If you’re planning to spend some time in Bucharest, one of the biggest and most exciting capital cities in the Balkans, be sure you leave some time on your itinerary to get out of the city and see some more of Romania! With beautifully preserved castles, majestic mountains, rustic villages, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, it’s well worth escaping the hustle and grind of busy Bucharest.
Of course, you couldn’t visit Romania without visiting its most famous sight – Bran Castle, aka Dracula’s castle. This beautiful 14th century castle belies a nefarious past in both history and in literature. This castle was home to the real-life inspiration for the fictional character of Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, which was immortalized in fiction in the Bram Stoker novel Dracula.
Despite its history as one of the spookiest settings for a book ever, Bran Castle will delight you with its beauty and non-vampire-related history. It’s located high on a mountain surrounded by trees well outside of Brașov, which we think is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania.
It is possible to get to Bran Castle with a combination of bus/train plus private taxi, but we think it is so much easier to go on a day trip. This day trip combines Bran Castle + Peleș Castle (the next item on our Bucharest day trips suggestion) so you can see two beautiful historic castles in Romania for the effort of one! Click here to see prices, availability, and reviews.
Often combined with Bran Castle for ease and convenience, Peleș Castle is, in my estimation, the most beautiful castle in Romania and luckily, it’s quite easy to visit on a day trip from Bucharest! The history of Peleș Castle is far less dramatic than the spooky history of Bran Castle, but it doesn’t mean it is not interesting or beautiful!
Done in the Neo-Renaissance style, Peleș is located in the Carpathian mountains not far from the gorgeous town of Sinaia. Construction was finished in 1914 for King Carol I, and it was built on a road that linked the historical routes of Transylvania and Wallachia, two important regions of what is now Romania.
The castle is beautiful in all seasons but we think it looks especially beautiful in winter or fall! Again, the best way to see Peleș Castle is to combine it with a day trip to Bran Castle as it is kind of inconvenient to travel between both via public transportation. We recommend this tour of Bran and Peles together.
Note: If you really want to see Peles, do not book this tour for a Monday or Tuesday, or in the month of November, when access is closed and replaced with a Medieval Torture Instruments exhibition.
One of the easiest day trips from Bucharest is Mogosoaia Palace, as it is located just about 20 kilometers outside the city center, making taxis, Uber, or local buses a reasonable option instead of taking a tour.
However, of course, you could always take a tour that combines Mogosoaia Palace plus Snagov Monastery in order to better maximize your time and see two sights in one half-day.
Constanta and the Black Sea
When you think of Bucharest, you probably think of gritty streets and concrete facades. So you might be surprised to know that a day at the seaside is not an idle wish and there’s no need to board a plane in order to get a slice of the sea!
Taking a day trip to Constanta in the summer is a popular option for many Bucharest travelers, and while I’d recommend giving yourself more than just a day trip if you can to explore the beautiful Black Sea, a day trip from Bucharest is not a bad idea if you need to beat the heat.
Because traveling to Constanta can take some time, we recommend going on a tour so that you can maximize your time and not be reliant on questionable public transportation options. We recommend this tour to Constanta which covers several of the most interesting sights such as the abandoned casino, the resort city of Mamaia, and the chance to dip your toes in the gorgeous Black Sea!
Sibiu is hands-down one of our favorite cities in Romania. We don’t know what it is: the peaceful town squares, the houses with their windows that looks like eyes, their gorgeous pastel colored buildings that look like a row of candies… Sibiu is simply magical!
Luckily, Sibiu is doable as a day trip from Bucharest when organized with a private tour. While I’d really recommend an overnight in Sibiu at the least, if you are desperate to see one of the most beautiful cities in Romania while on a day trip, this is a good option.
If you really want to escape the hustle and bustle of Bucharest, did you know that you can take a day trip to the Danube Delta, which is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet? I’m not even being superlative – it has the third largest biodiversity in the planet, once you discount the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. That’s pretty marvelous.
The Danube Delta is the second largest river delta in Europe and is home to countless wildlife. It’s one of the most interesting, diverse ecosystems in the world – let alone Europe – and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll find over 300 species of birds as well as countless other animals who call this biosphere home.
And imagine that you can see all this and yet still be back in Bucharest before the night’s end? Truly incredible and surely one of the best day trips from Bucharest for nature lovers. However, to get here and experience the Danube Delta in one day, it is only possible to do so with a dedicated tour so I recommend booking a day trip in advance if you are interested in seeing the Danube Delta on your trip to Romania.
Of course, we are a bit biased as we are big Bulgaria enthusiasts (hence the Sofia Adventures blog name) and we think that Veliko Tarnovo makes a perfect day trip from Bucharest! Veliko Tarnovo is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria so if you are looking for a unique day trip that will also get you a new passport stamp, Veliko Tarnovo is a great choice.
You can go by public transportation by taking a bus to Ruse and then onwards to Veliko Tarnovo, or it is easier to go with a guided tour that will take you to several Bulgarian gems all in one day. Check prices, availability, and reviews here – this tour combines both Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi, a beautiful village that is also definitely worth seeing!
Where to Stay in Bucharest
If you don’t have your Bucharest accommodations lined up just yet, don’t fret! We’ve got it covered with several recommendations on where to stay, broken into different budget categories depending on what best suits your travel budget.
Budget: After having a bad experience with the owner of Pura Vida and Little Bucharest, I cannot recommend them to other travelers, especially solo women travelers. Instead, I’d suggest checking out Funny Hostel (check availability and reviews here) or Friends Hostel (check availability and reviews here).
Mid-range: Omega House is a gorgeous boutique hotel (which also has a few dormitory style rooms if you are a solo traveler with a slightly higher budget). The hotel has beautiful design and a spacious co-working space where you can make use of of Bucharest’s speedy, best-in-Europe WiFi. It is near Piata Romana, my favorite part of Bucharest (and where many of the best coffee shops, bars, and restaurants are located). With a 9.0 rating on Booking.com (read reviews, see photos, and check availability here), I’d recommend this for travelers who want a step above a standard hostel without paying a ton
Luxury: I stayed at the Grand Hotel Continental during my first Bucharest trip and I can’t recommend it enough if you have the money to spare. The room was elegantly furnished and the bed was ridiculously comfortable – the comforters and sheets were just so lush. The bathroom and room itself were crazy large and spacious (though the bathroom was oddly modern, to the point where the sink was really confusing and barely usable). I loved being a 10-minute walk away from the Old Town. I actually don’t recommend at all staying in the Old Town itself, because it’s super loud with drunks at all hours of the night. It comes highly recommended by me and others agree, considering it has a 9.0 rating on Booking.com from others (check reviews and availability here).
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Don’t Leave without Travel Insurance!
Finally, make sure you always travel to Romania with a valid travel insurance policy. The country is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.