We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

1st Trip - Thoughts?

Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
63 posts
25 reviews
Save Topic
1st Trip - Thoughts?

My husband and I are thinking of travelling to Europe this fall and have focused our attention on Prague, Vienna, and the Transylvania region. We are typically budget travellers and enjoy "off the beaten path" and rural locales, hence the selection of Transylvania which I feel will provide a nice contrast to the larger cities of Prague and Vienna.

We have between 2-3 weeks and I broke down our time as follows:

5 days in Prague

5 days in Vienna

7 days in Transylvania Region

Any opinions on this break down of time?

I found a link for cheap flights between Budapest and Tg Mures on http://wizzair.com. Do these flights sell out quickly? is it possible to buy a few days in advance? Do the prices vary much if we did wait? Are there any companies that have cheap flights between Vienna or Prague and any Romanian cities?

For the 7 days in Transylvania region I want to visit Brasov, Sibia, and Sighisoara and of course the surrounding countryside. I am just wondering if it would be best to use one of these places as a base and either rent a car or take the bus for day trips to the others?

Would it be better to split the time between 2 places?

Any recommendations for good travel guides that focus on this area?

Any tips on local restaurants and sites are always appreciated.

Thanks

Rapallo
Level Contributor
39 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Prague and Vienna is really fantastic City. Think about including Poland instead of Romania...

However...

Forget about bus in Romania, normally private mini-bus are covering all routes, but these are dangerous and unpractical.

Due to the very bad condition of Romanian roads, I’ll recommend you to avoid maintaining a “base” in Brasov or any other city. Better is to stop and go every 1 or 2 days (What to do 2 days in the same area…… it is hard to find) this will avoid you to have duplicated experiences on same roads.

Avoid the experience of Dracula castle…. Is terribly poor ...and absolutely false.

Brasov is a nice city, but nothing special there. Visit Poiana Brasov and Sinaia...too, you can have some excursion in the nature. If you like nature, you can enjoy the Transfagarasan road… rent a car and drive yourself…much better.

Sibiu…. Nothing to see nothing to do, bad tourist organization. The famous “Salami of Sibiu” is terrible too..

Sighisoara you can visit in 15 minutes. It will be enough.

Considering the money cost of the trip from America, I’ll recommend you to avoid Romania.

Limited touristic attractions, very bad service at high cost. In terms of food, there is no gastronomic culture… you will find terrible “Ciorba” (soup) and Mititei (garlic with lamb/pork/ meat). They use to prepare "Gratar" (BBQ) but the meat is normally burned and with terrible taste. Avoid eating fish, you will never know when and where have been caught….and if after the fish you need a toilet, these are normaly dirthy...

My conclusion is … away from Romania, visit Czech, Austria or Poland…. Slovenia Croati.....or my Italy-land.

Edited: 28 February 2012, 07:49
Breb, Romania
Level Contributor
554 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

I guess ´Tramone´ has had a bad experience in Romania. Anyway, i absolutely disagree with everything he says.

- the roads in Romania are pretty good, the smaller roads can be a bit worse, but still no problem

- there are a lot of buses going virtually everywhere, and, especially between bigger towns and cities there are a lot of trains

- Sibiu is a beautiful city

- Sighisoara is not big, but 15 minutes? Come on. Take an afternoon at least to walk through the old town.

I don't even waste my time on his remarks about service, costs, food, toilets etc.

Please ignore this person and visit Romania, it is beautiful!

Matthijs

Rapallo
Level Contributor
39 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Follow then the recommendation of this Tourist Agent !

... Just go and enjoy Romania!!!

Maramures
Level Contributor
630 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Matthijs isnt a tourist agent and i agree with him, oh and yes i live in Romania, and yes im involved in tourism, but im really not intrested in bringing people to Romania to have a bad time. Im happy to go with Tramones discription of the food im not a big fan of Romanian cuisine but there are usualy alternatives available. Thees lots of fresh and tastey veg in the markets and its easy to salf cater.

You will find outiside toilets at some of the more rural roadside cafes which are a bit horrible but they are disapearing thankfully. As for Draculas castle its just a bit of fun really and you can get the dracular t-shirt there.

Romania has a lot to offer so dont be put of. One day when i have time im going to write the funny side of Transylvania but you are going to have to wait for that one.

Bucharest
Destination Expert
for Bucharest, Brasov
Level Contributor
5,613 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Cut 1-2 days from Prague and Vienna each and spend them in Budapest.

The Wizzair flights to Targu Mures won''t necessarily sell out quickly but prices will increase significantly if you buy with just a few days in advance.

No low cost airlines have flights from Prague or Vienna to Romania, just regular airlines do.

Split your time between Sibiu (~3 days) and Brasov (~4 days); use about one day to visit each city, the rest for day trips. Both cities have medieval areas, old churches and fortifications, museums as well as plenty of restaurants (with various cuisines), cafes, bars - you won't get bored.

They also have numerous tourist sites around them, within approx. 2 hours of travel by train, bus or minibus (minibuses aren't great at all but they're tolerable for short rides):

• from Sibiu: various old Saxon villages with fortified churches, the medieval monasteries on the Olt valley, the traditional shepherds' villages in the Marginimea Sibiului area, the Transfagarasan high altitude road (yes, for this you'd need a car) ;

• from Brasov: Sighisoara, the former royal palace Peles (in Sinaia), other old Saxon villages, the various mountain resorts nearby (Poiana Brasov, Predeal, Busteni, Sinaia), Rasnov fortress etc.

If you're interested in rural areas you should also consider another option: spend half the time in northern Romania (in Maramures and/or Bucovina regions, famous for their well preserved and predominantly rural lifestyle) and the rest in southern Transylvania.

For instance fly Budapest-Cluj with Wizzair, rent a car and head to Sighet in Maramures (or go by bus/train), spend 3-4 days visiting Maramures then take the night train to Brasov, visit it and do day trips to Sibiu and Sighisoara.

As for guides try the Bradt Transylvania guide.

Scunthorpe, United...
Level Contributor
3,583 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

I'm in the very early stages of planning a holiday to Romania and just couldn't believe the negative comments made by Tramone.

The book I am using for research is Transylvania A Land beyond the Myth:

amazon.com/Transylvania-land-beyond-fiction-…

This is a Hungarian book which has been translated into English and is excellent. It gives a lot of information about different places and what to do and see. It also tells you where to find the key holder for each church (complete with the sentence you need to use). There are some ideas for accommodation and it isn't aimed at the luxury end of the market.

I haven't got a copy of Bradt yet so can't compare the two. Previous Bradt guides I've used have all been very good.

If you do decided to get into either Maramures or Bucovina as alterme suggests, then I can recommend these books:

romanianmonasteries.org/maramures/maramures-…

romanianmonasteries.org/bucovina/bucovina-gu…

They aren't cheap but the pictures are superb and there is a wealth of information about life and culture as well as the churches.

Edited: 28 February 2012, 20:40
Plantation, Florida
Level Contributor
675 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

I wouldn't be so quick to skip Romania. Honestly though, the way we always traveled there is a flight from here to italy or austria, spending a few nights there and then getting a short term lease car. They are very economical and you get to explore on your own. Its the best thing ever. By the way we made 3 of these type of trips, all 3 times doing short term lease cars instead of flights or rentals. It works out great and you cannot beat the experience. Our last stop is always Romania and that is because we are Romainian and we visit family. When we leave we drive back, stop at whatever hotels we choose and drop the car back at the departure airport. If I wasn't Romanian I'd still recommend visiting as you cannot beat some of the scenery and culture (and food). If you have any specific questions feel free to let me know.

Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
63 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Thanks for all the great insight!

I do like the idea of getting a rental in Vienna and heading to Romania via car however am wondering about the border crossings. Are the crossings fairly formal (security, customs, etc)? Are there typically wait times? Are there various border crossings or just one from Austria into Hungary and Hungary into Romania? Any difficulty taking a rental into a different country? Is there a particular rental company to go with in this case? Do you need specific paperwork saying the company will allow you to leave the country?

Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
63 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Thanks for all the great links EESW! I must admit that I am rather surprised at the cost of the travel books.

alterme thank you for the heads up on the Maramures area. It is exactly what I was looking for and I think it will be a great contrast to Prague and Vienna! I must admit I am extremely excited about the steam train from Viseu de Sus and it even sparked my husband's attention who is a bit "iffy" on going to Romania!

Plantation, Florida
Level Contributor
675 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 1st Trip - Thoughts?

Rik,

We did not rent the car. There are too many restrictions and fees on taking a rental out of the country. We leased a car (brand new) and they meet you at the airport. The company we used all 3 times is called Autofrance. They are based out of new york so you can deal with it before you leave and the price is a lot better then a rental. Just google their website and you can go from there. The only "restriction" is that the shortest leave is 3 weeks. You can return it before but you will pay for a minimum 3 weeks. For us it was worth is as we went for 2 weeks and 3 days or so. The only thing you worry about is gas. They wait for you at the airport going and then you just return it back to the airport. Really convinient. Again, this is NOT a rental, you're doing a lease on a car like you would in the US but they allow you to use it for 3 weeks minumum which is perfect for a trip. We loved it.

As far as borders, we didn't have any issues at all. There are borders crossing from one country to another. The one that took a little time (about 10 cars in front of us) was at Romania and that took 20 minutes or so. All you need is your passports, etc. No permissions needed for the car as it is yours, not a rental. Just a very short term lease. Its a lot cheaper then a rental too.

To me, I wouldn't do it any other way if I am on a trip where I want to see things. By the way, the interstate in Italy and Austria were the best!!! Sooo fast and scenic too. Lots of rest stops, we didn't stop at night except to stay at a hotel or two on the way. Romania's roads are questionable due to a poor economy and slow in finishing contruction in some area but the ride is beautiful. Plan your route and hotels along the way and you're set.

Edited: 29 February 2012, 00:36