark.

From Gheorgheni take the night train to Viseu (departs ~11AM, arrives ~6AM).

The rest of the itinerary is simple:

- visit villages around Viseu and do the narrow gauge railway;

- catch a bus to Cluj then into the Apuseni mountains, visit ice cave;

- get back to Cluj, take overnight train to the Black Sea coast;

- spend some time in the resorts, take bus or train to Bucharest;

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Bucharest
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5. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Brilliant! Thank you so much :O)

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6. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Glad to be of use!

I made a typing error above, the night train to Viseu departs from Gheorgheni at ~11PM, not 11AM.

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7. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Well, plans are changing yet again!!

It looks like we might fly into Cluj/Tigu now as the flights are a decent price... Given the comments I've seen around public transport being a bit limited, I'm considering the car option! Driving from Cluj up to Maramures, spending a couple of days there and back to Cluj (perhaps via another area) to drop the car off before picking up the public transport to head down to the coast.

My concerns as a first time "driving on the right" driver are a) lots of traffic, b) scary moutain roads with no barriers/narrow and c) signposting etc. Any comments on how bad/good any of these are?

Any recommendations for car hire? I think I would probably prefer automatic too if that's an option...

Thanks again!

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8. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Driving here isn't particularly difficult but it's slow and takes some getting used to.

Traffic can be very busy on main roads (the ones marked "DN").

Roads between Cluj and Maramures do pass through mountainous areas but they're not very difficult or scary.

Most roads, including a lot of the main ones, are relatively narrow (one lane per way > two lanes in total)

Signposting is good on major roads, not so great on secondary ones.

What slows down traffic the most is the fact that roads (even main ones) pass directly through endless towns and villages, there are very long sections of road where you can't practically go over 50 km/h (30 mph).

If you get a car you could also do the Bucovina region, famous for its medieval painted monasteries, located right next to Maramures - drive Cluj > Dej > Baia Mare > Sighetu Marmatiei > Viseu > Borsa > Gura Humorului (in Bucovina) then back to Cluj via Bistrita and Dej/

For car hire try these companies

eurocars.ro/Cluj-Napoca/car_rental.en.html

http://www.autonom.com/en/cluj-rent-a-car

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9. Re: 8 days in Romania...

Thanks alterme - you are very helpful!

I can cope with the slowness of the roads - my journey to work takes me at an average speed of 30mph ;O) I was mainly worried about superbusy multi-lane roads (which it seems there aren't any/many) as I invariably end up in the wrong lane lol and treacherous sheer drop mountain roads (sounds like it's not too bad!).

At least going slowly we can appreciate some of the scenery instead of it all whizzing past!

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10. Re: 8 days in Romania...

The only real mountain you have to negotiate is the Gutine pass between Baia Mare and Sighet there are a lot of switch backs which have to be negotiated slowly as the road is quite busy. Alternatively take the road to Targu Lapus about twenty five klm from Dej towards Baia Mare. Its a back road and very pretty, when you get to Targu Lapus take the road to the village of Lapus and continue on that road towards Cavnic. When you get to the t junction near Cavnic turn right towards Budesti its a nice way to enter Maramures and avoids the Gutine pass.