12 days in Romania - 5 days and New Years in Transylvania
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 18, 2012 11:21 AM Last Post By: cobrob
Nov 16, 2012 6:59 PM
Since we are traveling during Christmas and New Year we can't afford to see as it goes, since most places get booked up around those dates. I would like your advice on organizing our base in Transylvania, chosing our New Year city. But first let me tell you what else I have already organized (you can always jump to the question below).
We'll have 12 days altogether, not counting landing and leaving days. Being there in high winter, there's a lot of activities and locations that are already ruled out because we either don't like them (Ski resorts... blah) or they are not so fun in winter and snow- Danube delta, Black sea, farmstays). Renting a car is also not an option - we are from Brazil and have zero skills with driving in snowy roads.
So far we have this: we'll land in Bucharest very early (midnight) which gives us 2 full days and one night in the capital before we head on a night train to Sighetu where we want to be for Christmas and the Winter Festival on the 27th, plus some exploring of the Maramures region. (Note: if you think this Maramures Christmas and Winter Festival thing is not a good idea, please don't tell me it's already booked and I really really really want to do it)
Then the next thing we know is that we want to be in Transylvania - my friend is obsessed with Dracula stuff, which I don't mind because I am so on the "the-winter-is-coming" medieval saxon castle mode.
I am hoping I can convice her to detour to Suceava for 2 nights to see the monasteries (with an organized tour, unfortunately that's the only way) before hitting Transylvania on the 30th and staying there for the rest of the trip. Do you think this detour is worth or ist it just killing time better spent in expanding transylvania exploration|
The question is: we'll have 5 days/ 4 nights in Transylvania if we do the suceava monasteries thing. It seems a good idea to chose one city and base ourselves there taking day trips to see the region and castles. Should we chose Brasov or Sibiu? Brasov seems larger and with more services and connections that will make easier exploring the reagion in such short time. But Sibiu sometimes sound nicer, more cultural, and better especially for new year. Is that it? Which city is better for New Year (would prefer street festivities or traditional parties, I hate even the thought of bigh chain hotel parties). Any other good cities for new year? Besides the festivities, should we consider one night in a smaller town (Viscri? Sichisoara? Am planning to see them on day trips already).
So this is the summary of my talkative post:
Dec 23rd - Land in Bucharest midnight.
24th - Bucharest
25th - Bucharest and train to Sighetu
26th - Sighetu
27th - Sighetu
28th - Bus to Suceava OR train to Transylvania (Brasov ou Sibiu)
29th - Suceava/Bucovina monasteries OR Transylvania
30th - Bus Suceava - Transylvania OR already in Transylvania
31st - Transylvania - New Years - Brasov or Sibiu or else?
1st - Transylvania
2nd - Transylvania
3rd- Transylvania - overnight train to Bucharest
4th - Flight back to Brazil 6 am.
I appreciate your advice!
Nov 17, 2012 5:45 AM
1Overall a fantastic trip!
Going to Suceava/Bucovina can be a memorable experience.Nice addition to your trip.A big "YES" there.
Both Sibiu and Brasov will have a nice winter holidays feel. I would go for Sibiu (personally I had a better vibe there) although Brasov was cool as well + it's just few km away from Bran castle; a must stop if your friend is in the Dracula "thing" .Maybe you should just include Brasov/Bran in your day trip plans.
After your midnight landing at OTP be careful how you get to your accommodation .
Cabs can be a rip off(I wouldn't advise).
the bus runs only till 9pm .However the airport site isn't updated.
Since last spring there is a night bus 783(every 30min or so) which goes downtown as well( for $1).Tickets can be purchased from outside arrivals terminal (not from bus driver)
To determine where you should get off pls check the stops so you'll know which one is the nearest to your hotel/hostel
Ideally some friends should pick you up if not that bus (783) is your best shot.
Nov 17, 2012 6:06 AM
You could also do something faster/simpler/cheaper: just catch the bus to from Sighet to Gura Humorului then visit the nearby monasteries (Voronet and Humor) on foot.
Nov 18, 2012 2:09 AM
3I live in Sighet and the festival is well worth the effort it has sadly become a bit tacky over the last five years and lost some of its originality however the parade remains the same and you will see some nice traditional dancing. Look around the shop windown for signs telling you whats on where. Come prepared its going to be cold i was there some years ago and it was -20 but usualy around -5/10. Ktak is right take the bus to Gura the ride over the Prislop pass is spectacular and if there is snow will be stuning. Wish i was there.
Nov 18, 2012 7:24 AM
4Hi, if you are interested in visiting Brasov, I can give you some ideas. I know the city very well. Christmas is a great time to visit, getting around is easy and it is a medieval city.
Nov 22, 2012 7:24 PM
6Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and well worth a day. I spent two days in Brasov last week with a day trip to Sighisoara and it was amazing. Both are Saxon towns and very unique.
Nov 25, 2012 6:33 AM
7Thank you everyone so muhc for the replies. And I deeply appologize for vanishing from the forum right after I posted this. I fear to be mistaken for bad manners but it isn't that, something personal happened that kept me away from internet connection.
@Travalero, thanks for the airport transportation tips. We ended up arranging a car transfer with our hotel. My travel friend is not much of super budget and hostel accommodation person, so we are staying in hotels that do this kind of services. I figure it was worth the cost with our landing time and advertised dodginess of airport cabs.
@Ktack, yes we intend to take a cabin with beds on the train to Sighetu, Our hotel in Bucharest told us they can arrange that for us as we land in Romania only 2 days prior to the train departure.
We decided to include Bucovina in the trip and we think it is best to actually stay in Suceava, as it will make it easier to take the transportation to Transylvania on the 30th since buses leave early in the morning, mostly from Suceava, departures from other villages such as Gura are for killing long trips that will totally mess with our itinerary. Plus most nice pensions in villages are having only christmas- new years packages and won't take us only for a couple of days. We found a very nice family pension outside of Suceava center that will take us.
@Cobrob I remember you, we spoke also on the Trip Advisor forum about Sighet festival. As my frind doesn't like hostels - silly her - we are staying in a hotel but I might drop by to say hello to you and see if you can help us with a car or a tour around Maramures.
I herd that we need to be prepared for a lot of cold. Is is very necessary to have special snow gear? Or a good wool overcoat with termical layers underneath, head protection and good snow shoes will do the trick? i am quite large and can't find snow equipment in my size in Brazil where those things are not necessary... an i probably wouldn't use ever again.
Do you think I could easily buy a good coat adequate to that weather in my first day in Bucharest before heading to Maramures?
We might take a bus from Sighetu to Suceava, but we might as well take a car transfer that will cost a bit but will also have stops to see things along the way, including the prislop pass and villages. It will be like a tour that will drop us in our end destination.
As for new years we are still thinking. My fried wants to see as it goes, I think I have done a lot of planning and booking to her free style of travelling... she refuses to book new year anbd wants to decide on the spot. I am a bit nervous about that but we'll see.
@lucian_ro, thank's for the offer!, Yes, I would love to hear what you have to reccommend about Brasov.
@Gloria Transylvania Thanks! The family hing sounds interesting. I'll check with my friend and I'll be in touch with you! The restaurant in Sighispara is the kind of thing she'll like and I guess me too! Thanks for putting yourself available for further information, I'll sure get in touch with you down the line. Would love to hear what you can reccommend about off the beaten track places in Transylvania.
Nov 25, 2012 11:18 AM
You could also book tickets directly from the railway company.
Come to think of it you'd waste almost a whole day traveling to southern Transylvania by bus, it might be better to try going somehow overnight .
For instance if you decide to go to Sibiu, take the overnight train from Suceava to Alba Iulia (21.40 > 7.22) then a local bus to Sibiu (it's about one hour away).
Or if you want to get to Brasov take the overnight train from Suceava to Ploiesti
(22.50 > 5.11), switch stations (Ploiesti Sud to Ploiesti Vest) and catch a train to Brasov (2 hours away).
Nov 25, 2012 11:44 AM
9The train to Sighet is lovely but as i understand it there are only couchettes on the train now so you will be sharing. Its a beautiful journey and im sure you will enjoy it. You can get warm cloths in Bucharest and hat and gloves that should do you, maybe a pair of warm tights. I wont be there at Christmas we are stuck in the uk but if you want a car and reasonable driver i can arrange that, he doesnt speak a lot of english but he is a good driver and will stop for pictures lunch etc so no worries there. Thats my bit.
Nov 25, 2012 3:06 PM
10@ktack excellent tips with the overnight train options! thank you very much! I would love to take the trips during the day to enjoy the scenery and all but traveling overnight on those routes will save a lot of time and make the most of our itinerary. I'll sure consider those options.
I find a little challenging to book the train tickets over the internet at rhe CFR site. I find it difficult to understsant the options since I am not familiar with the format and terms, and they don't come with satisfactory information. They don't let you book 2 at a time so that we can guarantee we are at the same car or cabin.
@cobrob It does though show me a option of a 2 berth compartiment. Maybe there isn't and I am understanding less than I thought I was! Thanks for the offer with the driver, I will get in touch if necessary!
Dec 11, 2012 11:06 AM
Dec 11, 2012 1:03 PM
12Apparently there is a lot of snow in Maramures it is so beautiful when it is snowing. looks like i am going to miss you by a couple of days as i don't land until the 29th thought i would go home for the Russian Christmas on the Seventh.I have never managed to make that one but i suspect it involves a lot of vodka swilling.
Dec 11, 2012 2:08 PM
13What is the Russian Christmas??? Is there a russian community in Maramures, or are you actually talking about Russia?
People, I'm sure I will freeze, I am so worried. I have proper first and second top layers, but no thermical pants and my overcoat is not the warmest it could be. It's not waterproof. I am hoping to find something better there on my first day in Bucharest, though finding that stuff to fit me is difficult. Well I am not going to die in only 12 days, right? I may not have the most confortable of trips, but not life threatening cold, hope so. Well, as you can see I am really scared of the cold weather and how it affects the trip. Have never traveled or lived under that kind of weather before. I'm sure it will be beautiful.
Dec 18, 2012 11:21 AM
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