Romania has a lot of pretty awesome things to see BUT a lot of them are quite out of the way and public transport doesn’t always cut it. Luckily, I had 2 friends fly in from England to visit me so we rented a car for 4 or 5 days and road tripped it from Bucharest to Transylvania.
No trip in Eastern Europe goes without any hitches so after about 4 hours we were pulled over by the police for an apparent illegal maneuver. Whatever. To cut a long story short, out fat mustached policeman dropped his ‘fine’ from 400 Euro to 10 after some tough negotiating. That’s the fourth time I’ve bribed police in 8 days. Quite the record.
Anyways, the trip was nothing short of epic. 4 guys, one Vauxhall astra, 10 euro in police bribes, endless sex/football/women conversation and 4 Unesco world heritage sites, all in a week’s work for a travel blogger!
We used Brasov as a base to explore Transylvania and while we tried to squeeze in as much as possible, the 3 undoubted highlights were as follows:
Rasnov is only a 12km drive from Brasov, and the little brother likes to mimic bigger brother, hence their Brasov-style huge Rasnov sign. Rasnov does however beat it’s neighbour in one respect, it’s huge fortress.
The fortress only costs $3 to get in, and you’re free to wander around it. It’s pretty huge so it’ll take at least an hour to explore. Built back in the 13th century, much of its original stonework is still in place which is pretty sweet. You can dabble in a bit of archery within the fortress walls too.
Prejmer (and other Fortified churches):
The whole region is littered with fortified churches, which were functional religious centres in their day, but during war times everyone would centre in the fortified church and no one would get hurt. These things are impenetrable. There are more than 5 UNESCO world heritage churches dotted around, the pick of the bunch though is Prejmer, just 15km from Brasnov.
This guy preempted MTV cribs in EVERY way. This is, without doubt, the coolest home I’ve ever seen. The most opulent, decadent, pimped out house you can ever come across. Gold covered roofs, Arabic rooms, Turkish rooms, secret doors and corridors, gardens littered with statues, bedrooms for his mistresses, libraries with hidden stair cases, carvings on everything – it’s difficult to articulate the sheer grandiose nature of the place. If you’re in Transylvania, come and check it out. Unreal. $5 to enter.
Visiting Dracula’s castle was another dream come true for me too, so much so that I’ll save that for an individual article. If you’re backpacking in Romania, car rental is the way to go. It’s about $40 a day but if there’s 3 or 4 of you, it’s not too expensive and you can really explore the beautiful Romanian countryside. Happy travels!