A menacing castle on top of a rocky hill in Bran, Transylvania.

One-Week Romania Itinerary

Mark Stewart Destinations 9 Comments

Romania is one of those countries full of misconception, facts blurred by Eastern-European stereotypes. Transylvania, easily the country’s biggest tourism draw, is shrouded in myth and fantasy. The reality, no less fantastic, is that Romania is a remarkable country; full of warm, welcoming locals and some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent. Although it’s not the kind of country you can experience in its entirety in the span of a week, you can certainly catch some of the highlights. This ‘wild’ one week Romania itinerary will take you from the buzzing capital of Bucharest through to the best of Transylvania.

Or maybe you fancy taking a Romanian Road Trip?

Needing to book bus, shuttle or trains in Romania? Look here for the how to!

Highlights of Romania in 7 Days

Day 1 – Bucharest

Bucharest is at a crossroads these days. Relics of the communist era and those who survived those trying years are making way for a new generation. Shopping malls, nightclubs and fine dining restaurants are popping up across the city.

Take in the complex mix of architecture, from the bland, concrete Stalinist blocks to the intricate historical buildings that gave Bucharest the nickname “Little Paris.” Fuel up at a trendy cafe and get that perfect Instagram snap at that book store. Then hop on one of the many informative walking tours before sampling some traditional Romanian cuisine in the historic Old Town.

Be sure to book tours in advance. In peak season, they tend to fill up quickly and in the slower months, they occasionally cancel if there aren’t enough participants.

For more suggestions, have a look at some of our favourite sights and activities to do in Bucharest.

The interior of a white bookstore with several levels in Bucharest Romania
Cărturești Carusel — The famous “Instagram” Bookstore in Bucharest

Day 2 – Sinaia & Brasov: Epic Romanian Castles

Rise early and head to the Bucharest train station and purchase a ticket to Sinaia. Times are a bit sporadic, but the first train leaves at 6:05am and the last morning train leaves at 9:55am.

Once you arrive in Sinaia, you can store your luggage at the train station for a small fee, since you won’t want to lug it up the hill to the castle. Before leaving the station, purchase an ongoing ticket to Brasov for later in the afternoon. This is just a precaution, so you can have a timeline for when you have to be back at the station.

Make your way up through the pleasant little town to the absolutely stunning Peles Castle. After touring this magnificent piece of history, be sure to stop in at the Sinaia Monastery on your way back to the train station.

Entrance to Peles Castle is by tour only. Tickets cost 30 lei for the main floor, and 60 lei for both the main and second floor. A photography fee of 35 lei is also required and highly recommended.
More info at the Peles Castle website.
(You’ll need a translate plugin for this)

Hop back on the train for the short trip to Brasov. Once you check into your hotel, get out and wander the streets of the old town. Do some shopping at some of the many shops in the beautiful square and visit the impressive Black Church. If you arrive in Brasov early enough, take the gondola up to the top of the famous “Hollywood” sign for some spectacular views.

Before calling it a day, sit down at one of the many wonderful restaurants. Ignoring the cliched names, two of our favourites are Crama lu’Dracula aka Draculas Cellar and Restaurant Transylvania.

A white and brown Peles Castle on a green hillside, mountains in the background.
Peles Castle Should Not be Missed

Day 3 – Bran

Another early morning, this time to visit what is likely the most famous sight in Romania: Bran Castle.

How to get from Brasov to Bran

From Autogara 2 in Brasov, take the bus from stop #2 to Bran from Brasov. Buses and shuttles leave every half hour to Bran, and cost 8 lei per person. Pay on the bus.

After a quick 45-minute ride you’ll be right in the heart of Bran, under the imposing shadow of Dracula’s Castle. Although it’s commonly referred to by this title, Bran castle has no known connection to neither real vampires nor the infamous Vlad the Impaler. Nonetheless, it’s still an awesome sight and well worth the visit.

For a tour of the castle, buy your tickets online ahead of time, this will save you from waiting in extra lines during your visit. The Bran castle entrance fee is 40 lei per person. Grab a quick bite to eat from one of the many carts near the entrance. If you need a pick-me-up, there’s a guy right near the ticket booth who makes a very potent Turkish coffee.

Following your tour, stick around and spend the night in Bran, since there is much more to do here, or head back for a little more time in Brasov. Either way, be sure to grab a delicious lunch at Hanul Bran. If spending the night, head to Casa Thomas for one of the best pizzas in Romania!

For those staying in Bran, make your way back to Brasov first thing the next morning on the same shuttle/bus route.

Day 4 – Sighisoara

From Brasov, take the train to the brilliant citadel-city of Sighisoara. You will think you entered a fairy-tale land when you arrive, we promise. The earliest train leaves Brasov at 6am, but if you’re coming in from Bran, there are later options. Travelling this route by train is an event in itself. The rolling landscape of Transylvania is such a beautiful sight.

Once in Sighisoara, you have two options. First, you can find a nice hotel and spend a full day and night exploring the colourful city, exploring the tiny streets, and sitting in the cute cafes watching life go by. This option gives you a little more time to take it all in before catching the 6:15am train to Sibiu the next morning.

Another option is to store your luggage at the train station and only spend a few hours wandering the cobbled streets. You can still see the highlights of Sighisoara in a few short hours. Just don’t miss the 3:25pm train to Sibiu, as it’s the last one of the day.

Colourful buildings on a stone street in Sighisoara Transylvania
The Colourful Streets of Sighisoara, Romania

Day 5 – Sibiu

Sibiu is a beautiful city, probably one of our favourites in Romania. You can easily spend a full day getting lost in the winding roads of the centre.

Head to the main square and eat at one of the many great restaurants or cafes. Check out the bridge of lies and the postcard-perfect architecture of the walled-city. Snap a few photos of the “squinting eye” windows Sibiu is so famous for.

If you happen to be visiting in October, catch one of the independent films showcased during the Astra Film Festival. The entire main square of Sibiu comes alive for this fantastic two-day event.

For a glimpse into Romania’s past, grab a bus or taxi to the Astra National Museum Complex on the outskirts of town. This massive open-air museum gives a glimpse of traditional Romanian village life, something you’d have to travel all the way up to Maramures to experience otherwise.

For eating in Sibiu, one of the best traditional meals we had was at Sibiul Vechi.

A bridge covered in flowers in Sibiu with a road running beneath.
The Bridge of Lies in Sibu Romania

Day 6 – Transfagarasan

Dubbed by Top Gear as the best driving road in the world, the Transfagarasan highway is a sight not to be missed. However, driving this epic road is only part of the experience.

High in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, this crazy road snakes up and down one of the tallest ranges in Romania. At its highest point, is the majestic, glacier-fed Balea Lake. Views from here are some of the most remarkable in all Romania; especially if you hike the ridge above the lake.

There are several tours available from Bucharest (like the ones above) and Sibiu. The most common is a bus tour of the highway that includes a gondola ride to Balea Lake. If you want to splurge a little, you can hire a private driver or even rent your own car.

The Transfagarasan can be done as a day trip from Sibiu, or you can choose to spend the night at the hotel on the lake.

The winding transfagarasan highway weaving through a valley

The Mesmerizing Transfagarasan Highway

A twisting highway winds through a large valley surrounded by mountains.
The Mesmerizing Transfagarasan Highway

Day 7 – Back to Bucharest / Fly Sibiu

For the final day of your whirlwind tour of Transylvania, it’s time to head back to Bucharest. Direct trains leave Sibiu at 4am and 7am and take about six hours. For those who want a little more time in Sibiu, the final train of the day leaves at 4:40pm.

If you’re not wanting to sit on a train for six hours, you could fly from Sibiu to Bucharest for around $50 (US). You could even fly home from Sibiu (SBZ) if you’re tight on time. Or keep exploring!

You can also take one of these awesome tours:

Best Time to Visit Romania

The ideal time to visit Romania would be late spring or early autumn. From mid-May to late-June, temperatures are warm and the country is in bloom. It does rain on occasion but the temperatures are perfect. Mid-August to mid-October is a fantastic time to visit as well. The scorching heat of July has passed, leaving a much more comfortable warmth behind. The autumn colours of Transylvania in late-September are absolutely spectacular.

During the winter, it can get quite cold in Romania, so it probably isn’t the ideal time to visit. However, seeing the rocky landscape and and ancient castles under a blanket of fresh snow could be a wonderful sight. Although the Transfagarasan highway closes in the winter, the gondola still operates. As well, an impressive Ice Hotel is constructed over the season, which may be reason enough to visit!

Many more Romania articles here!

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About the Author

Mark Stewart

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Mark is a multi-passionate creative with a fascination for getting the most out of the human experience. While he isn't chasing adventures around the globe as a travel journalist and photographer, he works as a freelance writer, private chef and web developer.

Comments 9

  1. This post really took me back – I spend some time Couchsurfing in Bucharest last summer. You are so right about the fact that people stereotype Romania as having nothing to do or uninteresting or unsafe. Sometimes it’s those often-skipped places that have the most to discover! And it is such a beautiful country.

    1. Awesome! We loved Romania so much, two months was definitely not enough. The country and people are beautiful and we cannot wait to go back! Thank you for checking it out!

  2. Great post. We’ll be there later this year and will be sure to follow some of your tips but will travel much slower. I wonder if I could rent a bike and cycle the transfagafagan highway. Do you think that’s possible?
    Keep up the great work.
    Lee and Mandy
    The Frugal Travellers

    1. Post

      Thank you very much! It’s true, this itinerary is designed for those with a limited time window. We actually have a second itinerary coming out very soon for a road trip through Transylvania. It’s much more open when it comes to a time frame, and includes a drive through the Transfagarasan.

      As for cycling, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible. It would be a fantastic ride! We saw plenty of motorcycles, but I think it was too late in the season for bicycles.

      Let us know if you have any more questions!

      Thanks again!

      1. I’m considering skipping the Bran Castle on my upcoming trip to Romania. Seems like an intentionally built up tourist site…like an artificial one with little real significance. Is it a can’t miss site for a 7-10 day visit? Cluj-Napoca, Brasow, Sighisoara, and Sibiu all look like solid stops to me thusfar. Thanks

        1. Post

          Those are all solid stops for sure. Bran Castle is a bit of a tourist spot, for sure, though for good reason. It’s a very cool castle, and the town itself is pretty laid-back. The only real touristic part is the area immediately surrounding the castle.

          If you’re already going to be in Brasov, it’s less than an hour by bus (considerably quicker by car), if you want to make a day trip of it. You don’t need to do the castle tour, but even seeing the castle first hand is pretty impressive.

          If you are going to do a castle tour, personally I think Peles castle is the best. It can also be done as a day trip from Brasov.

          I understand your tight itinerary (even putting this one together was tricky!) but checking out one of Romania’s great castles is a highlight.

          Let us know if you have any more questions!

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