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Exploring Romania: Transylvania

··453 words·3 mins

Featured Photo by Artem Zhukov on Unsplash

Since moving to Romania, we’ve had some sort of problem or the other that has made us stop in our tracks in exploring Romania. Whether it was Covid, or figuring out how to move Jo here, getting Jo’s resident permit, the unexpected house shifting, or our resident permit renewal glitches, or the repeated waves of Covid, we’ve been hesitant to travel.

That’s not to say we’ve not done any travel - we’ve done visits to Brasov, Constanta, Sinaia, and few other museums in Bucharest. Most of these were limited to a day or a couple of days.

Now that we’re vaccinated, boosted, and Covid cases are on the decline, we figured this is a good time to explore, the Ukraine war notwithstanding.

The initial goal was to visit Sibiu, but we weren’t content with just being in the city. To really explore Romania, you need your own transportation - the trains get you from city to city(albeit slowly) and the planes are there, but a lot of the good places are outside city limits. This is where my problems start - I don’t have my car here, my Indian driving license is not accepted, and I would have to get my driving license done from scratch (which is another ridiculously long, bureaucratic process that would take a couple of months at least, costs a lot, and with the Covid cases, I kept delaying in applying for one).

We looked for travel guides who would take us on guided tours, and we found Florin from who does guided private tours, based on our pace and requests. After a couple of emails we’ve come up with a tour plan, I am really excited about, given that we intend to cover many places that I have dreamed of visiting including Alba Iulia and of course, the Greatest Driving Road in the World, the Transfagarasan.

Given that the Transfagarasan is currently closed due to winter (the road is fully open only during the months of June to October), we’ve been told that we will still do the road, albeit on an alternative route.

At the moment, this is our plan:

  • Day 1: Train from Bucharest to Brasov. Visit the Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary and Bran Castle.
  • Day 2: Transfagarasan, Lisa, Sambata Monastery.
  • Day 3: Sibiu, Astra Museum.
  • Day 4: Corvin Castle, Alba Iulia.
  • Day 5: Sighisoara, Biertan, Medias.
  • Day 6: Turda Salt mine, Rimetea.

Here’s a Google Maps view of the places. There’s day-by-day driving layers as well as a layer on the places of interest. Here’s the full link to it.

Hopefully, it will not be too stressful :) I look forward to the visits and writing about it!