Prior to setting foot in Romania, I browsed through many travel forums and blogs that suggested visiting the Romanian cities of Brasov, Sibiu, and Sinaia. As we already had all 10 nights in Romania accounted for (six nights in Bucharest and four in Sibiu Transylvania), staying the night in Sinaia and/or Brasov was out of the equation. Instead a day trip was the next best alternative to fit these cities into the itinerary.
Sinaia is 75 miles north of Bucharest and 28 miles south of Brasov. Located in the Prahova Valley, it is a mountain retreat and home to Peles Castle, Sinaia Monastery, and one of Romania’s most popular ski resorts/hiking areas. Though rushed, four hours was sufficient to see many of the main attractions in Sinaia and served as a respite from bustling Bucharest.
Getting From Bucharest To Sinaia: No commercial airport serves the immediate area surrounding Sinaia. Instead, taking either a train or bus from Bucharest is the most viable public transport option. Trains are preferable as they have more frequent departures, are faster, and are cheaper than buses.
- Bus: Buses depart from Bucharest Otopeni Airport, not the City Center. Each of the nine daily departures takes an hour and 50 minutes and costs 60 RON.
- Train: Trains depart from Bucharest Gara de Nord Station starting at 6am. Each of the 15 daily departures takes about an hour and 23 minutes and costs 48 RON one-way.
Train Review: We decided to take the CFR Romanian Railways train to Sinaia from Bucharest on a Sunday morning.
Sinaia Activities: Sinaia is a compact city with most of the popular attractions no more than a mile and a half away from the Sinaia train station. The one caveat: it requires walking uphill on windy roads. Thus, if time is an issue, taking a taxi in Sinaia may make the most sense. Another thing to keep in mind is that a few of Sinaia’s main attractions, similar to many Romanian museums and castles, are closed on Mondays.
- Peles Castle: German new-Renaissance style castle commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and served as the summer residence of the royal family until the late 1940s. Entrance fee. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter (September – May).
- Pelisor Castle: Sits a short distance away from the much bigger Peles Castle. The castle was also commission by King Carol I, who built it for his nephew, the future King Ferdinand I of Romania. Entrance fee. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter (September – May).
- Sinaia Monastery: Commenced by Mihail Cantacuzino, a commander of the Wallachians (a region in Romania), in the 17th century after his pilgrimage to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt’s Mount Sinai. Entrance fee.
- Hike the Bucegi Mountains: Well-marked hiking routes abound ranging from easy to very difficult. Top attractions include seeing natural rock formations of Babele (The Old Women) and the Sphinx. Free.
- Walk Bulevardul Carol I: This is the main commercial street in Sinaia, where the majority of shops, cafes and restaurants are located.
Getting From Sinaia To Brasov: While travel via bus is possible, the lack of frequency (two companies each offer a once daily) makes this a near non-entity. Train is by far the more convenient option for this route.
- Train: Trains depart from Sinaia Station 20 times per day, taking about an hour. One-way fares to Brasov are 17 RON.
Train Review: We took an early afternoon train from Sinaia to Brasov.