Romania, Transylvania by train
In August 2015 I traveled with my sister in Romania for two weeks – our stations were: Bucharest – San Petru – Braşov – Sighişoara – Timişoara. We had not been particularly prepared or informed, just wanted to see a bit of Transylvania. We flew with WizzAir to Bucharest and back from Timişoara, and traveled mostly by train (without previous planning). Train rides in Romania can be an adventure and take quite a long time. I would do it again, but I think it is better to fly back from Bucharest.
From the airport we took a public bus to the northern Train station, from there it was a short walk to the cheap Puzzle Hostel. From there we could see a lot on foot, even if it was a few streets away.
Places we liked: Bar A1 for a beer in a warm summer night and J’ai Bistrot, hip beer garden in a nice courtyard. Otherwise, we have experienced Bucharest as a beautiful and hot city.
From Bucharest there are several trains to Brasov, we went with the smaller one, which was much cheaper and often departs in the day. Attention, there are two Switches to buy tickets, one for fast trains and one for slower regional trains!
MEDITATION IN SAN PETRU
Afterwards we went to a silent meditation retreat for 5 days near Brasov, at Kamala Center. It is a beautiful small meditation center on the outskirts of San Petru. The teacher Sahajananda comes twice a year (August and December) for a 10 or 5 days retreat in English. They serve delicious healthy food and during breaks you can take nice little walks in the area. There is nothing better for me than diving deep into the silence for a few days.
Afterwards we spent 3 nights in the city of Brasov, a place with a beautiful old town surrounded by green wooded hills. There are many nice hostels and cheap rooms, but in August it is worth reserving. In the village you can stroll beautifully, we were even in the small art museum, which was a bit abandoned but definitely special.
One afternoon we hiked to the hill with the great “Brasov” sign. There are several routes up, on the way up we followed the yellow triangle, a nice steep trail and back down then the flatter path. It is a pretty little hike right on the town.
Excursion to Rasniv: With a small train we made a trip to the castle in Rasniv. From Brasov, we were the only tourists on the train, most people seem to make tours or have a car to go around. Rasniv is a small, interesting place, which is apparently just completely remodeled. Alone the small Train station was for us worth seeing! It is sometimes time-consuming and chaotic to travel around with the public trains, but you just experience the craziest things! The castle is impressive. There is a very nice dripstone cave nearby, we just ran there along the road from the castle. Sometimes they have classical concerts in the cave, which would definitely be magical.
From Brasov there is a quite fast train to Sighisoara. We booked a double room for 30 € in the guesthouse “Alte Post” after we had to look for a room in Brasov longer. The old post office is beautiful, but it was too good for us, so we moved after a night into a small wooden hut on the small campsite “Aquaris”, which even has a fun pool. Sighisoara is a very pretty little village! We were lucky, there was just a small summer festival on the same evening.
Since we want to visit even smaller villages in the area, we book in the tourist info a tour with a nice guide to Viscri and other villages, which are very remote. The focus is on ancient churches, which are really very impressive. In the villages, some German-speaking settlers used to live, and there is a great museum in Viscri, where people are well looked after. Afterwards we go to goat cheese and Palinca on a small farm, the atmosphere in the villages is very good. With car hire there was also the option to stay there, we’ll take the next time!
On the outskirts of Sighisoara you find the “Breite Platou“, where one can admire ancient oaks. To get there is a small, nice hike through the forest, we have not encountered any human soul on the way. The place is quiet and beautiful. Below is a small drawing for directions.
After Sighisoara we had to get to Timisoara, from where we had booked our return flight. The train journey took a long time, it would definitely be smarter to travel back from Bucharest, but you never know these things if you travel spontaneously … Timisoara is a beautiful city, we had unfortunately not much time. There is a convenient public bus to the small airport.
Have you been traveling to Romania? I would love to hear about it. 🙂 And I’m happy to answer all questions.