Roaming Romania: Top 5 Places to Rent a Car
Why Romania does not feature prominently on holiday hit lists remains a mystery. Rent a car in Romania and you’ll discover a European idyll of spectacular castles, painted monasteries, and untamed landscapes skirted by towering peaks and the inviting waters of the Black Sea. Then there’s the buzz of Bucharest and Black Sea cities like Constanta. The best way to experience it is to let your rental car do the work, but if you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favourites:
Summer car rental customers simply have to drive the Transfagarasan. A regular inclusion on lists of the world’s most awe-inspiring roads, the Transfagarasan lies 108km from Sibiu, close to the border with Hungary. The 150km pass was blasted through the mountains in the early 1970s, creating a breathtaking series of hairpin bends reaching 2,042 metres.
Only open from July through October, the Transfagarasan requires careful driving, so please keep the speed limit – which is just 40kph. Driving at a low speed is the best way to appreciate the sheer spectacle of this feat of road construction.
2. Peles Castle
Romania is a country studded with gothic piles and impressive fortifications, but Peles Castle stands out even among these impressive constructions. Located in Sinaia, Prahova, 125km from Bucharest, Peles Castle was built in 1914 as a country retreat for Romanian royalty.
Each room is more lavish and ostentatious than the last, with the Imperial Bedroom reaching the pinnacle of luxury. Opulent wall hangings, exquisite furniture and a chandelier crafted from Bohemian crystal are among the highlights. You can also tour the theatre room, council room, and arms room
The Carpathian Mountains carve a broad curve through the heart of Romania, towering above swathes of forest and lush meadows. Park your rental car and hike the trails that lace the peaks, with a series of mountain huts giving you a place to rest at night.
Geographically, the Carpathians form the eastern “elbow” of the Alps, stretching between Slovakia and southern Poland, and then turning southward through Ukraine and into Romania. The highest and largest mountain range in Central Europe their wooded hills and snowy mountains are a beacon for hikers, skiers and cyclists.
Bucharest is home to scores of Romania’s best museums, some of which manage to stretch their restricted budgets by portraying country life in Romania. In contrast, institutions like Nicolae Ceausescu’s infamous homage to himself – the People’s Palace (or Palace of Parliament) illustrate a different era. With approximately 1000 rooms, the People’s Palace is second only to the Pentagon among the world’s biggest buildings.
Bucharest has a lively student population, which dominates the historic centre’s open-air bar scene. Theatre, opera, and foreign-language films are among the cultural delights enjoyed by all ages here, and you’ll find families making the most of the generally well maintained parks.
5. Turda Salt Mine
Conveniently situated at the junction of the E60 and E81, just a half-hour’s drive from Cluj-Napoca. The mine was used as a source of rock salt for some 700 years, until 1932. Nowadays the vast underground chasm contains an underground sanatorium for those seeking relief from respiratory ailments, a playground, and a concert hall with heated seats. A Ferris wheel, a subterranean lake, and an altar carved from salt are among the oddities you will find in this labyrinth of corridors and rooms.